History of the American MGB Association


by Frank Ochal

The American MGB Association is a nonprofit organization founded in 1975 in New York. From the club’s inception through today the club is dedicated to serving the interests of MGB, MGB-GT and Midget owners throughout North America.

1st AMGBA Newsletter

The American MGB Association was started by John Giannasca and Rick Horan, the original chairmen. They thought it would be nice to have a club for MGBs just as there were clubs for other cars that people were driving new out of the showroom. They operated the club out of a spare room in the house where they lived. It was there that the 111 Roger Avenue in Inwood, New York address was used. They advertised the club in Road & Track and invited responses from prospective members for ideas in starting the club. The first newsletter was published in 1976 using a copier and contained some of the features still used today such as the Technical Section and From the Editor’s Desk. Newsletter mailing preparation and mailing were done in Inwood, New York.

In those early days, as the club continued to grow, it provided a way for people to meet other members in the same area who wished to start Local Chapters. It was this way that the Chicago Chapter of the American MGB Association was founded. Two of the most prominent American MGB Association members were there at the start of the Chicago Chapter – Bruce Magers, the current Vice-President and Steve Glochowsky, the past president.

Steve Glochowsky became heavily involved with the National Club through the Chicago Chapter. Each early AMGBA newsletter which was filled with accounts on how well the Chicago Chapter was doing and the events that were being held. Rick Horan and John Giannasca wished to have some of the same expertise in the national organization and Steve became the AMGBA Publicity Director. The member magazine, the Quarterly, began being published using Liberty-Whitfield Printing in Glenview, Illinois which was the same printer that the Chicago Chapter of the AMGBA used with magazine mailing preparation done by AMGBA officers. The magazine was now being mailed out of the Fort Dearborn post office on Ontario Street in Chicago, Illinois. I, Frank Ochal became involved in the club at the 1978 Chicago Auto Show when I met Chicago Chapter members at the MG Exhibit. As a result, I became both a Chicago Chapter member and AMGBA member shortly thereafter.

The AMGBA held its first National Convention in the summer of 1978 in Chicago at the Hillside Holiday Inn. It was moderately successful and was a result of much hard work by Steve Glochowsky, Rick Horan and John Giannasca. I attended and met the founding chairmen for the first time. During that year I became more heavily involved with national AMGBA activities and was named assistant publicity director.

During the spring of 1979, Steve and I visited New York to promote the AMGBA at the New York Auto Show. It was at this time that I saw the original club headquarters and met with some of the other original officers including Marion Farrell, the first secretary.

Steve Glochowsky and Frank Ochal. Steve quickly formed an administration with himself as President, Frank Ochal as Vice-President and Debbie Glochowsky as Secretary. So the AMGBA headquarters was moved to Chicago area where it still is today serving MGB, MGB-GT, and MG Midget owners throughout the USA, Canada and the world.

During the summer of 1979, our first eastern convention was held in Ithaca, New York with Floyd Garren as convention organizer. The enthusiasm was growing as evidenced by the turnout. On another promotional trip later that year, Steve and I went to a GOF, a ‘Gathering of the Faithful’ held by the New England MGT Register, in Cooperstown, New York. Rick Horan joined us in Cooperstown for this event. It was at this time that Rick told us about his new business and how it would be consuming much of his time. Consequently, he and John were transferring the administration of the AMGBA to . Rick Horan joined us in Cooperstown for this event. It was at this time that Rick told us about his new business and how it would be consuming much of his time. Consequently, he and John were transferring the administration of the AMGBA to Steve Glochowsky and Frank Ochal. Steve quickly formed an administration with himself as President, Frank Ochal as Vice-President and Debbie Glochowsky as Secretary. So the AMGBA headquarters was moved to Chicago area where it still is today serving MGB, MGB-GT, and MG Midget owners throughout the USA, Canada and the world.

Blue Brothers Movie Set

Also in 1979, the AMGBA and the Chicago Chapter participated in the filming of the Blues Brothers movie with John Belushi and Dan Akroyd. Myself, Steve Glochowsky, Al Rada and my brother Dave were in the scenes shot in the Daley Center and the South Shore Country Club in Chicago as well as in a shopping mall in Harvey, Illinois.

