VMG History

The idea for forming a pre-1956 MG club came to two fellows, Mike Walsh and Pete Thelander in the year 1971. They got together one day after Mike had published an article in The Sacred Octagon, and talked about other MG T-type owners, as Pete had amongst several, a TF 1500, and Mike also had one of the same. One conversation led to another, and soon, a few more T and pre-war MG owners seemed to pop up. Among those were Carl Cederstrand, Paul Foster, Tim Cane, Rich Sonnenberg, and a few more. An ad in the L. A. Times was run to announce a gathering of pre-1956 MG owners on October 30, 1971, at Long Beach’s Houghton Park. More than a dozen fine old MGs showed up at that event, and a good time was had by all. There, folks decided, after some discussion, that it was time to investigate whether there was any widespread interest in forming a pre-1956 MG club.

After that, an important meeting was held at Casa Grande restaurant in late January, 1972, where a steering committee was elected. As a result, on February 5, there was a meeting of the steering committee at the home of Jerry and Dee Austin in Cypress, California. There, Jerry Austin, Tim Cane, Paul Foster, Rich Sonnenberg, Pete Thelander, and Mike Walsh, met, and selected officers and committee persons, wrote the purpose of the prospective club and also began a set of by laws. The slate of officers chosen were Mike as chairman, Pete, vice-chairman, Rich Sonnenberg, secretary, and Tim Cane, treasurer. The other board positions were filled by: Paul, editor, Keith Folkerts, membership, Bob Parks, events, and Jerry, parts/maintenance.

A further meeting at Paul and Ruth Foster’s home on February 12 reviewed the by law copies that Dee Austin had produced (she took the first meeting’s minutes), made changes, and basically approved them for presentation to interested parties. Subsequently and rapidly, Paul got out the unofficial Volume 1, Issue 1 of what was simply entitled The Vintage MG Club Newsletter. This issue announced a gathering of interested folks at the now-departed Briggs Cunningham Auto Museum in Costa Mesa for March 19, 1972. Two contests were announced to be held there: the first, the of a logo for the club; the second, to name the "newsletter that may or may not, be dignified."

The response was terrific, and the ad and word of mouth worked well so that a great many MGers were in attendance. Many cars with their owners were there, too. There was an abundance of TDs and TFs, with even a couple of TCs. Even some of the members of the fledgling TC Motoring Guild showed up.

In the afternoon of that fine day, Mike called for a meeting. He introduced himself and Pete, and they asked for a show of hands of those who were for or against the forming of an MG club that would cater solely to them and their interests. Needless to say, there was an overwhelming response in favor of the idea. Not one "nay" was heard.

The club logo submitted by Carl Cederstrand was chosen as was the name Octagon Topics, submitted by Jerry Austin, for the newsletter name. Paul Foster offered the Octagon Topics cover design.

A meeting place was found in the now redone Los Altos shopping center at Stearns and Bellflower Boulevard in Long Beach. It was at Glendale Federal Savings, where we opened our first bank account, and the room size would allow up to about 50 people (if they sat close together).

At our first meeting there on April, 25 1972, membership applications were produced, the new members paid the pre-announced $15.00 membership fees, approved the by laws, and the club was official! A raffle, a practice (although now renamed) continued at each regular meeting to this day), was held at the first meeting. Soon after that, Paul Foster got out the second newsletter of the new organization. He got carried away, however, and designated the first Octagon Topics Vol. 2, No. 2. Thus, subsequent issues of were numbered from that publication.

Since our modest beginnings, the club has grown until we realized a high of over 200 family memberships in the mid-1990s. As the years have passed, our members developed an almost frenzied appetite, not only for food and tire kicking, but for participating in the literally hundreds of events where our cars were driven. Our members are virtually all active, and most keep at least one of their sometimes many vintage or prewar cars running. We are proud of the fact that we furnish technical expertise to MG owners world-wide, and our technical articles are among the very best ever published.

Our club also started GoF West in 1973, and sponsored the first event in that series at Santa Barbara, California that year, too. Since then thousands of MGs and MGers have participated in what has become one of the largest events in the world.

We urge all of you who visit our site to become new members of our now world-renown club and enjoy the full benefits of our technical expertise and the fascinating content of Octagon Topics every month. There is usually at least one article that will delight or enlighten even the most veteran of vintage MGers. Please go to Membership and fill out our Application. The sooner you join, the quicker you will have complete access to all our benefits. We’d love to have you.

We’d also like to point out, that as plan to publish a complete monthly version of Octagon Topics on this site, that only members will have access to the complete issue. However, there will be portions of each issue available each month to those of you who are just visiting. We’d also like to encourage you to attend the events listed here on our site, too (VMG Events). There will be rallyes, tours, technical sessions at member garages each month, plus–each week, some of the crew gathers for grazing at a local pub.

We hope you enjoy your excursion through our site and will offer your comments or criticisms.

 

Send mail to webmaster@vintagemg.com with questions or comments about this web site. Copyright 2012 Vintage MG Club of Southern California 

 
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