Staff Profile

Photo of Mike AshMike Ash

Mike Ash

NAMGAR Technical Editor Emeritus

When Steve Mazurek asked me to write a “sketch” about myself, I decided to ignore it with the hope that it would go away. It didn’t! So, here I am, Mike Ash, Technical Editor, telling you my life story; or at least as much as I think you ought to know. First, though, let me get one thing straight, “editor” does not mean “expert”. I never have worked in the automobile repair business; all of my experience and expertise, such as it is, is from working on my own MGs.

I am a British citizen by birth and a citizen of the U.S.A. by choice. I came to this country in the summer of 1967 aboard the Queen Elizabeth (the original, not the QE2), with my 1955 MG TF 1500 in the freight hold. I came because I had been offered a job in the aerospace industry in Buffalo, NY. At the time, I knew very little about this country and did not know that New York was a State as well as a City; I assumed Buffalo was a suburb of New York City. After getting off the boat, picking up the TF and asking directions to Buffalo, I was shocked to see a sign on the N.Y. Thruway: “Buffalo 400 miles”. I had never driven so far before in my life!

After driving the TF everyday to work, including through one Buffalo winter, I decided there must be a better place to live, and, at the start of the winter of 1971, I relocated to Virginia Beach. Here, my MG life really took off, as did my domestic life when I married Jennifer in 1974.

I had belonged to the New England MG T Register since about 1969 and became a founding member of our local chapter, Tidewater MG Classics, in 1973. In 1974 I went to a T Register Mini GOF (Gathering of the Faithful) in Harpers Ferry, WV, hosted by the Chesapeake Chapter of the T Register. It was here that I first met the MGT owners who would become the founders of NAMGAR. At the time, I was not interested in MGAs and did not particularly like them; they were merely a source of rusty bits and Lucas items to keep earlier cars going. So, I figured an MGA register was a lost cause. However, somewhere around 1976, I acquired a derelict 1958 MG ZB Magnette Varitone with the intention of restoring it and joined NAMGAR as a Variant member – V-9. In March 1977, I attended my first GT, GT South in Ocala, Florida; albeit in a T-Series (TD or Y-Type, I can’t remember) because it was a joint event with GOF South. Note that by this time our MG collection had grown to four – TF, TD, Y-Type and Magnette. But not for long. Sanity, or maybe the alcohol at GT South, prevailed and on 21 May that year we became the owners of a 1957 MGA Coupe, purchased from Dave Dupree of (then) Seaford, Delaware.

The Coupe was restored in time for GT-6 in Harpers Ferry, but, after a blisteringly (literally) hot drive home, we decided that the Coupe was not for us. It did not get much use and subsequently was sold. However, seller’s remorse was immediate and we jumped at the opportunity to buy it back some five years later. It became a great daily driver for our relatively mild winters, and I had the intention to do something about the heat and comfort for summer driving.

Just over twenty years ago Chairman Steve Mazurek asked me to be the Technical Editor of MGA!. Since that time, we have attended every GT except one, starting with GT-13 in Marietta, OH. For some GTs we were in the TF, but only one in the Coupe – GT-15 in Williamsburg, VA. Now that I am retired and living on the Virginia Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, the Coupe is finally undergoing the promised refurbishment, which includes the addition of air conditioning. So you may see more of it in the future. Our home here is the product of twelve years of weekend carpentry, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc. by me, with no time to lay a serious wrench on an MG. So now is the time for the MGs, the fleet of which had grown to about ten, but has been downsized to seven – MGA Coupe, MGB GT V8, TF, MGB, ZB Magnette, Y-Type and VA Tickford. Many of these still require extensive restoration which, as my Father used to say, “should see me out”. We still have the house in Virginia Beach because of the “attic problem.” Thirty years of collecting junk MGs have resulted in the storage in the attic of parts from two Magnettes, two MGAs, two MGBs, and two Y-Types!

So there you have it: I’m a self-confessed MG junkie! But I wouldn’t change any of it, especially my conversion to MGAs and my participation in NAMGAR – the best cars, the best people and the best events!