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Florida Suncoast MG Car Club

“It’s Gotta Be Fun”

The Spirit of Spirek Award

Bruce Rauch receives the Spirit of Spirek Award at MG Jamboree 16Rauch, Bruce Nov 2008

Bruce’s older brother got him interested in car mechanics as a young teen in Pennsylvania.By saving newspaper delivery earnings, he was able to buy his first car – a 24 year old 1930 Chevy which required a bit of tinkering to get it running. After a series of upgrades (?) including a ’48 Dodge, ’57 VW Bug, ’55 Austin Healey 100-4, ’57 Saab and several family wagons, he purchased the first MG in 1982 – a basket case 1961 MGA. As a “father and son” project in Cleveland, OH, they learned a lot about the MGA and a lot about one another. When relocating to Florida in 1989, Bruce and Roberta brought the nearly restored “A” with them. Shortly thereafter, they met Frank Spirek and his wife, Nell, who asked them to join the Suncoast Classic MG Club and then later the Florida Suncoast MG Car Club.

In 1994 they purchased their second MG from a member of the Suncoast Classic MG Club, a 1975 MGB. Then in 1997 they acquired the third MG through a contact in the FSMGCC, a 1962 MGA. All of these cars required a bit of tinkering to make them dependable transportation. So dependable, in fact, that they drove the 1961 MGA to Pacific coast car shows in 1999 and 2003 logging over 18,000 miles. Although his vocation was that of a banker and headhunter, Bruce continued to play with old cars, doing frame up restorations on the two MGAs and maintaining the MGB.

After joining the Florida Suncoast MG Car Club, Bruce teamed up with John Gilley in 1994 to chair the very successful SE Regional MG Festival and Car Show held at the Belleview Biltmore Resort. In 1998, Bruce and Roberta chaired MG Jamboree 10. Bruce has held several official positions with the Club as well, including Vice President (2002), President (2003 & 04), member of the Board of Directors from 2004 to 2007 and as Activities Coordinator providing information for the events calendar in the Club newsletter. In addition, Bruce and Roberta have hosted several Club Christmas Parties at their home in Saint Petersburg.

Dave Wilgus receives the Spirit of Spirek Award
at MG Jamboree 14

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The “Spirit of Spirek Award” was established in memory of and in tribute to Frank Spirek, one of the original members of the Florida Suncoast MG Car Club.  The recipient of this award is a Club member, chosen by the Officers of the Club as an individual who embodies some of the characteristics that made Frank Spirek special. 

Dave Wilgus is not a professional auto restorer; yet he has acquired the essential mechanical, paint & bodywork skills to create show quality award winning cars. He believes in originality and tries to restore his cars as close as possible to original condition, but, he is not intolerant of other people’s creativity and modifications. He enjoys participating in car shows and appreciates the craftsmanship represented in the various marques.

Dave is an active member of several car clubs. He has held leadership roles and regularly drives his cars to club meetings and club activities. He freely shares information and helps the less knowledgeable folks.

The Club is proud to recognize Dave for his contribution to the Florida Suncoast MG Car Club, his dedication to preserving the MG motorcar and his fellowship of the Marque.

John Robinson receives The Spirit of Spirek Award at MG Jamboree 15

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Frank Spirek
By Nell Spirek

On the inside cover of Frank Spirek's graduation yearbook, Frank was picturSpirek small-3ed sitting on the hood of his yellow Pontiac convertible. When we married six years later, he had a newer yellow Pontiac convertible and an old Chevy sedan.  Can't say I wasn't warned!!!!

The arrival of three kids eventually led to several boring station wagons.  In 1967, our first 1959 MGA came to stay.  An everyday driver, it carried Frank and his construction tools to jobs.  He drove the MGA to his fire department career assignments.  Once it was backed over by a pumper engine at the drill grounds!

The second MGA was found with bullet holes behind a service station. Though bought for restoration and resale, it was appropriated by a teenage daughter even before she had a driver's license.  Pat used the car for college transportation and still drives it in Ohio many years later.

The first TD was purchased in 1977 with money saved for our son's college education--he had won a scholarship. Through the years TDs, TCs, MGBs, Jeeps, Morris Minors and pickup trucks came and went to good homes.  Every one was lovingly restored.

The cars represented much of our social life.  We had great adventures driving around the East Coast to car shows.  The MG community blessed us with great long-lasting friendships.

Looking back, it was a hobby carried perhaps too far.  But Frank enjoyed the work and gained a reputation for meticulous, true to original, perfect restorations.

He was always glad to share his knowledge with others--and more than happy to lend his own time to help someone else's project.  The trophies were a bonus but not the end in themselves.

Several of the cars are leaving hurricane country for life in 'tornado
alley'.  I will miss them but the memories remain always.   
 

 

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