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The Roars

  • September 04, 2021 6:26 AM | Mike Woodward (Administrator)

    Thanks as always to Greg for keeping up with the results.

  • August 21, 2021 8:57 AM | Scott Hardy (Administrator)

    Last week, many of our members chose to experience a special event for admirers of the MG marque with the showing of the first film of the two-part documentary “Inside the Octagon” at the Alamo Drafthouse cinema. The Houston MG Car Club was heavily, if peripherally, involved in the production. As those who attended are already aware, the films were produced by Gary Watson, a past president of the HMGCC, and the interviewer was Dave Renner, another past president. We contacted them to get some insights into the production and thought many of you would enjoy their memories of these unique films.

    …from Dave Renner, Interviewer:

    Now, about Inside the Octagon: the main thing that stuck in my mind about my involvement in making this documentary was how prepared and carefully researched Gary Watson was. Remember, this was in the 1990s before the internet was the source of so much information (and misinformation) as it is today. He told me that he spent months writing letters and making overseas calls, which of course were very early in the morning or late at night for him to accommodate the people he was interviewing. And almost all of them were extremely gracious to spend time with someone who was clearly genuinely interested in the MG story, but unknown to them at the time.

    As for my impressions when we got to England, I was excited to be part of something that interested me so much. I had been a journalist in the Coast Guard, so I had some training to do interviews and research stories. Meeting such significant MG people as John Thornley, Don Hayter, Wilkie Wilkinson (my personal favorite character), Jean Kimber Cook, Sid Beer, Jim Simpson, David Bishop and others was a thrill for me. All of them were gracious and seemed genuinely pleased that we cared enough to come to England to make a movie about what had been their lives. And seeing Oxford and Abingdon-On-Thames where MGs originated really impressed a history buff like me.

    What a wonderful time it was. Gary did almost all the driving, wrestling a van loaded with three Americans – Gary Watson, Tim Himes and myself. It was crammed full of camera gear and lighting and sound equipment. And driving on the wrong side of the street to boot. Gary did ask me to give it a go once, whereupon I promptly nearly ran up on the sidewalk and terrified a lady pushing a pram. I can assure you I was easily as frightened as she was. He never suggested I take the wheel again.

    Later in Oxford, Gary showed his great skill as he drove the van through an increasingly narrowing series of lanes until we finally came to a dead stop at an ancient stone wall. Our map indicated that our destination was just over the wall, but Gary had to reverse that cumbersome van back through the maze of lanes to go around to our destination. All the time he was sitting on the wrong side of the beast. Well done, Gary!

    Not much more to add. It was a wonderful time and made me feel just a tiny part of keeping the MG legacy alive.

    … from Gary Watson, Producer:

    The first bit of trivia is that I was inspired to do the films after producing a special edition of the ROARS in 1990 that commemorated the 10th anniversary of the closing of the MG factory. I read all the MG history books that I could put my hands on and put together a 36-page history for the club.

    I was working as a cinematographer for other producers at the time. I was looking for a project to produce on my own and the MG story resonated with me. I knew making a film about the MG story would be expensive and complicated, so I spent a great deal of time thinking about it. Finally I wrote letters to John Thornley and Jean Kimber Cook in care of the MG Car Club in England to see if they would participate in such a production. If either of them said no, I would drop the idea. If they both said yes, it would be a go. In very short order I received letters in the affirmative from both of them.

    Using personal seed money, I booked flights for Dave Renner, sound man Tim Himes, and myself to England in January 1992. I was able to get the flights cheap because 1.) it was January, and 2.) it was just after the first Gulf War and overseas flights were in low demand. I don’t think Dave and I slept at all on the trip over and we talked MGs and MG people for the whole flight.

    Everyone we met in England was delightful and hospitable. While we were filming John Thornley’s interview (which took all day) his wife was preparing a delicious rack of lamb which we all shared that evening. Mr. Thornley read a short story to us after dinner. I have forgotten the title, but it was a humorous story about (as I remember it) an English film crew trying to film an African scene in the English countryside. Of course everything went wrong during the filming.

    Wilkie Wilkinson was the first person we interviewed. He lived in a small village in Lincolnshire and after filming his part we walked in the freezing cold to the nearby pub where we dined and drank in front of a roaring fire. At that moment I thought that this is what a retirement life should be like.

    Jean Cook prepared dinner for us and when we sat at the table there was a plate of cheese. We all three began snacking on the cheese thinking it was hors d’oeuvres. When Jean came back with the main course she was distressed. “Oh, boys, the cheese was for afters!” Ugly Americans one and all.