The AMGBA Quarterly with the Abingdon works on the cover

In 1980, the AMGBA made a trip to England to tour the Abingdon Works where MGs were made. We were hosted in England by Ken Smith who was the AMGBA British coordinator and a leader of an MG Club district out of Sheffield, England. He became a friend of the club through many conversations with Steve Glochowsky. Steve Glochowsky, myself and other members of the club went on the last tours of the Abingdon Factory and visited other important MG sites in England. John Twist began contributing his technical expertise to the membership through the club magazine as well as holding his very successful MG Summer Parties in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Frank’s ’73 B on the Indy 500 Track

The conventions continued to grow and to be moved around the country. The 1980 AMGBA National Convention was held in Glens Falls, New York. The organization’s growth and success led to renting the world famous Indianapolis 500 Motor Speedway in 1981 for that year’s AMGBA National Convention.

In 1982, the AMGBA held its first National Convention outside the USA in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. 1982 also saw a change in officers as

MGBs at the old White Sox park

Also in 1981, the AMGBA and the local chapter participated in a parade with their MGs inside the old Chicago White Sox park.

Margie Johnson (now Margie Springer) became the Secretary and the AMGBA opened an office in Schaumburg, Illinois for storage, work area and a telephone answering service. In 1983, the AMGBA went west for the first time in Lake Tahoe, California-Nevada.

Toward the end of 1983, Steve Glochowsky started working at a new job that consumed much of his spare time. I, Frank Ochal assumed most of the duties of running the club and became President in 1984 with Bruce Magers as Vice-President in a Milwaukee meeting of the club. Magazine mailing preparation was now transferred to North Suburban Office mailing service in Northfield, Illinois with the Winnetka, Illinois post office now doing the actual mailing of the magazine. In 1984 we went west again and held our national convention in Boulder, Colorado. In 1985, the AMGBA held two conventions in Santa Barbara, California and Abingdon, Illinois. Later in 1985, the AMGBA office was moved to Margie Johnson’s (now Springer) apartment in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. In 1986, we visited Texas during its 150 year anniversary in San Antonio, Texas and in 1987 we visited the Saratoga Springs area of beautiful upstate New York. In 1988, the convention site was Kansas City, Missouri. In 1989, we visited the Great Northwest part of our country in Springfield, Oregon.

first full cover Octagon printed at Newsweb

In 1990 the convention was held in Atlanta, Georgia, which was a first for the Southeast portion of the country. In 1991 we returned to the site of our first convention in Chicago. That same year, Margie Johnson (now Springer) moved to Cape Cod, MA where she continued as the AMGBA secretary. The AMGBA Office was moved to 5875 N. Lincoln, Chicago, Illinois. In 1992, we returned to the West Coast to the beautiful San Francisco Bay area in Palo Alto, California. In 1993, we traveled to New England at Keene, New Hampshire / Westminster, Vermont, the site of the Westminster MG Museum. Also in late 1993, Bruce Magers became the Vice-President. In 1994, we went for the first time to the San Diego, California area at the world famous Del Mar racetrack. In 1995 we traveled for the first time to Memphis, Tennessee. In 1996 we joined with all of the other major MG Clubs in North America for MG Indy ’96 in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Indy 500 racetrack. Also in 1996, we changed printers to Newsweb in Chicago and began publishing the member magazine, the Octagon with color on 8 pages. In 1997 we were on the West Coast in the San Francisco area at Palo Alto, California. In 1998 we were in Charlotte, North Carolina at the Lake Campus of Davidson College. In 1999, we were in Los Angeles, California for the first time at Woodley Park near Van Nuys to join the British Car Meet organized by Rick Feibusch. Also in 1999, we began publishing the member magazine 6 times per year and the name of the name of the magazine was changed to the Octagon (formerly the Quarterly) and also began publishing the eOctagon as a supplement to the Octagon and sent to all members with email addresses.

