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 Beachs 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
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 Fosters home on February 12 reviewed the by
law copies that Dee Austin had produced (she took the first meetings 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
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