WNYMGCC All MG Races '59 IMG_6733

Still Going Strong

Celebrating 60 Years of the Western NY Centre MG Car Club

By Dick Powers 

In the Fall of 1957, seven hardcore MG enthusiasts from Rochester, NY, were having a fun weekend in Tupper Lake, NY. Over a few brews, they decided that the good times they were having should not end, and when they got back to Rochester they would form a car club. Much work had to be done, but by February 1958, the Western NY Centre MG Car Club was born.

That first year was very busy with organizational matters, but the club grew and had many social and sporting events including a gymkhana, rallye, and even racing on local dirt tracks. Also during 1958, David Ash, renowned MGA racer and BMC representative, drove one of the first MGA Twin Cams in the US all the way from New York City to be a guest speaker at a meeting. But possibly the biggest event was when John Thornley, founder of the MG Car Club, visited the Western NY Centre in July. The club was only six months old at that time, but he was very impressed with what he saw and the plans for the future.

The Western NY Centre MG Car Club is hosting its “Sports Car Festival” Sunday July 15th from 9am to 5pm. Information and registration forms

can be found at www.mgcarclub.com. Their 60th Anniversary Celebration will be on Sunday August 12 at the Lake Shore Country Club in Rochester, NY

Cost is $40 per person for WNY MGCC members and $50 per person for non-club members.

The first year was very productive, but in 1959 the club decided to take on something even mature clubs wouldn’t likely consider: organizing the first “All MG Races” in the United States. On what amounted to a handshake with the folks at Watkins Glen and $1000, the planning began. MG racers from all over the North Eastern US and Canada came to the Glen for this historic event. The races were so successful, they were held again in 1960. Cameron Argetsinger, father of modern road racing in the US and an MG TC owner, was so impressed by how well the club ran the All MG Races, that he asked that we run the Concours d’Elegance during the Glen Grand Prix weekends. This tradition continues to this day during the Vintage Grand Prix Festival.

The Western NY Centre continued to grow and at one time had 300 members. Given the monthly rallyes, along with gymkhanas and events at the races, a membership of that size was needed to run and support the many events. One event of note, the Sports Car and Vintage Auto Festival started simply as a gathering at a member’s Wagonjack Farm and grew, during its 40 year tenure, into the largest car show in the area with 800 to as many as 1,250 cars on display.

The MG Car Club took note of all the activities of the Western NY Centre and in 1961 awarded it the Nuffield Cup for North America. This honor was again awarded in 1962, 1987 and 2014. Actually from 62-85, the cup was in the possession of the Western NY Centre as we waited to hear who was the next winner. For reasons still unknown, the MGCC didn’t award it again till 1986. In our 60 years, we are proud to have won the Nuffield Cup 4 times.

Today the Western NY Center has over 200 members and events every month. All types of MGs are in the club, including T Series, MGAs and MGBs along with other sports cars, including Austin Healey, Jaguar, Lotus, Alfa Romeo and Triumph. Racing, now Vintage, is still part of club activities. At one time seven MGs were raced with five still in competition. In that group, three racers have been awarded the Collier Cup, two have won the NAMGAR Bucher/Decker Cup and one, the Bill Glanville Memorial Cup.

Now celebrating 60 years, the Western NY Centre MG Car Club is still going strong!

Wagonjack Farm car show.

Wagonjack Farm car show.

All MG TD Race.

All MG TD Race.

At the top of the Hill at the Glen.

At the top of the Hill at the Glen.

Tech inspection.

Tech inspection.

Sherm Decker and wife Joan after winning an All MGA Race.

Sherm Decker and wife Joan after winning an All MGA Race.

WNYMGCC All MG Races '59 IMG_6706-AT-edit WNYMGCC All MG Races '59 IMG_6703-AT-edit

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'Still Going Strong' have 3 comments

  1. June 8, 2018 @ 9:18 am Len Bonnay

    Congratulations!! Sixty years is a true tribute to the members , organizers. Having met many of you and having attended some events, I can safely say that the entire group are true “Enthusiasts” of the MG marque.

    Len Bonnay
    Former chairman of NAMGAR

    Reply

  2. June 8, 2018 @ 7:30 pm Robert Young

    Back in the UK in the 50s & 60s I had a 1929 MG J2 that I transplanted a Ford Engine in ,only thing on it that was not original.After that I swapped it for a 1949 MG TC.that ran great for a few years ,when I went overseas my brother drove it and drove it into the ground and eventually wrecked it.On my return to UK in 1964 I bought a 1960 Bug Eye ,drove it all over the place even drove from UK to Barcelona .Lost 3rd gear on my return trip on the Pyrenees /French /Spanish border.With the aid of a hefty spring (to keep it in gear)and some ingenuity we managed to get back to the UK.I put a Morris Minor gearbox in it and it was never really the same car.So on wards and upwards now I bought an MGB 196?? I forget the actual year ,met my wife and did a lot of courting in that car.Of course then comes marriage and MG loving wife has changed .No more MGB ,lets get a sedan car .The auto stories are miserable from here on.
    But an English friend living here So.California (By the in 1980 I and my family we left UK for warmer climes).Well this friend has a slew of older foreign sports cars on his property and one of them is 1964 chrome bumper MGB roadster .Now his wife has said get rid of some of your junk cars !!!!!!!!!! He offered the MGB to me for $1.00 yes $1.00 it has a ton of MOSS spare parts that I can have free.Just get the car out of here. Ecstatic I tell my wife of this absolutely great deal.Her reply was there are Hunny to do lists a mile long on this house that you said you would do when you retired .So anyway I have to get back to finishing the installation of new wood flooring and then new base board to install, oh the MGB is still sitting there forlorn and alone with no restoration in its future ,with me anyway….

    Reply

  3. June 9, 2018 @ 12:55 am Ian Wallace

    Where do I obtain a serviceable gearbox for a 1954 MG TF ?

    Reply


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