the first AMGBA eOctagon in 2000

In 2000, we went to Armagh, Pennsylvania and joined with The Roadster Factory Summer Party. In 2001, we went to Houston, Texas for the Houston MG Club’s All British Motor Vehicle Exposition and in 2002 we again went to the San Francisco, California area for the Palo Alto British Car Meet. Also in 2002, we began offering eMembership at a reduced rate and included all benefits of regular membership except the printed Octagon would not be received by postal mail. In 2003 we were in Florida for the first time in Titusville, Florida. The Octagon began being published 5 times per year and Victor Gariti formerly of North Suburban Office mailing service began preparing the magazine mailing. In 2004 we had a very successful Meet in Falmouth, Cape Cod, Massachusetts in conjunction with the Cape Cod British Car Club’s British Legends Weekend. In 2005, we were in San Diego, California at Fairbrook Farms in Bonsall for San Diego British Car Day. Also in 2004, the AMGBA officers again started preparing the magazine mailing. We were in Maryland in 2006 at the MGs on the Rocks Show and in 2007 we went to Charlotte, North Carolina at the MGs on the Green Show. In 2008 we were in Armagh, Pennsylvania with The Roadster Factory Summer Party. For 2009 we planned for a show in the Central Valley of California.

Also in 2009, we changed printers to Leesburg Printing in Florida with the printer doing the member magazine mailing in Leesburg, Florida and the Octagon was now published 4 times per year.

Frank & Bruce at a Chicagoland British Car Festival

In 2010 we went to Sussex, Wisconsin for the British Car Field Day. For 2011 we were in Ohio for the first time at Dayton in conjunction with the 27th Annual British Car Day at Eastwood Metropark. For 2012 we went to the Jersey Shore to Ocean Grove, New Jersey to join in with Brits on the Beach 2012. Also in 2012, we changed printers to Johnson Press in Pontiac, Illinois with 16 pages of color. They did the magazine mailing preparation and mailed it in poly wrap to better protect the magazine during mailing. In 2013 we visited Mississippi for the first time to the oldest city on the Mississippi River in conjunction with the English Motoring Club of Mississippi’s Brits on the Bluff Show in Natchez, Mississippi.

Bruce, Margie & Frank at the Fairhope, Alabama 2017 AMGBA Meet

In 2014, we were at New England’s largest British car show at the British Invasion in Stowe, Vermont. Meet 2015 was in South Carolina at the Grand Strand British Car Club’s Britfest in Myrtle Beach. Also in 2015, the AMGBA Office closed on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago with the items moved to Frank Ochal’s and Bruce Magers’ homes. In 2016 we were in Virginia for the first time in Waynesboro at the Shenandoah Valley British Car Festival. Also in 2016, we changed to full color printing with the September 2016 issue and cancelled the long time post office box address. The club address became 5433 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60640. In 2017 we made our initial trip to Alabama in Fairhope which is near Mobile and the Gulf Coast at the South Alabama British Car Festival. In 2018, we went to the Philadelphia area for the first time at the Brits in the Village Show in Lahaska, Pennsylvania. For 2019 we were at the Grand Strand British Car Club’s Britfest at Market Common in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Frank, Bruce & Margie at dinner discussing plans for the club in 2022

Meet 2020 was not held due to the Coronavirus pandemic. For Meet 2021 we were “back where it all started” at the Chicagoland British Car Festival at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois. No Meet was held in 2022 because of continuing pandemic issues made more of concern travelling cross country in an MG.

In 2022, we published the last printed issue of the Octagon with future issues to be emailed and available on the club website without an email address in the members only section of the club website at www.mgclub.org. Other member benefits remained the same.
Bruce Magers retired from his role as Regalia Chairmen and Treasurer as of December 31, 2022. Margie Springer retired from the position of AMGBA Secretary also at the end of that year. Frank Ochal continued in his role as editor of the Octagon publication and to sent the publication to the membership.

Note: The above history tries to be as accurate as possible. If you notice anything that should be corrected or something that should be added, contact us and we will place the correction on the club website as well as in a future emailed publication.

