1974 B roadster of Robert Millen from Martinsburg, West Virginia

An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’74 B roadster of Robert Mullen from Martinsburg, West Virginia. Here is the story:

My MGB Story

I am a retired foreign car specialist. After working full-time, easing down slowly into retirement was recommended and I took the advice. So I cashed a C.D. and bought 19 MGBs and MGB-GTs in various states of disrepair. In October 2019, I was able to construct 10 cars. This is my story about the last one, number 10.

Car #10 was a 1974 MGB roadster which I found at a body shop liquidation sale. All of the body work had been completed using metal replacement panels and only minimal bondo skim coating. It had been sanded using 400# grit and was in yellow primer. All bright work was removed and the interior stripped to bare metal. There was little interest from other bidders because all the items removed from the car had been stolen. My ace-in-the-hole here was that I had everything needed to put this car back together. Sometimes you just get lucky!

I began by painting the car in a nice burgundy single-stage enamel just as it was done at the factory. I installed all new interior parts and a new deluxe top. The best of my collection of bright work was used to complete the cosmetic restoration. I powder coated the wheels and installed new period correct radial tires.

I rebuilt the brake system, clutch hydraulics, both SU carburetors, tuned up the engine and adjusted the valve clearances. With new fluids in everything, I was ready to put this one on the road.

I was soon to discover that my good luck had run out. On the road, the car was sad. It smoked like a cheap cigar, had little power on hills and dripped copious amounts of oil out of the rear main seal. Also, it seems that previous owners had succeeded in tearing out 2nd and 3rd gear synchronizers out of the transmission which made shifting gears exciting to say the least. There were also disturbingly high pitched whining noises coming out of the gearbox at speed. I parked the car.

I knew that I could not quit now. Fortunately, I had some options. At the time, I has a 1971 B roadster with a very nice engine and transmission for sale. Buyers seemed uninterested because the car was rusty. Even thought it ran well, it seemed to be too much of a project for others to handle. I decided to cannibalize it.

So I did the old “take two and make one” story. After many hours and some more new parts, the 1971 drivetrain had a new home. Finally my car ran as good as it looked.’

74 B roadster of Robert Mullen from Martinsburg, West Virginia
74 B roadster of Robert Mullen from Martinsburg, West Virginia
74 B roadster of Robert Mullen from Martinsburg, West Virginia
74 B roadster of Robert Mullen from Martinsburg, West Virginia

AMERICAN MGB ASSOCIATION MEET 2021 and CHICAGOLAND BRITISH CAR FESTIVAL IN PALATINE, ILLINOIS


story by Bruce Magers, photos by Frank Ochal

The American MGB Association (AMGBA) held its 43rd Annual Meet in conjunction with the 34th annual Chicagoland British Car Festival on Sunday, September 12, 2021 at Harper Community College in Palatine, Illinois just outside of Chicago. The American MGB Association Meet/Convention was initially held in the Chicago area in 1978 and it was good to be back where it all began. The AMGBA Meet was held with this show because of the ongoing pandemic fears. Neither show was held in 2020 because of the pandemic.

The show itself is organized by a consortium of British Car Clubs in the Chicago area. It has become the premier event for those interested in British cars in the Chicago area.

Each year the show features hundreds of automobiles ranging from those in Concours condition to just normal everyday drivers. This year was no exception as approximately 500 cars were gathered on the field representing virtually every marque produced in England under almost perfect weather conditions. Door prizes and popular vote awards were presented to the lucky winners.

Food was provided by Robinson’s Ribs. Many food vendors as well as some of the entertainment did not attend because of the uncertainty of the show due to the pandemic.

The American MGB Association (AMGBA) was on the field welcoming old members and signing up several new participants. If you have not had the opportunity to attend this popular event be sure to mark your calendar for the 35th annual event which will be held on September 11, 2022 at Harper Community College in Palatine, Illinois. For further information go to www.britishcarunion.com or www.mgclub.org .

