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It's all about the MG's - The British Sports Car America Loved First

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  • February 20, 2022 8:58 AM | Scott Hardy (Administrator)

    Many of us live with regrets. “I never should have punched that cop!” “I never should have had that 10th beer!” And, of course, “I never should have sold that car!”

    Our own Ron Redding knows the last one well and has a story to tell about it:

    A customer recently brought me his 1967 MGB to get back on the road. He had owned the car for years but never actually driven it. This was your classic project car: the paint looked good from 10 foot, the motor and transmission were out of the car, the engine was disassembled and machined but never re-assembled, and it came with a basket of parts.

    He had enjoyed the car over the years by buying new parts. When he brought the car into my shop, the parts filled one entire side of the garage. So we started putting the pieces together. We rebuilt the dismantled engine. We ordered new seats, door panels and carpet. My customer decided he wanted a 5-speed transmission, so I ordered one of the new Miata transmission conversions Moss sells.

    Before the engine went back in, he decided he wanted to paint the car. After we stripped the paint from the car, we could see the car had a rough life. Floor panels need replacing, prior rear end damage was repaired poorly, prior rust repairs were sloppy. A patch panel even fell off when we removed a fender. And there was much more rust that would need to be repaired. Seeing all the damage, my customer decided he would find another car and put his collection of parts and rebuilt engine into it.

    He located a rust-free car in Arizona, purchased it, and had it shipped to my shop. The transport arrived at my shop, the rear ramp was lowered, and the car backed out. Wow, that car sure looked familiar! Turns out it was my old 1966 MGB I sold in January of 2012! This car was in the Octagon of Honor from the Dallas Club, was at MG 2006 in Gatlinberg, Tennessee and had won numerous awards from our club. With regrets, I sold the car to a man in New York and had contact with a couple people who had purchased it over the years.

    The car has a 5-speed Ford Sierra transmission and a supercharged engine which now has around 8,000 miles on it. We did compression checks on both engines and his rebuilt engine had slightly higher readings, so my customer decided to install the supercharger on his rebuilt engine and match it to the Miata 5-speed. We have transferred the new parts we previously installed on his 1967 car to his new car (my old car!) and we continue installing parts on the 1966. It will be a truly loaded MGB (power steering, tube shock conversion front & rear, rear disc brakes, high output heater unit, and much, much more).

    By the way - if anyone needs a low mileage 1800 engine or a Ford Sierra 5-speed transmission, my customer would like to sell them!




     











    Contributed by Ron Redding



  • February 17, 2022 6:32 PM | Scott Hardy (Administrator)

    Accounting provided by club member Roger Sykes:


  • February 07, 2022 10:36 AM | Bob Chalker (Administrator)

    Did you miss this month's club meeting and want to catch up.  Click HERE to see a video from the meeting.

  • February 03, 2022 12:34 PM | Scott Hardy (Administrator)

    HMGCC member Ian Hankin recently travelled back to the UK to visit family. While there, he had the opportunity to take his son to the British Motor Museum near Warwick. This museum is the source of the British Heritage Certificates club members can obtain for their cars. According to Ian, it is well worth the visit! Here are just a sample of some of the great cars in the museum:


    In the Beginning: The red car is the 1925 MG 'Old Number One'. While not the first MG car, it is a one-off special made for Cecil Kimber, Manager of Morris Garages. He referred to it as his first car, and is typical of the early MGs with special coachwork (in this case, Carbodies of Coventry) on a standard Morris chassis. The engine is an OHV Hotchkiss-type 4 cyl displacing 1496cc.





    Slice and Dice: Here is an example of a rotisserie restoration gone horribly wrong. At least the resultant display provides insight into the bowels of the heater cavity.




    Safety First: This ungainly beast is 'Safety Systems Vehicle number 1', built in 1972 for a safety conference in Washington DC. It features a roof mounted 120° panoramic rear view mirror and the ugliest rubber bumpers ever mounted on a vehicle. Also a sobriety testing computer, necessary in a car for which one would need a few drinks to be seen in.




     

    End of the Road: the last MGB off of the Abingdon assembly line. The 512, 880th MGB rolled out the door on October 22, 1980. This metallic pewter Limited Edition marked the end for Abingdon and represented a new low for management of the British motor industry.



    What Might Have Been: This 1989 MG DR2 prototype was developed by Rover while considering the possibility of reviving the MG marque. Based on a TVR, it used the Rover V8 engine later used in the MG RV8. This rear drive model was meant to capture the classic British roadster concept. Eventually the concept was shelved in favor of a more compact, mid-engine design that became the MGF.


    - Contributed by Scott Hardy. Photos by Ian Hankin.