MG Gallery

74 B Trevor Smedley from Harvard, Massachusetts
’72 B of Dale Schiller from Katy, Texas
'74 B of Manuel Bascuas from Miami, Florida
’74 B of Manuel Bascuas from Miami, Florida
’75 B of Hayleigh Lynch from Crestview, Florida
B-GT V8 Conversion of long time member Al Rada from Surprise, ArizonaB-GT V8 Conversion of long time member Al Rada (he has been a member since 1978) from Surprise, ArizonaB-GT V8 Conversion of long time member Al Rada (he has been a member since 1978) from Surprise, Arizona
B-GT V8 Conversion of long time member Al Rada
(he has been a member since 1978) from Surprise, Arizona

’73 Midget of Marc Meccia from Howell, New Jersey

My Midget is a ’73 rwa (round wheel arch) completely customized with a Thomas Dinner nose, no windows or top. Deseamed, Dechromed, No bumpers. Custom made seat covers A custom made steering wheel and console. Fenton aluminum wheels. Custom made free flow exhaust system and an All wood dash.

'73 Midget of Marc Meccia from Howell, New Jersey
'73 Midget of Marc Meccia from Howell, New Jersey
'73 Midget of Marc Meccia from Howell, New Jersey
'73 Midget of Marc Meccia from Howell, New Jersey

’73 Midget of Marc Meccia from Howell, New Jersey

My Midget is a ’73 rwa (round wheel arch) completely customized with a Thomas Dinner nose, no windows or top. Deseamed, Dechromed, No bumpers. Custom made seat covers A custom made steering wheel and console. Fenton aluminum wheels. Custom made free flow exhaust system and an All wood dash.

'73 Midget of Marc Meccia from Howell, New Jersey
'73 Midget of Marc Meccia from Howell, New Jersey
'73 Midget of Marc Meccia from Howell, New Jersey
'73 Midget of Marc Meccia from Howell, New Jersey

1963 B Race Car of Jim Ninetto

An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’63 B race car of Jim Ninetto from Mohnton, Pennsylvania.  Here is his story:

What if MG built a Speedster? My B’s evolution from shabby to Speedster

I have owned this MGB since 1992 and have restored it twice. Below is the story of my car’s evolution from shabby to Speedster along with a few photos.

Back in 1992, I got the urge for another sports car. I had an MG TD when I was a kid and loved it. So, MG was at the top of my list. I wanted a car that I could restore. I have always been mechanically inclined, so how hard could it be? (famous last words). Over the next few months, I looked at more than a dozen MGA’s and MGB’s. Most were more than I wanted to spend, some were already restored. I finally found a B for a few hundred dollars. It ran and it stopped. How bad could it be? It looked rather shabby, especially with the cat footprints on the bonnet and boot. But it met my criteria, cheap and needy. So I towed it home. When my wife saw it she either cried or laughed, I’m not sure. My neighbors were equally unimpressed or maybe just annoyed when I drove it around the neighborhood. No mufflers! I told my wife I needed her garage for just a few months (more famous last words). She was not happy about that. But a few gift cards to her favorite clothing store and she gave in. So in the garage, it went. Up onto jack stands. I could tell this B wanted to be new again. I stripped out what the seller called the interior along with numerous dead bugs, dead animals, and some unmentionables. Now the trash man was annoyed. I then started to strip the paint with a chemical paint stripper. It took 27 cans of stripper. How could I know there were 5 coats of paint on it? White, Dark Blue, Light Blue, Yellow, and finally the original Tartan Red. Anyway, I got it down to bare metal and body filler. Lots of body filler and lots of rust. Just about every metal part from the side moldings on down was rusted. There was sheet metal pop-riveted onto body panels to cover the rusted areas. The floor pans were just sheet metal pop-riveted in place! By now, my enthusiasm was dropping to the garage floor. So much for my bargain.

Well, there was no going back now. So, off to the hardware store for some new tools and a welder. I proceeded to cut out all the rust along with the body filler and weld in new sheet metal, including new proper floor pans and rocker panels. I finally primed and painted the car Tartan Red and my wife’s garage a lovely shade of pink (overspray). I think she may have actually liked the new color. I then replaced the interior, tires, brakes, bumpers, tuned the engine, installed mufflers, lights, a steering wheel, and a bunch of other stuff. Two years in the works, I finally started the car and I got to yell “It’s Alive!!”. That day I drove it around the neighborhood again and, yes, my wife was now impressed and smiling and my neighbors cheered. Shortly after completing the car, I built a workshop with a garage for my newly restored B. My wife got her garage back. ‘

I drove the car on sunny days for a few years. Sadly though, after taking a job out of state and only home on weekends, the B sat in its garage for about 10 or so years. After reaching semi-retirement, I decided to get it on the road again. There was this annoying scratch on the bonnet, so I thought I would just sand and repaint the bonnet. It was also time to rebuild the engine and the gearbox. I started to sand the bonnet, but then I got to thinking: What if MG made a Speedster? What would it look like? Soon I had my vision of an MGB Speedster and I knew that I wanted to build it.

