Category Archives: Members’ Cars and Photos

’72 B Roadster of Bob Chalker from Katy, Texas

We became the unplanned owners of Tiffany, our first MG, the 72 B, in 2014. Our love affair started when I spotted an article titled “5 Classic Cars you can buy for under $5000.” Well as a car guy, I couldn’t resist reading the article. I spent 23 years of my career working in the auto industry both with GM and Delphi and have always kept my eye on the industry. Now I have to admit it had been a long time since I had considered buying a classic car and had sort of lost track of pricing, but under $5000 how could I not take a peek. To my surprise on the list was the MGB. I found it hard to believe and was intrigued enough to go to eBay and check out the claim. Sure enough I found several rubber bumper MGB’s listed for under $5000. They were of all colors, yellow, red and white. The red one looked nice and I knew my wife, Kim, always liked red sports cars. So I hauled my iPad over to where she was sitting and showed her the car. She looked up and said “well that’s nice, but I really like that one,” pointing to a 1972 aqua blue MGB. Now for my second surprise of the morning, she didn’t say no. So not being someone to miss an opportunity I did some quick research to get an idea of what a reasonable price might be. I also contacted a friend of mine, who knew a bit about classic cars, having restored many. This is when I learned one of my first lessons of MGB ownership. Those chrome bumpers are worth about $7000. Once I made up my mind on what I wanted to pay, I set my max bid price and watched the auction over the next couple of days. To my surprise I was the high bidder, but to my disappointment, I was not above the reserve price. I thought the deal was done, as I was not going higher.

Then a day or so later I received an email through eBay, asking if I was still interested in the car? Well, of course I was. So I replied. The seller and I exchanged a few emails about the vehicle where I asked him all kinds of questions about its condition, drivability, history, etc. We also came to agreement on a price as long as the car was in the condition he described. Now came the next challenge, the vehicle was in Colorado, and we lived in Houston, TX. As a benefactor of being a frequent business traveler I have lots of airline points so it didn’t take me long to book two one way tickets to Denver on Friday. After all this I decided it would be a good idea to let Kim know what I was planning and that she would be flying to Denver with me to pick up a car. I think she was excited about getting the car, but not too thrilled with the early hour we were departing Houston.

 We arrived in Denver without a hitch, rented a car and headed out to the home of the seller, approximately an hour North. We saw the car took it for a test drive, and yes, it was as good as he described. So we loaded her up with our luggage and headed south for the 1000 mile trip back home. Now all of you who are reading this are saying is he crazy, you drove a car you knew nothing about 1000 miles across open country? You didn’t have a mechanic check it out? Why didn’t you rent a truck or trailer to bring it home? You could have shipped it? My answer is, if I knew then, what I know now, I would have done those things, but I didn’t. I was blessedly naive. We made the trip, taking back roads the whole way and Tiffany ran flawlessly. We did stop at a hotel Friday night and I have to admit, I was up every hour or two looking out the window to see if it was still there. It also got a bit hot driving across central Texas on a late spring afternoon. On this trip I learned my next lesson of MG ownership, everywhere you stop people want to talk to you about the car. If you are getting gas or stopping at a restaurant, plan on it taking much longer than it should as you will be the most popular person in the parking lot. My favorites are those who either owned one or who’s dad owned one. I have come to believe that if everyone who said they owned an MG actually did, the company would still be in business.

Kim and I are not necessarily the adventurous types, but this trip, going from not even thinking about owning a MG to being happy owners in less than 6 days, has put us on an adventurous road filled with great cars, good friends, fun road trips and a tremendous amount of learning about cars. We have also learned the saying, you can’t own just one, is true This summer we bought a 59 MGA.

 

’80 MGB V8 Roadster of Chris Hughes from Newark, DE

An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’80 MGB roadster of Chris Hughes from Newark, Delaware. Here is the story:

My ‘80 MGB was originally purchased in 1983. It was the black “Limited Edition” with the silver stripes, LE wheels, luggage rack etc. Back then, it was truly my dream car. It was my daily driver until 1994 and after failed attempts at performance modifications (and creeping rust issues), it was retired to my garage. I didn’t know what I would do with it.

