Sorry this is so late, and probably boring news to all by now. However, I've
been running flat out since returning from Indy and barely able to check in,
much less read all the MG mail.
Anyway, here's a story written on the laptop on the way back from Indy 96
(the wife was driving). Editors: feel free to reuse, just give the proper
The Minnesota MG T Register
MG International - Indy '96
The Magic of MG
True to it's name, MG International was truly an international event. There
were, by my count, 1244 registrations from 45 states, 6 Canadian provinces,
7 countries, and 3 continents, with over 2000 people in attendance.
A large percentage of the MG models over a 50 year period from 1930 through
1980 were well represented. This included:
M, D, J2, PA, PB, L1, K3 (replica), NA, NE, SA, TA, TB, TC, TD, TF, YA, YB,
ZB, 1100, MGA, Midget, MGB
Numerous variations of body styles were in evidence including roadsters,
coupes, sedans, a special bodied racing version of the L1 up to and
including a stretched MGB roadster made into a mini-limousine.
Despite the diversity of models and ages, despite the language spoken by the
attendees, despite the social stratus from which one came, despite the part
of the alphabet anyone's car represented, there were two simple letters
which uniquely joined 2000 people into a common bond of camaraderie and
fellowship for 4 days. Those letters were, of course, MG.
The MG name, perhaps unique amongst all automobiles, represents a spirit of
friendship that cuts across all divisions. One individual with whom I spoke
expressed surprise that someone offered the keys to their TD for a lap
around the track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Yet this was typical of
the bonding between this group of MG enthusiasts.
It was a very magical weekend in other ways, as well. Six major national and
international clubs or registers were officially represented. These included
The New England MG T Register, The North American MGA Register, The North
American MGB Register, The American MGB Association, The American MGC
Register and, significantly, the MG Car Club. The latter was represented by
Alan Kingwell, the new Overseas Director; Nick Cox, the Overseas Manager for
North America, John and Gillian Watson, representing the Abingdon Works
Centre and the MGCC headquarters; and John and Jenny Morgan; representing
the UK South East Centre.
Also in attendance were Martyn Wise, publisher of MG Enthusiast, and Steve
Cox, with MG Cars, the division of Rover. I personally had a very
interesting conversation with Steve Cox regarding the marketing of the new
MGF, particularly regarding Rover's intentions in the North American
marketplace. Steve assured me that despite the interest shown in the MGF in
North America, it will not be imported to the US or Canada. To do so would
entail a significant investment in a dealer network, a spares and service
scheme, and not an insignificant investment to meet the challenges posed by
the federal regulations on safety and pollution. In that their production
capacity can be more than absorbed by the rest of the world, Rover feels
that it makes no sense to incur such significant costs with no real return
He, however, assured me that the MG marque will not be allowed to die within
North America. They are keenly aware of the marketing value represented by
the MG name and have every interest in capitalizing of that asset. Look for
an automobile bearing the MG logo in 5 years.
Despite my insistence that Rover needs to keep the MG name alive in North
America, perhaps by the Morgan or Harley Davidson type of marketing - low
volume, limited production, yielding high demand - they simply have not
taken that approach. By the time a new MG model could be introduced into
North America, an entire generation will have missed the opportunity to grow
up with and love the MG. I expressed my fear that this could spell a
significant loss of value to the marque.
Some years ago, Lord Nuffield (William Morris) introduced four trophies, one
in each of the areas of the world where there was significant MG activity -
England, Europe, Asia/Australia, and North America. These are very valuable
sterling silver trophy cups which were intended to be used by the various MG
Car Club centers in the promotion of the MG Car Club and its affiliate
organizations. The North American trophy has been held out of circulation
for many years. However, Steve Cox, on behalf of the MG Car Club has
reintroduced this trophy. It is now being held by John Twist awaiting a
decision on how it will be awarded and circulated within North America.
All of the usual GOF-style events were held in conjunction with Indy '96.
There were tours, a gimmick rally, a swap meet, an auction, a car show, a
banquet, model, photo, and craft contests, plenty of ad hoc parking lot
repairs and tuneups, and hours of socializing.
The organizers and volunteers are to be congratulated and thanked for the
hundreds of hours of organization that went into producing this first ever,
all MG, national meet. If you missed this one, there will likely be another
in the year 2000. If you were there, I'm confident that you too renewed your
belief in the "Magic of MG".