For the past 2 years I have been driving my yellow 1977 MGB to a Salvation Army picnic for children in Green Bay, Wisconsin. As a clown I create 200-300 balloon animals for the children during this event and here is a picture of me with the clown suit in the B.
Another picture here is my grandson, Cameron Smits, who seemed to blend in with my 1977 yellow MGB as he was wearing his Packer sweatshirt.
Another picture is my 1977 MGB sitting in my driveway.
The story of my 1977 MGB begins in July 2006 when a friend of my wife (Bonnie) let her know she wanted to sell her MGB of 20 years. She had 55,000 original miles, new tires, new top, wire wheels, and during those 20 years of ownership this MGB had been restored, repainted, and rewired. Being in Wisconsin, she only drove it occasionally in summer. The next weekend my wife and I drove to her home (about 40 miles) for a test drive. She had informed us that while she would not be home that weekend, her home would be unlocked, the keys would be in the MGB, and if we liked the car we could just “drive it home and we’d meet next week to trade the title for a check”. So after a short test drive this 1977 MGB was on the way to my home with my wife following in our van. That was a Saturday in July 2006. The next Monday we met and exchanged my check for her title. She is glad her MGB has found a “good home” and my wife and I, along with our grandchildren, are the happy owners of this MGB. We’ve even taken our MGB camping in October in Door County – Wisconsin to visit Fall Festivals and see the Fall colors with the top down!
Note: This is an article appearing in the American MGB Association club magazine, the Octagon which is received with club membership.
This issue’s Queen B is the 1980 MGB L.E. of Thomas Dahlfors. Here is his story:
Just a little about me – thirty years ago I rebuilt my first British car, a ’61 TR3. After selling that car (wish I hadn’t), I bought my first MG, a 1974 British racing green MGB. Then I upgraded to a 1978 British racing green B. Then lastly in 1992, I bought from his 1980 MGB L.E. with 600 miles on it. It still smelled new!
As a retired school administrator, I finally sold my last horse and am converting my barn into a garage as there is less daily clean-up.
I recently acquired a 1953 MG T and have been doing some work on the MGB.
Your publication, the Octagon, is superb – the technical hints and tips are just what I can use.
I am a member of three other MG clubs but from what I have heard, the American MGB Association is really the tops for MG owners.
Editor’s Note: Thanks for the kind words and hope you enjoy your car being featured.
The October Octagon’s (received with club membership) Queen B is the ’79 B of Dr. Tom Bruno. Here is the story:
Here are some photos of my recently, completed 1979 MGB. The engine has been detoxed and upgraded. It is bored out 40 thousandths; new parts include: stock cam, pistons and valve train, 2 bbl Webber downdraft carburetor, exhaust header, alternator, Petronix ignition, radiator, valve cover, water pump, fuel pump and gas tank.
The suspension has all new Urethane bushings and a Monroe shock at each corner. The interior is all new done in Autumn Leaf with ealier chrome stripped door panels. The front tag was given to me by a patient from England.
This car was left for trash in a backyard in Tampa Florida, full of leaves, wasps, ants and rats had nested in the driver’s seat. It was ready to go to the junk yard. The engine was left exposed with the spark plugs removed.
It has taken a year and a half to get it back into running condition.
The only major work left is a little body work and a new paint job, probably Brooklands Green. Thanks to Glenn’s MG in St. Petersburg for the engine rebuild and Victoria British and Moss for all the parts and The Roadster factory for the interior and carpet kits. My wife is happy that it’s almost done because I have spent many hours in the garage with my little MG. I still sneak into the garage and rub her headlights every once in a while just to make my wife jealous, especially now during rainy season when we can go out for a ride.
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)
I was due for a holiday and I wanted to climb an Alpine ice gully. I had just had an important birthday in May. I decided to drive to California’s Sierra Nevada in my 1974 MG !
This meant a 370 mile drive from Joshua Tree , Ca. to near Mono Lake , about 65 miles north of Bishop . You might think that a long day like that would be tiring , true but I was so excited about going.
I am originally from England. I first visited the USA on an exchange visit with the USAF . The year was 1974 and this is precisely the same year that my MG came over here also . It was also the year I turned 18, a very good year !
I bought the car in January . I paid a fair price for the car , but I wanted to know she would not let me down. I found an English bloke in LA who had moved here from England in 1968 . He has been working on British sports cars in the same location for almost 40 years.
The car was running well when I got her , but that was not good enough for me . I had the mechanic put a new clutch in replace all leaky engine seals , replace almost all the suspension . He also replaced the entire cooling system with new parts . I also had a new Falcon stainless steel exhaust put on . The engine shows about 165 lbs of pressure in each cylinder and has an overdrive gearbox . I was now anxious for the open road.
Early one September morning I set of from the desert loaded with all kinds of climbing gear . The plan was to meet two climbing friends at Matt’s Mobile Gas mart in Lee Vining that evening.
Well it was difficult driving at around 55 mph , but that was what I wanted to do . I wanted to try and return 30 mpg for my trip .
55 mph seems to be around 2350 rpm with my 175 SR14 wheels . I managed it most of the way with a few stretches of 50 mph and some 60 mph. It took around 9 hours . I stopped several times for some serious leg stretching and also to buy food supplies.
I met up with my two friends that evening in Lee Vining . If you ever get up that way you really have to go to Matt’s Whoa Nellie Deli . It is situated on Highway 120 about 1/4 mile west of highway 395 . It looks like a typical Mobil Gas Station , but once inside you see things are rather different . Matt is actually a well known and critically acclaimed Chef. I would describe the place as ‘ fine dinning in a Gas Mart , drinks served at family restaurant prices.
Tomorrow was an early start . We only had a few beers and went to our sleeping bags early . We were going to climb the Mount. Dana Couloir . The climb starts at almost 12,000 feet . I was overcome with the worst altitude sickness I have ever experienced at around 11,500 ft . We all agreed to return to the cars and go back to camp. Well at least I was the bloke driving a real car !
The next day my friends went their separate ways and I decided to enjoy the mountains with my roadster !!
I checked into Murphy’s Motel in Lee Vining and got a good night’s sleep .Next morning I got up early , had a quick breakfast and took the roof down off the car.
I headed up towards the high Sierra . Driving up the Tioga Pass in the MG with the roof down was awesome . The pass enters Yosemite National Park at about 10,000 ft . My car was not too fast going up the massive grade , but once up in the high country of Tuolomne Meadows she flew along really well .The Yosemite High Country is an Alpine region and is full of the most amazing rock domes and meadows .
It is a popular hiking , rock climbing and horse riding area. People travel from all over the world to go climbing here.
Tuesday morning rolled around too soon , and it was time to head back to Joshua Tree .
I drove 997 miles on my trip and using 87 octane fuel managed to squeeze 29.9 mpg . I did not go over 60 mph and my car has overdrive gearbox .
I got home safely that evening and am now looking forward to my next MG adventure!! (excerpt from articles appearing in the club magazine, the Octagon)
The American MGB Association is North America’s oldest, largest and best club for all MGBs, MGB-GTs and Midgets. A nonprofit organization which was founded in 1975 and offers color magazines, emagazines, technical advice, member recommendations on service, body and parts sources, registration of your MG, a tradition of service and FREE member classified ads that appear in the Octagon magazine AND on the AMGBA web site on the Internet. The website is http://www.mgclub.org