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

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  • October 22, 2020 10:25 AM | Bob Chalker (Administrator)

    Image may contain: 3 people, people standing and car

    40 Years ago today, the last MGB was built in Abingdon, Oxfordshire

  • October 22, 2020 10:12 AM | Bob Chalker (Administrator)

    Effective with this post the club has opened up the ability for club members to post comments to articles posted in The ROARS.  We believe that the more interactive we can make the website the better it is for everyone.

    The pages will be monitored and we ask that all comments are made with the same respect, due care and good spirit that defines our club membership.  In appropriate postings will be removed.

    Cheers,

  • October 22, 2020 10:09 AM | Bob Chalker (Administrator)

    We are very heartbroken to report that long time club member and past president Cole LaMaster has passed away.  We have been told that there will be no public service and no memorials or donations are requested.  The family has asked that there be no visits or calls to Jane.  

     Coleman LaMaster, 91, passed away Saturday, October 17, 2020. He was born on October 14, 1929 in Bloomington, Indiana, the son of the late Clarence and Kathryn Coleman LaMaster. He was a graduate of Indiana University, where he also received an MBA in 1956. He served as a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He worked in the propane industry, including as President of Pyrofax Gas Corporation and several executive positions at Texas Eastern Corporation. He enjoyed golfing, restoring and driving MGs and travelling extensively. He is survived by his loving wife Jane Ann Luzadder LaMaster, his son John (Betsy) LaMaster, daughter Kathy (ML Taylor) LaMaster, as well as numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren.

    - Published in The Courier of Montgomery County from Oct. 21 to Oct. 22, 2020.


  • October 13, 2020 1:04 PM | Bob Chalker (Administrator)

    By Dave Renner

    It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood and Mr. Rogers, oops, Dwight Dawson, arranged a wonderful pop up car gathering for Houston MG Car Club members to enjoy the sunshine. Dwight got permission for us to park our MGs (and one stray Triumph) on the lawn at the White Oak Conference Center in Inwood Forest for a couple of hours on Saturday morning, October 10th. It was fun to see our friends and their cars while socially distancing during the Time of Covid.

    MGAs, MGBs and an MG Midget shared the grass with the Triumph Spitfire provided a text book for Henry, a young lad from the neighborhood, who walked over and spent an hour or more talking to us about our cars. Henry was very knowledgeable about cars in general and keen to learn more about little British sports cars, asking many insightful questions about our British treasures and listening endlessly to our long and winding answers. We suspect we have a future MG or Triumph owner just waiting to come of age in northwest Houston.

    We also had the pleasure of meeting Scott and Jennie (apologies for any misspelling of names), who heard about the gathering and brought their lovely 1956 MGA out for the morning. After living in Houston for two years, they seem eager to join the club and come to other gatherings as our restrictions, hopefully, are soon lifted.  We extend to them a belated welcome to Houston and a hearty invitation to join the Houston MG Car Club family.

    Driving MGAs were Ken Evesson, Jennie and Scott, and Dave Renner. Driving MGBs were Dwight Dawson, Greg Fleischer, Gordon Bard, Bob Chalker, Michael Shouse, Joe Schrodi and Scott and Trish Hardy. Driving the MG Midget was Joel Anderson and driving the wayward Spitfire was Mike Woodward.

    Don’t miss the opportunity if our very own Mr. Rogers/Dawson suggests another pop up car gathering sometime soon.

      

      

         

  • October 11, 2020 8:57 AM | Bob Chalker (Administrator)

    The following link will take you to the club's October 3rd virtual meeting.

    https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/XhNgPBPOMxBrPmKU7JAdifvRX93kCNHnW90qItR7She1D5LkzMEoRS3TQXamZLtg.0dX-ZTbBGb5YqKvN

    Password: .bP+G0?Y

  • October 08, 2020 2:27 PM | Bob Chalker (Administrator)

    By Dwight Dawson

    Our first MG raffle was more successful than we expected. 32 members purchased 53 tickets, and we have doubled our planned donation to the Houston Food Bank to $2000. The winner, David Dodd, was selected at our live Zoom monthly meeting on October 3rd. 

    David and Betty Dodd have been members of the Club since June 2019. They have a 1978 MGB that they bought new in California. It has been a super car for them and overall a great experience. They have that emotional connection we often develop for an MG and can never sell it. Overseas assignments for David meant that the car sat in lonely storage for long periods.  That car is now under restoration and will stay in the family. 

    The Dodds have two daughters and now, with the 1977 MGB they have won, there are more options for feeding the need for MG ownership in the family. David purchased two raffle tickets and was delighted to win. He will be working with member Ron Redding at 5RRestorations to finalize the acquisition. Ron took time to trailer the car from the donor, check it out, and store it for several weeks in advance of the October winner selection. 

    Congratulations to the Dodds! 