    Throughout the trip I had fed Dave and Tim with pub food to save money. On the last night before we flew back to Houston, we took the Gatwick express from our B&B near the airport to London for a quick tour and dinner. I couldn’t find the restaurant I was looking for, but Tim and Dave found a Mexican restaurant. After a week of pub food the guys were dying for Tex-Mex. But I was skeptical. Mexican food in London? Sounds dangerous. But the boys insisted and we went in. Turns out the place was owned by a guy from Bellaire, Texas and the food was a pretty good version of Tex-Mex.

    My original intent was to make just one film. As I began editing the interview footage it became clear that I either was going to make a three-hour movie or I was going to have to split the story into two films. I chose to do the latter with the split at WWII.

    Tim Himes was so taken by his visit to England that, when he married shortly thereafter, he took his new wife there on their honeymoon.

    I just want to say that making In The Octagon was the experience of a lifetime. I was so glad to have Dave Renner along with me to share the experience. The Houston MG Car Club was always supportive and helpful throughout the process, and I am so grateful to all who helped make these films become reality.

  • August 21, 2021 8:26 AM | Scott Hardy (Administrator)

    Summer nights in Texas are going to be hot. It’s a natural fact. So why not cool down with a late afternoon cruise, some live music, and a small town Texas party, joined by your car club companions?

    That’s exactly what 17 of our members did on July 31 in Brenham as they participated in the Brenham summer concert series Hot Nights, Cool Tunes. The Saturday evening events also feature a car cruise and show sponsored by the Stray Katz Car Club. Dwight Dawson got the Stray Katz to reserve spaces for the Houston MG Car Club so that we could show off our English eccentrics among the street rods, pick-up trucks, and customs from the area.

    The weekend affair began with a caravan starting at CyFair high school, where six of our cars got together to make the run to Brenham. Club members Alex Laverock and Linda, Jon Coon and Vicki Johnson (new members), Bob and Kim Chalker, Gordon and Angie Bard, and Shannon Hodell (also new), with his very original 1967 Sunbeam Alpine, followed Dwight west to Brenham. 

    Our gang followed a pleasant route through Bellville, past the small town of Kenney and into Brenham, where lunch was held at LJ’s BBQ.  Fortunately, Dwight found out just before the drive that the planned lunch stop at the singular Kenney Store was not possible due to the restaurant only opening at noon. Both Scott and Trish Hardy and Brenham locals Tim and Pat Weeks joined the caravan at LJ’s, where BBQ was enjoyed by all and AC by all those who did not bring dogs. Sorry, Gord and Angie!

    After lunch, the drive continued through Historic Downtown Brenham en route to Blue Bell Creameries, where we left the cars parked in the shade to partake of the famously cheap $1 Blue Bell sundaes. After a sweet treat, we left to sample the excellent craft beers at the Brazos Valley Brewing Company. We can report that these folks know what they are doing with malted barley, hops, yeast and water.  After our libations, we pressed on to our hotels, where we crossed paths with the last members to arrive, Joe and Peggy Schrodi. 

    We had little time to rest because the downtown cruise started at 5:00, and after a brief wrong turn through the industrial underbelly of Brenham, we got back on route, enjoyed a relaxing cruise, and were guided into our parking spaces. Our group then had plenty of time to set up chairs in the shade and find some food at the food trucks parked around the courthouse.

    At 7:00 pm, as the heat of the day finally started to melt away, the music started. The organizers had to scramble to bring in a back-up band after the Journey tribute band Escape cancelled at the last minute. However, the five piece band did a great job of rocking the crowd with a series of hits from the eighties. We all enjoyed the music and dancing as evening faded into night.

    We checked out of the hotel on Sunday morning and headed back home. That trip was made more interesting for those heading to Houston by a jack-knifed tractor trailer that blocked all lanes on 290 East just past Chapell Hill.  The Dawsons were a dozen cars back and chose the short return to Chapell Hill rather than wait for the wreckers. They found beautiful country roads back to Bellville and onto home. Everybody eventually made it safely home, showing once again that our cars are perfectly capable of giving us safe and memorable weekends, even in the height of the summer.

    - Photos contributed by Dwight Dawson

  • August 11, 2021 8:25 AM | Bob Chalker (Administrator)

    We are disappointed to announce that we will need to postpone the President's Social that was scheduled for August 28th.  We are working to reschedule the event in October.  More details will follow when they are available.  

