Category Archives: General

In the News! – British Leyland Motor Corporation 1968 – 2005

BrLeylandBook This book tells the story of the constituent parts of British Leyland, later Rover Group, from the merger in 1968 to the end of production of the last MG Rover in 2005. The story has been told before, but this account is different. It is told by three people who were part of it, in senior roles, with the opportunity to observe and understand what happened and why. It is not another neat analysis by journalists or academics, using facts in the public domain and fitting them to a theory. The story is a complex one and the authors’ views are not necessarily those held by academics and previous commentators. There is still much that is relevant in a re-telling of the path leading up to this, for economy and society today.

Mike Carver, the author became Group Executive Director in charge of strategic planning. He was responsible for setting up the relationship with Honda and was awarded the OBE for services to the motor industry in 1986. Nick Seale joined Ford as an engineer, moving into finance. Later he returned to engineering, heading up the Rover Power Train under BMW. At Land Rover he ran concept engineering of future products. Anne Youngson started in sales and marketing at Longbridge, moving to Pirelli Tyres, but returned to work on Honda. She moved to project management for Land Rover and Rover and was the only woman at this level. Her final position was head of Land Rover Special Vehicles Operation.

Paperback: 160 pages

Publisher: The History Press (June 1, 2015)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0750961449

ISBN-13: 978-0750961448

Lane Museum and Donation

by Frank Ochal

On the way back from Meet 2015 in Myrtle Beach which was postponed due to the weather. Bruce Magers and I stopped at the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee. The collection consist of numerous micro/mini cars produced in France, Czechoslovakia and other countries. The smallest vehicle on display was a 1965 Peel Trident made on the Isle of Man (Britain). I would urge any of you “Car Guys” to put this on your “Bucket List” as you will see the most complete collection of micro/mini cars ever assemble under one roof. There are over 45 different marques representing Asia, Europe, North and South American. Many of the cars are a one-of-a-kind.

While visiting the museum, we noticed that they had posters in the art gallery area entitled “The Magnificent MG – The Early Years” and “The Magnificent MG – The Middle Years”. We happened to have in our vehicle “The Magnificent MG – The Later Years” which we were going to auction off at AMGBA Meet 2015. We weren’t able to auction it because of the cancellation. We decided to donate our poster to make the collection complete and Jeff Lane, the Museum Director and owner personally thanked us for the addition to his gallery.

If you get a chance, please stop by the museum and check out the Art Gallery Room to see the complete set. Take a picture of the 3 posters and send it to us so we could see how it is displayed.

The Lane Motor Museum Story

In 2002, Jeff Lane established Lane Motor Museum. Jeff has been an automotive enthusiast since an early age. He began restoring his first car — a 1955 MG TF — when he was a teen. His personal collection was the donation that began the foundation. Lane Motor Museum unveiled its collection to the public in October of 2003. As director, Jeff Lane continues to search out cars for the collection that are technically significant or uniquely different. The goal of Lane Motor Museum is to share in the mission of collection and preserving automotive history for future generations. The Museum is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. The Lane Motor Museum is one of the few museums in the U.S. to specialize in European cars. It is a working museum with the goal of maintaining all vehicles in running order. Some cars are in showroom condition, while others represent typical aging. Efforts are made to restore each vehicle to near-original specifications.

The Museum has been developed in a well-known Nashville landmark, the former Sunbeam Bakery at 702 Murfreesboro Pike. Home to the bread company beginning in 1951, the 132,000 square-foot facility was the largest and most modern bakery in the area at the time of its opening. The bakery building, outfitted for the museum’s needs but left with many of its original characteristics, has a high ceiling, natural light, and hand-crafted brick and maple wood flooring. The architectural style complements the age of the cars represented. The main floor has approximately 40,000 square feet of open space, ideal for displaying the collection.

INFORMATION:
Lane Motor Museum, 702 Murfreesboro Pike, Nashville, TN, 37210, PHONE: 615-742-7445
Lane Motor Museum closes each year on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Open Thursday thru Monday, 9am to 5pm, Closed Tuesday and Wednesday

1962-’74 MGB: Classic Chrome Bumper is still a Crowd Pleaser

by Mark J. McCourt from Hemmings Motor News

The new-for-1962 MGB’s up-to-date envelope body shape was a product of its new monocoque construction as it was of contemporary style. This sports car’s low, wide nose, deeply scalloped headlamps and its 1,800cc engine’s need for 120 square inches of radiator cooling area called for a new interpretation of the traditional chrome-surround/vertical-slat grille that had graced all MG’s since it debuted on the PB Midget in 1935.

