TMGR Philosophy

The Texas MG Register — By Eric Welty
Note: A shortened version of the following article appeared in the May/June 2006 issue of Texas Driver magazine, and is presented here in its unedited original form.

British automobile pioneer Cecil Kimber and his MG Motorcar Company Ltd. could hardly have imagined the impact their first sports car, affectionately remembered as “Old Number One”, would have on the automotive world. More than 80 years later, and 26 years since the last MG rolled from the storied factory at Abingdon-on-Thames, that passion shows no sign of letting up. An infatuation-some might say obsession-kept alive today by scores of different organizations and countless thousands of “The Faithful” worldwide, including more than 200 enthusiastic members of The Texas MG Register (TMGR).

Custodians of more than 500 classic British automobiles, ranging from a 1930 M-Type fabric covered roadster to some of the last MGBs produced, TMGR members are devoted to maintaining and enjoying one of the world’s favorite cars. As member Jeremy Brown observes: “If you don’t like meeting new people, don’t drive an MG! It’s almost impossible to drive one without someone stopping to ask about the car, or telling you about the one they had in college, or one their parents had when they were young. Sometimes a quick trip to the store can take a while!”

Most automotive historians agree that America’s affection with open, two seat sports cars began with the MGTC model of the 1940’s, a distinction acknowledged in later company advertising with the slogan “The sports car America loved first”. Like many a bride, servicemen returning from England after World War II brought home the tiny British roadsters they fell in love with during the war. With esthetic charm and refined road-holding manners more than compensating for their diminutive size and horsepower, they were the perfect counterpoint to the typical offering available from Detroit. Right hand drive proudly affirmed their unique British heritage, and the then uncommon, but oh-so-sporty tachometer, wire laced wheels and 4-speed transmission assured a driving experience available nowhere else

Slightly more refined TD and TF models followed, and it was devotees of these “T Series” MGs who formed the original Texas MG Register in 1975. In 1993 the club welcomed owners of “modern” MGA and MGB models, and became the TMGR as it is today; a diverse group of all ages, backgrounds and interests hailing from all parts of Texas, the nation and even as far away as Australia and brought together by a shared love of MGs and the MG experience. As Lou Marchant explains “The Texas MG Register is great because it accepts and welcomes all MGs. There are some MG groups that only like one type of car but I have found that I like lots of models. When someone asks me which is my favorite it’s hard to answer. It’s like asking a parent which child is their favorite-you just can’t choose one!” Difficult choice indeed for someone who, together with her fiancée, owns 22 MGs!

TMGR members pride themselves knowing that their club is about more than just the cars, being actively involved in raising thousands of dollars for charities (including this year’s Hurricane Katrina relief fund), or the annual tradition of collecting new toys for underprivileged children at the Christmas party. Nevertheless, the TMGR’s bylaws establish that the club is “Primarily dedicated to the preservation and enjoyment of MG cars”.

For some members this means showing their meticulously restored, as-new Pride & Joys at the spring “Gathering of the Faithful” (GoF) held every year at Salado, Texas (“Great people, great cars, great venue, great fun!” according to Tim and Connie Moorhead), or the fall event held at varying locations across the state. Though many cars can, and do show competitively in judged concourse events, TMGR members enjoy a decidedly more casual, popular-vote type of show at their GoFs. Many enjoy disproving the myth of British automotive unreliability with a hearty challenge to both man and machine, driving hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles to the National and Regional MG meets hosted every summer by different clubs across the country. Look for a convoy of TMGR cars heading to the mountains of Tennessee this summer to be a part of MG 2006, a celebration of all things MG expected to attract an estimated 1500+ vintage British cars from all parts of the US. For others enjoying the hobby means racing their specially prepared MGs against other vintage cars, often including American models equipped with considerably larger engines. On a tightly curving race course more than a few drivers of the latter category have been surprised (and no doubt chagrined) to be passed by a much more nimble MG!

For most members however, it means simply experiencing the pleasure of owning one of the best loved cars of all time, delighting in a backroad driving experience that’s been called “pure motoring bliss”, and sharing that passion with like minded enthusiasts. Whether it’s at a rally at a GoF, on any of the overnight or local fun tours planned throughout the year, attending a neighborhood tech-session or the monthly Noggin and Natters (Brit-speak for eatin’, drinkin’ and talkin’), if it involves an MG you can be assured there will be TMGR members on hand enjoying their cars and each other.

As Jim Yule, a past President says: “The Texas MG Register is about having fun. It’s not about ego, it’s not about one up-man-ship, it’s about enjoying MG’s and the down to earth folks that own them.”

5 Comments

  1. Mr. Welty;

    Thank you for sharing the saga of restoring your 1953 Riley RMF, I found it most interesting; I’ve always been intrigued by wood framed automobiles. In my humble opinion, yours is the coolest sedan I’ve ever seen; your modifications and finish execution are superb!

    All the best to you, keep up the fine work in the greatest state in the Union!

    Bill Kittelson (66)
    Eden Prairie MN

  2. I have a new convertible top to install on my 1978 MGB. I need info from someone who knows how to install it.
    I’d like info on the possibility of joining. Are you still meeing at Christie’s restaurant?
    Reply

  3. Hi Rafael,

    I just saw your post. The group that meets at Christie’s restaurant in Houston is the Houston MG Car Club. They do still meet at Christie’s the first Wednesday of every month starting at 6:30pm.

    http://houstonmgcc.com/

  4. Does TMGR have a set of rules governing valve cover races?
    I am preparing a racer for the spring GOF and the GT-41 in June and wondering what the limits were.
    Length, width, weight, etc.
    Thx,
    Joe Vining

    • I’m not sure there are going to be valve races at the GoF. Do you have an inside source? As far as I know, there are no TMGR guidelines.

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