CAPE CORAL, Fla. — On Saturday, September 12th, the British Car Club of Southwest Florida went on a tour through the Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery, which is located in Cape Coral.
Among the interesting facts we learned is that it is a “craft distillery” (makes fewer than 750,000 gallons per year) and that it is also independently owned and operated. They use local ingredients (produced within 100 miles). Their copper pot still was imported from the state of Kentucky.
The tour guide explained the process of making rum and we were able to sample their Rum Punch — which we all found to be very good and decided to have it at our Holiday Party!
The tour went through the storage area, where there are many rows of barrels. The guide explained that the rum is aged in used Kentucky bourbon barrels for 3-14 years. Their rum comes in many different flavors: Vanilla Bean, Mango, Coconut, Key Lime, and Blueberry & Strawberry Shine. They also make vodka.
Volunteers are used to help with the bottling of the rum. Compensation is a bottle of rum!
The Distillery began making hand sanitizer last spring, and are producing thousands of gallons each week for hospitals and first responders. They also sell this to the public and had a sanitizer giveaway back in August. This helped them to stay afloat during the COVID shutdown.
At the end of the tour, we were treated to a complimentary tasting in the gift shop area. Wicked Dolphin also has their own brand of coffee, which many of the members purchased at the end of the tour.
Afterward, we went to Mel’s Diner for lunch and fellowship. The tropical weather from Sally did not dampen the enthusiasm of this group!
Thanks to Cecil Carter, Bob and Susan Engelhart, and Peter and Sandy Blackford for coming out, which made for a very fun and enjoyable afternoon!
I owned this 1927 MG 14/40 tourer in the early-to-mid ’60s in Dayton, Ohio. At the time I didn’t know of any older MGs other than an M-type in Cincinnati, which I almost owned also.
The 14/40 was the second model MG produced after the “bull-nosed” 14/28.
In 1925-27 Cecil Kimber’s young company moved to Cowley, Oxford. By then the model after the one I had was the pure, “all-MG” 18/80, not a made-over Morris Oxford.
I acquired my tourer from a NASA cinematographer in Cape Canaveral, and from there I trailered it back to Dayton.
The MG needed a lot of work and a lot of tinkering, on a nickel-and-dime budget at that.
I acquired an original Solex carb from France and cork-lined clutch plates from the U.K., and decided to doll her up here and there, like with a running-board spotlight and bulb horn.
The headlamps can be dipped, to the left of course, by an external lever. The coachwork consists of but two doors to help the rigidity of the body. A starter-generator keeps things going in that department. There are octagon motifs everywhere, except the scuttle ventilators.
The rear wings are not original. I added a license plate and taillight panel at the rear with the MG logo showing as polished aluminum.
The car was woefully underpowered, even with a 2-liter flathead engine coupled to a 3-speed transmission. With a hand-pulled choke it started very easy, it seemed. Petrol was fed into a small under-the-bonnet tank. (Don’t refuel when the engine is hot! I refueled from a 5-gallon can in the driveway.)
The MG was finished in cream with red interior and black top. Side curtains were nowhere to be found, it seemed.
I enjoyed showing the 14/40 and it surprised a lot of MG fans at the time. One memorable outing was at the Greenfield Old Car Festival in Dearborn, Mich. The car is titled as a ’25 so it was barely eligible for showing. We conned a security lad to allow us to spot the car in front of the Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop for a photo since we were from Dayton.
A copy of that photo is in one of the MG publications from the MG works. On one of my visits to England and to the MG Car Club next door to the office building, I pulled the copy with the photo to show several MG T owners who are friends.
The car has been in two museums that I know of — Silver Springs in Florida and Jerry Goguen’s Westminster MG Museum in Vermont.
At one time it was in the hands of an MG dealer in the Miami area. I sold it to a friend of mine in Kettering, Ohio, and I believe a dentist in Connecticut has it now, although there was a rumor I heard that it had gone back to England.
The original factory color scheme on the 14/40 series was blue or red wings and blue or red cellulose from the beltline up and top of the bonnet only, with polished metal for the rest of the body. This scheme carried over from the bull-nose 14/28 series.