Next year’s AMGBA Meet is still in the planning stage. Keep an eye on our website (www.mgclub.org) or in future issues of the Octagon for details. The MGB and Midget winners were as follows:

MGB- Chrome Bumper Roadster

1. ’73 red B, Philip Wydra, ’73 red B, Fox River Grove, IL

2. ’67 red B, Denise & Pete Ballard, Plainfield, IL

3. ’64 red B, Chuck & Gail Haskins, Burlington, WI

MGB – Rubber Bumper Roadster

1. ’80 red B, John Frost, Kenosha, WI

2. ’79 yellow B, Dean Hickenlooper, Darien, IL

3. ’79 B LE, Melissa Gonzales, Pingree Grove, IL

MGB-GT

1. ’74 gray B-GT, Jeremy Kinsey, Burlington, WI

MG Midget

1. ’65 red Midget MKII, Stephen Sparks, Chicago, IL

2. ’74 blue Midget, Paul Polaski, Lyons, IL

1st Place Rubber Bumper MGB - John Frost, '80 MGB, Kenosha, Wisconsin
1st place Chrome Bumper MGB –
Philip Wydra, ’73 MGB, Fox River Grove, Illinois
1st Place Rubber Bumper MGB –
John Frost, ’80 MGB, Kenosha, Wisconsin
1st Place MGB-GT - Jeremy Kinsey, '74 B-GT, Burlington, Wisconsin1st Place MG Midget - Stephen Sparks, '65 Mk II, Chicago, Illinoi
1st Place MGB-GT –
Jeremy Kinsey, ’74 B-GT, Burlington, Wisconsin
1st Place MG Midget –
Stephen Sparks, ’65 Mk II, Chicago, Illinois
2nd place Chrome Bumper MGB - Denise & Pete Ballard, Plainfield, Illinois2nd place Rubber Bumper MGB - Dean Hickenlooper, '79 MGB, Darien, Illinois
2nd place Chrome Bumper MGB –
Denise & Pete Ballard, Plainfield, Illinois
2nd place Rubber Bumper MGB –
Dean Hickenlooper, ’79 MGB, Darien, Illinois
2nd Place MG Midget - Paul Polaski, '74 Midget, Lyons, Illinois3rd place Chrome Bumper MGB - Chuck & Gail Haskins,'64 MGB, Burlington, Wisconsin
2nd Place MG Midget –
Paul Polaski, ’74 Midget, Lyons, Illinois
3rd place Chrome Bumper MGB –
Chuck & Gail Haskins,’64 MGB, Burlington, Wisconsin
3rd place Rubber Bumper MGB - Melissa Gonzales, Pingree Grove, IllinoisAMGBA Tent at British Car Festival and Meet 2021
3rd place Rubber Bumper MGB –
Melissa Gonzales, Pingree Grove, Illinois
AMGBA Tent at British Car Festival and Meet 2021

’73 B-GT of Peter Hallett from Chester, New Hampshire

An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’73 MGB-GT of Peter Hallett from Chester, New Hampshire. Here is the story:

In 1975, when I was 36 years old. I did all my own maintenance. My wife called it my $80 fix-up car since it seemed that just about any fix cost $80.

Now I am 81 years old and have trouble getting in and out of my lovely toy so I may have to part with it.

Kind regards,

Peter Hallett
Chester, NH

'73 B-GT of Peter Hallet from Chester, New Hampshire
'73 B-GT of Peter Hallet from Chester, New Hampshire

’75 B of Steve Lea from Madison, Wisconsin

I bought this MGB in October 2019. I was not in the market for an MGB, so I knew nothing about them. That is not my style for buying. I normally do a great deal of research.

The gentleman selling the car was in very poor health. He had the car partially restored, and my main concern was rust. He said there was none. I have since found a small amount in the floor pans, and repaired that. I didn’t know much about Lucas electric systems when we bought it, but I have learned a lot in the last year. He had the engine rebuilt with 38K original miles and new paint and did some front suspension work. He pulled the engine to rebuild, but did not redo anything else under hood. The car was white and he repainted red, so engine bay and rear trunk are still white.

Some of my projects in the last year include:

Electrical:
1. Got original radio working and replaced the antenna. (While we don’t listen to it (use iPhone with Bluetooth to a portable BOSE speaker), it is nice that it works.
2. Replaced courtesy light and door switches.
3. Replaced cigar lighter.
4. Replaced several gauges.
5. Replaced turn signal and High Beam headlight dimmer.
6. Installed relays for high beams, low beams, electric fan, all running tail lights, running lights, horn.

Mechanical:
1. Rebuilt rear suspension (new shocks, leaf springs, bushings).
2. Replaced exhaust hanger
3. Pulled heater and rebuilt and repainted it. I haven’t reinstalled it, but as hard as it was to remove, I read that it is harder to install.

