Chicagoland MG Club
Chicagoland MG Club

Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline
Back to Archives
Submit an article

Intro & Club Officers
Left hand drive
Right hand drive
Welcome New Members
June Meeting Report
CMGC Spring Autocross
MG Maintenance 101
Family Go Kart Night
CMGC Autocross at JJC
Time Warp - JASW
Miata-CMGC Autocross
Midget Gearbox Swap
No Driving in July?
Road America Camping
Rally in the Valley
Rally in the Valley - Reg.
Multi-Club Picnic
UML MG Summer Party
Lucas Night Rally
CMGC Fall Autocross
Regalia Items Available
Regalia Order Form
CMGC Events
Other Events
Back Cover
  Chicagoland MG Club:Driveline
Left hand drive The Steering Column

Right Hand Drive
from your Vice President

Wade Keene As I was cleaning my Jeep the other day, I was thinking about how similar they are to MGs. Keep in mind that when I say “Jeep”, I’m talking about a jeep – not one of those 4WD station wagons they call Grand Cherokees and such with a J-e-e-p stuck on the side. Actual jeeps have doors that come off in 30 seconds or less, tops that come down in about just a little less time than they did 20 years ago (and go back up in about twice that time), and windshields that fold down. Most importantly, they are 4WD and meant to be driven off of paved surfaces – well off. Sure, the TJs (current production Wrangler to non-jeepers) that they make now are a far cry from the CJ-5’s of 25 or so years ago, but they’re still a short wheelbase, old fashioned 4WD (not all-wheel drive as meant for pavement), stiff riding, loud on the highway, looks better the dirtier it is, bare bones and easy to work on, and a rolling tribute to the MBs that won WWII. Drive one on an old logging trail and on an interstate and there’s no question of where its most at home.

Unlike Jeeps, my MGB has very little other than the octagon in common with the MGs of the 1940’s. Except that it likes to be driven as it was intended to be – like a sportscar. And a sportscar is what the people at Abingdon worked so hard to design and build. My overdrive isn’t working, but that’s ok because the engine really likes it at 4000 rpm, h#&l, redline isn’t until 6000 or so. My factory driver’s manual says to shift in the orange section, as far as that goes. I once drove an early ‘70s Spitfire and it really felt like the hardest it wanted to be driven was at a leisurely Sunday afternoon pace, and that was not because there was anything wrong with it. All of my MGs on the other hand, have begged to be driven hard. They have a way of telling you that they’re sportscars and not living to their potential unless they’re autocrossing, going through a country road ‘S’ with the loud pedal being put to use, or at the very least making a trip to the grocery store a lot more fun. And yes, I have put 2 weeks worth of groceries in my ‘B for a family of three.

I also read the letter that Wilbur mentioned in the July issue of Classic Motorsports from someone with a prize-winning trailer queen MGB. In a nutshell the letter writer seems to think that doing things to make an MGB useable turn it into a junk car. Nothing wrong with originality at all, but judging from his letter, this guy has no clue whatsoever of what a great car he has. His letter reminded me of a comment Glynis and I overheard last summer at the Miata Club’s Father’s Day Autocross. A woman was chastising Barney regarding the condition of his car. As far as we could tell she was upset that it wasn’t pristine and clean enough to eat off of on all surfaces, and generally upset that it wasn’t treated like some kind of museum piece. A specific question she asked was “Don’t you know what you have here?” She was serious. Glynis turned to me and said that Barney knew far better than that woman what he had, and better than most people as far as that goes. And, I would add, anyone who puts their MG to its intended use knows what they have, and its not a trailered museum piece.

Jeeps and MGs: both built as basically as they could be, both oftentimes driven by enthusiasts, both have heritage up the wazoo, and both accomplish their purpose far better than the price tag would suggest. Unfortunately, they both have another thing in common. Jeep owners off-road more than most SUV owners (I do n’t think Jeeps are SUVs because a) they’re far different than nearly anything else that’s an SUV and b) there was no such thing as an SUV in 1943) but they still keep their jeeps far cleaner than both their heritage and design merit. MGs are also very underutilized. Back when I was in high school (graduated in ’87) with my Midget, and for quite while after that, I’d see MGs all over the place. And before you say they were just another used car back then, those other people I waved to obviously didn’t think that way about their cars and I know I didn’t.

It’s 2004 now and British Car Week has come and gone. I saw .. let me think… no British cars other than my own in that week. I hope that’s only because I wasn’t in the right places. But next time you have nothing to transport from A to B but yourself, give some serious consideration as to why your vehicle X would do a better job of it than your MG. If it’s because your fuel pump crapped out, I’ll understand. .

Safety Fast,

©2004 Chicagoland MG Club, All rights reserved.