Available factory coachwork consisted of the four-seat tourer, two-seat roadster with dickey seat and a two-door saloon.
A saloon was chosen by the works as a “gofer” for company errands and such. It was also used for testing paint color — hence it was nicknamed the Auld Speckled ’Un, or, as we know it today, the Old Speckled Hen. —Larry McCartt
Penny’s Restaurant, in Punta Gorda, has become a BCCSWF breakfast favorite. Members of the club returned to Penny’s for its August Saturday morning breakfast gathering and were not disappointed. Penny, and her staff, again delighted club members with as outstanding menu and excellent service.
Several members praised the restaurant during the September club meeting. It’s a good bet that the club will return in the not too distant future. In the meantime, the September breakfast gathering will be at another club favorite, the House of Omelets in Cape Coral, on September 26th. —Cecil Carter
The British Car Club of Southwest Florida met on Tuesday, September 8th, at Famous Dave’s Restaurant in Fort Myers. President Cecil Carter called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.
New members Al and Christine Jensen were welcomed to the club. They are the owners of a beautiful 1967 Austin-Healey 3000. Al spoke briefly about his experiences with the car.
Treasurer Tom Brewsaugh gave the monthly financial report. Tom informed the club that he and his wife, Kiki, are relocating and would be leaving the club soon. The club thanks Tom for his many years of outstanding service to the club.
Past events were discussed. The August Saturday breakfast gathering was held at Penny’s Restaurant in Punta Gorda. Members who attended spoke favorably about the morning. The September breakfast gathering will be on Saturday, September 26th, at the House of Omelets in Cape Coral. The gathering will begin at 8:30 a.m., with breakfast at 9 a.m.
Cecil mentioned the upcoming (as of the meeting date) rally sponsored by the Jaguar Club of Southwest Florida on September 19th. He also announced that “Wheels Across the Pond” was cancelled.
The BCCSWF Holiday Party was discussed. Marcia McCartt suggested that the club change the November Welcome Back Snowbirds/Pool Party to December and make it also a Holiday Party at her home. The members thought that was a great idea and the consensus was to do so.
The 50/50 was won by Bill Newman.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned. —Ken Taylor
I bought my first Triumph Spitfire from RS&S Sports Cars in Baton Rouge, La., in early 1977. After looking at several TR3s, I found the yellow 1976 Spitfire 1500 with only 15,000 miles parked on the dealer lot, looking like it needed a new home. For $3,500 I became a British car owner for the first time.
The yellow Spit became my daily driver and weekend autocrosser for many years. In those days I was autocrossing every weekend, somewhere in Louisiana or Mississippi. Notable events were in the New Orleans Superdome parking lot, the streets of downtown Baton Rouge, and a banked oval speedway in Jackson, Miss. My son and daughter both learned to drive with the yellow Spit and my adventures were many.
Of course, all this action took a toll on the car, and it is now on the fourth engine and a few rebuilds in between. My Spitfire engine sports a twenty-thousandths overbore, performance cam, roller rocker, oversize valves and 10:1 compression, and breathes with a 40mm sidedraft Weber carb and performance exhaust header. The wheels are 6” wide Superlights.
About 15 years ago it was repainted in the original Mimosa Yellow and a hardtop was installed. I still own the yellow Spit and consider it to be a part of my family. It has been resting in our garage for a few years, needing a rear suspension rebuild, which will be happening soon.
Sometime around 1982 I bought a very early Spitfire 4 racecar. This machine raced SCCA H Production and I saw it in action at the one and only Baton Rouge Grand Prix in the early 1980s. I autocrossed it in the Production class during the times the yellow Spit was resting. I remember one event where I spun out at the finish and won the class crossing the line backwards.
This car was dark brown with twin SU carbs and an 1147cc engine. It was sold to a Baton Rouge undertaker as part of a property settlement with my first spouse.