  • July 26, 2021 4:12 PM | Bob Chalker (Administrator)

    British Automobile Owners Association

    31st Annual

    Rio Grande Valley Regional Rendezvous


    Ruidoso, New Mexico

    September 17 - September 19, 2021

    This 31st Rendezvous will be in Ruidoso, nestled high (7000 ft) in the cool, Sierra Blanca Mountains of southeastern New Mexico. Events begin on Friday, but come early for hiking forested mountain trails, golf (located at the resort hotel), the high pines, and winding roads. Please visit the BAOA website at www.baoa.org for the schedule of events, registration, and accommodations.

    Please note, this is not an official club event and is being posted as a courtesy to the organizers.

  • July 25, 2021 7:08 PM | Bob Chalker (Administrator)

  • July 13, 2021 6:58 PM | Scott Hardy (Administrator)

    The pictures in this article were supplied by David Dodd, and we are publishing them with our appreciation. The commentary is mine alone. While David actually attended the event, I was not able to do so, therefore my commentary may or may not reflect the reality of the day. But these days, with reality being abused daily, who is to say that my account is wrong? -Scott

    The annual Houston MG Car Club picnic was held at Meyer Park in Spring, TX on a partly sunny, warm and mostly dry July 10. The much-anticipated event was hosted by club members Gordon and Angie Bard, who are notorious for dressing up for any reason at all and making any mundane occasion seem extraordinary. Club members thereby braced themselves for the sight of lunch being served by a giant woodland animal (beaver? squirrel? grizzly?) and were relieved to find that Gord elected to present himself only as a teenage girl. In the photo to the right, Gord (the cute one in the dress) takes a break from roasting cicadas spiced with his homemade habanero garlic rub.

    Foregoing the traditional “blanket on the ground” approach, the rather more gentrified club members elected to enjoy their gourmet picnic meal on sturdy benches in a shaded pavilion. What better place to enjoy the culinary delights from the fertile imagination of Chef Gordon, including Texas specialties such as Armadillo Poppers, Roast Palestine Possum, Sauteed Brenham Wild Boar Tails, and Longhorn Skirt Steak braised in Dr. Pepper?

    An MG is almost the perfect vehicle with which to drive oneself to a picnic. A cheap and cheerful motor is the ultimate conveyance for anyone who can’t afford to actually eat at a restaurant and therefore finds throwing a blanket on the ground with cheap cold cuts scrounged from home an acceptable alternative gustatory experience. And that blanket can be found in most of our cars, because it is a ubiquitous MG accessory, protecting the occupants from either the malfunctioning heater or the ill fitting side curtains / soft top. Picnics attract annoying insects and small rodents; ditto, the interior and wiring of just about any project MG. The following cars found the lure of the great outdoors irresistible, and even managed to start on demand and make it to Meyer Park. The big question – did they all make it home?

    Another highlight of any HMGCC event is an address by our Beloved Leader, Mr. Michael Woodward. And the picnic was no exception. In the photo to the right, Chairman Mike regales the adoring throngs with an amusing anecdote from his upcoming book, “Minor Miracles: How to Keep a Morris Running Using Only Articles Purchased from a Dollar Store (Part 3)”.

    And the main attraction – fun and games! After that embarrassing incident during Duck, Duck, Goose when Joe tore off his shirt, sprinted to the duck pond and dove in headfirst, our Beloved Leader led the assembly in the intricacies of Blindfolded Reverse Gear Slalom races. In this photo, you can see the fear on his face as his time is about to be bettered by Larry in his race tuned B-GT. Fortunately, Larry’s car lost power just before the finish, leaving victory befittingly in our Beloved Leader’s hands.

    All in all, an excellent time was had by all, and tales aplenty will be told at future gatherings. Until next time – Safety Fast!

  • July 02, 2021 6:13 PM | Mike Woodward (Administrator)

    Once again thanks to Greg for maintaining the records.

  • June 25, 2021 12:25 PM | Scott Hardy (Administrator)

    What a week the club has planned to celebrate our 50th Anniversary! Experience everything that our club stands for in one exciting week – cars, parts, drives, British fare, drink and most importantly, great friends to share the excitement! Here is a list of all of the great events planned with links to the event details and registration.

