MG Rover may be reunited in China

Rival firms Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation and Nanjing Automotive Company – the two firms that bought the remains of MG Rover – could be on course to merge, and bring back together the constituent parts of the old British car-maker that were seperated two years ago.

The firms have been in talks since before June. They claim that they are only considering a joint venture, but other sources maintain that a buyout of the smaller Nanjing Automotive by SAIC is more likely, thereby amalgamating the remains of MG Rover into one company.

Nanjing bought rights to the MG models in 2006 following MG Rover’s collapse, and sold the first MG (a re-badged ZT) last week.

SAIC bought the Rover models, but failed to buy rights to the Rover name. The result is the Roewe 75 – a name devised by SAIC for the re-worked Rover 75s.

Nanjing Automotive has much better production facilities than the bigger Shanghai company. It owns a factory capable of producing 200,000 vehicles a year – significantly more than SAIC’s ageing Yizheng factory.

This would be a huge incentive for Shanghai Automotive to buy its smaller rival, as it would allow for increased production of the Roewe 75. Owning its most significant competitor would also give it a stranglehold on the market.

Roewe is due to arrive in the UK in 2009 with the stretched 75, the Roewe 750. Nanjing Automotive maintains that it will launch the new TF roadster in the UK before the end of 2007.

From the Editor's Desk – October 2007

Welcome to the new members that have joined since the last issue.

We would like to thank Mike Hickman, Simon Bentley and Tom Bruno 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. See the flyers in this issue.

We have a new and improved club message board. You can access through the club website at www.mgclub.org or directly at 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 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 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 country.

In response to many members we now have a 3 year eMembership for $50 which also includes a free t-shirt. 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 which is sent via bulk email so if you are blocking this type of email you will not get it.
Have a great remainder of the driving season!

'79 B of Tom Bruno

The October Octagon’s (received with club membership) Queen B is the ’79 B of Dr. Tom Bruno. Here is the story:

Here are some photos of my recently, completed 1979 MGB. The engine has been detoxed and upgraded. It is bored out 40 thousandths; new parts include: stock cam, pistons and valve train, 2 bbl Webber downdraft carburetor, exhaust header, alternator, Petronix ignition, radiator, valve cover, water pump, fuel pump and gas tank.

The suspension has all new Urethane bushings and a Monroe shock at each corner. The interior is all new done in Autumn Leaf with ealier chrome stripped door panels. The front tag was given to me by a patient from England.

This car was left for trash in a backyard in Tampa Florida, full of leaves, wasps, ants and rats had nested in the driver’s seat. It was ready to go to the junk yard. The engine was left exposed with the spark plugs removed.

It has taken a year and a half to get it back into running condition.

The only major work left is a little body work and a new paint job, probably Brooklands Green. Thanks to Glenn’s MG in St. Petersburg for the engine rebuild and Victoria British and Moss for all the parts and The Roadster factory for the interior and carpet kits. My wife is happy that it’s almost done because I have spent many hours in the garage with my little MG. I still sneak into the garage and rub her headlights every once in a while just to make my wife jealous, especially now during rainy season when we can go out for a ride.

2008 MG3

MG under the guidance of China’s Nanjing has developed a new hatchback model based on the original Rover 25 that was sold up until 2005. When MG and Rover were split, Nanjing Auto managed to scoop up the tooling for the car and as evidenced by these latest spy shots a new MG3 has already begun production.
Set for launch next year, the new MG3 is likely to be manufactured in China as there are no plans to expand the Longbridge site in the UK yet. According to some reports the car could also revive the original Austin label, which will be used to market a range of affordable models from Nanjing.
Powering the car will be a series of four-cylinder petrol engines ranging in displacement from 1.1 to 1.8L. A 2.0L diesel engine was also offered with the original Rover hatch but there’s no world on whether Nanjing will pick up the oil-burner.

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!

MG TF Roadster Production at Longbridge

The Longbridge car plant in Birmingham was reborn two years after the collapse of MG Rover.

Although MG’s new Chinese owners hailed the moment as the restart of British car production at Longbridge, the new set-up is very different to the old factory.

At its height, Longbridge was one of the biggest car plants in the world, employing more than 21,000 workers.

The new MG production line is staffed by only 130 people – although bosses say this will rise to about 250.

MG TF sports car parts will be shipped from China and assembled at Longbridge for the UK market.

Despite this, the return of car production to the site augurs well for the future. It also fulfils a promise made when the Nanjing Automobile Company (NAC) bought the assets of MG Rover for £53m in July 2005.

At that time there was widespread scepticism at the Chinese firm’s promise to restart production in the UK, especially as NAC has already built an 800,000sq metre factory in China.

At yesterday’s champagne launch to celebrate the rebirth of Longbridge, NAC chief executive officer Yu Jian Wei described the West Midlands factory as having “an irreplaceable role in the MG project”.

If sales of the TF sports car go well, the plant could eventually employ 4,500 people and make 200,000 cars a year.

He said: “The UK is home to MG and it has a profound affection for MG. MG is the pride of the British people. It has a glorious past.