Before leaving Louisiana, I obtained an SCCA competition license and began racing a VW GTI in Showroom Stock, then a Spec Racer Sports Renault. By this time I had met and married Mary and had become dissatisfied with SCCA club racing — and especially the non-British cars I had been racing.
Having moved to Florida in 1985, I started autocrossing the yellow Spitfire again with the Gulf Coast Autocrossers, a local Ft. Myers group that had the use of a small airport for their events. This type of motorsports held my interest until 2005, when Mary gave me a birthday gift of a performance driving event at Palm Beach International Raceway (then known as Moroso Motorsports Park). The cars were Factory Five AC Cobra replicas and the experience convinced me to go racing again.
An ad in Autoweek for a Spitfire Mark II vintage racecar caught my eye and I called the owner, who was in Virginia. After explaining my background and my love for Spitfires, the owner promised to save the car for me. Mary and I flew to the Washington, D.C., area to look at the car and agree on a price. The next weekend we drove up with a trailer and picked up the little 1147cc white Spitfire.
The next order of business was a Panoz Racing School at Sebring, where I renewed my competition license and then went on to vintage racing with SCCA and HSR. The little white car (Mary’s favorite) was not very fast but it sure was a lot of fun. We took the car to the Mitty at Road Atlanta in 2007 and raced all the tracks in Florida.
My last race in that car was on the long course at Sebring. The Spitfire was running great and I was setting my best lap times when something under the bonnet went ping and I was trailing a cloud of white smoke behind me. The result was a broken rocker shaft. Valves had gone through several pistons and the crankshaft was broken.
The next Spitfire came along in 2012 when I heard that fellow racer Tim Slater was planning on selling off some of his racecars. The one that I liked the best was a replica of the Triumph factory effort at Sebring and Le Mans in 1964 and 1965. It was a fastback coupe similar to the GT6 but with the 1300cc engine and twin HS4 SU carbs. The color was British Racing Green with a yellow stripe and face. Tim took the white Spit and cash for the green car.
Three or four races into the 2012 season I was doing a practice lap at Sebring when the left rear tire got a puncture and the car went straight into the Armco at Turn 12. The bonnet was destroyed along with the front part of the frame and the radiator was wrapped around the front of the engine.
I obtained another bonnet and frame from Tim Slater and brought everything to Steve Smith of Twin Cam Motorsports in Sarasota. Steve was able to put everything back together in six weeks and we took the car to HSR’s Hutchinson Island Race in Savannah. The car was successfully raced for another four years until December 2017.
The HSR event in December 2017 was the last time I drove the green car. I was on the last lap of the first race and dicing with a unique Hillman sedan. After putting some distance ahead of the Hillman I entered the Turn 7 hairpin. Upon exit the rear end stepped out and I corrected. Suddenly the rear end violently came around again and I was airborne and upside down. The car bounced off the roof and landed on the wheels facing the other direction and off track.
I was unhurt, but the desire to drive the car again was gone. Tim bought the car back and put it back together with plans to race it again.
I continued to race my Triumph GT6 Group 44 tribute car for a few more years and will write an article about the car in the future. The yellow Spitfire 1500 will hopefully be on the road again soon and will provide more adventures for Mary and me.
The meeting was called to order by President Cecil Carter at 6:30 p.m. He introduced a new guest who became a member. His name is Greg Curson and he is a friend of members Marcia and Larry McCartt. He owns a ’71 MGB.
The Treasurer, Tom Brewsaugh, was not able to attend, but sent his report. The minutes of the previous meeting are on the website and in British Marque. Past Secretary Mary Newman took the minutes for the meeting.
A few members went on the Tour of Pine Island that was sponsored by some members of the Austin-Healey club that also belong to the BCCSWF. They had a total of six cars and they had a great day.
Breakfast at Penny’s in Punta Gorda was a great success, with seven cars attending. Everyone liked the breakfast and apparently the pancakes.
The Celtic Ray luncheon had 13 people who braved the heat in their non-air-conditioned cars on a steamy July 11th. We were greeted by the friendly staff and were happy to be able to get into the air-conditioning. The food and drink were great, as usual.
