Category Archives: Members’ Cars and Photos

’76 B Roadster of Gordon Osborn

An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’76 B roadster of Gordon Osborn from North Muskegon, Michigan. Here is the story:

This car has a lot of John Twist/all the guys at University Motors involvement. I worked just down the road from them in Grand Rapids and spent a lot of time there. As you see, we took off the Zenith carb and I actually spent a day with John Twist himself building the SU carbs from scratch parts he had…he would just instruct me what to do thru each step…all the while having a beer in this hand. ??

I now stop in and see Forrest, Curt, and Mike at Rusty Moose…but it’s a little more out of the way and don’t stop as much as UM!

Hope all is well…and thanks.

Gordon “Jeep” Osborn

’71 B of Jack Hartwig from Medford, New Jersey

I purchased my MG brand new from Ramsey Motors (New Jersey) in June, 1971 and I have owned the car ever since. It still retains all the original parts (except for a clutch). Due to the expertise of Medford Village Car Care and Hainesport Enterprises all the major components are still “as delivered!” Now if only spring arrives early.

from Medford Village Car Care in Medford, New Jersey: Remember when I said we work on anything?! Well Jack brought his 1971 MG into us after it was rear ended. We took it over to our sister shop, Hainesport Enterprises, Inc. body shop for some body work! After the vehicle was repaired and repainted it was brought back to us for new tires and a tune up! Jack picked up his MG today and was all smiles!!! Thanks for your business Jack!!

'71 B of Jack Hartwig from Medford, New Jersey

’70 MGB-GT of Gary Thompson

An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’70 MGB-GT of Gary Thompson from Dahlonega, Georgia. Here is the story:

Don’t under estimate an MGB …..

Just change the oil when you get back. I am not much of a car club guy but do enjoy receiving the “Octagon”. Car shows are not of any interest to me but SCCA, HSR, and Club Autocross participation has always been a mainstay. A four time Walter Mitty HSR Sports Class winning (street legal) ’59 Bugeye of which I am the second owner and has been raced in seven successive decades is in my garage. In my carport is my daily driver, an MGB-GT. British cars have always been in my blood. When all my friends were salivating over the 60’s Mustangs and Camaros, my want was a 1965 Triumph TR4A – IRS. (never got it but did land a neat ’66 MG Midget as my first British seat.).

Now living in the North Georgia Mountains for the past thirty years I have been given ample opportunities to enjoy my MG’s, Sprites, Morris’s and Minis on some of the most beautiful and fun-filled mountain byways found anywhere and on a nearly year round basis.

February 2018 arrives. Plans for a overdue return trip to my old neighborhood in Redwood City California (just south of San Francisco) to see an ’80 year old friend of forty years have entered the early spring picture. Being 69 years old and retired, I certainly had the time to make the drive. I have driven cross-country several times via pony cars, vans, motorcycles and pick-ups, I also have the knowledge of knowing the many routes both good, not as good, easiest, coldest, hottest, etc. so the plans are solidified, I’m heading west.

Finally it was time to leave so I started assembling the few items other than my clothes that I might need. The normal stuff … i.e. sunglasses, extra glasses, cell phone charger, flash light and very little else as my 2016 GMC Canyon pick-up would keep me safe and comfy so I would need little else. Oh, and the 3 year old Rand McNally Atlas I keep on my desk was loaded up. (I do not have or use any of the electronic stuff in my new pickup, or phones that gives me directions, communications, emergency dispatch etc. and I do not have a computer at my home nor do I have an ATM or debit card. Cash works and was put in play.

OK, it’s Friday. I’m leaving Sunday. I don’t know for sure and I don’t know why but it seems that I couldn’t stop looking at my 48 year old 1970 MGB-GT sitting in the carport. Over and over again it (the GT) ran through my thoughts … “the damned car seemed to be radiating this strange aura of sadness …”. It seemed to know it was being left behind … but why? I had taken it to Florida many times, Cleveland, Ohio many times, NY, Canada, Texas … and now a “real” cross country trip was planned and a pick-up truck was replacing a “sports car”. Despair seemed to be filling the air surrounding the car. Had I already deemed it too old for this trip, condemned it without cause.

