Houston

MG Car Club

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

Log in

The Roars

  • 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)


  • April 03, 2020 8:33 AM | Mike Woodward (Administrator)

    This week’s winner is….

                                                    Roger Sykes!

    A Mexican Honeymoon

    Corona Competition entry, week 2

    by Roger Sykes

    Ironic that this competition should mime a Mexican beer, since this is a story about Mexico and another of its beers. In mid-May 1968, Kaye and I had been married less than a month. She was finishing her last semester at Texas Tech and I was waiting to be drafted. We had not had a proper honeymoon yet. Some friends were driving to Acapulco for vacation, so we decided to tag along--- in an un-air conditioned '67 MGB GT. We WERE young and crazy.

    So off we went, Lubbock to Laredo in day one (try that today!), long before the advent of interstates. We spent the night at our friend's house in Laredo and crossed the border the next day. I carried a spare fan belt, a set of plugs and a couple of quarts of Castrol. There was not a single MG dealer in all of Mexico, so I was truly a trusting soul (or certifiable). Less than a hundred miles later the right front tire—a Gold Stripe Cinturato with less than 1000 miles on it—blew a quarter-sized hole though the sidewall. At $50 a pop, and having a perfectly good Dunlop Gold Seal spare, I had bought only four Cinturatos. You can imagine what the handling was like with 3 radials and 1 bias ply on the ground. We drove all the way through Monterrey without seeing a single tire store. Facing several hundred miles of nothing, we stopped in Saltillo at "Pedro's" tire store to replace the spare. It was while waiting to find anything that might fit that we discovered Tecate beer, in cans, with lime and salt on top.

    At that time, Tecate was the only beer in Mexico in cans and it would not be exported to the US for many years to come. I don't recall (surprise) how many beers it took, but "Pedro" finally turned up with a 600-14 tire. While it fit the rim just fine, it did not fit the spare compartment designed for a 5.60-14. Swapping luggage with spare, off we went into the night to San Luis Potosi. Thanks to my Cibie driving lights, I did NOT run over a dead donkey occupying all of my lane.

    The next day found us in downtown Mexico City with some of the crew down with The Revenge. After a couple of days in the worst heat wave the city had seen in years, we pushed on for Acapulco. You can imagine how happy the B was with heat, traffic and altitude, but we managed to get out of town before things got out of hand. About half way to Acapulco, Kaye had had all she could stand of the heat and transferred to the air conditioned Olds 442 that our friends were in. Well, alone in a sports car in the mountains, what's a fellow to do? I fell in behind a hard driven Opel Commodore (a model never imported to the States) and chased him for an hour or so. Remember the tires? Blind corners in open range country got very interesting. After a while, it was time to stop and let the 442 catch up. 45 minutes and several Tecates later, they finally showed up. Kaye was cool, but decidedly car-sick. Seems the 442, for all its vaunted performance, was not a car for corners.

    When we got to Acapulco, we checked into an inexpensive downtown motel and went for a burger at Denny's. It would be many years before Kaye or I would ever darken a Denny's door again. One of our cheerful gang had to point out the dearth of stray dogs in the area. After a few days doing the tourist thing, our friends decided that they had had all the fun they could stand and left for home. 

    Kaye and I were not done honeymooning and had just enough funds to do a week at the famed Las Brisas resort across the bay. It was truly a charming setting (probably is to this day) with individual casitas on a hillside dropping right into the bay. As there was not even the possibility of a beach, they built a salt water pool opening out into the bay, called La Concha. More Tecate beer and the chance meeting of a lifetime followed. While sharing a visit from the local parrot, we met another honeymooning couple from Houston. We spent most of the next few days with them, including my short but intense bout with The Revenge. Turns out she was a doctor's daughter and had come properly equipped. When we parted company, his last words to me were, "When you get out of the Army, call me. I'll have a job for you."

