MG Car Club

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

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The Roars

  • April 25, 2020 1:15 PM | Mike Woodward (Administrator)

    Club gatherings via  http://zoom.us continue to be successful and well-attended.  Our last event was an open tech session that included discussion on carburetors, brake systems, how to increase horsepower on an MGB and more.

    A link to the session is here : https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/play/vJMpc-37qmk3HYHDuASDBP5-W9S4LP-s1SEbqaYLzBnhVSQHYQX1ZrQSMLHVAI1WHlmdTj6Ubfu6qOS9

    The next event is our MG Club Virtual Monthly Meeting for May.

    Time: May 2, 2020 10:00 AM Central Time (US and Canada)

    To participate just obtain a free account at http://zoom.us and then log on to Zoom using the meeting ID and password that will be emailed to you if you are on the club’s email list.

    – If you want to be added to the club's email list, email us at  mailto:houstonmgcarclub@gmail.com

      Zoom is easy but if you would like to learn more about how to Zoom in, you can contact Mike Woodward or Dwight Dawson.

    Safety fast!


  • April 24, 2020 2:52 PM | Mike Woodward (Administrator)

    The winner of week 5 is….

                                          Mike Woodward!

    Why Do I Have Such Poor Acceleration?

    Corona Competitionentry, week 5

    By Mike Woodward

    Several years ago I sold my MGTD trailer queen and replaced it with my current 1980 MGBLE, which was and is a driver’s car as opposed to a concours car. Upon opening the bonnet (‘hood’ for you Colonials), I noticed that the distributor body was damaged and that one of the clips that is supposed to hold the distributor cap in place was missing. An enterprising previous owner had solved this problem with a bungee cord! Not wanting to have my driver’s car stranded on the side of the road with a failed bungee cord, I elected to replace the distributor with a complete brand new distributor from Pertronix.

    I installed the new distributor and then set the timing at idle, per the book, with my conventional timing light; turned the key, and it started right up and idled perfectly. I then proceeded to drive the car all over Texas and it ran smoothly with no obvious problems.

    Three years later, with the help of club member Dwight Dawson, I went to Weatherford, Texas to trailer home (dare I say) a 1979 Triumph Spitfire that was in need of some serious TLC. Several months after that, the Triumph was ready for the road and so I took it for a spin. I noticed immediately that this car accelerated far quicker than the MGBLE, despite only having a 1500cc engine instead of the 1800 cc in the MG. It appeared something may not be quite right with the MG.

    A couple of weeks later I attended a tech session put on by club member Ron Redding. On the way to Ron’s shop I was following six other MGBs, all of whom left me in the dust. Something was definitely wrong with my MGB!!!

    I started to check what could be the cause of the problem and noticed that when the engine speed increased, the ignition timing did not alter. I realized that for 3-1/2 years I had been driving a car with a non-functioning centrifugal advance mechanism in the distributor. By this time the warranty on the Pertronix was well out of date. I elected to buy a used 25D distributor on eBay and install an Accuspark electronic module in it, thereby having the reliability of modern electronics but for a total parts cost of $65 instead of the $200 I had paid for the Pertronix.

    Next came the question as to whether the centrifugal advance on the replacement unit was working, and also what amount of advance I was getting at full engine speed. Enter the setback timing light, which is now in the arsenal of the HMGCC loaner tool program and is pictured here.

    I am happy to report that the MG now out-accelerates my Spitfire, albeit only by 0.5 seconds in the run up from 0-60 mph!

  • April 22, 2020 2:31 PM | Mike Woodward (Administrator)

    This entry is our first international contribution from a longtime friend of the Renners and the HMGCC. Composed especially for this time…


    Corona Competitionentry, week 5

    By Angus Jamieson, Inverness, Scotland

    If you have to buy a British Car

    The Rolls Royce is the nicest

    But the old MG is the best by far

    For such a time of crisis.

    We could buy a flashy vehicle

    So that others would admire us

    But the MG is a miracle

    That deters Corona Virus.


