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The Twin Cam Group Background

The fight for recognition

IN the early 60s, it was not easy to form a new Register within the MG Car Club. In fact, the request to start an MGB Register had been rejected on the grounds that the model had to be at least 15 years old in order that forming a Register could be considered. There was also strong resistance to any more work on club administration, (still run by the MG Car Company), over and above the three Registers that were in existence (Vintage, MMM and T-type). This did not deter some owners of MGA Twin Cams, a model which needed support, from trying to form a group of owners affiliated to the MG Car Club. The main movers were Mike Ellman-Brown and Phil Richer.

Mike Ellman Brown had originally suggested forming the Twin Cam Group within the MG Car Club sometime before the proposal appeared in Safety Fast! in 1965. He received a great deal of resistance to this idea from Wilson McComb, who was not anxious to start another Register. Out of frustration Wilson eventually allowed Mike to form the Twin Cam Group within the MG Car Club to maintain and foster interest in the cars. Wilson specifically told Mike he did not want bulletins and badges etc. However, Mike adopted a “softly softly” approach which led to the Group being recognised as a Register of the MG Car Club.

The following text from Safety Fast! is headed “TWIN CAM OWNERS” and goes on to say: “As parts and information relating to the Twin Cam model of “MGA” are getting scarcer, it has been proposed that a “Twin Cam Group” within the M.G.C.C. be formed, with mutual aid as the object. Twin Cam owners in any part of the world are asked to get in touch with Michael Ellman-Brown giving engine and chassis numbers of their cars. If the response is encouraging a regular new bulletin may be circulated and meetings arranged.” The next piece of news appeared in ‘Around the Registers’ in July 1966 on the Silverstone meeting of 21st May; in the short report Mike Allison, who wrote these sections, says “In addition to the three older Registers, there were signs of encouragement for the “MGA Twin Cam Register”, proposed by Michael Ellman-Brown. Thirty cars assembled, which, considering the short notice at which the gathering was arranged, was very good indeed.” This shows that progress had been made but that official approval had yet to be given as it was referred to as a Register and not the Group that it became. It is worth noting that the move to start the SVW Register had its first notice in the following month.

The report on the Inter-Register Meeting at Beaulieu Abbey held in September appeared in Safety Fast! in November 1966. The first paragraph ends “Over 170 pre-1955 MGs were present, together with a dozen or so twin-cam MGAs.” They had to park outside the roped off area, though, at this stage only the original three Registers were involved directly in the meeting.

Safety Fast!, still a BMC publication, continued to refer to three Registers until a Secretary for the SVW Register was listed in August 1967. In January 1968, a paragraph suggests that owners of the “MGA Twin Cam” would be interested to hear of the Twin Cam Group and comments that although not a formal “Register” this Group seeks to ensure that information about spares and the running of these cars is not lost. Michael Ellman-Brown is given as the contact. It is not until the issue of May 1968 that the Twin Cam Group is listed in the MG Car Club News. From ferreting into other past paperwork and published material though, it has been accepted that the MGA Twin Cam Group was established as affiliated to the MG Car Club in 1966. The Group achieved Register status in February 1969 after the MG Car Club, as we know it today, had taken over from the Proprietary Club run and funded by MG at the start of 1969. The later MGA Register came into being officially at the Council Meeting in October 1970 along with “an undertaking that the MGA Register would never seek to take over, or absorb, the Twin Cam Group”.

Today, the Twin Cam Group works with the MGA Register and both continue to foster mutual aid and support to owners and enthusiasts alike. It operates a bulletin board and e-mail group, so owners can ask questions of each other and benefit from the wealth of knowledge in the real world.