  • September 29, 2020 9:23 AM | Bob Chalker (Administrator)

    By Scott Hardy

    This is a continuation of the story Scott shared during week 10 of the Corona Challenge.  Click here to read Part 1.

    In the first installment, I introduced you to LBC III, our 1972 MGB, and his spiritual predecessor, LBC 1, my mother’s 1967 MGB GT. This episode highlights some of the many misadventures of LBC 2, the 2007 MINI Clubman that I bought for my wife, Trish, for her birthday in August 2007. Despite the 40 years and significant design differences separating these cars, they had much more in common than one might expect – namely, they both demonstrated an appalling indifference to their owner’s desire to be used on demand. Let me explain…

    My early experience with British cars had demonstrated that 1) they were cute and quirky and lots of fun to drive, and 2) they were unreliable, rust-prone, and had a pronounced aversion to actually turning over and running. Admittedly, many of them were basket cases before I ever saw them, being owned by my teen-aged friends. But during my young adult years, the general trend remained the same, even as the cars I knew became newer and nicer. I am reminded of my friend who owned, in succession, an MGB, an Elan, and his crowning glory, a TVR 2500LM, before throwing in the towel and buying a Camaro Z28. The British car industry in the 70s and 80s did not cover itself in glory. Caught between currency and labor crises, the entire industry wracked, heaved, and finally contracted with the passing of many storied brands.

    Around the turn of the century, many automotive giants hovered over the carcass of the British industry to pick off the best of the morsels remaining. One of the tastier bits was the legendary Mini, owned by the Rover Group in the 1990s. The Mini had been one of the brightest stars in British automotive history since its introduction in 1959. While the car was stale and technology challenged by 1994, the brand appeal of the name was still strong, so after BMW acquired the Rover Group in 1994, they discarded the entrails and introduced MINI as a BMW designed, British manufactured car line. The first models were offered for sale in 2001. While not universally loved, the new model payed pronounced homage to both the style and the driving/handling characteristics of the original. BMW had a minor hit on its hands, and MINI dealers sprouted adjacent to their BMW brethren.

    By 2007, the second-generation MINI had been introduced, including a new Clubman model with a longer wheelbase, a third door, barn doors on the hatch, and a somewhat more commodious interior. This practicality appealed to me, and I figured that a good injection of German engineering and production expertise had probably banished many of the ills of the previous generations of British cars. Also, we were in desperate need of an automotive upgrade from our non-descript econobox, so I decided to order a Cooper S model, which was delivered on Trish’s birthday.

    Almost immediately, things started to go wrong. Automotive malfunctions were seriously compounded by a dealer service department that was comically inept, which is why oil changes took five days (out of filters) and the installation of roof rack cross bars was performed using rubber mallets and a Sawzall. Seriously. At first, we focused on the failures of the service department, but it soon became clear that the car itself was a true throwback to the Lucas, Lord of Darkness era.

    Emblematic of the troubles we had with LBC 2 was the time that Trish arrived back to the Light Rail Transit parking lot after a day at work to find that both windows were down and the sunroof was open. Knowing that she had not left the car in that state, she assumed that she had been the victim of car vandals. However, in what must surely count as a minor miracle, nothing was missing from the car. So she started the car and drove home after closing all of the open apertures.

    She had barely left the transit parking lot when the sunroof opened and the windows lowered – all on their own. Which happened twice more on the five-minute drive home. She was worried about actually making it home, but she did, so she shut off and locked the car. As she left the garage, she heard a noise, and turned to watch the glass stubbornly retreating once again to the open position. That particularly strange malady required another week in the shop to fix.

    The most persistent flaw, and one of the only dynamic flaws, was a stubborn engine knock. The noise was most evident in third and fourth gears when accelerating from relatively low rpms. We mentioned this to the dealer every time we saw them, which was to say, quite often. They investigated it every time, and their answer was always some variation of, “You’re not driving the car properly,” or “You’re not using the proper fuel.” Needless to say, the noise never went away.

    Actually, I just misspoke. The noise did go away, in a most spectacular fashion. We were on vacation in British Columbia, driving on a rural highway, when a loud BANG! shook the car and the engine immediately lost power. It did not entirely stop running, but it clearly had suffered mortal damage, and an orange Check Engine icon was glowing on the dash. We gleaned from the manual that orange meant to proceed at slow speed to the nearest dealer, which we discovered was in Kelowna, still over 60 miles away. So we made our way there as best we could while running on no more than two cylinders.

    A couple of nail-biting hours later, we pulled into the dealer, where we learned the next day that there was a hole in a piston. Fortunately, we were a scant 3,000 miles short of the 50,000 mile powertrain warranty, so this mechanical outrage was covered. Ultimately, the last drive we ever made in that car was to drive it back to Calgary to trade it in (at a criminally low exchange) to the dealer where we had bought it. Thus, the conclusion of our frustrating experience with LBC 2. And for us, a question of how we would get our automotive jollies in the future. So stay tuned for the story of LBC III.

