California Dreaming

Photo for California Dreaming

When I first applied for the NAMGAR Internet Coordinator position, I figured what the heck? I was interested to get involved with other MGA owners and support a community of like-minded automotive enthusiasts.  I could put some dusty web skills to use and then my day job got in the way.  Two back-to-back projects required that I camp out in Los Angeles from June through September effectively "deep-sixing" my plans to participate in my first NAMGAR GT-44 event in Dubuque IA in July.  It also meant that I wouldn’t be able to participate in the rich array of automotive-related events that happen in eastern Nebraska each summer.

But alas, the automotive deities threw me a bone.

Just as I was about to wade into the deep end of the pool of self-pity, things got interesting.  The first weekend in June, as I walked out of a local Starbucks in El Segundo early one Saturday morning, I was greeted by a parking lot of assembling vintage British iron — MGs, Austin Healeys, Jaguars, Aston Martins — all resplendent in their southern California glory. After a few minutes of chatting with owners, I found out that the “All British Car Show” was happening that very day at the Automobile Driving Museum ( a mere two blocks away!  The ADM is a fantastic exhibit of automotive history and memorabilia celebrating all things automotive.  If you’re ever in Los Angeles, ADM is almost adjacent to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and it worth working into your travel plans.

Lightning struck twice when the “Boots and Bonnets” Annual All-MG Car Show was hosted at the ADM in September, this time sponsored by the Southern California MG Club ( Did I mention it was within walking distance of my hotel!?!  The show was a veritable feast of MGs and MGAs and I had ample time to walk around and meet several members of the SoCal MG Club and learn about their special cars and stories. 

Here are a few.

Matt Dabny

1958 MGA Roadster

Matt heads up the Southern California MG Club ( and is a fellow NAMGAR member.  His roadster oozed patina and looked just right in triple black.  Matt found his MGA locally (long term storage if I recall correctly) and was able to air up the tires and drive it home.  What a find!

Ken  and Jackie Brion

1957 MGA Roadster

Ken and Jackie greeted me when I first arrived and were selling various SoCal MG Club regalia…needless to say I purchased one of everything!  Ken shared a few moments telling me about his light blue roadster that they’ve owned for over 40 years.  Ken offered that he restored the car himself and that it was Jackie’s car (good call Ken)!

Charlie Meister

1957 MGA Roadster

Charlie first alerted me to the event and needless to say I was blown away by the quality and presence of his beautiful roadster.  The fact that he walked away with “1st Place” and the “Automobile Driving Museum Choice” awards came as no surprise.  I asked Charlie to share some history on his car:

“I acquired my 1957 MG MGA online in June of 2018.  She was described as Iris Blue with black interior, and top with recent mechanical work that was done to a frame off restoration originally completed in 2007.  I have always loved the curved lines of the midcentury modern era roadsters and could not pass up the possibility to acquire one.  However, when she arrived, she was more an old tired blue and less Iris and the interior was worn in cheap plastic while the top needed to be replaced.  I had previously owned a 1979 MGB and went back to my mechanic, Radcliff in Santa Monica, to get his evaluation.  Radcliff indicated the car was in good mechanical condition but the list of work that had been done to the car had not been done recently and there were several items that needed to be redone correctly.  Nevertheless, I was excited to have the car and decided that since it was in good mechanical condition with a few items that needed updating, I would upgrade the paint and interior to the factory original heritage certificate colors – black with red interior and wire rims to give it a whole new life.”

Dave Theil

1960 MGA Roadster

Dave is the new owner of this beautiful British Racing Green MGA 1600 Roadster, I asked him to share some background for NAMGAR members:

“I purchased this car from Sun Valley Auto Club.  The restoration of the car began in March 1990 in Illinois.  I was lucky enough to find it online, go up and see the car, drive it and make the decision to purchase it. I’ve never done anything like that before in my life. But, it was a great experience dealing with the guys at Sun Valley Auto Club.  I have owned an Arctic White MGB, which I had previously towed home and restored. So, I was delighted to find this car, in the condition it was in, and at the right time for me. I made the purchase this June.  I don’t know what it is about these MG automobiles - they just are addicting.  I was hooked the very first time I rode in an MGA that was owned by my cousin, when I lived on the West side of Cleveland, when I was in high school.  It’s taken a few years since I graduated in 1970, but I finally acquired this really wonderful vehicle!  Better late than never! It runs great, looks fantastic, has a really smooth ride and it’s just a blast to drive!"

To read more about the 8 Sep 2019 Southern California MG Club “Boots and Bonnets” event, visit

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Last updated on June 20, 2020.