Events : MGB’s 50th will be celebrated in style

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Trilogy of Events Unveiled to Celebrate The 50th Birthday of the MGB

MGB's 50th birthday will be celebrated by a trilogy of MGCC events
MGB's 50th birthday will be celebrated by a trilogy of MGCC events

Britain’s favourite sports car will enjoy a 50th birthday bash to remember in 2012 with a trilogy of showpiece events set to honour Abingdon’s most famous export. Over 550,000 MGBs were produced in the Oxfordshire town and the car is still revered throughout the world. And with Olympic fever poised to engulf Britain next summer, the MGB50 celebrations are set to attract enthusiasts from all five continents.

The MG Car Club, Silverstone Classic and the MGB50 committee have teamed up to offer MGB owners the chance to participate in an exciting trilogy of events – with something unique happening at each venue. MGLive!, Silverstone Classic and Blenheim Palace form the basis for the 2012 trilogy with each event presenting MGB drivers with a rally plaque that is unique to that particular celebration.

Proceedings will commence at MGLive! on 23-24 June when the MG Car Club descends on Silverstone for the world’s largest MG event. Welcoming all models of MG, the Club’s award-winning annual event has taken place at the home of British Motor Racing since 1949. In 2012 MGLive! will pay homage to the MGB by staging a huge Saturday lunchtime street party with all MGB owners invited to attend.

Then, on 20-22 July, all eyes will turn to the Silverstone Classic where the backdrop for the famous ‘B’ will be the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival with over 800 historic race cars competing and 7,000 classic display cars across the weekend. There will be flat out family fun for everyone with live music from Mike & The Mechanics and Adam Ant plus a free fun fair, retail village, air displays, demos and the new AA World feature with a wealth of attractions. MGB owners will have a truly memorable 50th three-day celebration.

Concluding the MGB50 trilogy in fine style, will be a birthday celebration at Blenheim Palace on 23 September where all MGs are invited. A 120 strong MGB timeline will be on display for visitors, a factory workers re-union, interviews with famous MGB drivers in the arena, trade area and much more. The Blenheim celebration will be the perfect way to bring the curtain down on what promises to be a fabulous MGB50.

MG Car Club General Manager Julian White said: ‘The MG Car Club is thrilled to form part of the MGB50 trilogy – it’s shaping up to be a tremendous year for the B!’

More information at the MGCC website.

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

23 Comments

  1. @ Mike Humble:

    I agree, it is not exactly a car that has floated my boat either and I personally think the rose-tinted attitude of some of the owners who belong to one of the two main MG mafia clubs has not helped. Many of them are rude about anything built after the MGB bearing an Octagon badge, belittle those companies such as Rover who were ‘kind enough’ to give them a supply of the V8 engine for the GT V8 and readily rubbish its rivals, particularly Triumph.

    Make no mistake, the MGB was a great achievement for a cash-strapped and complacent British Motor Corporation and still looks good today. But the owners with their tacky MG clothing such as MG branded socks and egocentric attitudes etc really kill it for me.

    However, for the car itself (not the owners), happy birthday to a classic that still finds appeal.

  2. @ David 3500 – Hear Hear! I used to own and run a Triumph TR7 as a student – I joined a well known Triumph club and went along to some of the local meets – the result? I was ridiculed for not having a ‘proper’ Triumph (but this was only when they’d take a break from ridiculing MG’s and their owners). So I left. Many years later I now own a MG Midget (a Triumph engined 1500 no less). I looked into joining one of the clubs – a copy of whose magazine seemed to contain digs about various Triumph models, and of course my Midget due to its engine – and I just thought there is no way I’m going through all that again, so I will not join them. I loved and enjoyed the TR7 and still do the Midget. I accept them for what they are and I do not need someone telling me what I should or should not drive – why cannot people simply respect the choice of car I or others make? I respect theirs! My granddad was a Triumph / Rover man and my step dad raced MG’s for most of his life – so I have roots in both camps and like cars – not politics. It is worthy to note that I went to an Allegro club show in the Midget earlier this year and my car & I were made made more welcome there than my Triumph and I were at a Triumph club! I found these car clubs very strange – and sometimes they do more harm than good to the very cars they try to support. The Strand Cigarette man summed it up very succintley on these pages and month or so ago (his mocking of the numerous Granada clubs did make me smile).

  3. @ MG Midget:

    Your comments about your MG Midget 1500 are very interesting as a friend of mine has just bought one and absolutely loves it. Lively and fun to drive it most certainly is.

