About a month after attending GT-1 in Harper's Ferry, we acquired a 1960 MGA roadster, refrigerator white with black interior, which we named Virgin, NAMGAR #344. Actually, she started out as Alamo Beige, but somewhere along the line someone didn't like that particular color.
We joined NAMGAR, assisted in forming the Michigan Chapter and assisted in hosting the first regional meet in Dearborn, MI. Interesting for two people who couldn't spell MGA a few months earlier. We were hooked!
At the end of 1976, Steven was transferred by Michigan Bell to Columbus, OH, where we began the Ohio Chapter with the aid of Dave & Barb Ream.
Diane Sporting Regalia
When GT-2 time rolled around, we again traveled with Bruce & Jan Nichols, along with their daughters Amy and Shelley. It was a caravan of three MGAs: white, green, and red. They drove down to our place through tornados and finally arrived about 2AM, and we were up at 6AM to start the trip (Shelley was not happy that day).
We traveled a great deal of the distance using two lane roads, going through many small communities and turning many heads. (When you see Diane, ask her about her experience at the Good and Plenty restaurant in Lancaster, PA or better yet, ask Bruce about Diane's experience.)
We were separated from the Nichols in Philadelphia and traveled the last bit to the hotel alone. Walkie-talkies didn't work well in the middle of a busy downtown - and we never had a red light so that Bruce could catch us on foot. We stopped at a gas station in Camden, NJ for gas and mentioned to the attendant that if he happened to see the other two MGAs to tell them we went on. When the Nichols finally arrived that afternoon, they couldn't wait to tell us that the attendant at the gas station, that we stopped at and they stopped at, said that we'd gone on. Of all the gas stations on that particular road.... what were the odds? This GT was the start of many fun and interesting escapades in our MGA. As Diane told the Chicago Mercedes-Benz Club this past fall (1999) when PRNCZ won a First in the European Classic Concours, the A in MGA stands for Adventure!
On The Back
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Through a special arrangement by Mike & Linda Pugh (though we don't think they were married at the time), NAMGAR had the exclusive use of the hotel and the beach, although it was a bit cool for swimming and sunbathing. To everyone's amazement, Wildwood Crest was a dry village! This was a catastrophe for the young and wild group of NAMGAR enthusiasts. Luckily, just down the street was the village of Wildwood, NJ, and they had a pizza place – with beer!
Most of Friday night was spent relating travel stories from everyone's trip. Our favorite and well oiled Canadian from GT-1 presented John & Linda Wright with a special gift for their brand new Chrysler Le Baron on the drive back to the hotel. Others of us were busy evading some of Wildwood Crest's finest, who thought we were loud and driving recklessly. It's a good thing that all MGAs look alike to some, as we scooted through the underground parking garage to park amongst the more law abiding MGAs to evade detection.
Car Show 1600 Class
There were more MGAs in attendance at this event, along with a smattering of Ts and Bs. There were more cars from the Atlantic states. There were definitely more coupes here: we think there were about six - more than anyone had seen in one place at one time. The car show was held in front of the hotel and had the Atlantic Ocean as the backdrop. There was a rally which we didn't attend. We figured that three days out and three days back was enough driving for the weekend.
Now that we were involved with NAMGAR, more names began to stick with us and people began to recognize other people from the previous GTs (all one and a half). The Canadians were back with a vengeance, bringing even more MGAs from north of the border. There still were not many cars from locations other than the east coast. The T-shirt was the hit of the meet. We don't recall a T-shirt for GT-1, so this may have been the introduction of this GT tradition.
The banquet was a small and intimate affair in the hotel restaurant. Since the hotel wasn't open for regular business, we had the run of the place. The original NAMGAR banner was unfurled, the food was served, and prizes awarded. What a lovely pose by the artistic Dave Houser in the photo below. This was the start of a long friendship with the Housers. This GT was also the introduction of the hospitality room and the phrase "stay vertical." All we can remember is that we killed a lot of brain cells and went to bed at 4AM and were up again at 6AM to have hot coffee, Bloody Marys, and sticky buns before hitting the road to return home.
Dave Houser Banquets Seriously
That was a tough morning. With the exception of Bob & Mary Tennity, who had the wisdom that accompanied their age and retired before midnight, everyone else was complaining of the pounding surf (or was it their heads and red eyes).
By 8AM, Bruce, Jan, the girls, and the Mazureks were back in their MGAs, headed for the ferry at Cape May for the drive home. Bruce doesn't travel well at sea, and he wasn't feeling much better on land, so for the voyage, we pumped him full of Dramamine and propped him up in a corner.
On the trip home, we were graciously invited to visit the Renkenberger abode: what a bevy of cars those folks had. We (probably Diane, since she was the car neophyte) had a lot of fun just trying to identify all the different varieties - along with the one in the basement where their son slept that night. We think it was a TF. Our trip home was uneventful: we where all fairly well done in from the weekend's activities.