I researched V8 conversions for MGs and learned that the later ones like mine had engine compartments that were better suited to accept one of the rover aluminum V8s. In 1997 I decided to take the plunge on the conversion. I found a fairly local shop that specialized in sourcing rover parts, rover engine rebuilding and creating some of the custom parts required for the job. Ordered was a rebuilt 4.2L rover engine, ECU and all the fuel (Including fuel tank) and electrical system bits. This was to be mated to a rover 5-speed transmission, custom drive shaft and a narrowed ford rear end. I paid for everything in advance and the waiting game began.

Many months passed by and limited progress was happening on the drive train. All that waiting had me searching the “almost new” internet for parts. I stumbled upon a British parts site called “The Proper MG”. Sadly, they went out of business many years ago. They were out of Maine (If I remember correctly). They got all their parts directly from England and that appealed to me. I had seen some poor Chinese parts from other British car parts sites. While the drive train was being cobbled together, I decided to get some body work done to stop the rust. I ordered brand new front fenders, rocker panel kits, rear wheel well kits etc. Parts were flowing in, however, I didn’t know who I would trust to do the work.

I had “ex” in-laws that lived up in Connecticut and I happened to notice a Hot Rod shop nearby. I asked the owner if he would take on my project. Initially, he said NO because “it’s just an MG”. When I mentioned the V8 conversion, he changed his mind. I stripped the car down to its shell and pulled it behind a neighbor’s pickup truck from Frederick Maryland up to CT. Years passed.

In very late Dec of 1999, I was up in CT again and I spoke to the body shop owner about the delay. He said if I paid him the balance due now, he’d make finishing it a priority (Obviously I didn’t learn my lesson from paying for the drive train in advance). On New Year’s Day 2000, the body shop owner passed away! I got a frantic call from the two guys that were assigned to my job. The IRS was coming to padlock the facility and claim all the assets. Before that happened, they heroically towed my car (and all of the parts) out of there and up to a friend’s house they knew that had a “sort of” car shop. This place was literally in the Connecticut woods. These (now 3) fine gentlemen finished the car on their own. They even created a paint booth out of a spare garage. They understood that I’d already paid for the finished job and they were going to see it through. Every time I think of it, I’m amazed and what great guys they were.

On top of that, I couldn’t believe the finished job! Meticulous attention to detail went into everything they did. In early summer of 2000, I picked up the now reassembled shell in CT. It was so “perfect” that I was afraid to touch it, let alone pull it unprotected back down to Frederick MD. I rented a truck and we secured it inside for a safe ride home.

The next couple months of the summer were a blur. I worked on it nonstop. The car itself was WAY too nice now to put ANY old parts back in it, so I basically bought EVERYTHING new (from the Proper MG). UPS, Fed-EX, and DHL pulled up to my house every day. And piece by piece I reassembled it. By this time, cost was not a factor. I found very rare TSW Hockenheim wheels that were made (In South Africa) specifically for the MGB and had the seats professionally rebuilt with leather covers. I also installed a brand new wiring harness before covering the floorboards with “Kool mat” insulation. A mohair top and top cover were next. I can tell you that I will never ever attempt to install a new windshield and/or a new dash face again. It’s no wonder I have so much grey hair. Seriously, have a pro do those jobs.

The car was home and rebuilt, but the drive train was still incomplete. I traveled (several times) to that shop and after some stressful conversations, the drive train was finally installed.

Since that time, I have rarely stopped working on it and have upgraded it as best I could. I lowered the suspension using an early cross member and installed fiberglass rear leaf springs. I had some overheating worries that were finally resolved with the addition of a hood scoop (to allow the engine compartment heat to escape) along with the addition of a Kawasaki motor cycle radiator and electric fan that I installed above the rear differential. I replaced all the black ’80 gauge bezels with chrome and added several aircraft gauges to keep an eye on things. I installed the radio in the glove box along with a lot of speakers and amps. To be honest, I listened to it once. I’d rather listen to the fantastic sounds the V8 makes. I don’t drive it near as often as I should. However, when I do, it’s a real joy.

’73 B of Steve Perkins from Franklin, Tennessee

An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’73 B roadster of Steve Perkins from Franklin, Tennessee. Here is the story:

Some of my Nashville British Car Club fellow members have a nice assortment of British Sports Cars in their garages which always include the MGBs. Not having the room or the funds I have only one BUT my 1973 MGB named Ruby goes from a 100% authentic vintage Roadster to a ” historic rendition” of a Street Legal Race Car depending on her frame of mind and the weather. I do attend our local Cars and Coffee Vintage Car Event most Saturdays. When Ruby is in her “pretty Barbie Doll like” convertible costume the young girls line up to sit behind the wheel with their girl friend passenger. When she shows up as the Rally Race Car with window protection nets, etc. the teenage boys take a lot of interest.

