MG Car Club

Washington, D.C. Centre

Club Retrospective: The 1970-90’s

img-1

MG Car Club Washington, D.C. Centre Retrospective

Beginning in the mid-1970s, development in the Washington, D.C. area accelerated and began to dramatically alter the landscape of the region and particularly the roads that once were so friendly to MG events. Country lanes quickly became four lane highways that were unbearably crowded, changing forever the character of the area and the ability to drive in an MG friendly manner.  This rapid development combined with the demise of the sports car market altered the nature of events the club sponsored.  Membership began to dwindle and the club entered a period of decreased activity.

Grill BadgeThe club endured another jolt in 1980 when production of MGs ceased.  Until that time a great portion of the club’s activities were underwritten financially by the three MG dealers in the Washington D.C. area.  With the cessation of production that support was suddenly and without warning cut off forever.  There are stories of the mad scramble by a few loyal members to quickly reorganize the club to establish dues and fund-raisers to help sustain its activities.  During this period, one important member of note was Larry Berger who served the organization as president, activities director, fund-raiser, and general inspiration for over 15 years (1978-1994).  He is credited with almost single-handedly keeping the club intact and active during much of this period. 

In 1990 the club became associated with the newly formed North American MGB and MGA registers, NAMGBR and NAMGAR respectively, as well as the national “T-Series” Register. The club stayed active and in the early 1990s, club membership started to rise again.  The Spark, the club’s newsletter was also rejuvenated and expanded.  Social activities, including a monthly ‘Natter ‘n Noggin’ dinner became the norm, but only a few driving events were held.

Then, in 1994, club members volunteered to host the National MGB Convention.  Aptly titled ‘Cruising the Capital,’ the convention included a car show, numerous vendors, an awards banquet, racing at a nearby track, and an attempt to break the Guinness World Record with a caravan of 235 MGs on the Dulles Access Road.  Despite being advised by Guinness just prior to our attempt that the record had been broken by a “Mini” caravan in the UK far larger than ours, we proceeded with our drive.  The publicity the club received brought an influx of new members along with a renewed interest in driving events.

In 1996, the club hosted its first “annual” British car show, the Hunt Country Classic in mid-October at beautiful Willoughby (then Svea) Farm in Middleburg, Virginia.  Participation has ranged from a rain induced low of 60-70 cars to a high of almost 270 in 2011.  Our 25th annual show scheduled for October 2020 was cancelled due to health and safety concerns for all involved resulting from the coronavirus pandemic in the country and around the world.  In addition to a wide variety of British cars the show includes apple pressing, a doggie buffet, food, pipers (bagpipes, not corncob), a silent auction to benefit a local charity, all set in a beautiful fall atmosphere in Virginia’s famous horse country. 

In 1990 the club became associated with the newly formed North American MGB and MGA registers, NAMGBR and NAMGAR respectively, as well as the national “T-Series” Register. The club stayed active and in the early 1990s, club membership started to rise again.  The Spark, the club’s newsletter was also rejuvenated and expanded.  Social activities, including a monthly ‘Natter ‘n Noggin’ dinner became the norm, but only a few driving events were held.

Then, in 1994, club members volunteered to host the National MGB Convention.  Aptly titled ‘Cruising the Capital,’ the convention included a car show, numerous vendors, an awards banquet, racing at a nearby track, and an attempt to break the Guinness World Record with a caravan of 235 MGs on the Dulles Access Road.  Despite being advised by Guinness just prior to our attempt that the record had been broken by a “Mini” caravan in the UK far larger than ours, we proceeded with our drive.  The publicity the club received brought an influx of new members along with a renewed interest in driving events.

In 1996, the club hosted its first “annual” British car show, the Hunt Country Classic in mid-October at beautiful Willoughby (then Svea) Farm in Middleburg, Virginia.  Participation has ranged from a rain induced low of 60-70 cars to a high of almost 270 in 2011.  Our 25th annual show scheduled for October 2020 was cancelled due to health and safety concerns for all involved resulting from the coronavirus pandemic in the country and around the world.  In addition to a wide variety of British cars the show includes apple pressing, a doggie buffet, food, pipers (bagpipes, not corncob), a silent auction to benefit a local charity, all set in a beautiful fall atmosphere in Virginia’s famous horse country.


img-3

Not a member already?