  • February 03, 2022 11:00 AM | Scott Hardy (Administrator)

    The first driving event of 2022 got the year started in a big way. Organized by Bob Schroder with a big assist from Roger Sykes, the combination of good weather with the prospect of great food and viewing a large, private car collection proved irresistible to over 30 club members and guests.


    The event kicked off with a half dozen cars meeting at Willowbrook Mall at 11:00 am on Saturday, January 22. The sun shone brightly as the caravan set off for Lake Conroe via the back roads, led by Dwight Dawson. The MGs were joined by Jon Crocker and his diminutive 1955 Morris Minor, into which he managed to squeeze two additional guests who all became intimately acquainted on the hour-long drive.


    The caravan was joined by many other club members at Papa’s on the Lake, a large cabana scenically situated on the shores of Lake Conroe, where the signature muffulettas and plentiful bar food was enjoyed by all. Soaking in the views as well as their beverages, the group relaxed and chatted while getting ready for the highlight of the day.


    The club then travelled en masse to view the private collections, housed in two large buildings a short drive from the restaurant. The group was greeted by the owner, Larry Pizzino, who gave a brief introduction to his collections. Larry bought the land in the 1960s and placed the two buildings on the property. He built up the collections with the help of his sons, and they perform all the restoration themselves. The vehicles are either restored or presented in good original condition. His collection features about 90 mostly American automobiles and trucks.

    In addition to the vehicles, Larry has amassed a large assortment of collectibles and memorabilia, including gas pumps, toys, sports, tools, furniture, typewriters, juke boxes, lots of signs, and plenty of models and books. Most notable is the bar that came out of the famed Galvez Hotel in Galveston circa 1910-1920.

    Even though we had most of the afternoon, it was impossible to see and appreciate everything that went into this private collection that we were fortunate to have the chance to view. Larry was the perfect host and note that the HMGCC was the largest group he had hosted to view his warehouses. Our thanks to Larry and to Bob Schroeder for making the arrangements for the tour.

    If you would like to see a video from this event click HERE.

    • -       Contributed by Bob Schroeder, photos by Dwight Dawson


  • February 01, 2022 8:26 PM | Bob Chalker (Administrator)

    On Saturday, January 9th eight Houston MG Car Club members and a couple guests gathered at Rich Colwell’s house for a tech session on replacing the differential in an MGA.  One of the guests was Mike Rouse, a member of the local Triumph club and very, let me say it again, very knowledgeable about British car differentials.  He added much to the discussion and knowledge exchange.

    Following a few stories about the how and why of Rich’s desire to replace the differential in one of his two MGA’s, the work and teaching began.  But first let me share Rich’s story.  A while back he and Pete Sandy where on a drive where Pete’s MGA was cruising along at 70 MPH at about 3500 RPM, while Rich’s MGA was working hard at 4300 to 4400 RPM.  The engines in our MG’s are more than capable of handling the higher RPM’s but there is no doubt Pete was having a much more enjoyable/quieter ride.  After discussing with Pete why his car was cruising along so comfortably, Rich decided to make the swap, replacing his original 4.3:1 differential with a 3.9:1.  About 5 years ago, Rich bought a 3.9:1 diff. from Dave Griffiths (another HMGCC member).  It could have been an easy substitution, but the 3.9:1s' "sun gears" had 10 splines on them (for 1500 MGA), while Rich's MGA half axles had 25 splines (late 1600 MGA).  Thus, the sun gears, planet gears, and planet gear shaft from the 4.3:1 diff. (along with new bearings and thrust washers) were installed into the 3.9:1 pumpkin.  Saturday was the day to make the swap.

    So what did I learn on Saturday.

    1. That a differential is often called a pumpkin. (I suppose it is because it looks like one.)
    2. Our LBC’s are not only tough machines, all things considered they are pretty simple in design.
    3. A 1000th of an inch matters.
    4. Having the right tool can make all the difference.  And Rich has many, many tools. His garage is very well equipped, even with very unique and custom made tools he has had for years.  
    5. Also, Rich is now the keeper of the Club’s tool loan program.  One of the great benefits of membership is the ability to get your hands on those specialized tools.  For more information click HERE.
    6. A great garage with plenty of room to work is a blessing.
    7. There is a tremendous amount of knowledge in our club.  And the axiom that two minds are better than one is really true (Thanks again to Mike Rouse).
    8. If you have a problem with your MG or are thinking about an upgrade, don’t hesitate to ask fellow club members.  They are more than willing to share their knowledge and lessons learned.
    9. That said, it is always good to have an expert on hand who has years and years of experience.  I think Mike Rouse has made it his life mission to learn everything there is to know about the differentials of LBC’s.  His expertise was invaluable.  It also kept Rich from making mistakes.
    10. Having a shop manual and the knowledge to do the work is very different than actually being able to do the work.  Perhaps because it is written in British instead of English.  As often occurs, there is both art and science to making an MG hum.  
    11. Rich had to fabricate a special tool to tighten up/torque the flange nut to the input shaft.  It was comprised of two1-1/2" long 5/16" bolts welded to 1/2 angle iron.  With the bolts inserted into 2 of the flanges 4 holes, it provided a method of holding the shaft in one position while torqueing.  The car is now back on the road, and much quieter at freeway speeds.
    12. Rebuilding a differential properly takes up to 40 man hours.
    13. If the differential goes on my car, I am sending it to an expert to have the work done. I have pretty much determined that is the case for anything in the powertrain of the car.  Too easy for me to screw it up.