So, I decided to strip the paint from the car once again. I sanded and sanded for days. Finally, the red was gone. I took the body apart again. Installed the Sebring valances. The rear valance was blended in with fiberglass. I primed the car and then applied the British Racing Green. On the first try, it looked like a John Deere tractor. Fortunately, I stopped after painting one wing. Easy enough to sand off and reprime. Got more paint, still not what I wanted. Added some black and Voilà!, British Racing Green, or at least my version of it. Six coats later, it was time to sand again. Paint on the silver stripes, and, while MG did not clear coat their cars in1963, I applied 6 coats of clear, then it’s time to sand again and polish, polish, polish and polish some more. Next came the engine work: new rings on HC pistons, rod and main bearings, lifters, pushrods, etc. Then the head: installed larger stainless steel valves, hardened valve seats, new valve springs and guides, and ported and polished the intake and exhaust ports. Not radical. Lowered the suspension, added a larger anti-roll bar, installed cross-drilled and slotted front discs, a 13-inch leather-wrapped steering wheel, and finally, the gearbox was rebuilt and the flywheel lightened. Weight reduction included deleting the windscreen, bumpers, heater, side windows, wipers, top, and spare tire for a total of over 200 pounds. Engine modifications and the weight reduction improved the B’s power to weight ratio by 17%. Added fresh air ducts for the cabin and carbs, and larger 15″ Minilite wheels and wider tires.

So here is my version of what an MGB Speedster might look like if MG made one. British Racing Green, Silver Rally Stripes, 15’ Minilite Wheels, Sebring Valances front and rear, lowered suspension, cut-down windscreen, tow rings, more power, and lighter weight.

It’s fun to drive and gets a lot of second looks!

Where It All Began

by Jan Brunk

The beat up MGB on our U-Haul trailer was getting a lot of “looks” as we drove I- 90 out of Spokane during rush hour in August of 2020. It wasn’t only the MGB getting looks, but the five extra wheels riding in its passenger seat and the bed of our Ford Ranger filled with broken-down cardboard boxes of old parts, three more “spare” wheels, an extra engine and a black hard top lopsidedly strapped over all. We were on our way back to Montana with our latest “find” and next project, a 1967 “B”.

The story of my affection for MG’s really started 54 years ago. It was 1967, I was an 18 year old graduating from high school in Gardiner, Montana. A friend of my family loaned me his MG to drive to baccalaureate. That night, driving that family friend’s MG, suddenly escalated my status on the popularity scale. One thing about that car I clearly remember is parking in the church parking lot, turning the key off and sitting there (embarrassed and clueless as what to do) as it continued to run!

Thirty years later my husband and I were sitting in our back yard one afternoon thumbing a Hemmings Motor News looking for MGBs after a conversation earlier in the week that went something like this: Ron, “I think I’d like to fix up an old car.” Me, “I’ve always wanted an MGB.” Ron, “Really. Why?” I thought I’d already told my husband about the dieseling car that raised my social standing and birthed in me a self- confidence based on the fact that an adult had enough confidence in me, an 18 year old, to trust with the keys to his MG! It was that conversation that prompted us to buy a Hemmings and begin looking for an MGB we could afford and find nearby.

There weren’t many MGB’s listed in Montana; the one we found a few hours away had a hole in the passenger floor under the carpet. That hole indicated probable body repair that we weren’t ready to tackle so we kept looking. Summer faded into fall without an MGB to park in our garage. Winter came and then melted into spring. One Sunday my Dad noticed an ad in the Denver Post classifieds for a 1972 MGB in Boulder, would we like a ’71 Midget, email him to look into it? Our hunt for an MG became a family affair. The car was a teal blue metal bumper, three windshield wiper “B” with 21,366 miles and a pile of work orders and parts receipts to go with it. It seemed to be a “good deal” to Dad, and as he said, all those receipts told him, “there has been a lot of good things happen to this little car.” We said, “buy it!”

