The MGA With An Attitude
MGA Guru Is GOING MOBILE
MG2016, Louisville, Kentucky
June 13-17, 2016
Monday, June 13, 2016
This was destined to be an interesting day. As we pulled into the hotel parking lot,
about to pick up my registration packet for MG2016, there was a distressed MGB in need of assistance, before we even got out of the car. Running badly on three cylinders? Easily fixed with a spare spark plug from my tool box.
Then I was snapping pictures of MGA while walking toward the hotel, and whatever other cars might fall in the background. Count at least a dozen MGA in 100 feet, and there will be many more at this event.
In the hotel lobby an MG TC on display in racing form with Brooklands windscreens. Back in the car park, first spotting of a small trailer, and there will be more of these as well.
Having taken care of registration issues it was off to WiFi (and cooling) for a bit, followed by a short side trip to visit Jeremy Nelson. This is the son of Eric Nelson in Zionsville, Indiana. He has an MG Midget (under restoration) and a Triumph Spitfire (which may be in better condition but is also a distraction from the Midget project). More on these cars later.
In the evening I had an appointment for dinner with the Z Magnette Group of North America. I have been chasing this elusive bunch for two years, as they only get together once a year at the NAMGAR GT (although I had previously met several of these people individually). There were about 50 people here representing at least 15 ZA and ZB Magnettes that were registered for the show.
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
Always some minor maintenance going on, and some interesting cars on hand. Time for the morning tech session on 5-Speed Gearbox for Post War MGs. Out with the old and in with the new, right before your eyes.
In between tech sessions, an MG TD in distress. Dead battery before arrival, jumper start to get it into the car park, battery charger for partial charge to get it going again. Problem here was a control box that had drifted out of adjustment leading to low voltage which would not keep up with power demand when running. Handy volt meter and a small adjustment for the regulator relay, and it's all smiles.
No time for the off-site tours, rally, funkhana, as I was busy attending tech sessions. These ran two in the morning, two in the afternoon, Tuesday and Wednesday, and still some schedule overlaps so had to miss a few tech sessions.
Even if you skipped all of the tech sessions, there was no way to do all of the off-site tours in the same two days. Four different national MG registers all want their own things happening. If they want to squeeze this much stuff into one convention, they may need one more day for tech sessions, and two additional days for the non-tech events. In the brief interludes passing through the lobby to and from the quick snack lunches I bumped into some old friends an home town club members.
In the early evening there was a First Timers Reception (1 hour) which I was requested to attend (perhaps technical reference for the new folks). This was followed by four consecutive Register Night banquets in adjacent rooms (2 hours). Sorry if you belong to more than one of the national MG registers, can't be in two places at once. Then the partitions between banquet rooms were opened to combine all into a single gigantic room looking like an airplane hanger. For the next two hours we had live entertainment by Captain Rat and the Blind Rivets Band. Wow! Five hours in the banquet rooms without stepping out. And after 10-pm lots of folks headed for the Lounge to chat. That bunch in the photo below center is myself with some of the Australian world travelers.
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
After late night social, midnight email, short sleep, then early morning back to the main hotel. As usual, lots of interesting stuff in the car park. The topper canopy is a way to keep the MGA "less leaky in a heavy rain. There was the rare MGA 1600-MK-II "Deluxe, and an MGB V8 conversion with opera top and a serious looking trailer hitch (wonder what that tows).
There was a current issue Turbo-Z trailer, quite popular these days. I wish I had measured height of the duck tail spoiler to see if it might be too high for the dash mounted rear view mirror. The GT had the "oops" flat tire.
Morning tech sessions, "Why Did They Do That?", and "Originality of the MGB", followed by another walk in the car park. Hey, twin trailers; I wonder if they travel together?
Then a tap on the shoulder, followed by "Do you know anything about MGA windscreens"? Off to meet Murray Shantz from Unionville, Ontario, Canada. As the story goes, while packing stuff on his luggage rack a bungee cord got away like a slingshot and broke his windscreen glass. An order from Moss Motors brought a new glass to the hotel. A quick trip to Harbor Freight netted a few extra length screws and some web straps to assist holding the frame together during assembly, and we were well into reassembling the beast.