“We are the inheritors of this brand and we will continue to push forward our internationalisation strategy and continue to write new chapters for MG.

“Longbridge has an irreplaceable role in the MG project. It is in the front line of our internationalisation stra-tegy. This is the rebirth of MG.”

The first phase of the Longbridge plan envisages production of 15,000 cars a year – a mixture of the TF sports car and a redeveloped MG ZT saloon. Sales of the TF are due to begin this autumn.

Three pre-production TFs were driven off the line as part of the ceremony, which also included a cavalcade of MG cars.

Mr Wei said NAC was working on a number of new MG models, which would be produced at the Longbridge site, including a hard-top TF.

He added: “We want to do everything we can to develop the MG brand and make sure there will be good cars so there will be more people buying good cars and more employment opportunities.”

Longbridge will also carry out design work for future MG cars using many of the technical staff who lost their jobs when MG Rover closed.

'74 B of Simon Bentley

I was due for a holiday and I wanted to climb an Alpine ice gully. I had just had an important birthday in May. I decided to drive to California’s Sierra Nevada in my 1974 MG !

This meant a 370 mile drive from Joshua Tree , Ca. to near Mono Lake , about 65 miles north of Bishop . You might think that a long day like that would be tiring , true but I was so excited about going.

I am originally from England. I first visited the USA on an exchange visit with the USAF . The year was 1974 and this is precisely the same year that my MG came over here also . It was also the year I turned 18, a very good year !

I bought the car in January . I paid a fair price for the car , but I wanted to know she would not let me down. I found an English bloke in LA who had moved here from England in 1968 . He has been working on British sports cars in the same location for almost 40 years.

The car was running well when I got her , but that was not good enough for me . I had the mechanic put a new clutch in replace all leaky engine seals , replace almost all the suspension . He also replaced the entire cooling system with new parts . I also had a new Falcon stainless steel exhaust put on . The engine shows about 165 lbs of pressure in each cylinder and has an overdrive gearbox . I was now anxious for the open road.

Early one September morning I set of from the desert loaded with all kinds of climbing gear . The plan was to meet two climbing friends at Matt’s Mobile Gas mart in Lee Vining that evening.

Well it was difficult driving at around 55 mph , but that was what I wanted to do . I wanted to try and return 30 mpg for my trip .

55 mph seems to be around 2350 rpm with my 175 SR14 wheels . I managed it most of the way with a few stretches of 50 mph and some 60 mph. It took around 9 hours . I stopped several times for some serious leg stretching and also to buy food supplies.

I met up with my two friends that evening in Lee Vining . If you ever get up that way you really have to go to Matt’s Whoa Nellie Deli . It is situated on Highway 120 about 1/4 mile west of highway 395 . It looks like a typical Mobil Gas Station , but once inside you see things are rather different . Matt is actually a well known and critically acclaimed Chef. I would describe the place as ‘ fine dinning in a Gas Mart , drinks served at family restaurant prices.

Tomorrow was an early start . We only had a few beers and went to our sleeping bags early . We were going to climb the Mount. Dana Couloir . The climb starts at almost 12,000 feet . I was overcome with the worst altitude sickness I have ever experienced at around 11,500 ft . We all agreed to return to the cars and go back to camp. Well at least I was the bloke driving a real car !

The next day my friends went their separate ways and I decided to enjoy the mountains with my roadster !!

I checked into Murphy’s Motel in Lee Vining and got a good night’s sleep .Next morning I got up early , had a quick breakfast and took the roof down off the car.

I headed up towards the high Sierra . Driving up the Tioga Pass in the MG with the roof down was awesome . The pass enters Yosemite National Park at about 10,000 ft . My car was not too fast going up the massive grade , but once up in the high country of Tuolomne Meadows she flew along really well .The Yosemite High Country is an Alpine region and is full of the most amazing rock domes and meadows .

It is a popular hiking , rock climbing and horse riding area. People travel from all over the world to go climbing here.

Tuesday morning rolled around too soon , and it was time to head back to Joshua Tree .

I drove 997 miles on my trip and using 87 octane fuel managed to squeeze 29.9 mpg . I did not go over 60 mph and my car has overdrive gearbox .

I got home safely that evening and am now looking forward to my next MG adventure!! (excerpt from articles appearing in the club magazine, the Octagon)

Editors' Desk – June 2007 Octagon

Welcome to the new members that have joined since the last issue. We would like to thank Art Isaacs, Simon Bently and our Secretary Margie Springer 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 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!

2007 Naples, Florida Antique Car Show

While down in Naples, Florida, my husband Jim Springer and I went to an Antique car show on March 3rd.

There, I saw a pretty ’63 Midget owned by the Smiths (didn’t get to talk to them) and an immaculate ’77 B owned by John DeMado.

I spoke with him and he says he trucks it down every year from Connecticut and drives it all around Marco Island where he lives half the year. He had it painted the real British Racing Green. I introduced myself and asked to take a picture, which is shown here.

Margie Springer


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