The 1962-1964 MGB’s grille shell was chrome-plated brass matched with separate stainless-steel vertical slats, an it attached to the body with three riveted brackets. The were 18 slats per side, separated by a chrome-plated center bar that had a shield-shaped nose which held the plastic emblem with a chrome-ringed red MG octagon on a black field. A material change carried that grille on all MGBs and MGCs built from late 1964 thru 1969.

British Leyland felt the MGB needed a facelift for 1970. The traditional chrome grille was replaced by a trendy black, deeply recessed affair that was actually inspired by the grille design of the 1968 Ford Mustang.

The final grille to be fitted to the chrome-bumper MGB in 1973 and early 1974 production was a brilliant move by a British Leyland executive in New Jersey. He suggested combining the pre-1970 grille surround with a black mesh insert.

The 5 mph “rubber bumpers’ used from September 1974 to end of production in 1980 combined the front bumper and air inlet into one unit. While clever and traffic-friendly, this couldn’t compete with the original grilles in style or popularity.

NewGrilles1 NewGrilles2

90 Years of MG

90 Years of MG
from Auto Express
We celebrate MG’s special birthday in 2014 with a round-up of star cars old and new
It’s been a roller coaster ride for MG, but 2014 marks 90 years since founder Cecil Kimber registered the company as a car manufacturer. And what better way to celebrate than to bring some classic MGs together with the brand’s current cars, and see how far it has come?
It all started when Kimber was working as a sales manager at Oxford-based car dealer Morris Garages in the twenties. He turned his hand to upgrading the regular Morris models on the forecourt, and these proved so popular, he branded them as MGs through his newly founded company. In the years that followed, the MG badge became synonymous with sporty and affordable roadsters and saloons.90YearsMG
It’s suffered a rocky path, though, with a takeover by Morris Motors in 1935, before being absorbed into the huge BMC conglomerate in 1952. MG suffered in the seventies under British Leyland, and was taken over countless times, until the doors closed on the factory in Longbridge, W Mids, in 2005. But MG is back, with a new owner aiming to turn it into a global brand.
Nine decades separate Old Number One from the latest MG3, and while the 90th anniversary is the perfect opportunity to reflect on MG’s history, the company’s current owners are very much looking forwards.
Car assembly has returned to Longbridge, but perhaps more importantly the West Midlands plant is a hive of activity, with designers and engineers working to develop future MGs. Marketing director Guy Jones said: “Our long-term plan is to establish MG as a global brand. We have a development team at Longbridge because the UK has the talent that will allow us to deliver strong products.
“Having a leading manufacturer [Chinese owner SAIC] behind us gives us the resources to expand.” And development is progressing quickly, with the MG6 diesel already made more efficient, and new engines in the pipeline.
But this progress doesn’t come at the expense of MG’s traditional values, according to chassis man Andy Kitson. “I always liked Cecil Kimber’s philosophy that an MG didn’t necessarily need to be fast, as long as it handled well,” he said. “That’s what we’ve aimed for, and is why the new cars are developed on UK roads. The forthcoming SUV [opposite] will stick with this tradition.”
The company has the foundations for global expansion in the MG3, MG6 and SUV, so when will it return to its roots and build a sports car? It’s not on the cards yet, but is a definite consideration for the future. “Once we’re established, we can think about building a sports car flagship,” said Jones.

NASCAR 2013 Betting

If you were to look at the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings for 2013 without too much knowledge of the sport, it would be easy to assume that it was more or less over – both from a sports and a NASCAR betting standpoint – with Jimmie Johnson holding a thirty-point advantage over the driver in second place. However, unlike in some sports, such a lead is not enough to guarantee the NASCAR title for Johnson, with half of the season still to go – although it does make him the clear favourite with the bookies on 7/1. So if you don’t want to bet on the favourite, what other drivers could be worth gambling on?

Well although he is only fifth in the current NASCAR standings – and nearly a hundred points behind the leader – Matt Kenseth could prove a solid alternative bet. The key fact to note is that he has won three events this season, the same number as Johnson, and more than any other driver competing – which indicates he has the skill, and is driving a car with the speed, to make it possible he can overturn this deficit. Another option is to consider the driver currently second behind Johnson in the standings – Carl Edwards – who is ranked fifth by the bookmakers on 10/1. At these odds, and just thirty points behind, he is likely to be a popular bet with many – although just as many other still may choose to play motor sports casino games at www.gamingclub.org.

The availability of a slots game like Motor Slot Speed Machine is only likely to increase the numbers choosing this option – especially as the $50,000 maximum jackpot offered by this motor biking game is more than you are ever likely to win placing a NASCAR bet. Of course you might not scoop that jackpot, but with the speedometer reel icon filling in for any other missing ones on your reel, you have a very good chance of winning some sort of payout by playing the game. Furthermore, aside from the financial benefits of it, the motor bike racing bonus game will be perfect entertainment for any fan of motor sports, suggesting there is no reason not to at least give this game a test ride.