    Oh yea, one more bonus learning… MG owner’s really are the friendliest folks on the planet.  If you own an MG, actually even if you don’t but would like to, and you aren’t a member of the Club what are you waiting for?  And to those of you who haven’t renewed for 2022 don’t miss out, your membership will expire at the end of February.  

    To watch a video of this and our other tech sessions click HERE

    UPDATE From Rich: The modification works well.  We went out for a nice drive today. In fourth gear I am at 3800 rpm versus 4450 or so with the old diff.  While I feel a loss of acceleration in 2nd gear, it is easily overcome by higher revs.  For Houston roads, it is a nice trade off.  While at 4450 rpm, i know that i was not pushing the car, the new feeling is better, and i think on long trips will be more relaxing.

    PS:  my tool for torqueing down the diff. input flange nut, I topped out at 150 ft.-lbs., bending the tool.  But was able to achieve 10 in.-lbs unloaded, not the 12 asked for, but I am not going to worry about it.  At that level, it may be in the noise


  • January 28, 2022 1:44 PM | Scott Hardy (Administrator)

    The Texas Twisted Sisters Tour – the Best Sports Car Drive You Will Make This Year!

    If you bought your LBC to enjoy driving, you will not want to miss the Texas Twisted Sisters Tour (TTST), which we guarantee will be the best drive you will do this year (if you don’t leave Texas)! This memorable drive will take place April 8 to April 10, and in addition to the fabulous twisty roads, it features a great base hotel, excellent food, vintage motorcycles, and a bonus trip to Fredericksburg.

    What are the Twisted Sisters?

    The Texas Twisted Sisters are a trio of rural roads traversing some of the best scenery in Hill Country. Legendary in the motorcycle community, the confluence of Ranch Roads 335, 336 and 337 follows canyons and jagged hills and features twisted curves with a conspicuous lack of guardrails. The route crosses and follows several dry washes, creeks and rivers, including the Nueces River and Hackberry Creek. Altogether, the Sisters total over 113 miles of the best driving roads in Texas.

    Tell me about the TTST!

    The west Hill Country location of the tour makes the TTST best enjoyed by a multi-day weekend drive. The host hotel for the drive will be the Y.O. Ranch Hotel, a former location for the GOF. A block of rooms has been reserved with the possibility of adding more. The hotel features a ranch theme, a western saloon, and a famed steakhouse restaurant. Conveniently located off Hwy 16 near I-10, the Y.O. Ranch Hotel is 3:15 from Buc-ee’s in Katy and 2:15 from downtown Georgetown.

    We will gather at the hotel on Friday night and will meet for a driver's meeting at 8:00 p.m. at the Branding Iron Restaurant. Suitably refreshed, we will retire early and be ready to hit the road at 8:00 a.m. in the morning. Please have a full tank of gas because the Saturday drive will cover 225 miles.

    Turning south on Hwy 16, we will follow a surprisingly entertaining road to the small town of Medina, where we will join the first sister, RR 337, which we will follow over green rolling hills toward Vanderpool. We take a jog in the road and after an hour of driving we reach our first rest stop, the Lost Maples Country Store and Campground.

    From Lost Maples, we will travel 45 mins west to our next stop. On RR 337 we come across the first spectacular vistas of the day as we drive over ridges that afford amazing views. Our route continues through Leakey to Camp Wood, where we have our second rest at the Shamrock gas station. We will also take a short detour to get a scenic group photo shot on the banks of the Nueces River.

    Heading north on Hwy 55, we soon reach the middle sister, RR 335. This scenic road follows rivers and creeks as it winds its way north. Some of the best swimming holes in Texas are nearby in the Nueces River. After another 45 mins of driving, we will reach our third stop at the junction of RR 355 and Hwy 41.

    From the highway junction we get a chance to blow the carbon out of the cars as we head east on Hwy 41. We meet up with the final sister, RR 336, at the 13 mile mark. Arguably saving the best for last, be prepared for a work-out flailing your steering wheel as the road zigs and zags south through ranching country. Elevation changes and switchbacks are also a feature, so your leg will be well acquainted with your brake pedal. After 50 mins of driving pleasure, we will arrive back in Leakey and assemble at the Bent Rim Grill for lunch.

