The Columbia community referred to us as the MG guys. In 1974, there was not a car club for any kind of British cars in and around Columbia. So the MG guys; Lonnie Caughman, Bruce Edge, Chris Powell, Ed Stanfield, Mike Finch and Allen Rainey decided to form one, it was to be known as the Sandlapper MG T Register. This was not a formal club by any stretch of the imagination. We only had six members; and Allen Rainey moved to Atlanta. The group later grew to around ten or so. It was a group of guys who liked driving and tinkering on their friends and their own MG’s. The meetings were primarily a reason to get together to drink beer and talk about British cars, mainly MG’s. Throughout the late seventies and eighties this group was quite successful in holding events known as a GOF (Gathering of the Faithfull). The first two gatherings were held in Charleston and the Isle of Palms respectively. Later during college spring break the GOF’s were held at Presbyterian College with the help of Dr. Jim Stidham. One of the last ones being the Southeastern Regional GOF held in conjunction with The Southeastern MG T Register.
The late eighties and early nineties became a period of little Club activity with infrequent meetings mostly at Christmas time. By this time the group had dwindled down to the five original members. Most continued attending British car club functions in Georgia, North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee.
Then sometime in the mid nineties a British guy by the name of Ken Wells appeared on the scene and started talking about forming a MG Car Club. His enthusiasm was a bit contagious to say the least and this took the group to the next chapter.
Car clubs generally spring to life upon a whim or a desire after many discussions or pints of lager. Just such fraternity resulted in The MG Car Club, Midlands Centre in 1996, the organization before our present club, British Car Club – Midlands Centre (BCCMC).
A phone call to the organizers of the 1996 Mid-Carolina Auto Show revealed that 2,000 Square Feet of space was available for MG Car enthusiasts. While there were only a few known MG enthusiasts in the area, they were not served by a formal club. We had just 21 days to fill the show area with cars and related items. A club name was also required. Fortunately, we were able to field 7 MG’s: 1 – TC, 4 – TD’s, 1 – Midget, and 1 – ‘B’, along with photos, advertisement copies, and a name for the group. This show attracted dozens of prospective members and led to our first official meeting – a picnic at Guignard Park, Columbia, in May 1996. Thus, the MG Club took off with 15 signing on at that first meeting. Soon, officers were elected and we attended car shows and gatherings in Columbia and elsewhere in SC. Not bad for our first year!
The membership numbers continued to increase for the next couple of years and reached a plateau in 1998. In 1999, the name was changed to the “British Car Club – Midlands Centre” with the incorporation of some members of The Triumph Club of the Carolinas. This allowed the club to grow by accepting all British vehicles. The increased membership provided funding and manpower for our first car show at Saluda Shoals Park in 2003. This show attracted about 60 vehicles and provided good exposure.
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