Well that was it. I had figured it out. The GT had been my daily driver for the past four years flawlessly. Day after day, wet – dry, hot – cold. Always ready and steady. This is not a restored car and certainly no showpiece with its 30 year old faded repaint and banged up hood and front fender, re-stitched seats, frayed door trim etc. It looks as it should … like and original, un-restored, in need of paint, 48 year old daily driver with 92K miles. (100% completely rust free). On the plus side, I am the fourth owner. I’ve known of the car for over ten years, owned it for 4. It has always been meticulously maintained by me as well as its past owners. I do love to drive it and after re-foaming the driver’s seat it sits well and the stainless steel header and larger exhaust gives a sweeter sound and it gets great mileage at 70mph. People ask about it always and the electric overdrive impresses all who get to ride through the mountains with me.

Well, my mind was set … this cross country round trip would be made in (what I call a leap of faith) a real “sports car”. So Saturday was spent checking “all” fluids, tire pressures, lights, signals. Checked my log and thought about changing the oil but the $7.50 a quart 20/50w VR1 had only 3400 miles on it … so … ” just change it when you get back” !!! The 14 inch Hankooks on the Panasports are only two months old. All the fluids were up except the seeping clutch slave cylinder needed its normal two tablespoons (every two weeks) but there is a pint of brake fluid I keep in the car so got that covered. The heater temp valve is stuck shut but I doubt I’ll need the heater (I was wrong there), defrost maybe (the fan works so there is at least cold air on the screen, but a hand towel will work too). The radio works but the speakers bad, bad, bad and the original 8 track does work but I have no tapes. I love the hum of the motor better than any music and I surely don’t need to listen to fake news. Solved all that.

Right on time, Sunday February 18th showed up and off we went. Six days and 2,945 miles later I’m parked in Redwood City visiting my old friend. Great drive. The route however did take a change of course. A severe down pour in Texas slowed everyone to 25 mph for 50 plus desert miles as no one could see to pull over and stop as there are no shoulders on the desert highway and you do not want to leave the pavement when you can’t see what the shoulder holds (I was at an even greater disadvantage as the typical 2 speed wiper … “too slow for normal rain” and/or “too fast for normal rain”. 13 inch (new) MG wiper blades were completely out gunned by the Texas downpour.

What’s this now, Wake up call! I think I “know” what the blue and red lights mean and I look down and see I am right at 50 mph so head to the next parking lot but the lights on the big Black Tahoe follow … Crosbyton, TX police. Very young, very polite and handsome fellow. He checks the license with the radio. I am good. He sees my Georgia plates and tells me this happens often …”back there about 500 yards the speed limit is 75 mph … here its 35″. He tells me there’s no paper work, just slow down … and then he says with a smile I may have stopped you anyway … “to tell the truth I wanted to see what kind of car this was,” I’ve never seen one of these. We chit chat about the car and another “slow it down OK!” and I’m off. I like the attitude in Crosbyton, TX (pop. 1741).

Next morning came the news relayed to me by my buddy in California of a terrific snow storm heading across north central Arizona and New Mexico. This diverted me south across the White Sands Missile Range (if you go this way always stop to see this ), past the Eagle Tail Mountains in Arizona (a look NE from here and you could see the results of the snow storm … very pretty covering all the mountain tops) and on to Needles, California (where I fill the GT with $4.29 gal. 87 octane) before crossing the gas-less 135 miles across the Mojave Desert to Barstow, CA. A restful night in Barstow and then an easy 400 miles to Redwood City arriving 5pm on Saturday.

I parked the car for the week, (my friend would be the chauffeur for the week in his truck) … and I swear, there it was … even though it was faint and not all could see it, there was a “smile” on the front of that MG as clear to me as the one on my face.. No doubt in my mind.

