Sebring Reunion (March 14-17, 2012)

Photo for Sebring Reunion (March 14-17, 2012)

This year’s Sebring revival event promises to be very special. The complete 1961 MGA factory Sebring team will be together again for the first time after more than 50 years.

Ian and Pam Prior have shipped their 1961 MGA Deluxe Coupe (#44) from Australia. This car will join Frank Graham’s similar car (#43) from New Jersey for this event. NAMGAR MGA Historian, Michael Eaton, gives more information on the Prior’s car in his article below from the January/February issue of MGA! magazine.

Also coming from Australia is the 1960 MGA 1600 roadster of Ray and Sharon Mullins, Richard and Barbara Prior with a 1949 Y Tourer, and Dave and Laurel Godwin. The Godwins have not shipped a car to the US, but that’s because their MGA roadster is being prepared for the drive from Cape Town to Cairo later this year. They are members of NAMGAR.

Ian Prior (left) and Ray Mullins checked the loading of their MGA’s into the seafreight container prior to shipping from Australia to Savannah, Georgia.

In addition to the Sebring event, the Australians and their cars will also attend the Amelia Island Concours, and the GOF South event in Orlando. They will then drive north up the east coast of the US through Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware and New Jersey to New York. Their schedule for this drive runs from around Sunday, March 25th through Wednesday, April 11th, and they invite MG clubs along their route to contact them. They would really like to meet MG owners along the way, and would welcome cars to join them for parts of the tour. Ian Prior will be happy to provide more details of the cities they plan to visit along their drive.

Historically Speaking - Profile No. 44 by michael eaton

In my last article, I chronicled the various MGA teams that ran at Sebring as a primer for the upcoming Sebring MGA reunion March 14- 17, 2012. For this article, I thought I’d profile one of the cars I mentioned that is making an extra special effort to attend this event. This car is Ian Prior’s 1961 1600 Deluxe Sebring Coupe. Ian hails from Australia and is bringing the car over for the event. This will most likely be one of the only times our North American members will be able to see this historic racer without making a trip down under! A brief history of #44 provided by Ian is as follows:

#44 - 1961 MGA Sebring Deluxe Coupe (Car Number GHD 100148)


GHD 100148 is one of two MGA Coupes specially prepared by the BMC Competition Department for the 1961 Sebring 12 hours race. Running in class GT9 for Grand Touring vehicles for up to 1600 ccs, it was driven by two Californians, Jack Flaherty and Jim Parkinson, winning the class and finishing 14th overall completing 175 laps of the 5.3 mile circuit in the 12 hours at an average speed of approximately 77 mph. After the race, #44 was purchased by Fred Ball, who autocrossed and rallied the car in SCCA sponsored events, winning his class in the Orlando Nocturn Dark to Dawn Rally. Herb Burns also raced #44 on behalf of Fred at Osceola, Florida and the 1962 Daytona SCCA Divisionals.

The next owner Richard Robson Jr., as well as competing in SCCA events, also entered the car in the 1964 and 1965 Daytona Continental 2,000 kilometer races. In 1964, entered with race number 64 and driven by Robson/Jacobson, the car completed 101 laps before engine problems forced it out. The following year 1965, carrying race number 3, it was driven by Dobkin/Slottog/Jacobson but completed only 42 laps.

Purchased by Ian Prior in 1977 in Titusville, Florida in very poor condition, #44 was shipped to Australia. Restoration was finally finished in June 2005 and #44 was immediately shipped to England to participate in the 50th anniversary celebrations of the formation of the BMC Competition Department and the start of MGA production held at the Silverstone circuit. This was followed by a 2,500-mile tour of Britain organized by the MG Car Club. On return to Australia, #44 has been used in historic racing and MG Car Club events. Number 44 was the most successful MGA at Sebring.

With Ian bringing this car over from Australia and Frank Graham also bringing his ex-Sebring 1961 Deluxe Coupe #43 from New Jersey, there will be a one and only opportunity for a reunion of the entire 1961 Sebring team! Don’t miss it!

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Reader Comments (5)

Picture of Gerald T Foster
Gerald T Foster (Owego, NY)
on February 12, 2012 8:49am
I am planning to drive an MGA from NY to attend both Amelia and Sebring. Does NAMGAR have any recommendatons for accomodations at Sebring? I know they have a block of rooms at Amelia, but I already have accomodations there. Do you know if there will be an MGA car corrall at Sebring?
Looking forward to hopefully meeting Ian and Ray. I will be heading back north at the conclusion of Sebring, but might briefly attend GOF South.
Picture of Carol Shamonsky
Carol Shamonsky (Archbald, PA)
on February 12, 2012 2:29pm
NAMGAR was unable to block any rooms in the Sebring area. My best guess would be to try around an hour away; possibly in the Kissimmee or Lakeland area. I believe that there will be a large tent that will showcase a MGA race car on a rotating day basis; but not a corral area. the best person to give you additional information would be David Harrison - .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Looking forward to seeing NAMGAR members at both Amelia Island and Sebring!
Picture of Carol Shamonsky
Carol Shamonsky (Archbald, PA)
on February 13, 2012 3:10am
I have some additional information from David Harrison regarding Sebring:
Accommodations for Sebring are getting a bit hard to find, our "host" hotel is the Jacaranda in Avon Park, there may some rooms left, tel 863-453-2211, Elaine is handling group booking for the Sebring MGA

We will have a tent in the SVRA paddock at the track to display the Sebring MGAs and act as a focal point/command post for the Reunion team. All NAMGAR/ SVRA/vintage racing folk are welcome. We are planning a BBQ event for Friday evening with an important Sebring MGA guest speaker and will annnounce details shortly.

One of the Sebring MGAs (car #52, celebrating its 50th anniversary on the track at Sebring) will be racing in the SVRA Sprint, and some of the cars will be displayed in the track Legends Museum. All of the Sebring MGAs will participate in the Thursday morning "Taste of Sebring" drive and display in the town center, and in the parade laps before the 12 Hour.
Picture of Gerald T Foster
Gerald T Foster (Owego, NY)
on February 13, 2012 4:05pm
Thanks for the response. I have checked in Lake Placid and Avon Park without success. Guess I waited too long. I will take your recommendation under advisement. I am seriously considering abandoning my plan.
Picture of Sam Seay
Sam Seay (Titusville, fl)
on May 21, 2013 12:59pm
I drove Richard Robson's MGA coupe on the street in the 1963-1964 time frame commuting to school and to Richards repair shop when my personal A was not running. Great car, with alot of attention to race detail from the Factory. Comfortable light weight seats and a beautiful close ratio gear box.
Sorry I missed it here in Florida again.
Sam Seay

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Last updated on February 9, 2012.