    Yet when his father mentioned it at a recent local meeting of one of the sub-regional clubs in Devon, as part of one of the two main MG clubs, there was a stoned silence, followed by “the one with a Trumph engine?” Then there was awkward silence again followed by a quick change of subject.

    Its ironic that the Triumph 1500 engine gave the MG Midget a much needed boost in power and performance that it had been denied for so long.

    I own an MG Maestro 2.0i which I adore although I won’t go near the main MG clubs or any events they are involved with, as in the past I was made to feel very unwelcome.

  4. The MG clubs are a bunch of weirdy beardies to be honest, and I don’t think they like their MGB’s being called Sherpa coupes or roadsters(Which they share so many oily bits with). I’ve never, ever liked the MGB, and the rubber bumpered variant was pure fugliness. I used to own a Maestro EFi, and one of my dads mates (who owned a B) used to slag it off, so it seems to be drummed into owners of them to slag anything off post MGB. The B should have died in the 60s, but typical BLMC kept flogging a dead horse.

  5. Citroen car clubs.

    Mocked the ZX as being sphereless.
    Mocked the Xantia as being too Peugeot.
    Mocked my friends XM as being too new (!)

    Basically anything post 1970s, especially without spheres, was scoffed by the DS/ID owners. The 2CV owners were a bit of a more welcoming bunch though.

    My dad was in the aforementioned Granada club. The mk3 was a big Sierra and the mk2 was a big Cortina. Anything other than a Consul V6 was derided.

  6. @David 3500 Thank you – while its good to know that I am not the only one its very sad to think these people are often seen by the public as the ‘official’ face of whatever marque they represent and the damage they do to the cause in the process. You are of course correct the Triumph engine got the Midget through the US regulations and another 5 years of production. So why vilify the cars and their owners however many years on? Its hardly their fault! I wonder how the Triumph & MG clubs would be behaving now if the plans for a MG badged car using the TR7 shell had made it into production? Now there is a thought! I just see these clubs as a waste of the subscription, especially when so many specialists are around for spares and advice. PS I like the MG Maestro too – my step dad had one as a company car in the mid 80’s and he has a friend who has one for hillclimbing now. I am toying with getting a nice original MG Metro next year… Just a final thought – we are all ‘members’ of the best BMC / Leyland / Austin Rover ‘club’ around – I simply love this website…

  7. The best bet is as many Midget 1500’s,MG Metros, Maestros and Montegos, and Spitfires gatecrash these events, just to get on the wick of the annoying weirdy beardy brigade. These really are the sort of people I wouldnt **** on if they were on fire.

    I’m a member of an owners club where none of this crap goes on, and whether you own a battered old example of the breed, or the latest whizzbang doobry with all the toys, you are always made to feel welcome.

  8. Interesting opinions above, and being an MG man through and through I know there is some truth in the comments above – but only from some corners. There are just as many MG purists that think the last real MG was built with an overhead cam prior to 1936 as there are that believe the MGB was the last real MG. I’ve been to many MGCC events, particularly in NZ but also in the UK, and have always been welcomed, even when I mention I still have an MG Metro, as well as K series Midget, BGT, ZT V8 and MGF or two. Most people are properly welcoming, pity about the so-called ‘purists’ though.

    The Triumph vs MG thing, as far as all the MG people I know are concerned, has always been a tongue in cheek ribbing from both sides, certainly in this corner of the world – and it all stems from the company politics of the time.

    Anyway, hard to believe the MGB is 50, it certainly is still a good looking car and I enjoy driving them, even though they will never be as fast as an MGF (like for like), and everything feels slow after my Midget, but the B just has that X factor. Arguably the most popular sports car of all time, still.

  9. @ Marty B – Does the club you belong to cater for MG Midget 1500’s? I’d like to look into that. I like the idea of gatecrashing with MG Metros’ Maestros Montego’s etc just to see what reaction an en mass visitation would get. As my Midget is a 1979 rubber bumper model (still very original with the big black bumpers) and made long after the last Sprite left Abingdon, I have been toying with the idea of rebadging mine as an AH Sprite as a bit of a ‘what if’ project. The orginality is for the anoraks – I have a lovely old 2 seater convertable which is simple to maintain and a joy to drive – I fail to see why it offends so many MG clubs – and I have the same question for the Triumph clubs over the TR7 I had 15 years ago…

  10. Sadly Mr Midget, it is the Skoda owners club GB. A mate is the treasurer of it, and is known to go to events in ‘the shed’, which is a mid 80’s Estelle covered in moss & rust, over his collection of mint classic Skuds. Always raises a smile or 2. He has also turned up in his ‘Bugrat’ a rear engined dune buggy that has Skoda oily bits.

