Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline January 2016

MGAguru is on the Prowl
MGA Guru is Gone Mobile

After the month-long British car repair session (last month's report), we left Bolivar, MO on 29 November. We did a short stop with David Darby in Kissee Mills, MO (been there before), then two hours farther east to visit Chuck Bruce in Myrtle, MO. He has a nice 1958 MGA Coupe in restoration, with a neighbor doing the sheet metal work. Late evening dinner, and a few hours later we were holding up on the outskirts of Little Rock Arkansas.

In Little Rock we visited Gary Neely who is a dyed in the wool MGB enthusiast. He especially likes GTs and hardtops, but recently has a few MGA in his collection as well. Next stop was McLeod British Cars in Maumelle, AR. With hundreds of British cars here, this would be British Car Parts Central in Arkansas, and they also restore cars occasionally. Then we were traveling south out of Arkansas and just past Texarkana into Texas. Next day (December 1st) we stopped to visit Andrew Kueny in Plano, TX, who has a nice MGA which he drives on weekends, and he swears it would never be drivable without

I am happy to report that we may have a winner in the search for a good brake light pressure switch. After several consecutive switch failures at intervals of 3 to 8 weeks, 5000 to 8000 miles each, we have one that seems to be surviving. Duralast RB401 (Made in Spain), purchased at Autozone, installed July 3, 2015. 5-1/2 months and 16,000 miles on, it still works.

On 5th December we had a breakfast meeting with Texas MG Register in Plano, TX with 15 people, three of four MGB V8's, an MGA Twin Cam, and an MG Magnette MK-IV. This MG Magnette MK-IV may be the only one in the country, as it was not originally sold the USA. Larger all over than the MK-III, 1622cc engine, RHD, cavernous boot, lots of space inside.

While we had not much to do for a while, we stumbled into a neat 1924 Ford truck (hot rod style). On the 12th an appointment with Greg Poffenbarger in Azle, TX turned into a long telephone chat. He has an early pull handle MGB with later 5-main bearing engine. Then we had a visit with Ted Shannon in rural Azle, TX, who has 1959 MGA 1500 that was purchased new by his father, and is mostly unmolested, mostly original. We gave it a tune up to produce a big grin on the face of the owner.

On the 13th we were two hours farther south to visit Clay Sawyer in Waco, TX. He has an MGA hiding somewhere and claims to have been referencing for three years. He also has a really nifty Cobra, built from a kit supplied by E.R.A. Replica Automobiles in New Britain, CT. It is possibly the most faithful copy of an original 427 Cobra. Front and rear tires all the same size, no lake pipes, no hood scoop, and the front vents are ducted to supply fresh air to the passengers, (not to cool the brakes). The wheels are original type 5-stud pin-drive knock-off wheels with authentic original 3-ear spinners. Repro Cobras are seldom this faithful to original configuration. No power steering, no power brakes, no air conditioning, just the basics required to make it go, all in the spirit of the original street going light racing roadster (but it does have a heater).

On the 15th we were just sitting and "fishing" (as usual) when we got a bite. That would be Russel Hertzog in Georgetown, TX, owner of multiple older MGs which he was happy to show us. Begin with a 1950 MG TD, a 1932 MG J2 cycle fender car and a 1933 MG J2 swept fender car. Then a 1929 MG M-type, an early production car built before the company move to Abingdon. This one was restored and painted in the colors of four factory works cars used for racing (and eight more later production copies). It had a number of upgrades like extra dash instruments (and a clock). Throw in a nice Austin Healey "Bug-Eye" Sprite, an all original car, very low mileage.
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