It only takes about 20 minutes to do the switch including the custom racing knockoffs.

I do enjoy Ruby with the Split Personality.

’77 B of John Mein from Cupertino, California

I’m glad to be back! I dropped out because I had my car up for sale for six months on consignment, but I have her home again. This was the second time I almost sold her and fortunately I have not.

I bought my 1977 MGB in October of 1977 brand new from the Arnold Brothers Ford/MG dealership which was located in Boulder, CO. I had my first job in Boulder out of college and I saw an ad in Playboy that fall for MG’s so I had to have one! It cost $5,770. The salesperson talked me out of getting overdrive as she said it would be problematic. She probably did not have one in stock! But, she was probably right about the reliability of overdrive. I kept it in Colorado until 1989 except for a couple of years in Kansas in a machine shed while I lived in Boston. I had it shipped to CA when I moved here in Aug of 1989. I had a minor accident in about 1979 which dented in the hood (my fault!). I had the overhead cam replaced in CO in about 1979,

I have about 92,000 miles on it. I had it repainted the original Tahiti Blue in 1999 for about the same price I paid for it!

Over the years, I’ve had the rear axle/differential and clutch replaced and a rollbar added. I have on my own replaced the exhaust system 4 times (finally got smart and did all stainless), the catalytic converter, the water pump, rebuilt the electric radiator fans, replaced the soft top, gone through about 10 batteries, the vacuum canister for the brakes, had 4 windshields replaced, on about my 4th set of tires (still whitewalls!), and about 4 different stereo systems–now with Bluetooth and a CD player. In the 70’s I put in a CB for driving to and from CO to Kansas (my original home)–I have since removed it. I’ve also rebuilt the electric fuel pump a couple of times.

About 20 years ago I replaced the original electronic ignition with an external Allison one which worked well. About 5 years ago, I replaced the Allison with an OEM that has the electronic ignition system built into the distributor just like my original one. I also replaced the spark coil. I just replaced the handbrake cable myself as it has stretched out too far to adjust any tighter This gave me the excuse to buy metal car ramps as I am not as flexible as I once was. Now I am replacing the left front wheel bearing as the inner bearing started to make grinding noises.

I had the entire under body steam-cleaned recently. It took about an hour and really cleaned up my bottom–you should see it! It’s not cheap, but I recommend everyone do it every 40 years as those oil leaks built up! My bottom looks great now–check it out!”

About 30 years ago I replaced the triple wipers with a brand called Triple Edge which were guaranteed for life–and they are still working fine! Great brand.

Things Change Over 24 Years

I had the occasion to take my 6 year old grandson for his first ride in my MG. He came with me to attend the NJ Triumph club sponsored Fallfest show held in Chester NJ 23 September 2017.

It reminded me that my B was celebrating a milestone birthday (45 years old – a 1973 model with a commission date of October 1972) and how long I have had the car (since April 1990, so now over 27 years).

The date and timing of the show was also significant in that I had taken my younger daughter to her first MG car show in this car back in September 1993, the Vanderbilt Concours D’Elegance, just a few weeks after getting the B registered and back on the road. We showed-up as intended spectators just to get some ideas on how to finish our still primer only, fun-fur seat covered, very dirty and incomplete rolling work-in-process.

The runners of the show said it would be cheaper than the 2 person admission to just enter the car in the show, adding that it included lunch. It sounded really twisted to me they would want my car mixed with the really beautiful cars there, but while there were some really nice MG’s there, values and levels of completion and correctness were not what it is today. In the end, it was the free lunch (a slice of Pizza and a soda) that did the trick

Once convinced to enter the car, we were implored by other MGB entrants to “Park it next to mine; it will make it look better!”.
Outside the MG crowd, the owners of pristine Jag’s, Rolls, Austin-Healy’s and Bentley’s were concerned for dirt getting on their car or themselves if we were too close (not to mention fearing tetanus if they touched it, not unjustifiably, I might add).

This didn’t stop my girl from asking to borrow rags, cleaners and chamois from startled concours level car owners to polish the chrome and get the best look we could to garner “Diamond in the Rough” honors for her efforts. I don’t think a cold pizza ever tasted so good. That plaque still hangs in my office.