There were a few days delays in completing the transaction; the owner was suspicious of a cashier’s check and wanted it exchanged for $2895 cash, and Dad was uncomfortable driving the B home in a March snowstorm even though it came with a set of snow chains. How we were going to get the car to Montana was a puzzle, but in excitement we began cleaning out our 1930 era garage – the perfect size for a B. Meanwhile it took up residence in my parent’s garage and their pickup moved out into the weather.

A few months went by and it was decided a trip north pulling the B on a U-Haul was the best way to get it to us. Meanwhile my husband had been doing due diligent research and read that you should enjoy driving your new car before you start tearing into it. A good suggestion! The ‘72 was definitely a driver so the first four years we drove it, motoring to dinner with neighbors in their ’52 TD; through Glacier National Park over the Going To The Sun road; to church on Sundays; on fun winding roads around the valley and longer jaunts around the state. During that first summer Ron re-built the brakes with the help of his Dad after a close encounter with a deer on one of those winding roads.

At that time my husband was a bike mechanic, not a car mechanic, but with the help of Good Neighbor Bill the owner of the ’52 TD, his millwright knowledge and supply of automotive tools, the full restoration of the B began with a valuable observation. Immediately after beginning to cut out a floor board, Bill stopped the sheers, looked at Ron and said, “some people are perfectionists. Its not that they never get anything done, it’s just that they’re never satisfied with it. I just do it…” Then he shrugged and resumed cutting. With that statement the pressure of perfection was gone and the fun of fixing up began. At times there was a hundred feet of air hose running from Bill’s compressor down his driveway across the alley into our garage. If there was a tool needed that neither one had, Bill bought it or borrowed it from work. When the person who was to repaint the B left town with our down payment and the B sitting in his yard, Good Neighbor Bill turned his garage into a ventilated paint shop and Ron re-painted the car himself. The full and complete restoration took one summer and five winters. We added chrome wire wheels and a wooden steering wheel, new upholstery and a Weber carburetor. It was a driver again!

On one of our longest trips around the state, something came loose in the carburetor. Ron was able to limp the B home, but afterwards once the car heated up, it was difficult to restart. Gone were the short trips around town. The joy of driving it was replaced by hope that if you stopped, you could get started again. After several years of that, Good Neighbor Bill suggested that Ron should put the original SU carburetors back on the car. So after rebuilding the carbs and many attempts at adjusting them, a call to John Twist at University Motors gave Ron the tip he needed to get them going. Now the B starts, runs and restarts reliably every time! Since the “complete restoration”, there have been a lot more good things happen to the little ’72 B and the receipts prove it! New halogen headlights one year, new windshield the next, new fuel pump, new alternator, new radio console, new starter and electronic ignition.

Ron is a fairly competent MG mechanic now and a retired bike mechanic. We have a double car garage and Ron has extra time. What better than to look for another B as a retirement project. The “find” was the beat up 1967 B that we hauled home from Spokane a year and a half ago. Currently, its restoration seems more like reconstruction, but headway is being made. While the ’67 is under construction, we continue to drive and enjoy the ’72 B. Our AMGBA membership started back in 1994 and we continue to look forward to each issue. Thanks for all the technical help over the years. I don’t think my MG mechanic could have done it without you! Happy motoring!

1972 B of Jan and Ron Brunk from Whitefish, Montana
1972 B of Jan and Ron Brunk from Whitefish, Montana

1975 B of Lewis Faberman

An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’75 B of Lewis Faberman from Scarsdale, New York. Here is his story:

I purchased my 75 B from Classic Auto Mall without driving first. Always loved the MGB and have long wanted one. Used my kids learning to drive as an excuse since I want them to learn to drive stick.

Lewis Faberman, Scarsdale, NY

'75 B of Lewis Faberman from Scarsdale, New York
'75 B of Lewis Faberman from Scarsdale, New York
'75 B of Lewis Faberman from Scarsdale, New York

American MGB Association – for MGB, MGB-GT and MG Midget owners

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