The week passed and a memorable visit was in the books. The Rand McNally was laid on the table. The trail home to Georgia being platted. The twisties leaving California sought after and found … the Pinnacles National Park, Calico Ghost Town, Joshua Tree National Park.

On eastward … the B52 Bone Yard at Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson, the Catwalk in Glenwood, NM, VLA and Abo Pueblo Mission in NM, the Alibates Flint Quarries and the Borger City Museum in TX, the Ozarks in Arkansas then the last day thru MS, AL, GA. (plus the stops at the 30 to 40 Historical Markers along the entire route).

March 12, home sweet home.

The results … a “Great Drive in a Great Car”. Flawless in nearly every respect. About 6650 miles. (The speedometer broke in Oklahoma on the return trip but I believe my mileage calculation close). The only other failure was the driver’s window crank handle broke in half … “My fault”. A quick change out to the one on the passenger side door and the “manual air conditioner” is operating again as designed. That is it! I added three quarts of oil on the trip and was one quart low when arriving home. Oh yeah … the two tablespoons of brake fluid were added to the clutch master before heading east on the return trip.

A friend of mine had a great description for the MGB …”They are not known as a real performance car nor do they actually excel at anything … however, they do many many things very, very well and will do it over and over with little other than normal attention.” That is certainly a description of my MGB-GT. This car represents and displays 48 years of forward ambition and is expecting more and will get it. This is my second GT, my first 40 years ago. I find few other cars I like in styling and the pleasure of driving more. It is not about performance, luxury, flash, dash or look at me prestige. It is a unique sports car that requires a certain level of knowledge, alertness and attention to be driven and provides you with every element of the driving experience while putting a satisfied smile on your face at a very reasonable cost.

Lastly, I can’t really explain … the next day upon returning to Georgia, I found under the wiper blade on the driver’s side of the GT, a small note … It read “we are back … so don’t forget to change the oil!”. I shook my head having no idea where the note had come from … but …. I did notice that the smile that seemed to have appeared on the front of the car upon arrival in California, had now become twice as large!

'70 MGB-GT of Gary Thompson from Dahlonega, Georgia
'70 MGB-GT of Gary Thompson from Dahlonega, Georgia
'70 MGB-GT of Gary Thompson from Dahlonega, Georgia

’74 B of Richard Winslow from Seal Beach, California

I bought this car on my wife’s birthday about 30 years ago in Michigan. Son had a small accident driving it on his 16th birthday that resulted in minor repairs and a new, great paint job. We campaigned it at many car shows including a trip to Watkins Glenn. We participated in Autocross and Track Days at GingerMan, Grattan and Waterford Hills racetracks in Michigan; a Brighton, Michigan to London, Ontario Run with the Windsor-Detroit MG Club; many Birthday Parties with John Twist in Grand Rapids, Michigan; many British Car Shows at Gilmore Automobile Museum with the Mad Dogs Car Faire; and the final English Day On The Green at Henry Ford’s Greenfield Village.

We modified the engine and suspension for performance. I had an “off track incident” which found me briefly upside down on the grass (I had installed a roll bar for my son’s sake) but it rolled itself back on its wheels. I tore off what was left of the windshield and drove it home where we again replaced a fender and fixed the rest. Gave it to my son for a wedding present and he brought it here to California, and drove it at Button Willow but he had to sell it during his divorce. He sold it to someone with a right of first refusal about 10 years ago. Guess what? We just bought it back and are having it shipped from Georgia.

In addition to comp. springs in front, heaver sway bars, comp. shock valves, DCOE Weber carb. and Piper cam. It now has a cross flow head and headers thanks to the last owner. One of the modifications I most enjoy is having shortened the shift lever (cut out 1.75″ and re-welded so as to not lose the threads for the shift knob.) It places the knob right at hand, and shortens the throw to “just right.” I think everyone who isn’t a stickler for “original” would appreciate doing this minor improvement.