So the attached pictures show then, as well as where we are now, many years later. Her son now sits beside me. Insisting on wearing a racing helmet, I, of course, the doting grandfather, donned a matching one, looking a bit like the “Blockhead Racing Team” from the old Gumby cartoons and enjoying every minute of it.

A lot changes in 24 years. The comparisons are many and not the least of which being how we all have grown up (OK, aged; the car more gracefully than I). As good as it looks, it was probably only the 4th or 5th best MGB Chrome Bumper at the show. The level of competition is that much greater. The first in class car from last year didn’t garner any awards this time around either. Even the winner of “Diamond in the Rough” in the rubber bumper class was a survivor car in better shape than ours was all those years ago. The other point is that all were still driven to the show, even if I suspect that’s all a few were driven. And while most of the drivers were my age or older, there were any number of younger drivers, active spouses and second and 3rd generations (I was not the only one with a child or grandchild there) with interest in these legacy cars. All very good and, in light of the article I wrote earlier, very reassuring to see that the interest continues.

Safety Fast!
Art Isaacs

’77 B of Gene and Sherri Enke from Fort Madison, Iowa

This An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’77 B roadster of Gene and Sherri Enke from Fort Madison, Iowa. Here is the story:

We have owned the car since 1979 and it has been featured in the American MGB Association Octagon before. She might therefore be called “Grandmother Queen B”. The club’s interest and support of our red roadster over the 28 years of ownership is greatly appreciated.

The 1977 MGB roadster was purchased in October of 1979. It is flamingo red and has 97,000 miles with the original drive train and engine. It runs great! It is used during the summer season with the top down in April and back up in October. The body was completely restored several years ago and is in show condition. British Leyland and Morris Garage would be very proud of this roadster.

’74 B-GT of Bruce Rose from Larchmont, New York

An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’74 B-GT of Bruce Rose from Larchmont, New York. Here is his story and photos:

Slowly getting it together. I have been in touch with 2nd owner of the vehicle who owned it for 20 years. I replaced the SU carbs with a Weber. I have installed a new radiator, heater control and retractable seat belts. I just swapped out the bumper guards for the old style

’77 B of Don Boudwin from Clayton, Delaware

An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’77 B of Don Boudwin from Clayton, Delaware. Here is his story:

My interest first started in MG’s in 1979 when a friend of mine showed me his 1976 MGB, after driving his for a few weeks I needed to get my own. I saw a 1977 MGB in the newspaper for sale at Maple Shade Mazda in New Jersey in November 1980, I went to see it, test drove it and bought it on site for $2,350.00. It had 21,400 miles on it.

In the first few years, I had a few what turned out to be common issues, the car would shut off without warning which was the Lucas ignition module mounted on the distributor,

I installed a dual point distributor to end that issue. In 1987 the clutch went out, I planned to fix it myself until I read the first step “REMOVE ENGINE”. I had the clutch replaced at Christopher’s MG shop in Ocean City NJ. The car slowly developed rusty areas and had a few minor operational issues,

In 2012, I decided to bring it back and had extensive body work done. That was about a two year process. I then had engine work suspension work and most recently had the clutch hydraulic’s completely replaced along with some other maintenance issues.

I have been attending car shows for many years and when Don Henderson of the British Car Club of Delaware invited me to the Delaware City show, much to my surprise my B won 1st place. My car was finally, after many years, presentable.

’74 MGB of Brian Childs of Savannah, Georgia

An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’74 MGB of Brian H. Childs of Savannah, Georgia. Here is his story:

My name is Brian H. Childs and my wife completely surprised me this past Christmas with a 1974 totally restored MGB with Sabrina bumpers. It was restored from a junk over four years by a retired Navy mechanic in Atlanta, GA. I am attaching a composite of pictures chronicling the process of restoration and a couple of the finish car including one of the engine compartment. Yes, he installed air conditioning!

I now have this jewel in my garage here in Savannah and my wife and I have enjoyed road trips around the coast and in the countryside. I had one as a young Marine officer and pilot in the late sixties and early seventies and this one brings back fond memories.

I would love to see what my story and photos in the Octagon.

Editor’s Note: You got your wish

’67 B of Timothy Sullivan

An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’67 B of Timothy Sullivan of Laguna Hills, California. Here is his story:

My Life with MG’s

I saw and fell in love with my first MGB back in 1966. I was in the ninth grade and had a paper route. My paper route ran through an apartment complex and one of the tenant’s there had a new, black MGB roadster with a black interior. I was mesmerized by it. I would stop and look at it everyday it was parked there while I was on my paper route. I dreamed about owning an MGB someday when I grew up and got my driver’s license – but that was a very long time off for a 13 year old.