Don Hayter’s MGB Story

Don Hayter's MGB Story The birth of the MGB in MG’s Abingdon Design & Development Office (Those were the days…)

This is the inside story of the MG Design office, from 1956 until its closure in 1980. Explaining how the various models were drawn, planned, and developed by the small team of engineers, it also shows how the input and control changed from Morris, Wolseley, Riley Group, Austin-Morris, and Austin Rover. The effects of the Triumph-Austin merger are detailed in model changes, alongside the effects of safety legislation, mainly imposed by the United States.

Trying to remain as individual as possible during this period, MG developed record breakers and a unique Competition Department. Special cars were built and tested, and prototypes for the MGB replacement were drawn up – all in parallel with the development of MG production cars using engines from any part of the BMC company.

The continuing support of the American market was essential and much valued, but the company’s market support prioritized the TR7 – a decision that, ultimately, led to the closure of a successful, happy company.

Don Hayter was the chief engineer at MG Abingdon from 1973 to 1980.  He also worked on many famous cars earlier in his career including the MGA, MG ZA and ZB Magnettes.  His best achievement as an automotive engineer was the body design of the MGB roadster.

The book should be in the library of every MG enthusiast.

“Don Hayter’s MGB Story” can be ordered from Motorbooks International at 1-800-458-8100 or www.motorbooks.com for $24.95 plus shipping.  It can also be ordered at Amazon at www.amazon.com for $16.47 plus shipping.

MGB: The First 50 Years of Immortality

MGB: the First 50 years of Immortality
by Peter Egan, from Road & Track

While driving to the bookstore last night and discussing how to best celebrate my upcoming 64th birthday, Barb suddenly turned to me and said, “isn’t there a Beatles song called When I’m Sixty-Four?”

Time does slip away, as I was reminded for a second time that night when we walked into the bookstore. I headed over to the magazine rack and immediately noticed a British car magazine with a cover blurb that said, “The MGB Turns 50!” Naturally, I had to buy a copy to add to my fairly sizable bookshelf of MGB lore – which includes several grease-stained shop manuals.

I’ve owned three of these cars, you see, and spent a couple of years in the early ’90s doing a full restoration on a 1973 roadster in British Racing Green with a tan interior. I bought this car from Patti Baron, wife of R&T Design Director Richard M. Baron, just before Barb and I moved back to Wisconsin in 1990.

I drove this car, trouble-free, for about two years before I foolishly sold it to buy an 18 foot trailer for my Reynard Formula Continental. The sad truth is, I’d owned two other MGBs before this one – 1970 and 1971 models – and sold them both to defray the cost of racing.

Thought the MGB came out in 1962, I didn’t actually get a ride in one until 1968. I had a summer factory job and met a fellow worker named Pete Shannon who had an MGB. He gave me a short ride in the car, and I was quite impressed. Ride quality in the MGB was good, too and it seemed to handle well, as it sat lower than the MGA.

The MG was a model I grew to respect for being well built and well engineered. Which is not to say the car didn’t have a few problem areas.

But whenever someone asks me what classic sports car, I would choose as a retirement project and a “keeper” that remains permanently satisfying to drive and maintain, the two cars that always come to mind are the MGB and the Lotus Seven – though the Lotus would be less practical as a road car, and more expensive.

There were so many MGBs built – more than a million between 1962 and 1980 – that most of them remain in the $4,000 to $12,000 price range depending on condition. They are, as my fellow serial MG-restoring buddy John Jaeger remarked “A noble car that wasn’t built just for the nobility. Almost anyone can afford one.”

There’s a huge aftermarket parts industry for these cars, and nothing – other than a little machine shop work on the engine – that can’t be done by a reasonably skilled home mechanic with a tool kit. Outside help or expertise is seldom needed; you can fix these things forever, by yourself, in your own garage.

And so can the next owner in case you end up wearing a cardigan sweater and pulling up weeds for a hobby. We are frail, but the MGB just may be immortal.

50 Years of MGBs

Book Review – They All Started in MGs

A new book on sports car racing in the fifties has been published by McFarland & Co. Titled “They Started in MGs,” it features eighty mini-biographies of drivers both well-known and little-known, all interesting characters. The forward of the book is written by racing champion John Fitch.

