Areas of Interest
By Scott Bartels
Moss Motoring Issue 3, 2015
I have insider information about the first days of some of these cars and it isn’t all pretty. Don’t get me wrong, I love British cars. I go to all the car shows I can within a 100-mile radius of Columbus, Ohio. To pay for college in the early 1970s, I worked as a lot boy at Felmer Imports, a small dealership in Waterloo, Iowa. My job was to prepare the new cars that came in. MGs arrived on small transports. All bright work was covered in what I can only describe as “white athletic tape.” The tops were covered with a heavy, clear plastic and then the entire car was sprayed with a brownish protectorate that resembled shellac. All this care protected the cars during overseas shipment, but demanded a lot of prep work.
First thing I would do was hot pressure wash off what grime I could. Usually the water just rolled off the car like it was a duck’s back. Next I would spray the car with a solvent solution—something like paint thinner, letting this soak in overnight. We experimented with different solvents until we found one that took off the shellac but didn’t eat the paint. I’m sure every dealer had a similar experience. The solution would lift the top layer of tape off the bright work, but would leave a nasty, sticky residue that could only be removed with lacquer thinner and 0000 steel wool (yes, I had to be very careful not to splash it on the paint). The entire car could now be rubbed down with a wool wash mitt, commercial detergent, steaming hot water and a lot of rubbing. Once all this was complete, I could remove the plastic from the top, power-buff the paint with fine-cut rubbing compound, then two coats of wax.
When the outside was complete, I would attack the interior. All carpeting was in a plastic bag in the boot. This was an easy install and took a matter of minutes. No MG came with a radio or antenna. These and luggage racks were dealer add-ons. So if you ever wondered why your radio antenna is in one place on your car and another on your friend’s, blame the set-up guy. And if your luggage rack is centered perfect, you got to give him credit.
Belcamp, Maryland, was the Point of Entrance for all our British Leyland products. Interestingly, the Jaguars did not have all the protective stuff, while the MGs and Triumphs did. When I asked the Port Authority Dock Supervisor, who was as friendly as a junkyard dog, why the difference? I was informed Jags traveled below deck while the trash (his words) sat on deck exposed to the saltwater.
You will see a new ad for this MG on the Classified page. But I thought regular visitors should see the long, uncut version too. You can tell your MG-envy friends about it.
For your consideration is a lively 1979 MGB MkIV “Sebring” style convertible – a perfect, usable classic car for taking your top off and having some fun in the sun. Easy to operate and maintain, this MG provides a great experience for the driving enthusiast and/or electrical engineer. 4-speed with the highly sought after – and highly practical – factory electronic overdrive (effectively a 5-speed transmission), light, lithe suspension and direct throttle response gives the driver a direct connection to the road. The same steering was used for Carroll Shelby’s Cobras and Daytona Coupes. This car was made for the driving enthusiast! This particular car has enjoyed several enhancements and upgrades, many of which are listed here:
– No electrical issues
– Lightweight aluminium wheels
– DGV downdraft Weber carb
– New carpet throughout interior
– New trunk carpeting
– AAA familiar with car & where to attach tow hook
– Christie’s familiar with car & what kind of beer it likes
– Engine and Transmission rebuilt 2007
– New cooling system w. stainless steel hoses
– Radio delete
– Dead cat hole is dead-cat-free
– New convertible top with zipper rear window
– 5-pt racing harness, driver & passenger seats
– Constant thumbs-up from other drivers, pedestrians
– Sundry spares/minor parts (all fit within 1 box)
– Small paint crack near front of bonnet/hood
– Paint flaked on bottom front valance
– Potholes on Houston streets
– Radio antennae hole visible
– Crack on dash cover, driver side mirror
– Everyone will ask “what year is it” then ask “what is it?”
– No interior door panels (but expensive top rails and door pulls are included)
– Original factory seats show 37 years of wear, but L’Oreal has some products that can remove wrinkles and wipe away the years.
Maintenance is very easy on this car – just make an annual trip to Skip or Ron – and parts can be sourced affordably. This MGB is a great platform to take vintage racing, or just enjoy the occasional track day and weekend drive in the country. It handles rush hour traffic admirably and runs on the highway with little effort. Engine has rarely been above 3,000 rpm. Currently gets driven 1-2 times weekly, to maintain seals, keep everything lubricated, and get vitamin D. This particular MGB was the subject of a Dave Renner original painting, and thus will be a future Smithsonian exhibit (original painting not for sale).
Car is sold with “1-minute, 1-mile (whichever comes first)” full coverage warranty. 3rd Owner parting ways after 15 years because of expanding family.
HMGCC Member-Only price of $8,500
A neighborhood car show, just for fun on a sunny Saturday morning in January…
Alongside other classic cars and a few custom vehicles, MG’s were shown by David and Linda Renner, Greg Fleischer, John and Nancy Youens, Dwight and Candy Dawson. The annual event is arranged by Adolf Hoepfl and Son Garage on North Shepard. They offer this each year on the last Saturday of January. All profits go to Camp Hope for veterans with PTSD. The Renners won an Honorable Mention award with their newly restored 1968 MGB-GT.
We started the day with a touring parade down Heights Boulevard and back to the garage.
Ron Redding provided this information about action on the West Side:
The West Enders Car Club gathers every Saturday morning at 8 am in Fulshear for a coffee and cars type event. They meet at the Snowflake Donut shop on Hwy 1093 at Bois D’Arc. There are various cars on display from Hot Rods to British Classics to Italian exotics. Membership isn’t required to attend but is available. There are currently 3 HMGCC members who also belong to that club.
For additional information contact Ron Redding at 281-346-2417.
Dave Renner provided this link to a site that every sports car aficionado will enjoy.
Just don’t allow the drool to reach your keyboard.
Social MG is the name we chose for a new Page you can access via the black menu block at the top of our Home page. When you go there, you can peruse the App called Groupto.me. Once you register, you will be able to post photos and text on a site (a bit like Facebook) that is exclusive to our club. The App also supports access by Smartphone so you can capture and share MG stuff on the road anywhere. This may not be for everyone but it will be fun and promote connections/interactions within our group. Please take a look.
Click on the 3 bar dropdown menu at the top of the first page to see a place to Register.
In 1971, a group of MG enthusiasts in Houston, worked together to create a vintage car club. On Saturday, April 30, the current members of the club will gather to celebrate the act of that small group, and to continue the pledge made to honor the MG marque and to keep it thriving in the Houston area and across Texas. Among the attendees will likely be Frank Glass, Dean Kring and Joe Lopez. This trio was part of that founding group in 1971. Our Founder, Nick Nichols, passed away some years ago.
In the morning just before the 45th party, the club will enjoy another Spring Thing; this MG-only informal show, will be staged at the same venue as the banquet. Falcon Point Country Club is very near the Katy Mills Mall near I-10 and the Grand Parkway. A map will be provided as we get closer to April.
For a printable registration form, just click on the link below.
President Gordon Smith provided a club theme for 2015…MUSIC & MOVIES. Our December Christmas Party concluded the year with that theme as the photos will confirm. The holiday affair at Christie’s was unlike any other and a really fun time.
Thanks Greg Fleischer for all the great pics.
As discussed in our January meeting, a number of Members will be traveling to Kentucky in June for MG2016. This event will likely be the largest MG gathering in the U.S. for years to come. Watch this video to get started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlX4bd_wP24
To check it out further and to register, go to:
We are posting this article at the suggestion of Member Dave Renner.
Anyone can order a free sample issue of the magazine at www.ClassicMotorsports.com