    Our trip home was uneventful other than over-heating in Mexico City. The first English news we got in Laredo was that Bobby Kennedy had been assassinated. Even though we were both Republicans at the time, we drank most of our duty-free Chivas that night.

    It’s a long story covering a short period of time, but I did not get drafted, so I called my new friend. Not only did he hire me then, but again six years later when both of us had moved on to new careers. We remain friends to this day, 52 years later.

    I still like Tecate.


  • March 31, 2020 4:55 PM | Mike Woodward (Administrator)

    The intention of the Corona Competition is to stay connected during this time of no face-to-face meetings. As a further refinement to its “rules,” we encourage everyone who is interested to submit their stories about life with MGs and we welcome repeat submissions from all members. Depending on the number of entries at any given time, we may spread the posting of them out over more than one week so that we don’t find ourselves having to skip a week. Since there is a highly coveted cup awarded to the winner, we feel it is fair that only one cup will be presented per family. For any member who submits additional winning entries, the honor of recognition will be the reward, along with a cartoon illustrating the tale. We trust this will encourage many of you to participate. Let’s stay connected!

    The editors


  • March 31, 2020 4:01 PM | Mike Woodward (Administrator)

  • March 27, 2020 1:55 PM | Mike Woodward (Administrator)

    At the end of week 1 of the Corona competition we had three entries: "Just A Little Leak" from Chip Uricchio, "Hub-Centric vs Lug Centric" by Mike Woodward and "My First MG Drive" by Wayne Hardy. And the winner is :

    "My First MG Drive" by Wayne Hardy. - Congratulations Wayne !!

    Thanks to Dave and Linda for editing, judging and providing the cartoon.

    Safety fast!

    Mike.

  • March 27, 2020 1:49 PM | Mike Woodward (Administrator)

    My First MG Drive

    Corona Competition entry, week 1

    by Wayne Hardy

    My very first drive in an MG occurred when I was nearly 15 years old, living in Orange, Texas in 1953. I knew all about MGs from first reading Kings of The Road by Ken Purdy, and from reading a new magazine called Road and Track. I saved and hoarded and reread these things over and over. At one time a few years ago, I had every R&T published from 1955 through 2015. Anyway, I first spotted an MGTD on a used car lot in Orange and had been giving it the eye for several days. When I finally decided to go give it a closer look, I found the lot closed; but someone was there and opened the place for me. Now, Orange had a big Navy presence during the war and the base stayed open for a number of years afterward, so for the past few years we’d seen sporty European cars— Jaguars, Simcas, a big Lancia, a few VWs and several MGTCs and TDs—brought  home by Navy GIs. This was one of those cars, traded in on something else, American made.

    On that fateful day, I rode my bike downtown and parked it in an alley where it wouldn’t be seen from the car lot (I don’t know why, but I thought this would make me seem older, not a kid on a bike), and walked around the corner to the car lot. I sniffed around the car a bit and here came the salesman from the office. I asked if I could roll down the tonneau cover (the top was down) and look at the insides. No sooner did we do this than another customer came into the lot who had his attention for a while, working on completing a sale started earlier. When the salesman returned to me, I was sitting in the car studying the owner’s manual that was still in the glove box. Believe it or not, he asked me if I would like to take it for a drive. Oh yeah, I would.

    Now, I could drive and operate a clutch and gear box from driving the old ‘35 Dodge on my grandparents’ farm in the summers, and taking loads of grain into town towing a trailer. This was done all the time in the farming area of Indiana, and it was not unheard of for 10-year old kids to drive farm buggies around town to sell grain or hay to the CO-OP. Still, the MG was a different deal; but I had been studying the controls layout in the owner’s handbook and I was ready to go!

