We celebrated our 50th year – a tribute to the foundation built by our club founders. Please enjoy this history of our club prepared by George Herschel.
The MG Car Club of Western New York Centre was originated in the fall of 1957. Formally established in 1958, it became a Centre of the MG Car Club of England. Centres were designed to serve a geographical area and the Rochester based Western New York Centre is now the second oldest active centre in North America. We celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2008.
Rallying was the club’s main focus in the early days and we were instrumental in creating some of the more challenging courses at the time. Gradually, the emphasis shifted to racing at local tracks and nearby Watkins Glen. The WNY Centre organized and ran the MG races at Watkins Glen. We held a full weekend of races at the Glen in 1959 and 1960 just for MG’s and MG-powered cars. Afterwards the centre was asked to organize and run the Concours D’Elegance held in conjunction with the Glen races. We played host to many famous cars as well as their equally famous owners. Many social events were also held at this time such as an annual overnight “Tour to Lake Placid” (1957) where the WNY Centre was conceived.
As the interest in rallying went on the wane in the late 60’s we established an annual “Wagonjack Farm Meet” in 1969 which was an informal gathering of car enthusiasts. Cars were put on display in an autumn country setting. This continued for many years and an outgrowth of this in 1972 began the now famous Sports Car and Vintage Auto Festival. Founded by the MGCC/WNY Centre working in conjunction with the Victor Lion’s Club of New York, the festival has grown to the extent that we commonly have over 1000 cars on the show field. It has become one of the largest car shows of it’s type in the country. We draw entries from seven states and Canada and this event opens the sports car season for many people in the Northeast. Follow this link to last years Car Show.
Owning an MG is NOT a prerequisite for membership. If you do own a MG or other sports car, you will find some of the most knowledgeable people around willing to help with any problems you may encounter. Our members are involved in all aspects of motor sports, such as racing, restoration, touring, rallying, etc. If you do not own an MG or other sports car, you will find that membership puts you in touch with people willing to help you in the purchase of a sports car. We are a family oriented club and would be delighted to welcome you as a New Member.
Currently, some of our members organize and judge the Concurs at the Watkins Glen Vintage Grand Prix Festival while others compete in the SVRA (Sports Car Vintage Racing Association) Vintage races at the track through the weekend. Our club has continued to grow in membership through the years and at present we have a family membership of 305 with a total of 553 members. “SPOKES,” the club’s monthly newsletter, contains news of up-coming activities, photos, our sponsors, meeting minutes, reports of past events, member written articles, technical tips, cars and parts for sale and news of legislation that might affect our hobby. There are many events that we sponsor and many more that we support. The annual events that we sponsor can be seen atPast Events.
In June, we have our biggest event of the year, the Sports Car and Vintage Auto Festival. This is a judged show and three trophies are awarded in each of 90 classes. The festival is held rain or shine, and is recognized to be one of the largest one day shows in the eastern US. The summer months will undoubtedly bring about a week long tour of British cars to some scenic, fun filled place. Past trips have been the New England Mountain Adventure (8yrs. going), the Pennsylvania Back Roads Tour, and a two week trip to Nova Scotia. In September members participate in the Downtown Festival in Watkins Glen and the Vintage Races at the track.
Every year members with new ideas are encouraged to sponsor an event. It may be a one time activity or become an annual outing. This provides the membership many interesting opportunities. A spontaneous event that is always a favorite is a drive to a new restaurant for a leisurely dinner amongst friends. Some of our members hold memberships in other MG Organizations such as the New England MG T Register, NAMGAR, NAMGB Register, AMGBA, as well as VSCCA, SVRA, and MG Vintage Racers, and as a result attend the various functions of these groups. Our club also supports and attends University Motors Summer Picnic and the Roadster Factory’s Summer Party, the Carlisle Swap Meet and the Hershey Fall Meet of the AACA. Also included in this listing are trips to Vermont for the Hildene car show in Manchester and the British Invasion of Stowe.
On a charitable note, we support a number of local charities from the proceeds of the car show including 2 yearly scholarships at Monroe Community College Auto Technology Center, in honor of one our former members. We also have an Endowment fund for the MCC/ATC. We review our charities yearly and try to support the lesser know groups that may not have the exposure of the more well know organizations.
Our Center democratically elects officers every year with the ruling that no officer can serve more that two consecutive terms in any office. The officers give a brief report at each meeting.
The Board of Directors is composed of the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Trustee (the previous Chairman) and Trustee at Large (usually one of the “senior” members of the club). This design gives the club continuity with the officers and a historical link with the past. We also have a list of “emergency road help” phone numbers available through our board of directors and any members traveling in our area can count on assistance should they need it. Our meetings are open to guests and provide a good look at who we are and what we do. The meetings regularly have an attendance of over 50 members and it is not uncommon to see 70 or more people attending. There is often some type of program for entertainment, door prizes and information following the regular Business Meeting.