    A mask might be protective

    Or some other PPE

    But there’s nothing as effective

    As an MGBGT.

    It’s the perfect safe environment

    A compact sterile bubble

    That keeps those in retirement

    From every kind of trouble.


    I asked the guy at AVIS

    Why he rented MGBs

    And the reason that he gave us

    Was very plain to see,

    “The reason people hire us

    Is there’s very little room

    And the poor Corona Virus

    Can’t survive the petrol fumes.”


    When it comes to social distancing

    No matter where you are

    With the guidelines there’s consistency

    By staying in your car.

    You can tell police inquisitors

    That your wife and you complied

    For there’s no room left for visitors

    By the time you’re both inside.


    If your state has driving limits

    And you can’t exceed your quota

    In an MGB in minutes

    You could drive to North Dakota.

    And if the cops seek vengeance

    (You’re the type they keep their eyes on)

    By the time they start their engines

    You’ll be over the horizon.


    So you took a good decision

    When you bought a small MG

    Though you’re subject to derision

    From the ones that cannot see

    That as they sit there in their Cadillac

    All elegant and posh

    That crowd of passengers in the back

    Are among the great unwashed.


  • April 16, 2020 5:53 PM | Mike Woodward (Administrator)

    Week 4’s winner is….

                                  Ed Rosenquist


    Corona Competitionentry, week 4

    By Ed Rosenquist 

    This story begins in 1969 when I was transferred from St. Louis to New York City. Kaye and I found home in Connecticut and I planned to commute to the City on the old New Haven Railroad. This required Kaye, along with our one year old son, to drive me to the train station in our only car every morning and then pick me up in the evening. This was especially trying since, in the evening, the train could be one to two hours late with no notification. The train station closed in the afternoon and cell phones didn’t exist then. It quickly become apparent that we had to get a second car. As the trip was only three miles and I had always wanted an MG TF, that was going to be my station car.

    I found a TF in New Jersey for $1100. The car had been driven hard and left outside under a tarp. It was in bad shape and the lights were not in good working order. After spending most of a weekend getting the lights working, Kaye took the car to the state inspection station to get it registered. I asked her to stop about a block before the station and check that the lights were still working. If a light was stubborn, she was to just tap on the fender and it would come on. Of course she didn’t do that, but instead just pulled into the station and, when one of the lights was out, asked the inspector to tap the fender. Much to my surprise he did tap on the fender, the lights all came on and the inspector passed the car with the advice, “Have your husband work on this car.” This was my wife’s first frustration with the TF and not the last.

    A couple of weeks later after tracking down most of the TF’s problems, we went on a Sunday afternoon drive. The car ran out of gas on the Merritt Parkway. Someone gave me a ride to a gas station and, when I returned with a can of gas, I found Kaye and our son sitting on a hill next to the very busy Parkway, looking perturbed. Over the next two years living in Connecticut there were many similar incidents, but they happened at the train station and fortunately didn’t involve Kaye. A typical comment from commuters was, “I owned one of those damn cars. Let me let help you get on the road.”

    The story doesn’t end in Connecticut. In 1970 I was transferred to Houston, where I later joined the Houston MG Car Club, and then in 1973 returned to St. Louis. In Houston I was in a car pool and the TF was driven only on weekends. Back in St. Louis, however, I needed to drive our only reliable car to work since it was 45 miles from home. And here is where Kaye and the TF created more fond memories. We now had two children and Kaye was eight months pregnant. One day she needed go to the grocery store so she piled the two kids into the TF. After shopping, the car wouldn’t start. She called me at work and, knowing the battery terminals were a little corroded, I suggested she take off a shoe and tap the terminals. You can imagine her response, and some kind soul offered her a ride home. When I got home we retrieved the car from the grocery store parking lot. Tapping on the terminals did get the car started.