Interior:
1. Sealed floor pans.
2. New carpeting.
3. New door cards and front and rear panels
4. New leather cover for steering wheel.
5. New wind blocker

Projects in the future:
1. Repaint engine bay.
2. Repair vinyl seats.
3. Install a new front anti-sway bar.
4. Rebuild the Weber Carburetor that came on the car. (I think jets are incorrect).
5. Refurbish master cylinder.
6. Reinstall heater.

Steve Lea
Madison, WI

'75 B of Steve Lea from Madison, Wisconsin

Book: Mouse, the Man and the MGB

by Wayne Truax

Mouse, the Man and the MGB

A mouse, a man, and an old car…what could possibly happen? The following article is how I turned my encounter with a curious little mouse into a fun children’s story, and some of the challenges I faced trying to finish the book.

About 3 years ago I was working on my MGB’s engine and I felt as though I was being watched. I looked up and spotted a little mouse standing on the opposite fender watching me. I yelled and waived my arms, pretty much the same way it shows in the book. At first and he ran away, but the little mouse kept coming back. We crossed paths several more times that year and I would see him watching me work both inside and outside the car. The mouse never built a nest or did any damage to the car, and I began thinking about a story. The story would be about a mouse that wants to help but is chased away; he does not give up and develops a relationship with the man.

Over the next few years I kept thinking of the story and I finally decided to write it down in January 2020 during a 45-minute train ride to work. I had the ideas for the drawings in my head for quite awhile, and the words just flowed as I had imagined the story. When I returned home that evening, I sent a copy of the story to my friend Andrew H. Black, a talented graphic designer, who had written, illustrated and published several books himself. I asked if we could make a book out of the story and he said, “Sure!” So we started putting together details for the drawings and Andy began sketching ideas.

Unfortunately, shortly after we started work on the book COVID began to impact the US and I had to stop due to my job in emergency management. For several months I did not have the time, energy, or creativity to work on the book and believed it would not get published until 2021.

But in June work stabilized and I had time to start focusing on the book again. It became an outlet that allowed me to think about something other than work. Having time to focus allowed the creative thought processes to take off again and Andy and I were on a roll. Andy recommended I shorten the story and limit the number of technical drawings. I wanted more technical drawings, but Andy knew I was going overboard and firmly asked, “Is this a children’s book or technical manual?” I answered “Both!” We compromised.

We spent July through November proofing drawings and rewriting story lines to match the illustrations. I asked people I trusted to provide honest feedback when reviewing the drawings and reading the story. My wife Nancy and friend Lee were invaluable reviewers and editors, but in the end they both made it clear that it was “my story and everything was a suggestion.” I proofed the book over 100 times during the process to reduce the text and get everything right. I learned very quickly when editing if you are not in the right frame of mind it just creates more work.

In a stroke of luck during the final weeks of editing I discovered what a great feature the “Read Aloud” capability in Adobe Acrobat is. I began listening to the story to make the final changes. There are number of voices to select from, and I chose “Mia,” a women’s voice with an English accent that became my favorite proofreader. I would close my eyes and listen. If Mia stumbled or a word sounded off, I would tweak the sentence, and have Mia read it again until I was happy with it. No more convincing myself it sounded correct when it really didn’t.

The day the book was submitted for print I was up at 4:30 in the morning and Mia read the book to me at least 20 more times. I made 10 minor tweaks before declaring it finished, sending the final edits to Andy, and finally uploading it to the publisher later that day.

My hope is that this book will make young and old alike smile when reading the story and looking at the detailed illustrations. With luck, little ones will become more curious about our cars, memories will be stirred up, and we will share some MGB stories or old pictures with the next generations of owners.

’73 B and ’67 GT of Thomas Miller

The ’73 roadster is my 6th MG (TD, 2 MGAs, 2 MGBs). The ’67 GT is a restoration/resurrection project, starting with 2 67s, the GT and a roadster used as an organ donor (engine, transmission, various useful bits and pieces (steel dash, seats, all missing from the GT, which was essentially a shell). The GT body has been away at the welder’s for about a year and is due back around Christmas. Panel straightening will be followed by sandblasting and primer and paint, and finally reassembly. Engine is being done gradually and am doing the transmission now. As you might expect, am tithing to Moss…

Thomas Miller
Bellows Falls, VT

'73 B roadster of Thomas Miller of Belllows Falls, Vermont
'67 B-GT of Thomas Miller of Belllows Falls, Vermont

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

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