History of the ZED Register
The history of the ZED Register (John Thompson, Chairman)
Following the launch of the ZR, ZS & ZT in June 2001 the club soon afterwards issued an appeal for new owners to register their cars. With car deliveries commencing from the following September/October the intention of forming the ZR/ZS/ZT Register was announced in the October 2001 issue of Safety Fast! During a council meeting soon afterwards a motion was passed bringing the new Register into being. At this stage the Register existed in name only but without a committee.
After a number of initial meetings attended by interested members, a committee was assembled in early 2002 chaired by Mike Yeadon, with Tony Goodwin as secretary and Kelvin Fagan as Safety Fast! Scribe. In March 2003 John Doubtfire had agreed to take on the role of treasurer and was duly elected. It was agreed at the second meeting that some events or at least something to get the Register moving was required. A couple of internet forums had already started up and there was talk on both of setting up some kind of meet after the Easter Bank Holiday in 2002. The Anglian Centre very kindly donated £250 towards making this event become a reality. Another source of income during those early days was to sell regalia. Chris Stewart agreed to take on this role and to design the signage for the first event.
Attention now turned to the Register logo. A number of ideas were drawn up by Ray Kemble and Andy Tasker. Ray had been looking for some identifiable feature of the cars in the same way that the MGF Register had used the fuel filler cap. The final idea was to use the bezel round the badge on the steering wheel boss, with notches that lined up with the corners of the MG logo featuring a large “Z” in the middle in the X-Power colours of green and grey. After some further tweaking the final badge was born. This was shown to Kimber House to ensure that it complied with any agreements we had with MG Rover regarding the use of the MG octagon, and they later approved it.
Various venues were discussed for the grand opening event. One consideration was that the cars were either a saloon or a hatchback which meant that we were more likely to attract families to the event. Any venue therefore needed to have something for the non-MG enthusiast. The Imperial War Museum at Duxford had been one of the suggestions and it was decided to go with this location.
And so we all met up for our inaugural event. The weather was kind with plenty of sun although it was a bit blowy. About eighty Zeds attended, which was considered good given how few Zeds there were at that point. Compared with later events it was quite a low key affair. We had a self judged Pride of Ownership competition with prizes for the best ZR, ZS and ZT and other MGs. Thanks to Chris Stewart a small amount of regalia had been produced. We managed to sell some regalia although we were limited to baseball caps, pin badges and windscreen stickers; the stickers proving the most popular. All in all everyone seemed to have a good day although it was helped by the excellent museum attractions. Most people just enjoyed having a large gathering of their cars together for the first time and to be able to compare them and swap experiences.
For the next couple years things continued in the same vane. We attended a few events as a Register including, of course, Silverstone, later MG Live! In 2004 we held our second Register event; again on Easter Monday, this time at the Heritage Motor Centre at Gaydon.
During 2005 there had been some changes in the Committee and by October some of the original members were leaving, but things continued to roll along. To keep the momentum going Ray Kemble agreed to take on the dual role of Chairman/Secretary until a suitable candidate was found, however the situation remained unchanged until 2008. In this period the Register slowly declined. Despite a great deal of help from Andy Knott and others, increasingly it was down to Ray and Geoff Hirst to carry on. The breakthrough came when Richard Jones was appointed as MGCC General Manager. He had an enthusiasm to help generate more interest in the Registers and the ZR/ZS/ZT Register in particular. He found some new blood in the shape of Neil Mattock who would become Register Chairman.
At an EGM held in November 2008 several new members joined the committee, all with enthusiasm and their own ideas. With Neil Mattock now in the chair the remaining key positions were filled. We were aware that the Register had been fairly dormant for the past few years, and we wanted to generate an explosion of interest. This would be achieved in a number of ways. With 2008 drawing to a close, our attentions turned to the following year.
The MG Car & Spares day, held on 22nd February 2009, is well known by many, but was new territory for the rejuvenated Register. On the day our display of cars was eye-catching and punchy. Our newly produced range of regalia and eye-catching clothing also made their debut at this event. The event had been hard work but ultimately a huge success. The Register was back on the road.
Since that ‘first’ event in 2009, the Register has grown from strength to strength. A full year of events followed Stoneleigh concluding with Classic Motor Show at the NEC. We were blown away with just how much interest there was in our Zeds from the visitors. The Register has become a keen supporter of events throughout the year with Zed numbers noticeably increasing. The MG Saloon Day which we now jointly organise with the MG’M’ Group is one such example. We also assist the main club on race days throughout the year with the organisation of the parade laps during the lunch breaks, whilst keeping a close eye on the Trophy races of course! In 2010 we were awarded the Nuffield Gold Cup at a presentation at MG Live! I think this showed how much we had achieved in a comparatively short space of time. In 2011 we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the launch of our cars and organised our own event ‘ZedTen’ during July. The venue chosen was the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, a very appropriate location we felt. Having been heavily advertised during the months prior to the event, the day itself attracted over five hundred cars. This still stands as our largest ever gathering. Enthusiasm for the Zeds continues to remain strong with new members and familiar faces supporting us at our events. The Register has certainly come a long way over the last fourteen years.