    Part 3 of the story coming soon...

  • September 29, 2020 9:17 AM | Bob Chalker (Administrator)

    On September 26th, the club hosted our 2nd Pub Quiz, if you would like to learn more about speaking the Queen's English take a listen.

    https://us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/FG-ycrwLKbCQ8UbWPBtUwFtkDdyaF9yS44LpYhZTdzi-I5IioxJotRDTHRBw3ZQA.YImVIrwGzpz3hhEJ

    Passcode: 6R!hm1?D

  • September 21, 2020 7:45 AM | Bob Chalker (Administrator)

    By Mike Woodward

    It was the first time we had taken our newly acquired MGB LE (“Ellie”) out at night as we set off for the MG Club monthly meeting, back when it was a live meeting held at Christie’s Steak and Seafood on Westheimer. According to our satnav (GPS for the colonials) the Beltway had a major wreck and so it was navigating us around the back streets of west Houston. As it was winter time and a dinner meeting, it started to get dark and so I turned on the headlights to see where we were going. Then, would you believe it, the GPS that was plugged in to the cigarette lighter stopped working!

    I turned off the headlights and the GPS came back to life. Now what to do? Drive in the dark with no headlights, or pray we somehow find our way through divine guidance with the headlights on but the GPS off? We opted for the latter and surprisingly found our way on to Westheimer and subsequently to Christie’s. The trip home was uneventful as by then the Beltway was open and I knew the return route.The following weekend it was out with the multimeter to determine the cause of the electrical problem, which turned out to be the “typical” poor ground connection at the back of the dash.

    For anyone faced with a similar “Prince of Darkness” problem, the multimeter, shown in the photo is available through the club’s loaner tool program. - Safety fast!

  • September 17, 2020 9:46 PM | Bob Chalker (Administrator)

    by Dwight Dawson

    What do 140 members of the Houston MG Car Club do in the middle of a global pandemic? Surely there is some grousing about “nothing to do,” and “why can’t I find an initiative in this club to amuse me and make me smarter about my MG?”

    To the credit of our stalwart President Mike Woodward, there has been a lengthy list of “virtual events” to engage members who are interested and willing to educate themselves on how to Zoom. Examples of these internet situated activities can be seen on the website under EVENTS. Given that the average age of most active Club members is in the “endangered age group,” there can be no face-to-face gatherings that put people in harm’s way. And while nobody can argue that we must never complain or be unhappy about the way things are in our MG World, complaining doesn’t change anything except perhaps the exacerbation of already foul moods. The many virtual events that Mike has arranged, designed and expertly emceed have included Tech Sessions, Pub Quizzes, a Jeopardy Game, a Virtual Car Show, and monthly Member Meetings. Remember, Zooming is not what he signed up for but he does it!

    As in pre-Covid days, not everyone can attend every event. However, an increasing number of us is taking advantage of these digital venues. Perseverance in the shutdown-ness in which we now live enables the willing individual to learn a new factoid to two about MGs and their care. Topics have included detailing and preparing your MG for a show, appropriate lubricants to use in our ancient autos, and dealing with electrical glitches.

    This past Saturday, September 12th, about 25 folks tuned into our Zoom session on tires, (or tyres as Mike and Stephanie would spell them). Miles Sandy, the son of long-time member Pete Sandy, was the featured special expert on the subject of the four steel and rubber round things that we rely on when the engine starts and the clutch engages. Miles is the manager of a Discount Tires facility at SH 99 and Westpark. He shared his expertise on wire wheels and many other tire/wheel details that are unique to MGs and other vintage autos. Interestingly, Miles knows a lot what he does because he assisted his father in MG racing and other activities that required roadworthy tires and wheels. President Mike managed to direct this latest tech session even whilst (my new favorite British word) he and Stephanie were cavorting around the state providing grandparent childcare relief for their three daughters and sons-in-law. It was a great session and another one that has been recorded and available to all on the website. 


    All things considered, we will all recognize the pandemic as a perfect time to begin that challenging project or difficult learning that you always wanted to accomplish. Our Club’s virtual events are a good place to start toward your breakthrough accomplishment. The virus has certainly not stopped us. When the time is right, we will rejoin fellow MG enthusiasts with a new appreciation for pressing the flesh and being in the actual presence of others with shared interests. Maybe we’ll look back and laugh… maybe not.

    See you soon for another Pub Quiz on September 26th. Your minimum contribution is to prepare your very own favorite libation, just for attending. Cheers!

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Contact Us:  HoustonMGCarClub@gmail.com


Houston MG Car Club

PO Box 40711

Houston, TX   77240. 


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