    The week begins with the Free For All Swap Meet hosted by John Boyer on Sunday, September 5th, 2:00pm – 4:00pm. Remember one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. Free For All-Parts Swap, Sept. 5

    On Tuesday, September 8th we will have a free showing of Inside The Octagon II (MG 1946-1980) at the Alamo Drafthouse at LaCentara (Katy). Show time will be 7:00pm. It is pretty cool that we are able to see classic MG’s on the big screen. We will be showing Inside The Octagon I on August 14th as well; don’t miss either of these great features created by our own Gary Watson. And remember, you can’t see these films anywhere else. They are not on YouTube or Netflix. Alamo Drafthouse-INSIDE THE OCTAGON II (MG 1946-1980), Sept 8

    One of the favorite food of our friends in the UK is curry. To honor their passion for this spicy delight we will be hosting Curry Night – A Symphony of Flavors on Wednesday, September 9th, 5:00pm – 8:00pm at Noon Mirch in Webster, TX. Curry Night-A Symphony of Flavors, Webster, TX Sept. 9

    The celebration wouldn’t be complete if we did not visit one of our favorite British establishments, the Richmond Arms. Join us for lunch on September 10th, 11:30am to 2:00pm to enjoy your favorite British fare and a pint of Old Speckled Hen. 50th Anniversary Week Luncheon, Richmond Arms, Sept. 10

    The 50th Anniversary Party will be held on Saturday, September 11th, beginning at noon, at the Falcon Point Golf Club in Katy. There will be great food, friends and a few surprises. This event has limited capacity, so reserve your spot early. For those of you who are traveling from afar or who would prefer to stay locally we have reserved a block of rooms at the Holiday Inn & Suites near Katy Mills Mall. 50th Anniversary Party, Sept. 11  

    Following the 50th Anniversary party we will wrap up the week’s celebration with a drive to the Baker’s Street Pub. It is a short distance from Falcon Point, but we know some of you will want to exercise your cars a bit, so we will be laying out both a direct route and a more winding route to the pub. We will have a reserved area for us to enjoy one another’s company, swap stories and kick the tires a bit. 

    This is going to be a great week! Make sure you are registering for all of these great events!

  • June 22, 2021 4:07 PM | Scott Hardy (Administrator)

    We joined the Austin MG Club on a Drive to Drippin’!

    The second CCMGC drive of 2021 featured a tour of wineries around Dripping Springs, connected by the scenic back roads of the hill country. The muster point for the drive was on the southwest corner of Austin where everyone gathered and enjoyed some shade while they could. A total of eight cars (seven MGs and one GM!), sixteen people and four members of the Houston club showed up for the drive in what promised to be beautiful summer weather. We left for our first destination shortly after 10:30.

    The first leg of the drive introduced the drivers to the turns and twists of hill country driving as we left the weekend shopping traffic behind and headed toward Dripping Springs. This leg of the drive featured the first two river fords, one of which enhanced the experience by having water flowing over the road. Splashing through the stream, we motored on to our first winery, Parmeson Wines, which opened early to offer the club a private tasting.

    We gathered our cars in front of the tasting room to get the obligatory scenic shot together and moved into the air-conditioned comfort of the winery to make our drink selections. Trish Hardy pleased everyone’s pallet by providing a cheese and cracker tray to accompany our beverages. We enjoyed resting and chatting in the shade as we tasted the Californian cuvee.

    The second leg of the drive was the longest and wound through the countryside between Dripping Springs and Wimberley. This segment featured several more river fords, including another wet one, as well as numerous cattle guards designed to test the compliance of our antique lever shock absorbers. Our cars were in their natural element in these narrow country lanes, and we had the roads pretty much to ourselves. After an hour of driving, we turned into the Wimberley Valley winery, where we again gathered under the shade of giant live oaks. This winery featured a fabulous food truck and drinks served from a double decker London bus. Several of our more parched and adventurous participants cooled off with the wine slushies they served.

    After everyone ate and drank their fill, we headed off to our final destination, the Driftwood Estate winery. En route, we followed a heavily decaled 1960’s VW bug, which we figured was part of the Great Race 2021 that had stopped in San Marcos for lunch. Our hunch was confirmed when we saw a timing station further up the road. They shouted that we should join the race!

    CaptionWe parked in the shade and headed into the air-conditioned tasting room to cool down and choose a selection from their all-Texas wines. Gathering our drinks, we headed out to the shaded porch and enjoyed a final few laughs together. All agreed that it was a successful drive, combining great roads with good drinks, excellent food, and even better companions. To top it off, we had no mechanical failures despite the temperatures. As we drove home, we all looked forward to returning to Dripping Springs and our next club drive.

    - Contributed by Scott Hardy. Photos by Scott Hardy and Gord Bard

    Rick South, Carrie South and Trish Hardy
    enjoy the views at Driftwood Estate Winery

Contact Us:  HoustonMGCarClub@gmail.com

Houston MG Car Club

PO Box 40711

Houston, TX   77240. 

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