Richard Winslow
Seal Beach, CA

'74 B of Richard Winslow from Seal Beach, California
'74 B of Richard Winslow from Seal Beach, California

’65 B Roadster of John Winter

An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’65 B roadster of John Winter from Rochester, Minnesota. Here is the story:

I grew up and live in Minnesota, but as a child my family took its vacations to the San Francisco Bay Area where my grandparents, aunts, and uncles lived. Both of my uncles were bitten by the British car bug in the early 1960s. One of our many trips was in 1963 when I was 10. On that trip I saw my uncle’s new 1963 MGB. Shortly after we returned I devoured a book called “The Red Car”. I was immediately caught up in the story of the wrecked MG TC that was repaired by a young man and then went on to beat a much more powerful Ford in a race. Wow.

Two years later, in 1965, we again traveled to the Bay area for a family visit. This time my other uncle, a student at Cal State-Berkeley, had just purchased a new MGB for his college and Navel ROTC commuting. My passion for MGs deepened.

Several years later in 1975 I again made the journey to Burlingame in the Bay Area. This time on my own near the end of college break. I drove my 1973 Vega GT. No, not British, but it made the trip without a hitch. This time during my visit I learned that my grandfather had purchased the MGB from my uncle as a hedge during the gas crises of the 1970’s. However, he was not able to enjoy it due to a back ailment. Was it for sale? Would he sell it to me? The answer was no, but I let my offer to buy it stand.

A year later he called. The MG was for sale. I could buy it for what he paid my uncle for it, $1,250. It included the Blaupunkt three band radio that my uncle liberated from the 1963 B before it was traded (tubes and it still works), but I had to pay for the servicing needed to make it ready for a trip east. I scrounged funds, arranged a flight, and was off to get my car. After a wonderful 4th of July visit with my family, I was off to MN. Aside from cleaning out SU carb bowls in Eureka (1/4 inch of silt in the bottom) and installing new generator brushes in Burley, Idaho the trip was uneventful. Well, there was that early Saturday morning in Livingston, Montana with glass pack equipped MGB rattling windows downtown as we made our way to the interstate. Thankfully, law enforcement was somewhere else.

In the early 1980’s I freshened the car with a paint job and some cosmetic clean up as my uncles were coming to MN for a family wedding. Since then it has demanded very little. A battery now and then, a fuel pump, brakes and tires recently (the new tires replaced 1983 Michelin ZXs), but the B has always gotten me there when called upon, Lucas electrics and all. This year I celebrate 40 years of ownership. Seems like just yesterday I was heading north out of San Francisco on the 101 in my new, then 12 year old, MGB.

Today the B is nearly all still from Abingdon as built. The SUs work great, suspension is relatively tight, the motor makes good power, and runs very well. The motor could use a freshening, the throw-out bearing is a bit off (I had the hydraulics checked and all is fine), and an overdrive transmission would be nice, but it is still a thrill every time I pull the choke and crank it up to hear the “throaty burble” as it roars to life. What a kick! My little four year old is absolutely thrilled with the shiny “red car” too.

'65 B roadster of John Winter from Rochester, Minnesota.
'65 B roadster of John Winter from Rochester, Minnesota.
'65 B roadster of John Winter from Rochester, Minnesota.

’80 B of Skip Shearer

My MGB has been in the family since the late 80’s. My father purchased it from the original owner. He installed a tan leather interior and a tan canvas top. I received the car in 2004, to be given to my daughter Meghan when she was old enough to drive. In 2008 I tried to teach her how to drive stick in the MGB. After a couple of close calls due to missed shifts she decided stick was not for her.

After that the car sat in storage until August of 2018. After installing a new battery and topping off the carburetor she started right up. The addition of new tires (the belts had separated on two of the original tires) was all that was needed to get going.