Some of the drivers include American Formula One Champion Phil Hill, first SCCA National Champion John Fitch, Arnolt MG creator Wacky Arnolt, longtime Put-In-Bay driver Ralph Cadwallader, Briggs Cunningham, Midwest Elva driver Suzy Dietrich, OSCA and SIATA driver Isabelle Haskell, Pike’s Peak champion Porsche driver Bob Donner, Rowland Keith the driver who beat Carroll Shelby, Carroll Shelby, colorful ex-Battle of the Bulge veteran Bob Shea, Corvette champion Dr. Dick Thompson, Bridgehampton race founder Bruce Stevenson, MG Specials builder Ken Miles, Alfa Romeo Champion Chuck Stoddard, club organizers Jim and Sally Carroll, Charlie Ellmers of the Funny Face Auto Racing Team and the 1955 SCCA HP Class winner George Valentine, MGTC.

All the drivers either began in or were inspired by the MG, usually a T-Series car. They either stuck with the marque, as in the case of David Ash, or went on to other cars. These included Ferrari, Maserati, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Porsche, Alfa Romeo, Corvette, Mustang, OSCA, SIATA, Bandini, Nardi, Giuar, Kieft, Formula Vee, Elva, Lotus, Cooper, Honda F1, Austin Healey, and Triumph.

There are 288 pages and 250 period racing photos in the book. The book is written by Carl Goodwin, with ten awards to his credit from the International Automotive Media Competition and three from the Society of Automotive Historians. Goodwin is a regular writer for Classic MG, Vintage Motorsport, Classic MG, Vintage Racecar, Veloce Today, Cavallino, Forza, and Automobile Quarterly

To order a copy of “They Started in MGs,” write to McFarland & Co., Box 611, Jefferson, NC 28640 or it can be ordered through the company’s web site at www.mcfarlandpub.com or call 1-800-253-2187.

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.

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 club 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 live.  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 and contained some of the features still used today such as the Technical Section and From the Editor’s Desk.

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 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.

I 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 nation 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.

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.  He and John were transferring the administration of the AMGBA to Steve and me.  Steve quickly formed an administration with himself as President, myself as Vice-President and Debbie Glochowsky as Secretary.

So the AMGBA headquarters was moved to Chicago where it still is today. The AMGBA now serves some 2500 enthusiastic MGB, MGB-GT, and MG Midget owners throughout the USA, Canada and throughout the world.

The conventions, now called Meets, continue 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 Margie Johnson became the Secretary and the AMGBA opened an office for storage, work area and a telephone answering service, which is still the same setup that exists today.

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 assumed most of the duties of running the club and became President in 1984.

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. 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. 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 and 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.  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.  In 2000, we went to Armagh, Pennsylvania and joined with the TRF 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. In 2003 we were in Florida for the first time in Titusville, Florida and 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. 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 and for 2009 we planned for a show in the Central Valley of California. 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.

Future Meets will always be listed in our club member magazine, the Octagon, on our website (www.mgclub.org) as well as on our blog (http://blog.amgba.com), message board (http://board.amgba.com) and Facebook (American MGB Association) pages.

Remember that the American MGB Association, the AMGBA, offers what no one else can – a tradition of service to MGB, MGB-GT and Midget owners since 1975 with a proven track record as evidenced that many members that have been with us for more than 30 years.  Why? – because the AMGBA gives them what they want and need!!

For more information contact the American MGB Association, P.O. Box 11401, Chicago, IL 60611 USA, call 1-800-723-MGMG or 1-773-878-5055, email: info@mgclub.org , website: www.mgclub.org .

Side Impact Car Crash Damage

There are lots of different types of crash that can be sustained by motor vehicles on the roads and equally there are a number of different parts of the vehicles where the impact of a crash can be sustained. While many people, when they think of car crashes, picture frontal collisions, one of the most common types of motor vehicle crash is actually that of side impact crashes. As the name fairly clearly indicates, this type of crash refers to instances where the crash impacts the side of the vehicle and usually occurs when the front of one car hits the side of another. In fact, although it is not widely assumed to be the case, the damage sustained by both the vehicle and the occupants of it in a side impact crash can actually be more severe than those sustained in either front or rear-end collisions, because there is less buffering and protection offered by the sides of the vehicle than there is by the front or the back.

Amongst the circumstances in which a side impact crash is most likely to occur, the most frequent is at the junction of one road and another, and occurs when the driver of one vehicle pulls out directly into the path of the other. However these types of car crashes can also frequently occur in car parks or if the driver of a vehicle ignores a red light signal. In a number of these circumstances mentioned, the crash is likely to be the result of dangerous or reckless driving on the part of one of the driver involved and – if you are the innocent party in a side impact crash – you may be able to pursue a road accident claim for compensation, by means of a legal firm specialising in these types of cases, such as Road Traffic Accidents.

As mentioned earlier, these crashes can cause more severe damage than front or rear collisions and amongst the injuries they can cause are, head and neck injuries, internal injuries and paralysis.