    Two weeks later Kaye got adventurous again, piled the kids back into the car and went off to the grocery store. Once again, the car would not start after shopping. This time when she described the problem to me over the phone, I realized the starter wouldn’t engage. Even though the TF was parked on a hill, she declined to start the car by rolling it down the hill. That weekend we went out and bought a second reliable car.

    From this you can understand how the poor little TF got its nickname DAMN IT. The story doesn’t end here. A few weeks later Kaye parked the TF out in the driveway and put a FOR SALE sign on the windshield. Despite living on a quiet street, within a couple of hours someone stopped to inquire about the car. Kaye was totally baffled that anyone would be interested in DAMN IT.

    Today we still own that same car, and it has gone through two total restorations.

  • April 12, 2020 3:13 PM | Bob Chalker (Administrator)

    The 2020 Houston MG Car Club Spring Thing, originally scheduled for April 18th, has been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.  All registered attendees have been contacted by email to make arrangements for receiving a refund or to donate the registration fee to the club to support future events and activities.  

  • April 12, 2020 3:00 PM | Mike Woodward (Administrator)
    Just think of the hours of fun, you too can have, with your own Renner cartoon.  All it takes is a winning article in the Covid-19 Roars competition.  

    Artwork courtesy of Dave Renner and Dwight Dawson.

    Safety fast!


  • April 10, 2020 6:37 AM | Mike Woodward (Administrator)

    This week’s winner is….

                                         Dwight Dawson!

    No Cure for the LBC Bug

    Corona Competition entry, week 3

    By Dwight Dawson

    Like most everyone else in Covid America today, I have lots of time to recall important moments from my past.

    When I was 20, my future father-in-law, the car dealer, gave me an opportunity to “test drive” one of his trade-ins, with his daughter as a ride-along. It was the low-slung Austin Healey blue and white that we took out. The most memorable moment was at a road-side eatery not far from home, where I managed get the sleek roadster high-centered in the parking lot. Fortunately, all I had to do was step out of the car to un-weight it and roll it a few feet. A nice ride, but what did I know..?  I never owned a car until I was 21. I certainly could not afford this one.

    My next exposure to little British sports cars was at the end of Christmas break in 1968 as we traveled the 400 miles east back to Washington State University. On the top of Snoqualmie Pass in Washington State, it was snowing but the road was just messy flying road-slush. Passing on our left in the fast lane was a yellow sportster with the TOP DOWN. The clowns in the two-seater were having a GREAT time by appearances.  The car was an MGB. On that same mountain pass just a few weeks earlier I also had been attracted to a new Lotus in the ski area car park.

    Back on campus, a fraternity brother had a late model Jaguar XKE. When he showed me its speed on the straight road between Moscow, Idaho and Washington, I was once again smitten. At a senior year event on the Snake River in May, another fraternity brother introduced me to the 8 cylinders of his Sunbeam Tiger. Now I was a goner. 

    I graduated in 1969 and started my first career position in Casper, Wyoming. In August I married my co-pilot Merry Candace. While we had been pleased with our noisy yellow 1969 Toyota Corona with special wheels, 4 speed on the floor and a wood trim steering wheel, another temptation emerged. The father-in-law recognized that his daughter and I had jobs and both needed transportation. After a visit to our home town, we drove a very fun, bright red 1967 Triumph Spitfire from the dealership on Fidalgo Island in Washington to windy Casper, Wyoming. “Dad” insisted on a roll-bar, and who could argue? With the wires on the Spitfire, I learned quickly about the importance of keeping the wheel nuts tight, and what happens to hub splines if you get lazy. A wheel did not leave the car, but it could have.

    A year later, I accepted a new job in Columbus, Ohio. Both the Toyota and the Triumph made the trip comfortably in the moving van. While we were still apartment-dwellers, the Spitfire started making worrisome noises in its back end. Young and stupid, we sold a perfectly good sports car because of a simple worn u-joint.  After several months of regret, a new possibility emerged. Candy worked with a salesman at Borg-Warner who had purchased a beautiful 1973 Blaze MGB. She told him that if he ever wanted to sell it, we wanted it. A year later in 1974, the original MGB owner got a company car and we took over his monthly payments for the Blaze. Wheee. Life has never been the same.

