New Zealand MGs

by John Giannasca

I was in Australia and New Zealand recently and ran across some MG folks over there who you may find of interest. Jenny & Lawrie Steere (“mom and dad”) run MG Service Centre with their daughter Maria. Their son Garry owns Abingdon Sports Cars which sells previously owned MGs. As you can see in the pictures, the car lot makes quite an impression if you happen to be an MG enthusiast looking at four GT race cars lined up across the front. As you may have guessed by now, the family that races together … A race car for each member of the family built by dad! On the day that I visited they were preparing for the Skope Classic which is a vintage race series in New Zealand featuring international competition from as far away as California and Canada. Nice way to spend a vacation if you have the car, time and resources.

Visiting the shop, I met with Lawrie, Jenny and Maria during business hours. That’s mom’s MG ZR 160 “pocket rocket” parked outside. While there for less than an hour. While there for less than an hour I saw a husband and wife pull up in a pristine TC for a quick grease on the front suspension and a young couple in a white GT pull up to check an oil leak (imagine that) which Lawrie took care of quickly. Both cars were on their way before I left. Maria works on the MGFs and mom runs the office. On a mini tour of the shop I saw a B, a Rover and an F in for service. When I looked at a rear ended MGF beyond repair, I inquired about it and its collision history as far as body strength goes and they showed me an inventory of parts cars, as you can see in the pictures. One in particular suffered a head on where the driver walked away, thanks to a sturdy roll cage hidden behind the firewall The all original low miles BGT V8 is as perfect as it looks in the pictures and belongs to the Steere’s.

The gray “race worn” racer in the shop is a 50’s RA3 built by Hec Green in New Zealand. Originally powered by a five liter flat “pancake” eight cylinder Lycoming aircraft engine and would hit 130 in second gear at 2,000 rpm. Only three were built and none ever reached top speed. Gary was taking the car to the Skope Classic for show only. There are future plans for restoration.

I thought you and the members might enjoy seeing the pictures and know of an active MG group that exists in New Zealand, which by the way is very beautiful. Laurie is also the Secretary of the local MG car club, “The Cantebury MaG”, of which I am now a member.

Editor’s Note: John Giannasca was one of the founding chairmen of the American MGB Association and we thank him for his contributions.

(excerpt from articles appearing in the club magazine, the Octagon)

From the Editor's Desk – August 2007

Welcome to the new members that have joined since the last issue. We would like to thank John Giannasca of the founding chairmen of the AMGBA for his article on his trip to New Zealand, Buzz Racine for his story and all of the other contributors to this issue of the Octagon. Also thanks to Art Isaacs for his continued work in answering members’ technical questions and answers.Be sure to send in photos and stories so we can include them in future issues of the Octagon.

AMGBA Meet 2007 will be held September 29, 2007 in conjunction with MGs on the Green in Charlotte, North Carolina. More details will follow on the website and in the next Octagon.

We have a new and improved club message board. You can access through the club website at www.mgclub.org or directly at http://board.amgba.com . We have a members only section of the message board. You can use the user id and password on page 3 of each Octagon or you can get a personal id and password. To do so, register and then logon to the message board and send a message to us with a reply in this section or via email. This allows you to access the MEMBER ONLY QUESTION & ANSWER and UPKEEP & PERFORMANCE HINTS area. It also allows you to post items in the FOR SALE and WANTED sections as well as post photos in the MEMBER PHOTOS area.

The club also now has a blog located at http://blog.amgba.com . Members can publish items or comments to the Blog by logging in as a member.

We have a new American MGB Association photo gallery located at http://photos.amgba.com . The same login is used for the gallery as the Message Board. Members can download photos directly to this gallery.

Members now receive monthly publications. The Octagon is published in February, April, June, August, October and December and the eOctagon is published in January, March, May, July, September and November.

We now offer a 3 year membership or renewal rate which includes a free t-shirt. The rate is $95 or $125 for members outside the USA. So save some money and get a free t-shirt in the process!

Send us your email address so that we can send you the eOctagon. The eOctagon is sent via bulk email so if you are blocking this type of email you will not get it.

Remember the AMGBA “pays” for stories and info you send in the form of a credit toward regalia or renewal. We appreciate the increased number of color photographs that have been sent in recently for the color pages of the OCTAGON!

Send in your list of spare parts that you have for sale as we send out all lists we have received during the year to members that request lists of spare parts available. These lists are also now appear on our web page in the “members only” section!

You need an ID and password to access the “members only” section of our web site at www.mgclub.org . You will find the ID and password on page 3 of the OCTAGON. These change with each issue so be sure to use only the ones listed in the latest issue.

Have a great driving season!