At 5-pm we were off to the MG Experience BBS Meet and Greet in the hotel lounge. We retired to the patio for enough space to get the picture.
How many noses can you count? At least 35 I recon, and I'm sure we missed some.
At 7-pm I was off to the NAMGAR local chapter contacts meeting. The 2-hour meeting stretched out to 3-hours for a few of us. A productive session I think.
Thursday, June 16, 2016:
Car show day, collecting more than 800 MGs at Waterfront Park in Louisville. At the front of the crowd were a few special cars in the "Modern MGs" category, meaning cars built after closing of the Longbridge factory. There were a few MG F-TF, which are mid-engine cars beginning 1991. These were fairly popular in Canada, but not sold into the USA. Now that the early ones are more than 25 years old they can be imported into the US.
Next up was the MG 6R4, a spin-off of the Austin Meto (with very few parts in common), produced in 1985 only as the "super mini rally car". Think mid-engine 3-liter V6 with twin overhead cams and 4 valves per cylinder (24 valves) developing 410 bhp. Also all wheel drive with three limited slip differentials. How fast can you say R-A-L-L-Y?
Then there was the MG XPower SV, 2003-2005, 4.6-litre V8 DOHC 5-speed. They could be SV, SV-R or SV-S. This one is the top line SV-S, with Ford 4.6-liter supercharged, 430-hp. There were once planned engine options up to 1000-hp.
MG EX-186 made another appearance here, the one-off factory works car that was intended to win Le Mans outright, but was never raced by the factory. It is well documented in the Variants tech session on this web site.
Also here was the 1961 MGA 1600-MK-II police car. There were quite a number of MGA police cars produced. This one took Best Of Show, register Chairman's choice. Follow this with about 15 MG Z-Magnettes, more than one of them being air conditioned, and another passel of MGAs in all models built (certainly more than one Twin Cam). I had at least a dozen pictures of MGA in groups something like 200 I suppose), including several Coupes, a few race cars, and at least a few V8 conversions, all sweet.
There were about twice as many MGB as MGA. Below a line of early pull-handle MGB, an MGB V8 conversion (to go with the tech session on V8 conversions), and one of a few factory MGB GT V8 cars that were present.
North of "the bridge" we found the pre-war MGs, the Midgets, Magnas and Magnettes (triple-M cars).
These tiny cars were often supercharged. Top this off with a 1938 MG SA Tickford Drophead Foursome.
In a small step from pre-war to post-war, we get the MG Y-type. This one had independent front suspension, which rolled over into the MG TD, Z-Magnette, TF, MGA, and MGB all the way up to 1980. A good design may survive decades of use. How about the 1938 Y-type Arnolt Special and the MG TD and TF.
How about the valve cover races going on at the side. If you haven't seen enough tag-along trailers, how about the carry-all trailers?
There were plenty of MG Midgets (the "modern Midget"), but only one venerable little MG 1100 sport sedan. There were quite a number of vendors offering regalia items, a few with car parts, and one with new electronic regulators to replace the original Lucas control box.
In early afternoon with high sun and heat it was tempting to stick my feet in some water near the show field. Being a bit deeper than expected, my cell phone and camera went for a swim (with me attached), requiring a quick trip to Best Buy. New cell phone, new camera (good that I use cheap toys). And while I was there, a Garmin GPS (new toy for navigator).
No time to spare, back at the hotel for the (separate) MG register annual meeting and awards (5-7 pm), followed by the collective awards banquet, first place and special awards, and the guest speaker Dennis Gage (7-10 pm). Nearing end of festivities, there were the typical midnight tire kicking tech sessions in the car park. This is an MGA 1600-MK-II "Deluxe" that I have touched a few times before. First time was in 1989, getting it out of an old workshop in Chicago as it was changing owners. Then again in early 2014, dragging it out of long term storage to get some restoration work started. A bit later it changed to another new owner, now restored.