Photo for MARCH/APRIL 2015, VOL 40/NO 4

Hello from California!

I'm Jeff Becker, your new NAMGAR Vice Chairman. I have some mighty big shoes to fill left by Carol Shamonsky. I hope to learn from Carol as she had from Bruce Woodson, our previous Chairman. It is a great source of pleasure and pride that I have been chosen for this position in the NAMGAR family. It is the NAMGAR Board that helps put on our GT every year. My main function as Vice Chairman is to work with all of the clubs that are members to support them and find locations for our future GTs. This June we have our GT in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Join us for this event June 15-19, 2015. This year’s show is being put on by the Michigan Rowdies as NAMGAR GT-40. This should be a great event. I can remember the last GT that was in Michigan, in Mackinaw. There were some fun rallies and the best fudge I have ever eaten on my drive to Mackinaw Island. You may remember the movie Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour that was filmed on Mackinaw Island. The hotel that was used in the film has the longest outdoor porch. I am looking forward to going to this GT and meeting as many of you as I can.

My first time in an MGA was in 1970 when my family had a foreign exchange student from American Field Service living with us for a year. The local Long Beach MG Club sponsored an event where club members would drive the host family student and the foreign exchange student in MGs around the town. I still remember my driver, Ron, who was partially burned. He told me never work under a car and smoke at the same time. This would be a good lesson for everyone. When he drove that MGA in the twisty roads he made the car seem like a baby's cradle, rocking back and forth. The car roared into and out of each turn as smooth as can be, without losing a beat. Boy, what a ride, and in a convertible, for a sixteen year old.

I wanted to learn how a car works, so I asked my dad if I could get a car to restore. He took me to my uncle’s junkyard (Reclamation Center) and took, via a fork lift, an MGA down from a car it was sitting on. It was an almost complete body except it had no engine or transmission. The car cost me $125 and included all the parts I needed to get it running and make it complete. At the time my dad had an empty warehouse with a big EMPTY loading dock to work on the MGA. I wish I had that space today so I could put everything out and have plenty of room to work. I bought a shop manual and went to work on fixing the Lucas Prince of Darkness electrics and rebuilding the transmission and the engine. The car looked like it was from the junkyard as it had many colors on the body, hood, and trunk, etc. I bought this car in 1971 and still own it. A short time later I bought a factory aluminum hardtop for $150. It seems like the prices have gone up like an Atlas rocket. At the time I was going to buy a car, it was the MGA or a 1959 Ford Galaxy 500. Looks like I made the right choice.

I have some fond memories of many drives with old girlfriends. Don’t tell my wife! When we got married in 1991, we drove that car on our honeymoon to Carmel, California. What memories… climbing up a mountain and having the car overheat. We had to pull over to let the car cool down. I don’t know if my wife or my car was boiling more as we sat on the side of the road in the heat of the day.

Fast forward to 2000-2001 when I am no longer on a student budget. I stripped the car for new paint and upgrades. My MGA now has a five-speed transmission, Judson supercharger, power brakes and a 3.9 rear end. The car is now a freeway flyer with the RPMs running low at high speeds. I was able to put leather covers on the seats. Many of these parts came from the suppliers you see listed in our club magazine. Don’t forget to support them, as they keep our cars on the road. Show your pride in your car and NAMGAR by checking out our Regalia store for all types of goodies for yourself and your car.

We are still looking for local chapters to sponsor Regional events for the many members who can’t make it to a GT. I have a tough time taking off for the GT, which is why I usually have to fly to these gatherings. Instead of a three week vacation from work, I can do it in less than a week. There are some great deals on air fares that you can find on the airline's websites, or use Kayak or Priceline. The hotel prices are great and it's a chance for you to meet fellow members. I have been coming to the GTs since 2000 and have heard this saying at every GT, “It’s the people that bring you back, not the cars.” I am living proof of this.

My daughter Kim has been coming with me for about the last five years. She is now older and will she still wants to travel with dear old dad? Did I mention that when Kim and her sister were very young, Kim put dibs on my MGA. I’m not even dead yet and they both want to split up what I have. It seems Kim may have gotten the MGA bug and a new generation is being born. Please introduce yourself to me at the GT. I said earlier, I want to meet as many of you as I can. Please let me know what I can do for you to make this a better organization.

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Reader Comments (1)

Picture of david alchin
david alchin (8325 sw 82 circle ocala florida 34481)
on June 28, 2018 8:38pm
Hi Jeff

Can you help first of all I'm an codger a Brit by birth now reside in Florida back in the mid 1990 I restored a 1958 MGA roadster did everything myself except final paint build engine and front end alignment.

I entered an NAMGAR event at Lake Tahoe and placed second against a trailer queen I drove my car from Modesto CA jacked it up and cleaned the underside and showed with mirrors.

At 87 I get pedantic in my telling of how I restored the car and gained second place in the nationals but I sold the car with all the trophy's I had we also had a fire in which all my photographs were destroyed now the other old codgers I hang with think I'm full of you know what!

Can you find in the archives confirmation of my assertions that I can wave like a British flag, I wonder what became of my car I did sell it to a young lady from S CA

My car 1958 white rag top with red interior.

David Alchin formally of Modesto CA

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Last updated on March 30, 2015.