    After household moves to Montana and Oklahoma, we again loaded the MGB in our last moving van for its trip to Houston, Texas in 1985. We finally became members of the Houston MG Club in 1992. In our first driving event, a gimmick rally run by current members Wayne and Dixie Moore, we won Third Place and it was another “hook” for MG-ness. At one point there were three Dawson MGBs on our driveway, including one that narrowly survived a high school parking lot. 

    So, let there be no doubt. Once you have been bitten by the Little British Car bug, you can never go back. I’d like to hear your stories.

  • April 08, 2020 3:57 PM | Dwight Dawson (Administrator)

    There has been talk about an encore road tour to Big Bend National Park.  

    Here is a look at a couple of things that happened during that event in 1994. 


  • April 06, 2020 6:13 PM | Mike Woodward (Administrator)

    Rallye Navigating Made Easy

    Corona Competition entry, week 3

    by Wayne Hardy

    Way back in 2008, we took our little 1958 MG ZB Magnette sedan out to Waco, TX for the TMGR fall GOF. I hadn’t been to Waco in 30 years or more, so I was really looking forward to the event. A special treat for this outing was that Ms. Marilyn Lane, my car’s second owner would be joining us for the event. Ms. Lane’s father had been the original owner of this car. He purchased it new while stationed in England in the Navy, with every intention of bringing it back to the states after his tour there, hence the left-hand drive layout. After 10 years and 100,000 miles of ownership, her father had given her the car, as she always loved it, and it continued in her ownership for another 12 years. So the first 22 years of ownership of this little car were well accounted for. Marilyn even provided me with a couple of pictures from the day the car was purchased new, and her father picked up her and her sisters at school in England. So this was to be a somewhat special outing for our little car.

    Among the planned GOF events was a self-timed and checked rallye on Friday afternoon—run it when you wish, you keep track of your times and identify landmarks as required to prove you ran the course, and time closest to the set time wins. Now, my wife can be a good road navigator when she wants to, having won trophies at previous GOFs navigating for Wayne Kube and Talley Bell in different outings. She was proud of this fact, too. This ”trophy winning” navigator decided that we needed to do the Friday driving event in order to show our out-of-state visitor some central Texas scenery, and to show off her navigating skills and let Marilyn enjoy her little car again.

    Off we went, with me going exactly where the navigator said to go (the only way it works). Even though I had my doubts about some of the route, I kept being assured that we were under the guidance of a “Prize Winning Navigator,” so we pressed on with our nice little drive along the river on the edge of town. “Turn left, turn left,” said the navigator suddenly, even though I was looking at a sign that said this little side road goes to the Waco Zoo. “Go, don’t worry, I’m a prize winning navigator,” said our navigator, while our passenger and out-of-town guest just observed the whole affair. And suddenly, there we were in a nice grassy field, next to the parking lot for the zoo. The navigator flipped the page on her instructions sheet, and BINGO, we were on the display field for the Saturday morning car show, which was supposed to follow a little drive from the hotel to the show area. We’d just followed the Saturday directions to the display field, rather than the rallye route for Friday. We were on the wrong day at the wrong place. So we returned to the hotel, went to the beverage area and got a nice adult beverage—at least our guest and I did, while wife/prize winning navigator went and hid in the room for a while.

    No harm done really, and we certainly were able to lead the way in the car convoy to the car display grounds the next morning. On top of this we won “Show Favorite” at the Saturday event, thanks in part I’m sure to Marilyn’s staying with the car all morning, telling everyone who ventured by all about my little car’s very earliest life adventures, complete with a couple of old photos from 1958 and later.

    So much for prize winning navigators.


  • April 04, 2020 10:44 AM | Bob Chalker (Administrator)

Contact Us:  HoustonMGCarClub@gmail.com

Houston MG Car Club

PO Box 40711

Houston, TX   77240. 

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