Archive for October 2012

Great Video by Danny and Andrew Allen

Great Video by Danny and Andrew Allen

Thanks guys for this great video! (if it isn’t showing below, click “read more” to see it)

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Dallas Veteran’s Day Parade Needs YOU

Dallas Veteran’s Day Parade Needs YOU

We ‘re looking for 5 more MGs to take World War II veterans from the Buckner Retirement Village to ride in the Dallas Veteran’s Day parade on Monday, November 12. We need to show up between 9:30-10 at the staging area since the parade begins at 11:20. We will be one of the first 10 units in the parade. TMGR will be recognized as we pass the reviewing stand.

To participate please contact Frank Kopec, 682-553-3912 for more information. Thanks.- Frank

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Fall 2012 GoF – Recap!

Fall 2012 GoF – Recap!
On the way to Flatonia for lunch

On the way to Flatonia for lunch on Friday

The Fall Gathering of the Faithful in La Grange is history and it was GREAT. Many, many thanks to the hosts Nick Pappas and Jeremy and Grantsie Youngblood. They did a fabulous job and La Grange was a beautiful and friendly community to be in.

We will post some photos here and, as always, Gary Sandusky has a great slideshow up on his site. In addition, there’s an award page with who won what and pics of the award presentation.

Thanks again to everyone who had a hand in this fabulous event and to Nick, Jeremy and Grantsie.

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All About VINs

All About VINs

What your VIN Number Means

Make G MG
Engine Type H BMC B-Series Engine, 1.8L (MGB)
A MMC A-Series Engine (Midget)
Body Type N 2-seated roadster
D GT or coupe
Series 3 Mk 1 (1962-1967)
4 Mk2 (1968-1969)
5 Mk3 (1970-1979)
Market U USA (left-hand drive)
L Left-Hand Drive
R Right-Hand Drive
Model Year None 1968-69
A 1969-70
B 1971
C 1972
D 1973
E 1974
F 1975
G 1976
H 1977
J 1978
L 1979
7+ Car Number 54321

Where is the VIN plate located?

The VIN for the early MGB, approximately 1962-69, may be found stamped on a plate that is secured to the inner right hand fender (looking from the rear of the car), located just in front of the radiator.
The VIN for the later MGB, approximately 1970-80, may be found stamped on a plate secured to the left hand door post, and on a plate secured to the top of the dashboard.

How Can I Find My Car’s Build Date and Original Options?

You probably want a Heritage Certificate for your car. These can be purchased at the Heritage Motor Centre UK.

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Chrome

When undertaking a cosmetic restoration, you’re always faced with the realization that a new paint job will not look as nice as it should unless the chrome parts look like new. It’s like pouring a lovely bottle of wine into plastic cups. So – it is decision time. Replace those parts or have them re-chromed? An understanding of how chrome plating is done will help you make that decision.

Because of the mount of work needed to refurbish old parts properly, re-chroming is often much more expensive than buying a new part. New parts are made with new metal, which requires less preparation, and batch processing is always less expensive than dealing with individual pieces. Of course, new parts aren’t always available, so sometimes, re-chroming is necessary.

Compared side-by-side, a new part will likely not have the same individual care and attention given to it as a re-chromed old part. Having an old part re-chromed by a top quality chrome shop will sometimes result in a more beautiful finish than you’ll see with a new part. It may also be much more expensive. But does purchasing a new part provide the same satisfaction as bringing an original back to life? Hmmm….

Metal parts are usually either painted or plated to prevent corrosion. Steel parts are mostly iron, and if left bare, will rust with air and moisture. It’s a chemical reaction that in LBC (Little British Car) circles is followed quickly by a series of emotional reactions… horror, anger, disgust, etc.

Fortunately metal can be electrochemically plated with other metals such as chrome and made less susceptible to corrosion. When you hear that something is chrome, there is really only a thin layer of chrome plating an object typically made of steel. Chrome parts are never painted – but rather have had baths in three salty brines. The plating process involves submerging the part in three separate solutions of copper, nickel and finally chromium. For a detailed explanation, visit “howstuffworks.com” and look up electroplating.

If you decided to have your parts re-plated, be sure to use a shop that has a reputation for top-notch work. The work is very labor intensive. Preparation of the old part will involve stripping the old chrome and nickel, then applying maybe two or more coats of copper, which must be properly buffed to remove imperfections. Then the nickel coats must be carefully done to ensure proper coverage, and finally, the thin chrome coating goes on…hopefully resulting in a beautiful, finished product.

