This month marks the 25th anniversary of my membership in this club.
The Steering Column
Left Hand Drive
from our President
At least, according to the September 1983 issue of the club newsletter (then called the “Chicago Chapter Reporter”) which gives my name as a “new member” on page 3. Also identified as new members are Linda Prate and Gretchen Mitts. I don’t remember ever meeting either Linda or Gretchen, but I do see many familiar (to me) names in the Reporter: Gene Cooper is President, Bruce Magers is Treasurer and Margie Johnson is editor.
Content includes promotional info on the “AMGBA Midwest Regional Convention” in Abingdon, IL and for the upcoming “Abbey Run” to Lake Geneva, WI. Also mentioned is the upcoming club meeting at Russell’s in Rolling Meadows (a move from the Mug Pub location of earlier that spring), the Natter ‘n’ Noggin at Hippo’s in Schaumburg, and a weekend trip to Galena that received good promotion in previous issues but none in September. Maybe that’s because the newsletter didn’t always come out at the first of the month back then and publicity had to be done way in advance of the event. Also in this issue are ads from several long-gone vendors to the MG community: University Motors is the only survivor from that group. I note that the club had apparently prospered since the January of 1983 issue when the treasury balance had stood at $32.73, now having jumped to $200.27 by September.
It’s all in the Driveline Archives section of the website. See for yourself, but beware! You may end up surfing those old copies for hours, like I did.
In reality, I probably joined the club a few months earlier but wasn’t reported until September as I remember attending a few Natter ‘n Noggins at Hippo’s (still have one of their beer mugs) and my wife and I went to Galena (stayed at the General Grant motel on Rt 20). I had bought my first MG in 1982, a used 1977 MGB, but did not know about the club -then known as the Chicago Chapter of the American MGB Association. As a fairly proficient amateur mechanic I was quite frustrated with some mechanical issues with that car that simply did not make sense to my experience. Somewhere…under the seat…or in the trunk…or in the glovebox…I found a club recruiting flyer: I called the number with an anguished cry for
help! “No problem”, Pat Amerena said. “You have a defective electronic ignition and can get a free replacement under warranty. It’s a well known problem. And by the way, why don’t you join the club?”
Well, it sure wasn’t well known to me or anyone I knew, but he was right. I went to a local “foreign car “ parts store, as that was what any non-US made car was called back then, and readily procured a factory replacement at no charge. And I decided that these guys knew more than I did about my car so I joined the club because who knows what else might go wrong? And I found that meetings, events, trips to Galena, the Abbey, and Abingdon were all quite fun. And I found that I, too, could come to understand unusual mechanical features of these enjoyable but sometimes frustrating cars.
This October marks the 32nd anniversary of the founding of our club. Not a “silver” or “golden” number but a worthwhile one never the less. Did you ever wonder how the club got started? Where were meetings held? When was the first rally, the first autocross, the first car show? Who were the personalities? What were the events, the locations, the changes and the reasons?
We will be publishing some of the history on these questions in the next few months but I wonder, now, if you have a story like mine: how did you find us? when? why? was it a personal contact? a published ad? a need for help or parts? Send me an email and we will get your story included in future issues.
Safety Fast, -- Jim Evans
September 1983 “Chicago Chapter Reporter”