ABCS Insignia

The April 2000 Newsletter

March 9 Meeting Highlights

Al Bradley

There were 23 members present tonight including David Bettis, a guest last month, who has recently joined the club. Bob Strang arrived in his latest acquisition; an exceptionally nice Jaguar.

The club's last drive went well according to Ben Bailey, Drives Chairman, even if the weather made it miserable with all the rain. The group traveled to High Knob, near Norton, and when they arrived at the lookout the clouds and rain parted magically so they could see out!

President Allen Calcote announced that the Board of Directors had decided that the club should purchase permanent name tags for each member and their spouse. Secretary Margaret Calcote will order them based on the club's membership list and accepted name changes for anyone wishing to have his name tag made differently from the list. Any member requiring replacement of a misplaced name tag will be responsible at his or her own cost.

Mr. Rick Smith of Tri Cities Plating will have the program at the April meeting at Rush Street and invites members to bring in a small item in need of rechroming for examination.

The May meeting will be for dinner at Gerald and Rebecca Sue Mitchell's home. A map will be included in the May newsletter and members are asked to bring folding chairs with them.

The program tonight was a videotaped program on MGBs that was very good, if a bit long in content. We began it early so that it wouldn't last too long past dinnertime. Some of the more interesting MGB facts were that there were 15 factory race prepared cars and that they hit 105 mph at LeMans and had a top speed of 140. The MG factory made the components of these quick, powerful cars available to anyone.

There were even some interesting history footnotes about the MGB, as well. Cecil Kimber was the motivation behind the MG Car Company but Morris, the parent company, was always lukewarm in its enthusiasm for the sports cars it produced. Sedans were their bread and butter and that is what Morris wished to concentrate on.

There was discussion about the MGB spinoff cars including the MGC, that was never a very happy marriage of car and 6 cylinder engine and the MGB/GT-V8 that was a more fortunate product, but was not exported to the US in great numbers. No V-8 roadsters were produced by the factory.

We also saw a quick program from a TV Magazine concerning Morgans as a Modern Anachronism that was good but very brief. Chris Bordwine recorded this and brought it in for all of us to enjoy. CanTab Motors in Northern Virginia is both importing new Morgans and restoring older ones.

From our overseas correspondents . . .

BMW to Sell Rover

Randall and Joel Thomas are in London and have sent a report. BMW, after purchasing various British car companies, has decided to sell some of its acquisitions to Alchemy Partners, a venture capital group. BMW wiill retain Land-Rover and the"New Mini" as part of this deal.

Alchemy Partners will produce and sell several Rover models, the "old" Mini and MGs as the MG Car Company.

Alchemy Partners said "It is expected that the MG Car Company will employ a significant workforce and will rapidly develop into a self- standing highly viable British car manufacturer."

Alchemy Partners said the arrangement with BMW would include Rover's Birmingham plants, which includes the Longbridge plant where 9,000 people have waited nervously over the last few days to hear their fate.Under pressure from the British Government not to close the Longbridge plant and others, BMW chose to sell off the less lucrative auto ventures to Alchemy Partners rather than close them entirely. Meanwhile, Ford is reportedly interested in buying Land Rover from BMW.

Schedule for Upcoming Meeting Programs

Richard Williams, Programs Chairman, has announced the programs schedule for the Spring and Summer ABCS meetings. They are as follows:

April: Tri-City Plating

May: Meet at Gerald Mitchell's house

June: Allen Calcote

July: Mitch Bowerly, Alley's

August: David Gage - Rovers

Richard is still looking for someone to do a program in July, not to mention any of the dates not shown here. If you or someone you know could do a program, arrange it with Richard so he will know when and what. We all know there is hidden talent out there, not to mention photos of old races, hillclimbs and other interesting things that you have done and attended. So come on and tell us all about it!

by Al Bradley

Healey No.2, Part 3

Just my luck. When I thought no one actually read this garbage, some unfortunate soul comes along and proves that I am wrong again. I AM married, after all, and so I already know that I am wrong.

If you gentle readers will recall, I once discussed in two chapters of this forum (bled that one dry, didn't I?) that I bought a second Healey along with my first that had suffered some body damage, but was a very worthwhile car in spite of that. The car needed a very serious part - the front shroud - but was a low mileage, late model car; the type with real roll- up glass windows much sought after by the Healey crowd for its creature comforts.

Unable to find the requisite front shroud, I sold that car to Mr. Woodrow Worrell of Hillsville, VA who had a shroud. In fact he had lots of them as he owned a junk yard devoted exclusively to Austin-Healeys.

Healy No. 2 disappeared after that and all my later efforts to find out about it were thwarted. The last I heard of it, Mr. Worrell and his sons had placed Healey No. 2 in a body shop somewhere where 'Ol' Bud' could work on it when he had a chance. I ended the story with: "The car was a '66 model, serial no. HBJ8L34393. If you hear from it, let me know!"

Well, Healey No. 2 has surfaced again. Last month I had an e-mail message from Steve Byers, who had visited our web site and had actually admitted to reading some of the articles that I wrote while he was there. Steve also said:

I am the keeper of the Austin-Healey Club of America BJ8 Registry. Over the last two years I have tried to identify all surviving BJ8s around the world, regardless of club membership. In pursuing this goal, I have contacted many foreign Healey clubs around the world and solicited an identification of the cars owned by their club members. The A-H Club of The Netherlands were very helpful in this, and I find on the list they sent that HBJ8L/34393 is now owned by a gentleman in Ouid Zuilen, Holland. VOuid Zuilen, I find, is outside of the city of Utrecht in Holland! Is that amazing? That car has traveled from Hillsville, VA to Holland since 1976, when I last saw it.

Steve's e-mail address is if you want to register a BJ-8 model Healey. That information is certainly useful and the AHCA and Steve do a great job of tracking them.