Ruth and Len Renkenberger recently resigned their positions with the North American MGA Register. Along with Mac Spears and John Wright, Ruth and Len established the Register in July of 1975. At that time, Len took over editing the newsletter and Ruth was secretary/treasurer. The first issues of the NAMGAR newsletter were printed in Len’s basement on a hand-printer of MGA vintage. Ruth typed them on a typewriter of the same vintage, and the newsletter was assembled in the kitchen. After about three years, Len went to a printer, as he had gotten to the saturation point of hand-cranking out about 20,000 pages each issue. At about this time, Ruth became Chairman of NAMGAR. Ruth and Len have continued to watch over the growth of NAMGAR, but they felt that after eight years it was time for others to become involved. Their interest in NAMGAR continues to be strong, and they count among their closest friends many NAMGAR members. Ruth fondly remembers driving Len’s MGA MK II Deluxe (affection ally called Albatross) around the Indy track with 100 MGA’s following behind at the NAMGAR national meet of 1982. Ruth and Len have driven Albatross to all the national meets of the Register and many regional meets, an eight-year record of approximately 25,000 miles. Albatross ran the 7500-mile trip to GT-5 at Lake Tahoe and returned in 115° heat without missing a beat. He continues to be the principal long distance cruiser of their cars. (Ed. note: Interesting that Ruth assigns the male gender to this car…!)
Interest in British autos has been strong in the Renkenberger family for many years. Back in the early ’60’s, Len purchased a basket case MG TC, which was carried home in a dump truck. Len knew no-one who owned a TC, so he couldn’t look at an assembled one. He proceeded to build his car with the assistance of two pictures from an old Road & Track. Shortly after he got the TC on the road, they discovered the New England MGT Register. They became Chairmen of the Chesapeake Chapter of the NEMGTR in 1970 and continue to hold this position. Meeting with other MG T type owners was a great experience, but Len wished he had known about the club when he was building the TC: it would have made the job easier. With this thought in mind, he later accepted the positions of National Newsletter Tech Editor for the Triumph Register of America and the Triumph TR-6 Owners Club (known as “6-PACK”). Len still holds these positions. Ruth and Len are also among the founders of “6-PACK”, and Ruth is the Public Relations/Advertising Officer.
The Renkenberger children also became involved in their parents’ hobby. Son, Lenny drove his Austin Healey throughout his school years, owned a TVR, and now has a TD ready for restoration. Lenny is now a professional auto painter, specializing in classic British cars. Daughter, Shirl, is the proud owner of an MGA 1600 (driven daily throughout her high school years and to the Colorado GT when she was sixteen), an MG TD and a Triumph TR-6.
Ruth and Len count in their auto stable MG’s (TC, TD, TF), Albatross the MK II Deluxe, an early TR-3, a lateTR-3, twoTR-6’s (Len claims he needs a back-up TR-6), a TVR, a’40’s Bentley, and several 1950’s-era American vehicles. All of the Renkenberger cars have been restored by Len personally. Len’s restoration credits also include an MG TC which placed first at the AACA National Meet at Hershey, PA in the fall of 1983.
You will often find Len in the passenger seat of the cars he builds, with Ruth at the wheel. His first love is building cars, not driving or maintaining them. Ruth says she loves to drive them, and another special bonus is all the wonderful people they meet along the way.
Thanks Ruth & Len for letting us put you in the spotlight this issue.