LOUISVILLE, Ky. — When Tom Metcalf was 7 years old, his college-aged cousin took him for spin in a sleek white MG Motor car – a drastic change from his usual transportation in the family’s clunky Oldsmobile.

Metcalf said he remembers peeking over the passenger side door sill of the British sports car as they sped down the road.

He bought his first MG at age 19 – year 1935, black with red interior.

“It was a hot looking car and it was definitely the coolest car on the campus,” he said. “I thought I was pretty hot driving it, too.”

Around 800 MGs glinted in the sunlight Thursday at Louisville’s Waterfront Park for the MG 2016 car show, part of the weeklong MG 2016 Convention, which has met once every five years since 1996.

MG is a British automotive make from the now defunct manufacturer MG Car Company Limited, which started in the 1920s.

Rick Ingram, executive director of North American Council of MG Registers, said the event was created to bring together all four MG Registers in North America: The North American MMM Register (pre-World War II models), New England MGT Register (World War II to 1956), North American MGA Register (1956-1962) and North American MGB Register (1962-1980).

Ingram said about 1,400 people came out to the show, which he said is a testament to the event’s atmosphere of camaraderie.

“We call MG the mark of friendship,” he said. “The cars are merely the catalyst that bring the people together.”

Metcalf was one of the original members who started the North American MMM Register 25 years ago. He said over the years membership has grown but the cars have also increased significantly in cost.

“I have a 1948 MGTC that (my wife and I) drove from Naples to Key West back in March,” he said. “It’s just a great car to drive on roads like that – with water on both sides and the top down.”

Metcalf said he had to sell his original MG, but now owns 11 ranging from years 1933 to 1974. He collects and restores the cars and said he’s been to more than 100 car shows.

His favorite part is meeting people and he loves “getting to know more people and talking about their lives and their families and their cars,” he said.

Also at the show Thursday was Jeremy Holdsworth, who said he became an MG enthusiast in the summer of 1985 after he attended his first MG show. He was 1 year old.

“I am just passionate about MGs and the people,” Holdsworth, a Toronto native, said. “Seeing people you don’t get to see on a day-to-day basis. It’s the people that keep you coming back.”

Holdsworth does not own an MG but has grown up around them; his dad owns several MGs and is also a member of the North American MGB Register.

He is part of the next generation of people that work to uphold the traditions of the MG registers. Holdsworth said that his generation should work to attract more people into the MG lifestyle.

“MG people are some of the nicest people you’ll meet. They come from all walks of life, all different backgrounds … we are putting that aside to enthusiastically participate in these events,” he said.