by Frank Ochal
Welcome to the new members that have joined since the last issue.
We would like to thank Gene & Sherri Enke and all the other contributors to this issue.
Also thanks to Art Isaacs for his continued work in answering members' technical questions and answers and to John Twist who is now contributing advice to members. Be sure to send in photos and stories so we can include them in future issues of the Octagon.
Meet 2017 was held in Fairhope, Alabama on October 14, 2017. A full report is included in this issue of the Octagon.
I had an opportunity to visit our magazine printer, Johnson Press which is located in Pontiac, Illinois Photos andthe story appear in this issue.
We were sorry to hear about the passing of Ken Smith. Condolences go out to his wife Barby and the entire Smith family. Known as Mr. MG, Ken Smith was one of the most recognized people in the British Car world.
I am pleased to announce that we have now published AMGBA Technical Sections Volume IV which contains sections, topics, questions and answers published in the Octagon from 2008 to 2017. It is available in printed and CD formats and can also be emailed. Various tech section combos are also available in the club store. All of the tech sections are indexed by category such as electrical, suspension, etc. for easy reference and accessibility.
We have expanded our list of free items that members can receive with 3 year membership or renewal. You can now receive either a free t-shirt, a tech CD (or emailed) or past issues of the Octagon in pdf format on CD (or emailed). We offer a 3 year membership or renewal rate for $95 or $125 for members outside the USA. We also have a 3 year eMembership for $65 which also includes the free items. Save money and get a t-shirt or tech sections on CD (or emailed) or Octagons on CD (emailed)!
A result of the full color Octagon magazine is that we are now able to offer free classified ads to members that now include one color photo and contain 50 words. This is because we no longer have a restriction on the pages that ad photos can be placed on.
We have now issued plastic membership cards to all members. All current members should have already received the new plastic membership card. As the new membership card is plastic it is meant to be permanent and will no longer include your membership expiration date. Your membership expiration date and your number can always found on the label on each issue of the printed OCTAGON and other club mailings. You can always call, email or text us if you ever need a replacement card, your membership number or your expiration date...
Join us on Facebook at American MGB Association or follow us on Twitter at amgba.
Classified ads will now also appear on our Facebook Page and Facebook Group and on Twitter as well as the club's website, message board, Octagon and eOctagon.
AMGBA members receive the Octagon, now published in March, June, September and December and the eOctagon, published in February, May, August and November. Send us your email address so that we can send you the eOctagon. The eOctagon is sent via bulk email so if you are blocking this type of email you will not get it.
The club has a Message Board at http://board.amgba.com, a Blog located at http://blog.amgba.com . American MGB Association members are able to place ads and access more tech info. The AMGBA Photo Gallery is located at http://photos.amgba.com .
Please send in your stories and photos to be used in the Octagon. You will receive a credit toward renewal or regalia.
You need an ID and password to access the "members only" section of our website at www.mgclub.org. You will find the ID and password on page 3 of the OCTAGON. These change with each issue so be sure to use only the ones listed in the latest issue. Also now you can to create your own id and password for the members only section. Submit the form on the members only page to do this.
Glad to see so many of you in Alabama and at the many car shows this year! Have a great holiday season!
Top Photo: '71 B of Don Long from Arlington Heights, Illinois at 2017 Chicagoland British Car Festival
Visit to Johnson Press
On our way back from Meet 2017 in Alabama we stopped in Pontiac, Illinois to visit out printer, Johnson Press.
This was our first opportunity to meet with the people we have been communicating by phone and email with and to see where our magazine has been printed since 2012.
Bruce Magers and I were led on an informative tour of the plant with our Customer Service Rep, Teresa Masching. It was interesting to see the care that they take in printing each magazine. It was amazing how technology has improved the printing process since the last time I took a tour of a printing plant. The reduced size of the machines is the first thing you notice.
The visit concluded with a light lunch with Teresa and plant manager, Steve "Buzz" Zeller.
Thanks again to everyone at Johnson Press of America for the welcome and the continued fine job done with our magazines!
Wheaton, Illinois Autojumble
The Wheaton, Illinois Autojumble & Swap Meet was held March 19, 2017 and is organized and conducted by the Chicagoland MG Club alone although it has the enthusiastic support of all the other British car clubs in the Chicago area. The event now includes all marques of European sports cars and motorcycles and is conducted with the goal of providing a meeting place of buyers and sellers of used parts, new parts, accessory items, tools, memorabilia and just about anything else of interest to the European sports car and motorcycle enthusiast.
The 13,200 sq. ft. facility had 65 vendors occupying 85 spaces displaying their wares. Over 550 shoppers participated. The American MGB Association participated with a table where it welcomed members with club information and club regalia for sale.
British Sports Car Hall of Fame
The British Sports Car Hall of Fame was established as an independent entity in 2016 to preserve and perpetuate the legacy and impact of these legendary vehicles and to honor the men and women responsible for their success. Induction into the Hall of Fame is reserved for those who have made a significant and lasting impact on the British sports car industry and hobby, making it a singular honor for a lifetime of achievement. By celebrating the memory of the dedicated individuals that played key roles, the Hall can serve as a touchstone for British sports car enthusiasts of all ages and interests, furthered by its various preservation and education initiatives. The Hall is supported by individual and corporate contributions.
More info at www.britishsportscarhall.org .
Book Review: Making Cars at Longbridge
by Gillian Bards and Colin Corke
This book charts over 100 years of car making at Longbridge, near Birmingham. The Austin Motor Co. was founded here by Herbert Austin in 1906, opening its doors in early 1906, and it has been home to the British Motor Corp, British Leyland, Rover Group, and MG Rover. Its products include some of the most famous British models ever produced: the pioneering Austin Seven of the 1920s, the classic Mini, the Austin Metro, and in later years the MG TF and Rover 75. The factory was a major employer and integral part of the community since its foundation and its demise saddened many, but the areas will never forget its long and proud tradition of manufacturing.
