by John Giannasca
I was in Australia and New Zealand recently and ran across some MG folks over there who you may find of interest. Jenny & Lawrie Steere (“mom and dad”) run MG Service Centre with their daughter Maria. Their son Garry owns Abingdon Sports Cars which sells previously owned MGs. As you can see in the pictures, the car lot makes quite an impression if you happen to be an MG enthusiast looking at four GT race cars lined up across the front. As you may have guessed by now, the family that races together … A race car for each member of the family built by dad! On the day that I visited they were preparing for the Skope Classic which is a vintage race series in New Zealand featuring international competition from as far away as California and Canada. Nice way to spend a vacation if you have the car, time and resources.
Visiting the shop, I met with Lawrie, Jenny and Maria during business hours. That’s mom’s MG ZR 160 “pocket rocket” parked outside. While there for less than an hour. While there for less than an hour I saw a husband and wife pull up in a pristine TC for a quick grease on the front suspension and a young couple in a white GT pull up to check an oil leak (imagine that) which Lawrie took care of quickly. Both cars were on their way before I left. Maria works on the MGFs and mom runs the office. On a mini tour of the shop I saw a B, a Rover and an F in for service. When I looked at a rear ended MGF beyond repair, I inquired about it and its collision history as far as body strength goes and they showed me an inventory of parts cars, as you can see in the pictures. One in particular suffered a head on where the driver walked away, thanks to a sturdy roll cage hidden behind the firewall The all original low miles BGT V8 is as perfect as it looks in the pictures and belongs to the Steere’s.
The gray “race worn” racer in the shop is a 50’s RA3 built by Hec Green in New Zealand. Originally powered by a five liter flat “pancake” eight cylinder Lycoming aircraft engine and would hit 130 in second gear at 2,000 rpm. Only three were built and none ever reached top speed. Gary was taking the car to the Skope Classic for show only. There are future plans for restoration.
I thought you and the members might enjoy seeing the pictures and know of an active MG group that exists in New Zealand, which by the way is very beautiful. Laurie is also the Secretary of the local MG car club, “The Cantebury MaG”, of which I am now a member.
Editor’s Note: John Giannasca was one of the founding chairmen of the American MGB Association and we thank him for his contributions.
(excerpt from articles appearing in the club magazine, the Octagon)