    Too many owners clubs are full of what is known as the ‘rivet counter/sad b*****d brigade, and these muppets spoil it for others. These people often have zero lives, and no real friends either.

    Perhaps making a banner saying ‘Oxbridge/Sherpa roaster/coupe’ 50th bash’ would really make these humerless gimps choke on their weak lemon drinks LOL

  11. Everyone’s so tribal, aren’t they? I like to take an interest in all types of old cars (though lowered VWs with silly wheels are pushing the envelope). Good to hear about the MGB though, they need a jubilee special edition like they did with the Marina (60th anniversary of Morris) and the MGB itself (50th anniversary of MG). Citron yellow MG6 with black alloys and special badging anyone? Could be a good opportunity to put in a proper handbrake, too.

  12. The problem with any group of enthusiasts is that when it becomes a ‘club’ with a ‘committee’, a ‘treasurer’ and a ‘chairman’, it becomes a breeding ground for petty in-fighting and egotism. I used to like walking in the country with some people of a similar age to me. We would invariably end up in the pub afterwards, for the rest of the evening, and sometimes the next morning. Then we became organised, and had said ‘committee’, ‘treasurer’ and a ‘chairman’. At which point it became a clash of egos, got boring (very boring) and I left. End of. If you enjoy your car – fine, enjoy – just don’t join a club – trust me, you’ll stop enjoying anything!

  13. The MG club I am a member of in Edinburgh has no such snobbery towards newer cars, and most members have a MMM, Z or F/TF as well as their ‘classic’.

    Personally I think the MG Metro revived the marque and brought it back into the public awareness when it had all but died of fatigue.

    We have had a Metro, Maestro, ZS & TF in the family and all were worthy of the badge. I currently own a 1974 rubber bumpered Midget 1500 and even with a 4-speed box can handle and maintain motorway speeds with comfort, if a little noise (especially with the roof down!). People I know who have owned both an MGB and Midget say the little brother is much more fun to drive and a better handling car, and certainly doesn’t deserve to be seen as inferior to the MGB.

    I think we need to form an exclusive Midget 1500 club, purely out of a sense of irony if nothing else!! 😀

  14. Simon, while I agree to some degree with the fact there is always some clash of personalities, I’d have to say the MG Car Club, in my experience, is largely devoid of them (not entirely, but mostly). I wouldn’t enjoy my cars nearly as much if I wasn’t a member of a club, no other way would I be able to compete in motorsport like I do, someone has to organise events. I also wouldn’t be half the driver I am if I hadn’t started competing in MGCC events.

    At the end of the day, I agree with Paul T – I seldom see people that aren’t interested in the modern MGs at club events, and the vast majority of members are very friendly and welcoming. In fact, whenever I go travelling overseas I always look up the local MGCC, to say hi and see if there are any events on. Nearly every time I’ve had an offer of free accommodation and help, from people I’ve got no other connection with other than owning MGs. We met and made some really good long term friends through the MGCC. No other club in the world is as friendly, in my opinion.

  15. Also, I should add, whenever we go to events, my wife’s ZT V8 and my supercharged K series Midget often generate more interest than any of the other cars there, from public and club members alike, and you couldn’t really say either of them are purists cars.

  16. I can sympathise here with a fellow Midget 1500 owners comments. I attended a show a few years ago at a show and was asked to put my 1500 with the local MG Owners Club stand whilst they chatted to me but I sensed the slight sniffyness at my rubber bumpered Midget along side there chrome MGBs.

  17. Well, despite my misgivings in my previous comments (which I still stand by), I did attend the Birthday event at Blenheim Palace on Sunday with a friend.

    As we arrived at the roundabout just a mile before the entrance into the long drive up to the Palace itself, it came to a standstill with all the MGBs (and other MGs too). It was a fantastic sight to see so much commitment to a single model celebration, despite the weather that arrved from about 11.30am.

    Sadly, despite the best laid plans, and with brillant marshalls who were so efficient, no one could plan for the impact the weather would have.

    The time-line, in particular, was very interesting with the first MGB, last MGA and also some of the more recent RV8s on show.

    It was also good to see the two main clubs lumping their resources together to achieve a similar outcome, and the friendly atmosphere.

    No, I am not converted to wanting to own an MGB or joining an MG club, but as an event devoted to such a British motoring milestone, it was very impressive.

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