'80 B of Skip Shearer from Wheaton, Illinois
'80 B of Skip Shearer from Wheaton, Illinois

’72 B Roadster of Bob Chalker from Katy, Texas

We became the unplanned owners of Tiffany, our first MG, the 72 B, in 2014. Our love affair started when I spotted an article titled “5 Classic Cars you can buy for under $5000.” Well as a car guy, I couldn’t resist reading the article. I spent 23 years of my career working in the auto industry both with GM and Delphi and have always kept my eye on the industry. Now I have to admit it had been a long time since I had considered buying a classic car and had sort of lost track of pricing, but under $5000 how could I not take a peek. To my surprise on the list was the MGB. I found it hard to believe and was intrigued enough to go to eBay and check out the claim. Sure enough I found several rubber bumper MGB’s listed for under $5000. They were of all colors, yellow, red and white. The red one looked nice and I knew my wife, Kim, always liked red sports cars. So I hauled my iPad over to where she was sitting and showed her the car. She looked up and said “well that’s nice, but I really like that one,” pointing to a 1972 aqua blue MGB. Now for my second surprise of the morning, she didn’t say no. So not being someone to miss an opportunity I did some quick research to get an idea of what a reasonable price might be. I also contacted a friend of mine, who knew a bit about classic cars, having restored many. This is when I learned one of my first lessons of MGB ownership. Those chrome bumpers are worth about $7000. Once I made up my mind on what I wanted to pay, I set my max bid price and watched the auction over the next couple of days. To my surprise I was the high bidder, but to my disappointment, I was not above the reserve price. I thought the deal was done, as I was not going higher.

Then a day or so later I received an email through eBay, asking if I was still interested in the car? Well, of course I was. So I replied. The seller and I exchanged a few emails about the vehicle where I asked him all kinds of questions about its condition, drivability, history, etc. We also came to agreement on a price as long as the car was in the condition he described. Now came the next challenge, the vehicle was in Colorado, and we lived in Houston, TX. As a benefactor of being a frequent business traveler I have lots of airline points so it didn’t take me long to book two one way tickets to Denver on Friday. After all this I decided it would be a good idea to let Kim know what I was planning and that she would be flying to Denver with me to pick up a car. I think she was excited about getting the car, but not too thrilled with the early hour we were departing Houston.

 We arrived in Denver without a hitch, rented a car and headed out to the home of the seller, approximately an hour North. We saw the car took it for a test drive, and yes, it was as good as he described. So we loaded her up with our luggage and headed south for the 1000 mile trip back home. Now all of you who are reading this are saying is he crazy, you drove a car you knew nothing about 1000 miles across open country? You didn’t have a mechanic check it out? Why didn’t you rent a truck or trailer to bring it home? You could have shipped it? My answer is, if I knew then, what I know now, I would have done those things, but I didn’t. I was blessedly naive. We made the trip, taking back roads the whole way and Tiffany ran flawlessly. We did stop at a hotel Friday night and I have to admit, I was up every hour or two looking out the window to see if it was still there. It also got a bit hot driving across central Texas on a late spring afternoon. On this trip I learned my next lesson of MG ownership, everywhere you stop people want to talk to you about the car. If you are getting gas or stopping at a restaurant, plan on it taking much longer than it should as you will be the most popular person in the parking lot. My favorites are those who either owned one or who’s dad owned one. I have come to believe that if everyone who said they owned an MG actually did, the company would still be in business.

Kim and I are not necessarily the adventurous types, but this trip, going from not even thinking about owning a MG to being happy owners in less than 6 days, has put us on an adventurous road filled with great cars, good friends, fun road trips and a tremendous amount of learning about cars. We have also learned the saying, you can’t own just one, is true This summer we bought a 59 MGA.

 

’80 MGB V8 Roadster of Chris Hughes from Newark, DE

An American MGB Association Queen B is the ’80 MGB roadster of Chris Hughes from Newark, Delaware. Here is the story:

My ‘80 MGB was originally purchased in 1983. It was the black “Limited Edition” with the silver stripes, LE wheels, luggage rack etc. Back then, it was truly my dream car. It was my daily driver until 1994 and after failed attempts at performance modifications (and creeping rust issues), it was retired to my garage. I didn’t know what I would do with it.