I wrote a letter to the British Motor Corporation U.S. MG distributor and requested a brochure on the new MGB and sure enough they mailed one back to me along with a Retail Price listing dated June 1966. I studied that beautiful, full color brochure for hours and hours. In fact I still have that brochure and price list.

A few years later on, in 1970 when I was old enough to drive, my older brother Pat purchased a well used 1964 MGB painted a beautiful Iris Blue color. I remember one weekend when he was away I took his MGB out for a ride. It had a “glasspack” muffler on it that made it particularly loud and I loved blipping the throttle to hear that lovely engine run. What an incredible car! When I got our of the Service in 1974 I purchased a used 1971 MG Midget and drove it from Detroit, Michigan to Tucson, Arizona on a trip to see my older brother and his new wife. The car ran great because I always kept it well maintained and tuned up. I still have the factory Bentley Service Manual that I purchased for it back then and still consult that manual to this very day.

A few years more down the line, in 1977, when I was a starving college student I purchased a well used 1970 burnt orange MGB roadster. At the time I didn’t have two nickels to rub together but I was able to scrape up the dough because it didn’t cost me too much in light of the heavy body damage to the driver’s door and rear quarter panel. The door was bashed in pretty badly but I was able to fashion a driver’s door window out of clear plastic and good ‘ole duck tape that lasted awhile until I could afford to buy a used driver’s side door. That MGB got me through a couple of very cold and snowy winter’s back in Michigan and it ran great, never letting me down once.

Jumping forward more recently, during 2011 I purchased another MGB, a white 1962 roadster. It was a very early model MGB and was in relatively solid condition but I was reluctant to invest any money in it because I discovered that the manufacturer’s metal ID tag was missing and the Body Number tag was used as the VIN registration number on the title. Something just didn’t feel right even though I had a clear State issued title and current registration, so I sold it on in short order.

More recently I found a 1967 Primrose yellow MGB roadster that spent its entire life in California. I have the original black plates issued by the State of California for it and was able to get it re-registered with those original black plates. I have done a complete restoration of the interior including the dashboard, dashboard instruments, dashboard top, carpets, side card panels and seat upholstery. I replaced both the windshield and the windshield rubber seals because the windshield was deeply scratched. I polished the windshield chrome trim with special polishing compound and it came out great. Replacing the lower windshield frame rubber seal was a real pain taking many hours of painstaking labor sliding it ever so slowly into that tiny groove that runs the length of the windshield base.

I installed a new convertible top on a used top frame assembly that I purchased off eBay and took the engine and trans out so I could install a new clutch, pressure plate and flywheel and several new trans seals and engine gaskets. I had to replace the flywheel because the ring gear was bad and the old starter kept jamming on it. I replaced the old starter with a modern and conventional Hi-Torque starter and all of my starting problems were eliminated.

The car sat for many years and thus I had to go through the entire fuel system and replaced both the fuel tank and fuel pump, cleaned out the fuel lines and rebuilt the two carbs. In addition, I fabricated a new driver side battery compartment frame as I wanted to continue to use both of the existing 6 volt batteries.

One thing I haven’t changed or restored is the exterior body

or body color. The Primrose body paint is very rough and worn with numerous nicks, scratches and imperfections. But the body itself is virtually rust free having been in California its whole life and thus I’m reluctant to paint or otherwise refinish the body. Its looks old and worn but I just don’t give a darn. I like it just the way it is, warts and all.

With new tires and freshly painted wire wheels it runs great and is a true joy to drive and enjoy. I ended up having to get the wheels balanced at three different shops until I could find a shop that truly knew how to balance the wire wheels properly. Two different shops ended up sticking just a ton of lead weights on the wheels to no avail. Finally number three shop got it right with a proper support flange on the wheel balancing machine and ended up using a couple of very small weights on each wheel. What a difference it made to in getting the wheels properly balanced too, a vibration at higher speeds mysteriously disappeared!

And as you may know, I own a couple of other hobby cars that are much faster than my slow moving old MG but that doesn’t matter to me, I still enjoy the heck out of driving it as no other car comes close in the overall old school feel and touch of the car.

This MG I just might hold on to for a while, perhaps a long while.