For 99 years, cars were made at Longbridge. Less than a year off its century, the factory closed and 6,000 people lost their jobs. The first cars to roll off the production plant were Austins, and the site has been a center of car manufacturing ever since. From the original Austin 7 of the 1920s to Rovers and MGs, there is a rich history of Longbridge that has been offset by the recent misfortune.
Gillian Bardsley is a social historian with a special interest in the rise and fall of the motor industry in Britain. She has been Archivist for the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust since 1990 and has contributed to many TV, radio, and magazine features. Colin Corke is the vicar of Longbridge.
Paperback: 192 pages
The History Press (February 1, 2016)
Book Review: British Leyland Motor Corporation 1968 - 2005
By Mike Carver, Nick Seale and Anne Youngson
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)
MG GS SUV
I am in China and was reading a new posting in "Just British", the on-line enthusiast magazine, about the MG GS SUV undergoing cold-weather testing in Detroit when one passes me in traffic on the streets of Huizhou, China. It's a poor shot, but you can see in the attached picture the big Octagon on the center back and there's a matching one on the front. This MG was even the same color as the car in the article.
Unique in its grille and tail lamp treatments, with large MG Octagons center at each end, from the outside it's an otherwise generic SUV roughly the size and shape of a Chevy Equinox/Cadillac SRX, though the scalable AWD platform it's on is supposed to be a new development. It's nice enough looking, in a Nissan Murano sort of way, but it is reportedly under-powered, with only a 1.5L power plant available. The article notes the UK market is looking to get a 2.0L motor, presumably the one they're testing and what might come to the US, if that's in the cards.
The article also goes on to say the test car was spotted on the street in Detroit undisguised and wearing manufacturer's tags. Considering the strong partnership of MG's parent company, Shanghai Automotive Industries Company (SAIC), with GM (they build all the GM products sold in China, as well as own MG/Rover) and that the Europe-bound GS will use a GM sourced driveline, it is not unreasonable to expect them to help test the cars here, but why? China has more than it's share of cold weather climates and if traffic is the concern, you need only see what goes on rush hour in any major Chinese city to know that they have that covered as well. So it is from that the speculation is born that they are considering a launch of the marque in the US again with this as a first foray. It would be the first to wear the Octagon since MGB departed in 1980. And with SAIC building and distributing Buick, Chevy and Cadillac in China, GM returning the favor here has some plausibility.
Those of us hoping the first MG back on these shores would be a new sports car may be disappointed, but a second article in the same magazine, even more speculatively, sees a new MG and Opel sports car being jointly developed with Opel based on an Opel GT concept model. Opel is quoted they have no plans for production, needing scale to support European sales. China and US distribution of modern MG (dare we say B) roadster and coupe models based on the same platform could certainly afford that scale. And GM does have that Kappa platform gathering dust that had underpinned the recent Saturn Sky, Pontiac Solstice and Opel GT (as well as an RHD Vauxhall version in the UK), the rumor mill does have fuel....
We can all dream, can't we.
Lane Museum and Donation
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.
Additional merchandise can be found at our Fieldhouse Club Store located at www.fieldhouse.com/amgba .
American MGB Association Grille Badge
American MGB Association grille badge, 3 color with chrome background, with mounting brackets. $45 plus $10 S&H. Available from the AMGBA by ordering on the website at http://orders.amgba.com or on the order form contained in each issue of the Octagon.
AMGBA key ring with logo. $5 includes shipping. Available from the AMGBA by ordering on the website at http://orders.amgba.com or on the order form contained in each issue of the Octagon.
A complete copy of all the Technical Sections, topics, questions and answers published in the OCTAGON from 1997 to 2007. Available on CD-ROM for PC or Mac and in printed version. It is indexed by category such as electrical, suspension, etc. for easy reference and accessibility and contains over 300 pages.
Available from the AMGBA by ordering on the website at http://orders.amgba.com or on the order form contained in each issue of the Octagon.
The CD version is $20 plus $5 S&H. It can be purchased as part of a 3 volume combo that contains Tech Sections Volume I & II in printed versions & Volume III on CD for $70 plus $10 S&H.
The printed version is $30 plus $5 S&H. It can be purchased as part of a 3 volume combo that contains all 3 printed Tech Sections Volume I, II & III for $80 plus $10 S&H.
Technical Sections Volume I and Technical Sections Volume II are also available from the AMGBA. See the Club Regalia/Store area of Each volume is indexed by subject for easy reference and each contains over 300 pages and over 600 articles, topics, questions and answers.
Octagon Issues on CD
You can have the last years of the Octagon since 1998 easily accessible on your computer. Indexed by issue. These publications, which are no longer in print contain numerous and diverse articles and photos. Enjoy all the entertaining and informative stories that you can no longer get anywhere else and at a reasonable price.
Available from the AMGBA by ordering on the website http://orders.amgba.com or by using the order form contained in each issue of the Octagon. $15 plus $5 S& H.
The Roadster Factory Will Pay Your Dues
The Roadster Factory will pay your American MGB Association Dues. Spend $850.00 at The Roadster Factory during the current year, retroactive to January 1st, and TRF will pay your dues or your next renewal. Sales amount is determined on a calendar year basis from January 1st through December 31st of the current year.
When your purchases reach $850.00 during the current year, call our sales line and speak to our salespeople. They will take your information and communicate your renewal to the AMGBA.
You must request a membership or a renewal when you are eligible based on your purchases.