All posts by amgba

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

Morris and Myrtle of Art Woodworth Jr from Dade City, Florida

The 1st photo (B roadster) is named Morris and is a tribute to the early race cars run at Sebring. Supercharged .040 over built motor with Ford 5-speed transmission. The 2nd photo (B-GT) is named Myrtle and is currently under construction to pay tribute to the Harrington MGB factory GT; however, for road use. It has a L32 GM V6 which is a built motor and a Borg Warner 5-speed transmission.

’77 B of Alan Hayward from Mason City, Iowa

I purchased the car in 1982 when it had approximately 35,000 miles on the odometer. I drove the car quite a lot, and by 2005, the odometer read 114,404. By then, the car had gone through one engine rebuild, two repaintings, and was on its third type of carburetor/manifold. The car started with a Zenith/Stromburg, then on to twin SU carburetors, then in 2004 to a Weber carburetor. The car never ran correctly with the Weber carb, and, because of other numerous smaller issues, and a larger issue of impending necessary body work, the car has been in storage since 2005. My girlfriend and I have decided to get the car back on the road, no matter what the cost.

Alan Hayward

'77 B of Alan Hayward from Mason City, Iowa

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