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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This article may be of practical interest to those in the States East Coast plus anyone in the UK wishing to get a US perspective on MG.


The Post

Kenn Peters Staff writer
4 June 2006

It's one of the largest and most active car clubs in the local area, yet less may be known about the MG Car Club of Central New York and its cars than is known about many smaller car groups.
If its cars carried the names Chevelle, Mustang or Corvette, most people would know something about them.
But mention MG and many people respond with blank stares. They know they're the odd-looking little cars, but not much else. Few people can recite any facts about MG the way they can about Chevys and Fords.
The cars themselves generally aren't showpieces, and they certainly aren't trailer queens like many American-made collector cars tend to be. They may not have mirror-like finishes and super clean interiors.
What they are is driven. A lot.
Some are driven every day in the spring and summer, club members say.
The MG organization, founded in 1999, has about 122 participating families, and it plans activities year-round.
The annual car show the club has in mid-June each year (June 18 this year) is one of the few times that visitors will see club members' cars parked. Most of the time the cars are on the move to close and distant destinations, traveling in small and large groups.
"We like to do things as a group," said Mike Mastracco, club president. "Sometimes, we drive to destinations in the local area; sometimes we go much farther."
One of the farther trips club members have taken was a foray into Canada, a round trip of about 900 miles. Given the fact that the vast majority of these cars are running with their old-fashioned, but often rebuilt drivetrains and engines and transmissions, and some still have archaic electronics, that's a pretty good jaunt.
Bob Carbone, owner of an old MG and founder of the club, pointed out recently that nobody has ever been left behind on one of the club's trips.
Breakdowns may not be uncommon, but there's always somebody who can help get a limping car back home.
"Everybody contributes something to this club," Carbone said. "Some people can do mechanical work; others can't. But those who can't most likely can contribute something else."
Many of the members are pretty good with a wrench and know their way around a car. They have to be because these quirky four- and six- cylinder engines have never been blessed with the kind of reliability that collectors of domestic cars expect from their vehicles.
Many of the British gremlins are found in the cars' electrical systems: electronics that often leave a lot to be desired.
While the cars may be finicky from time to time, the club runs smoothly most of the time.
Despite its busy schedule and active agenda, the club doesn't make demands of any members, yet it has enthusiastic participation from many people.
"Everybody gives something to the club," Mastracco said.
The club has one dinner meeting each month and a minimum of one event a month. Events always involve members' cars.
It could be something as simple as going en masse for ice cream or a hot dog, or heading to the Finger Lakes for a winery tour.
One thing's for sure on most of these trips - short of an early snowfall - the members almost always drive with their tops down.
"That means through rain, wind, whatever," said Pete Sanborn, the owner of a 1959 Austin-Healey 3000. Sanborn's car, by the way, underwent a 41/2-year restoration, but nonetheless it's driven relentlessly.
Try that with people who are babying old Mustangs and GTOs. Some cars never see the light of day, let alone a drop of rain.
"We like to drive and enjoy our cars," said Carmella DeForest, who with her husband Kevin DeForest, owns a 1947 MG TC.
"We came for the cars, but we stayed for the people," she said.
MG Car Club of
Central New York
President: Mike Mastracco
Phone: 263-6995
Annual dues: $20
Annual car show
When: June 18
Where: Lorenzo State Historic Site, Cazenovia
Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
On tap: British and European cars, trucks and motorcycles, entertainment, refreshments, face painting for kids, music
More about MGs
Although MG manufactured sports cars as early as 1929, the models listed here are considered to be the modern era cars.
1945-1950: MG TC Midget
1950-1953: MG TD Midget
1953-1955: MG TF Midget
1955-1962: MGA
1961-1979: MG Midget
1962-1980: MGB
1968-1970: MGC
1973-1976: MGB GT V-8
1992-1995: MG RV-8
1995-2005: MG F
2002-2005: MG TF
What is MG: A British marque, originally Morris Garages, that has produced sports cars since 1924, although none have been made since MG Rover went bankrupt in the spring of 2005.
What about the cars: Best known in the United States for two- seat open sports cars, but MG also produced sedans and coupes.
Company origins: In 1928, the company become large enough to warrant an identity separate from the original Morris Garages, and the M.G. Car Co. Ltd. was established.
Owner: Originally owned by William Morris, the company was sold to Morris Motors in 1935. MG was absorbed into the British Motor Corp. in 1952 and British Leyland in 1968.
MGB introduced: The MGB debuted in 1962 to satisfy demand for a more modern and comfortable sports car. It was produced until 1980.
What about the Midget: MG produced the MG Midget in 1961. The Midget was a rebadged and slightly restyled second-generation Austin- Healey Sprite.
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