Once you have your new or newly plated part, how do you preserve it? All chromed surfaces should be cleaned with acetone and mineral spirits, completely dried and then polished with a product like Simichrome, which leaves a protective film for lasting brightness. For added protection, wipe on a coat of micro-crystalline wax such as Renaissance Wax. Never use a buffing wheel or any powdered abrasive to polish brightwork as the plated surface is not as rugged as it would appear.

[British Motoring, Fall 2011] Read more

Frank and Debbie Do Abingdon

The conversation started with me saying, “You know, Paris isn’t that far from London.”  Frank and I were making plans to join our daughter Allison, son-in-law Kris and 10 year old grandson Dylan in France to follow the last 3 days of the Tour d’ France bicycle race which ends with a grand finale on the Champs Elysees.  We were beginning our trip in Bordeaux and planned to end with a day trip to Champagne, but Abingdon grabbed our attention more than champagne.

Bordeaux – Orleans –Paris and the Tour d’ France –    and  those boxes off-quite the enjoyable carnival atmosphere for the Tour in the small French towns-not so much with the large pushy crowds in Paris on the Champs Elysees, but after years of watching the 21 day bike race on TV, the experience was well worth the effort.

After 3 memorable days of sightseeing in Paris we were ready for the first leg of our English odyssey –  the Paris Metro to the train station.  Allison guided us through the Metro maze for the first days but Frank and I managed to negotiate the Metro to Monmarte by ourselves and we figured with just 1 line change it was an easy shot to the Gare Du Nord station so we didn’t give in to the luxury of a taxi.  Anyway it gave me a chance to laugh one more time at my favorite Paris machine, not the ever-present Nespresso coffee machine, but the point cap dispenser located in every Paris metro station.

Air conditioning is not as prevalent in Paris as in the States and by the time I dragged my bag into the train station I was dripping with sweat.  First glitch was when the ticket machine wouldn’t dispense our prepaid tickets.  No problem, go to the ticket counter-oops wrong counter with the correct location all the way across the hot station.  Along with our printed train tickets we were handed an UK entry form to fill out.  Form completed, sweat dripping we approached British customs and were surprised by the thoroughness of the customs agent.  She kept saying over and over “Why are you going to Oxford?” and our description of our intended pilgrimage to Abington along with our gesturing to all the MG logos we were wearing had little effect.  It wasn’t until I produced our hotel confirmation and return flight information that she stamped our passports and let us through.  It must have been my dripping sweat the obvious sign of nervousness, that lead her to believe that Frank and I were two middle-aged terrorists intent on disrupting the London Olympics with our MG-related shenanigans.

The rocking Eurostar train lulled us to sleep almost immediately only to wake up in the blackness of the chunnel.  Sunlight – wow- English countryside looks just like French countryside and then onto St. Pancras station.  It was the day before the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics and the station was mobbed.  One quick stop for an Olympic souvenir, we were in London after all, and we were off walking with our suitcases again to find the nearby tube station Kings Crossing.  Following the station signs was harder than anticipated and by this time I was tired of dragging my lopsided suitcase and traded Frank for his newer but smaller suitcase. The London Tube was quite different from the Paris Metro- dirtier, hotter and the lights inside the car kept going off and on. Kings Cross to Paddington and again following the signs to the English Railway system.  It’s a good thing that I didn’t prepurchase our train tickets because we would have missed the train, but getting a senior ticket rate made up for the lapse.  The English Railway system reminded me of our former daily commute to Chicago from the suburbs on the Chicago/Northwestern railroad.  A short hour later we were in Oxford.  Walking out of the Oxford train station we started wondering where our hotel was located when we looked up and read the sign “Royal Oxford Hotel” plastered on a building a half  block down-great planning.

That night at a pub in town Frank and I decided that Oxford was the Austin of England.  Both are college towns with loads of young people, lots of pubs, shopping and even a KFC and Gap; the only difference was the architecture and the age of the town.  Somehow I don’t think that Austin was around in the 8th century.  The next morning after a “full English breakfast” (oh, how we missed our French croissants, brie and ham) it was off to Abby Road for the rental car.  By the time we walked into Avis I was nauseous with terror. Since Frank was the designated driver, he picked the rental car, or shall I say our mode of destruction.  With options ranging from a Peugot, Vauxhall, or Volkswagen he chose a Ford (horror!).

Let me start by saying that Frank was an awesome driver, but me not a good passenger.  We put 43 miles on the rental car that day- Abingdon was 7 miles down the road.  Driving in the left lane, shifting with his left hand, roundabouts – nothing fazed Frank in the least.  All I could manage was to hold the door handle with a death grip while my other hand held the phone for directions.  Guess who got us lost?!

