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The Michigan Chapter of NAMGAR promised the biggest MGA party in the world. If you were there, you can decide for yourself. If you were not there, we can only say that on Friday morning, the Rowdies had made many new friends, and seen hundreds of smiling faces as they drove their rain-soaked cars out of the parking lot. Did I mention RAIN, well this is the host committee's worst nightmare. Due to the three days of thunderstorms, the tours to area antique theme villages, state museum, and children's museum, and parking lot activities were curtailed. The Thursday car show began with bumper deep water in some parts of the parking lot. But as actor Bill Murray said in a movie IT JUST DOESN'T MATTER .
The hospitality room was open and active, the old British promotional M.G. videos were entertaining, the sock hop went for hours with a full dance floor for every song. In other words, the people were there to have fun, and were not to be denied. The hotel reported seven MGAs in the parking lot a day before registration even opened. The event hosted 111 first-timers and 250 regulars. The NAMGAR board and staff breakfast on Wednesday morning gave all the NAMGAR volunteers a chance to meet and get to know each other a little bit better.
The Rowdies front end alignment clinic on Wednesday morning gave many M.G. owners a chance to have the caster and camber measured, in order to determine if their MGA met the factory specifications. This was accomplished with the club's computerised alignment tool, which generated a great deal of interest. The vendor turnout was excellent, and many of the GT attendees took advantage of the indoor vendor area to talk to the vendors and buy that special part for their car. Our thanks to the vendors that donated door prizes, helped with the activities, and helped with the technical sessions. We even had the US Post Office in a booth, as we had a temporary post office with an MGA STATION stamp cancellation.
The technical sessions seemed to be a big hit with the attendees, and we may have had a first, with lady Rowdie Kathy Bertolini instructing the transmission rebuild clinic. The 50s car cruise to the Holt A&W seemed headed for disaster as the skies opened up yet again. However if you cannot take the people to the cruise, you bring the cruise to the people. On very short notice, the entire event was moved to the parking lot activities tent. Soon the grills were sizzling, and the DJ was spinning 50s tunes. Door prizes, good food, A&W Root Beer, dash plaques, and enthusiastic GT attendees were all that was needed to make this event a success. We even got the DJ into an MGA and gave him a ride up and down the main drag.
Wednesday evening had the 50s theme dance.
Thursday (day three) saw 136 cars in the car show, 12 entries in the craft show, and three model cars in the model car show. Mother Nature gave us a little break, which allowed the attendees to look at the cars. There were many well-prepared cars and many with character marks. Some were faithful to the factory original specification, and some showed individual owner taste . The nice thing about an MGA is that each and every one has earned a spot in the car show, regardless of condition.
The early afternoon was for the pit stop competition and the piston toss competition. The Rowdies had a Mark II chassis with gas tank and engine set up for a team of three members to change four tyres, four spark plugs, and add simulated gasoline against the clock. The piston toss was a game similar to horse shoes. Mother nature intervened, and the competitions and the self-guided tours of the greater Lansing area were put on hold. The other afternoon activity was a very interesting and detailed seminar by Malcolm Gammons on the preparation of an MGA Coupe for the La Carrera Panamerica. Those in attendance were impressed with the level of preparation required to compete in this event.
This year, the awards were handed out at an awards table, rather than at the podium. A survey at the end of the evening determined that this method, which probably shortened the process by 30 minutes was a BIG hit. In addition to the car award winners, other notable participants were: Len Gilbert of Ontario, Canada, earliest MGA; and Peter Alberda of Zeeland, MI in his 1962 newest MGA. The winner of the free lodging early bird drawing was Terry King of Fairfax, Virginia. The winner of the craft competition was Robert Carhone of Clay, New York with a Sweater decorated with an MGA. The winner of the model car award was Tom Newton of Dearborn, Michigan with his scale model MGA in Plum Crazy colours.
Day four was Friday: The usual coffee and doughnuts were complimented by genuine English scones. Many had never tasted scones before and enjoyed this opportunity to try them. Our thanks to Proper English Products Ltd. Of Dansville Michigan for the donation. If you missed the opportunity to try these, contact the company at 1-800-488-0055. As the weather had by then improved, many participants took advantage of the Jim Neal Bridges of Ionia County tour. This tour took participants to the University Motors event via a route of old steel truss and wooden covered bridges, along with brick paved streets. The tour was a fittin' end to GT-20. I and the Michigan Rowdies would like to thank you for attending our event, as it would not have been a party without YOU.