|The MGA With An Attitude
Coming Out Party - the first club meeting
Shortly after writing that last big check to Moss I was on the phone to ask where my side curtains were, because the car was about to hit the road, and November is somewhat chilly in Chicago. They did ultimately arrive in time, but while on the phone the guy at Moss Motors said, "By the way, do you belong to NAMGAR?" Huh? Nam who? "NAMGAR, the National MGA Register. If you were a member with them I could give you free shipping on your parts". Sheesh. Now you tell me? But he did give me the contact information, and I did send in a check for membership with NAMGAR. Shortly thereafter I received a copy of MGA! magazine in the mail. In the back there was a listing of local chapters of NAMGAR, and among them was a phone number for Chicago Area MGA Club. So about a week into December I gave it a call, and a friendly lady on the other end said the club was having a Christmas party at a nearby member's home that weekend, and I should come along for the festivities. So I did, naturally.
Upon arriving at the designated address I wasn't sure if it was the right place, as there was not another MGA anywhere in sight. But there was plenty of joviality going on inside when I rang the doorbell, and sure enough it was the right party. The hostess took one look outside and screamed, "You drove your MGA???", which promptly broke up the whole room. I dunno why everyone was so surprised, as there was only about six inches of snow, and it wasn't below zero or anything. But in a minute there were several people in the street checking out the newly restored MGA with 48 miles on the clock. Some of them didn't believe it and just ran out for a second without a coat, but then ended up shivering while they were crawling around my car. Heck, I wasn't that nuts, so I headed for the hot coco and fruit cake while waiting for them to come back inside.
It didn't take long to trade $10 for a membership card, and to find out the winter club meetings were at another member's house on the first Friday each month. The party was a hoot, and I met a whole bunch of avid MGA nuts. That's when I figured out you should join the club first, and then restore the car when you have the moral support and peer pressure of these equally crazy people to help keep your priorities in order and keep you moving in the right direction. All well and good, except I didn't know the club existed before then.
So fast forward a few weeks, and there I was at the January club meeting, again driving the only MGA in attendance. Okay, this time the temperature was about -10dF, and it was a little windy, but not much snow. After a three hour meeting, mostly social, it was time to leave, and most the people were making side bets that my MGA wasn't going to start. Oh, ye of little faith. I might have taken some of those bets, but I didn't want to chance spoiling some new friendships. When I asked if anyone wanted to go for a ride, not one person had enough faith to go with me to sit in the cold car while I "tried" to start it. Well it did crank a little slow at first, but then started right up in about ten seconds on the second try. There is something to be said for new batteries and a nicely tuned engine in good condition. I didn't feel the need to mention the 10W30 oil in the crankcase.
I still couldn't figure out why there were no other MGAs at the club meeting. Do you suppose they were all disassembled for restoration? No, it just turned out later that the MGAs were all, uh, "resting" while the owners had all kinds of excuses about needing a larger car to carry their notepads to the club meeting (or something like that). But for six or eight months in warmer weather with longer days they would turn out up to a dozen MGAs for club meetings at a local 50's style burger stand. Go figure.