We got semi-directions (down A24, 2nd exit to Abingdon) from the Avis people and on the exit from a roundabout marked with the MG Club logo we left the main road.  We stopped at the first building we saw all decorated with British flags-must be the MG clubhouse-only to find out we were at the English war veterans building-duh, English flags in England is not an unusual sight.  A little farther down the road we reached Kimber House. We pulled our Ford into the parking lot filled with new model MGs and we were home.

We were warmly welcomed by Julian White the General Manager of the MG Car Club who had just started giving a tour to a couple from Holland who shipped their MGF to England.  My first thought was “see, we’re not the only crazies.”  After introductions and comments about the British driving on the wrong side of the road, we toured the clubhouse with them. Kimber House was packed with memorabilia from the early years of MG production through its closing and present day club events and races.  Kimber House itself sits at the edge of the former factory location and its front iron fence is the original MG plant fence.  The four of us spent a fascinating hour going through the findings at Kimber House.  Cases upon cases of trophies, photographs, articles, all sorts of memorabilia from around the world all in the name of the MG marque.  And that didn’t include the separate archive room with its soon to be compiled technical drawings, model specifications and treasurers too rare to be put on public display. The past was displayed but we also talked about the future.  Both Julian and Andy (magazine editor) have been to China.  Julian said that they had to correct some MG folklore the Chinese misused and they felt the MG Club has better relations with the Chinese than the Chinese do with Longbridge.

Tradition has it that visitors bring a memento from their MG club to leave at Kimber House.  Frank and I were unprepared, but there, right in the front of the middle shelf was the enameled TMGR logo pin.  We pointed it out to Julian and felt redeemed by our TMGR Club members.

After photographs with Julian and our Dutch MG friends, we asked about Cecil Kimber’s home that’s been turned into a “not so good” pub and decided to walk (notice the mode of transportation) into Abingdon centre for lunch and a look at the county museum.  Abingdon County Hall Museum just recently opened after a long renovation.  It smelled of newly sawed wood that comprised the staircase.  Three stories up was a portion devoted to MGs in Abington.  In the center of the display space was the last MGB Roaster off the line at the Abingdon plant.  Interesting to note was the fact that they had to hoist the car on its side through the building’s window in order for it to sit in its final resting place.  Besides the (now) typical memorabilia were 2 videos-one a silent film of a couple in the ‘30’s getting a letter indicating  their new MG was being produced showed them on tour of the factory.  It was a fascinating look back into pre-war production factory shops.  The second video was a compilation of MG TV ads from the 60s and 70s, all with longer haired guys and cute girls.  I expected to see Austin Powers pop out of the screen.  Up another flight of stairs to view the miniature MG car collection and our tour was complete. One last good-by at the Kimber house and we were back on the road to Oxford.

Later that night after an Italian dinner (British food is not our favorite), again sitting in a pub, we watched the pre-show to the Olympic Opening Ceremony. Our discussion centered on the day’s awesome experience.  Owning an MG means that you’re part of history and that history is brought to life through a visit to Kimber House.  Of course, through the internet you can visit the Kimber House and research the history of the MG, but until you set foot inside the Kimber House, until you walk the streets of Abingdon, until you experience the true warmth and camaraderie of the British MG Car Club members and its world-wide devotees can you then appreciate the unique piece of history that’s in your possession.

Next morning we took the bus to Heathrow and Frank chose a front row seat with a full view of the huge windshield which I’m convinced he selected to give me yet another heart attack precipitated by watching the bus drive on the wrong side of the road.  While waiting for our flight departure, I went shopping and found the most appropriate souvenir.  Frank and I both got t-shirts emblazoned with a phrase that summed up our Oxford/Abingdon trip– Churchill’s phrase “Keep Calm and Carry On” Yes we did exactly that!

Frank and Debbie Kopek

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Repairing Lucas Light Switches

Many of us owners/drivers of LBCs have had a problem or two with the Lucas light switch found on most any dash that malfunctions.  I took mine apart to see why I only had working headlights and no markers or parking lights.  The turn signals as well as the hazard lights worked perfectly, so I knew that I had proper power.  After I cleaned the brass contacts on the switch as well as the slider, I still didn’t have the markers working.  It was dark when I brought the dismantled switch into the house.  During this short trip, I lost the small spring and couldn’t find it. What to do?!  My son suggested that maybe a spring from a retractable ball point pen would work.  Great suggestion!!  The spring was the perfect diameter and after cutting of several turns for length, I put it into the switch.  The switch was once again operable in all positions.  I attributed my problem to a rusty spring that had lost its tensile.  Simple repair without any cost!!

…Lloyd Powell

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