    The Bent Rim Grill caters to the motorcycle clubs that come in droves to experience the route you have just completed. They are accustomed to serving groups, so we can rest, relax, and unwind from our adventurous morning on the road. The Frio Canyon Motorcycle Shop adjacent to the restaurant has a large selection of Twisted Sisters souvenirs. If you are low on fuel, this is your best opportunity to top off the tank.

    When we have sufficiently recovered, we will head east on RR 337, re-visiting the road but headed eastbound, which presents equally impressive but totally different vistas. We will head to our next stop, the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum, which is about a 30 min drive. Located just south of the fabulous Lost Maples State Park, the museum features an eclectic collection of vintage motorcycles and gives us a chance to stretch our legs as we peruse the two wheeled vehicles.

    Our last leg of the trip takes about 50 mins to drive and has us heading north past Lost Maples State Park on Hwy 139. We turn right on Hwy 39, which features several picturesque river crossings as we wind our way back to Kerrville. Our final stop before dinner is the Southern Sky Music Café, situated nicely between the shores of Lake Old Ingram and the eccentric Stonehenge II, one of the quirkiest Texas attractions. At Southern Sky we can enjoy live music or sit out on the banks of the lake, putting to rest the miles we have traveled.

    After refreshing ourselves, we will have time to refuel and relax at the hotel before heading out for dinner at 6:30 p.m. Dinner will be held at the Lakehouse Restaurant in Kerrville on the shores of Nimitz Lake. Enjoy some fine Hill Country cuisine while experiencing the sun setting over the lake. If you can manage desert, you will be completely satiated before we head back to the ranch. After dinner drinks on the grounds of the Y.O. Ranch are a distinct possibility

    Sunday morning those who wish will gather for brunch at 8:30 a.m. The itinerary on Sunday is casual, and those who wish to depart may do so at any time. Those who are interested can head up Hwy 16 to Fredericksburg for some shopping and sightseeing, and maybe a winery or two before heading for home.

    Tour Notes

    • The TTST is a long and physical drive. Please make sure your car is in top condition and all the usual checks are performed before doing this drive.
    • Bring extra tools and consumables such as fan belts and fuel pumps if you have them. These roads are sparsely populated and far from any services.
    • While all roads on this tour are paved, do not expect perfectly smooth asphalt and road conditions. Your car may get wet crossing a stream.
    • Caravanning from Houston, Austin and/or Dallas is encouraged. We will let participants know who is coming from their area to assist in coordinating travel.
    • We will observe the speed limits, but if you have trouble keeping up with the pace, please bring your concerns to the attention of the tour organizers.
    • A mandatory drivers meeting will be held after the dinner Friday night to discuss safety and logistics.
    • Please bring FRS radios if you have them to aid with communication among the participants.
    • Ethanol-free gas is available at Mcbryde Oil Co, 220 Mcfarland Dr, Kerrville TX.
    • Please email, text or phone all questions to Scott Hardy, scott.b.hardy@gmail.com, 832-613-3664.

    Hotel Information

    We have reserved a block of rooms at the Y.O. Ranch Hotel, a former location for the GOF. The reduced room rate for the drive is $129. A link to reserve a room at the group rate is given below, or you may call the hotel directly to reserve using the group code. The rooms will be available at the group rate until noon on March 8, 2022, and additional rooms can be made available until the deadline. After March 8 the group rate will not be available and rooms will be subject to availability, so please book your stay before the deadline.

    Link for reservations: https://res.windsurfercrs.com/ibe/details.aspx?propertyid=16586&nights=1&checkin=04/08/2022&group=HOUSTO0422

    Reservations by phone: 877-967-3767     Reservation code: HOUSTO0422


  • January 13, 2022 1:50 PM | Scott Hardy (Administrator)

    Most HMGCC members love their LBCs, but few of them have any truly enticing history or provenance. But one of our members once owned a car with both historical significance and celebrity connections. Ray Holtzapple , who many of us regard warmly for his large MG collection and his willingness to share his encyclopedic knowledge with the rest of us, once restored a car with a storied past. Please click on the link below to see the story of his 1952 Allard J2 and the part that Ray played in its history.

    https://mecumgallery.com/allard-j2-roadster


    Photo from Mecum gallery

  • January 07, 2022 4:50 PM | Mike Woodward (Administrator)

    Thanks to Greg as always for this report:


  • January 07, 2022 4:48 PM | Mike Woodward (Administrator)

    As always thanks to Greg for this report:


Contact Us:  HoustonMGCarClub@gmail.com


Houston MG Car Club

PO Box 40711

Houston, TX   77240. 


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