From the beginning of time, humans have formed tight-knit communities and special groups outside of their families. This is because being a part of a community or club allows you to bond with others that share your interests and passion, while also offering a sense of belonging and togetherness. Right from your gentlemen’s clubs of the 18th century to today’s dance troops, you can find a club for practically anything today. And joining a particular community and interacting others has become far more accessible today, thanks to the internet and social platforms.
Some clubs can be more exclusive than others as they offer more perks or require members to meet specific criteria or even because they have a unique, illustrious legacy. Take, for instance, the MG Car Club; it can trace its roots back 90 years ago and has commanded respect from around the world for decades. After all, at a time when the world was struggling with superficial divisions, the MG Car Club (MGCC) opened its doors to all members.
Hence, it won’t be an understatement to say that the club was a landmark in the brand’s history and still evokes the same emotion for all MG-lovers. But how did it come about and what went into the making of the prestigious car club that we know today?
It Began With A Letter To An Editor…
The earliest record of the beginnings of an exclusive MG club is a letter from a certain Roy Marsh to the editor of The Light Car, a publication in the UK, on 5 September 1930. In it, Mr Marsh suggested that a club for MG cars should be formed.
Not long after that, the first meeting of the club was set to be held. Just over a month from receiving the letter, the first MG rally was held near the town of Stevenage, in Hertfordshire, England. With more than 30 MGs showing up, the members knew that this was a club was here to stay.
Soon after, Marsh accepted the role of secretary of the MGCC, and also managed to get Cecil Kimber (innovator and father of MG) to support the club.
Expanding its reach
Due to the success of the first MG rally, it wasn’t long until a second meeting was held, after the club was officially formed. Fifty cars are claimed to have shown up for a start at the Roebuck Hotel.
Another milestone took place in January of 1931 when the MGCC’s first annual dinner was held. Cecil Kimber, the father of MG, was present once again, and Sir William Morris – founder of Morris Motors – also agreed to become a patron of the club.
Of course, to truly complete the car club, the proposal of exciting drives for its members was put forth. In February of the same year, the first Chilterns Trail event was held. This event included a series of driving challenges and hill climbs – all things that MG owners with their sportscars enjoyed. Notably, this was also the start of the long history that the MGCC has had with motor racing.
The MGCC falters – And Then Roars Back Stronger Than Ever
When the Second World War broke out, it inevitably put car manufacturing on the back burner for MG. And to make matters worse, a fire that broke out and its resulting water dousing, damaged much of MG’s car tooling.
However, the MGCC was absorbed by the MG Car Company, and after the war, membership continued to grow exponentially. This led to the first ‘all centre’ meeting, a gathering of MGCC members at Silverstone, the birthplace of motorsport in August 1951. It was in this year that the MGCC expanded beyond the borders of the UK for the first time.
After years of growing a faithful following, the first edition of Safety Fast!, the MGCC magazine, was published in 1959. Both the all Centre meeting and Safety Fast! continue to this day; the former now in the guise of ‘MGLive!’.
Reaching Its Peak
Despite the hurdles that came with the Second World War, the 1960s were a time of successive growth for the MGCC. The membership outside of the UK spiked, bringing the total to around 9000!
However, the parent company that was manufacturing the automobiles and had absorbed the club was undergoing a difficult time. To keep the manufacturing unit intact, MGCC was established as an independent entity towards the end of the decade.
Today, the MGCC enjoys continued patronage from passionate MG owners all over the world. Thanks to their contributions, it has been able to purchase 11-12 Cemetery Road in Abingdon, which is right next door to the original factory gates. It has been the headquarters of the MGCC since it was inaugurated in 1990.
Even though it is a well-established club now, it continues to grow and enrich the experience for MG owners by organising events of all kinds- including shows, driving holidays and even racing events. It provides up to date news on MG and related events via Safety Fast! along with access to a wealth of knowledge and spares to keep classic and vintage MGs in top running condition.
Since making its debut in India in 2017, the brand has now brought MGCC to Indian MG owners as well. Though current circumstances on account of the pandemic have hit the brakes on several events related to the MGCC’s 90th-year celebrations, you can be sure to look forward to events that will truly make you feel like you’re part of the MG family. It seems to be the beginning of another glorious chapter in the history of MGCC!