I researched V8 conversions for MGs and learned that the later ones like mine had engine compartments that were better suited to accept one of the rover aluminum V8s. In 1997 I decided to take the plunge on the conversion. I found a fairly local shop that specialized in sourcing rover parts, rover engine rebuilding and creating some of the custom parts required for the job. Ordered was a rebuilt 4.2L rover engine, ECU and all the fuel (Including fuel tank) and electrical system bits. This was to be mated to a rover 5-speed transmission, custom drive shaft and a narrowed ford rear end. I paid for everything in advance and the waiting game began.

Many months passed by and limited progress was happening on the drive train. All that waiting had me searching the “almost new” internet for parts. I stumbled upon a British parts site called “The Proper MG”. Sadly, they went out of business many years ago. They were out of Maine (If I remember correctly). They got all their parts directly from England and that appealed to me. I had seen some poor Chinese parts from other British car parts sites. While the drive train was being cobbled together, I decided to get some body work done to stop the rust. I ordered brand new front fenders, rocker panel kits, rear wheel well kits etc. Parts were flowing in, however, I didn’t know who I would trust to do the work.

I had “ex” in-laws that lived up in Connecticut and I happened to notice a Hot Rod shop nearby. I asked the owner if he would take on my project. Initially, he said NO because “it’s just an MG”. When I mentioned the V8 conversion, he changed his mind. I stripped the car down to its shell and pulled it behind a neighbor’s pickup truck from Frederick Maryland up to CT. Years passed.

In very late Dec of 1999, I was up in CT again and I spoke to the body shop owner about the delay. He said if I paid him the balance due now, he’d make finishing it a priority (Obviously I didn’t learn my lesson from paying for the drive train in advance). On New Year’s Day 2000, the body shop owner passed away! I got a frantic call from the two guys that were assigned to my job. The IRS was coming to padlock the facility and claim all the assets. Before that happened, they heroically towed my car (and all of the parts) out of there and up to a friend’s house they knew that had a “sort of” car shop. This place was literally in the Connecticut woods. These (now 3) fine gentlemen finished the car on their own. They even created a paint booth out of a spare garage. They understood that I’d already paid for the finished job and they were going to see it through. Every time I think of it, I’m amazed and what great guys they were.

On top of that, I couldn’t believe the finished job! Meticulous attention to detail went into everything they did. In early summer of 2000, I picked up the now reassembled shell in CT. It was so “perfect” that I was afraid to touch it, let alone pull it unprotected back down to Frederick MD. I rented a truck and we secured it inside for a safe ride home.

The next couple months of the summer were a blur. I worked on it nonstop. The car itself was WAY too nice now to put ANY old parts back in it, so I basically bought EVERYTHING new (from the Proper MG). UPS, Fed-EX, and DHL pulled up to my house every day. And piece by piece I reassembled it. By this time, cost was not a factor. I found very rare TSW Hockenheim wheels that were made (In South Africa) specifically for the MGB and had the seats professionally rebuilt with leather covers. I also installed a brand new wiring harness before covering the floorboards with “Kool mat” insulation. A mohair top and top cover were next. I can tell you that I will never ever attempt to install a new windshield and/or a new dash face again. It’s no wonder I have so much grey hair. Seriously, have a pro do those jobs.

The car was home and rebuilt, but the drive train was still incomplete. I traveled (several times) to that shop and after some stressful conversations, the drive train was finally installed.

Since that time, I have rarely stopped working on it and have upgraded it as best I could. I lowered the suspension using an early cross member and installed fiberglass rear leaf springs. I had some overheating worries that were finally resolved with the addition of a hood scoop (to allow the engine compartment heat to escape) along with the addition of a Kawasaki motor cycle radiator and electric fan that I installed above the rear differential. I replaced all the black ’80 gauge bezels with chrome and added several aircraft gauges to keep an eye on things. I installed the radio in the glove box along with a lot of speakers and amps. To be honest, I listened to it once. I’d rather listen to the fantastic sounds the V8 makes. I don’t drive it near as often as I should. However, when I do, it’s a real joy.