    I pulled the choke out a bit, pulled the starter and the thing fired up! Salesman said he was alone at the lot, but if I’d be really careful, he’d stay there and let me take it out by myself. Now remember, I’m 14 years old, no driver’s license and no insurance either. I took it by to show to a couple of school friends, and then by my own house to show my dad what a find I’d made and to discuss my car-owning possibilities for the near future. Not a smart move… He was all concerned that I had no driver’s license and no insurance, and pretty mad at the car lot salesman for turning me loose in a car without asking about either of those things.

    Of course we had to take it back immediately, but Dad couldn’t find the starter and I wouldn’t tell him where it was, either, so I got to drive it back to the dealer lot with him riding and my mother following in the car to bring him home. My bike was still safe in the alley, of course, being 1953 not today.

    Well, there were lots of discussions with my dad about what a foolish thing that was to do. Still, he recognized the fact that in the summers I drove around the farm and delivered loads of grain worth several hundred dollars into town five miles away, without incident. My Grandfather trusted me, and he should trust me too.

    No, we didn’t buy this car, but I did get a driver’s license before I was 16, and did buy a different MGTD in late 1956… followed by a TC, followed by a TF-1500, followed by an MGA, a Midget, MGBs, and 2 MG ZB Magnette sedans, mixed in with a TR-3, an AH-3000, a Jag XK-120, an MK1 Jag sedan, and 3 XJ Jag sedans (2 XJ-6s and an XJ-8 model).

    I still drive an MGB along with a nice older Corvette. But my very first drive in an MG, 67 years ago, was that black one with “apple green” leather insides.

  • March 25, 2020 4:07 PM | Mike Woodward (Administrator)


  • March 24, 2020 9:20 PM | Bob Chalker (Administrator)

    By Mike Woodward

    HUB-CENTRIC WHEELS

    Hub-centric wheels are designed for the hub center bore of the wheel to be a perfect match to the vehicle. This allows the wheel to be centered on the vehicle hub, which is the most accurate way to center the wheel. Most original equipment wheels are designed to be hub-centric because the manufacturer designs wheels specifically for each vehicle.

    LUG-CENTRIC WHEELS

    As opposed to hub-centric wheels, lug-centric wheels are centered on the vehicle using the lug holes. Most aftermarket wheels are lug-centric because this allows the manufacturer to make the wheels with larger hub bore diameters so that the wheel can fit a wider array of vehicles. Manufacturers make the center bore larger because a center bore that is smaller than the vehicle hub will not be able to secure safely to the vehicle.

    HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO MG?

    Most MGs use hub-centric wheels but the MGB LEs use lug-centric wheels that were also used on the Triumph Stag. This means that when you take your LE wheels to be balanced on a standard dynamic wheel balancer that is designed for hub-centric wheels and locates on the hub, it may not work! The solution is to use an adaptor that fits on the machine that locates the wheel in the lugs while it is being balanced. A typical adaptor is shown below and can be borrowed from Mike Woodward by any HMGCC club member.

    Safety fast!

    The second entry in this week’s Corona Competition, check back throughout the week for more entries.

  • March 21, 2020 8:11 PM | Bob Chalker (Administrator)

    By Francis (Chip) Uricchio M.D.

    Forty years ago I owned my first MGB. I was living in Philadelphia and going to school in Boston. Upon driving back to school up I-95 in MGB #1, I stopped at the Vince Lombardi rest area just south of NYC. When I turned off the ignition, the car saw fit to dump an entire oil pan of motor oil on the ground. I was aware that automobiles occasionally leaked oil, but this was unusual. I figured out that as long as the engine was running, the oil stayed put. So I turned around, drove back to Philly, and made other arrangements to get to Boston. I left the car with a mechanic friend who made the necessary repairs. As it turned out, the gasket on the mount that holds the oil filter away from the block failed and caused my difficulty. 

    This seems like a problem that only an MG could have. I laugh about it now, but I was not amused at the time!

    The first entry in the Corona Competition, check back throughout the week for more entries.

Contact Us:  HoustonMGCarClub@gmail.com


Houston MG Car Club

PO Box 40711

Houston, TX   77240. 


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software