Future events (as of the meeting date)
The club will meet for breakfast on July 25th at Marco’s Diner on San Carlos Blvd. and McGregor Blvd. in Ft. Myers. The President will send out an e-mail with details.
Other upcoming events
The Safety Harbor car show will be held on October 24th. [This has since been cancelled.]
The “Wheels Across the Pond” car show will be held October 31st.
The Jaguar festival has been cancelled due to the pandemic.
The meeting adjourned. —Mary Newman
PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — The British Car Club of Southwest Florida did a luncheon run to the “Best Irish Pub” in Southwest Florida, namely the Celtic Ray. It is located in Punta Gorda and is owned by an Irishman, Kevin Doyle, and his son. Kevin also is fond of British cars and has a newer Mini.
The inside of the pub is very authentic and the outside area has been expanded to accommodate the ever-growing group of patrons. He also has an outdoor stage for entertainment. Bill and I try to get to the pub about twice a month and enjoy the food, drink and hospitality.
On this particular day we had 13 members who drove their British cars in the heat on a very humid July 11th. We opted to sit inside. Along with Bill and myself were Larry and Marcia McCartt, President Cecil Carter, Dennis McKinley, Cynthia Mahoney, Bob and Susan Engelhart, Ed O’Neal, Bob Teddor, Al Jensen and Maureen Larkin. We were all grateful to get into the air conditioning and enjoyed our favorite libations and food.
The city of Punta Gorda had recently passed a “mask” ordinance and we all fully complied. There has been a very confusing set of rules set by different municipalities in the area but we all need to abide by the rules in order to be safe for us all.
Bill and I sponsored another luncheon run to the Ray last year on “Cinco de Mayo,” and they had fish tacos.
On the topic of the pandemic...
It has been very interesting and somewhat disappointing. Fellow car club members Gary and Trish Maue and Bill and I had booked a cruise to celebrate our birthdays — mine is on St. Patrick’s Day, Trish’s on March 16th and Gary’s on March 18th. We made our reservations well in advance and were looking to on a brand new ship that had a go-kart track (!) that Gary and Bill were excited to try. We were all ready to go Sunday, March 15th, when we got an e-mail on the Friday night before that all cruises were cancelled.
Bill and I decided that, as we already were packed and our house/pet sitter was already at our house, we would drive to Louisiana via Biloxi, Miss., which we have done several times before.
We took off in our 2016 red MINI early on Sunday and got to the casino hotel by the early evening. We did a few slots that night. Next morning we took off for Baton Rouge for my favorite casino hotel, at which I had made a reservation.
About 25 miles outside Baton Rouge I got a call that they were closing the hotel. Now we had to find a place to eat some lunch and regroup. We finally found the last restaurant in Baton Rouge that was open, and I called back to the hotel in Biloxi for a room that evening.
When we checked in we were told they were closing the casino that night at midnight and the hotel soon thereafter. We went to the casino and payed a few slots and ate and drank until about 10 p.m. (we can’t stay up as late as we used to). We got up the next day, St. Patrick’s Day, and decided to drive straight back.
So that is my sorry story — but we did stay home for several weeks just to make sure we were not infected. I know a lot of people had it a lot worse. We hope that next year we can all celebrate our birthdays in a more relaxing way!
It was not Tiffany’s, but Penny’s Restaurant in Punta Gorda was the venue for the BCCSWF’s June breakfast gathering. Twelve club members, and seven British cars, made the trip on the last Saturday morning in June to sample the breakfast fare and enjoy the camaraderie.
They were not disappointed. Members selected from an expansive menu and enjoyed meals of the highest quality. Excellent service was provided by the restaurant’s owner, Penny, and members of the staff. The club’s new practice of investigating various restaurants for the Saturday breakfast gathering paid off. —Cecil Carter
This is a chronological history of our 1966 Austin-Healey 3000.
It was November of 1965, before the holiday break. I was a senior studying electrical engineering at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md. There were Morgans, MGs, Triumphs, and even a V8 Daimler running around campus. But I always liked the looks and the sounds of the Big Healey.
I was scheduled to graduate in February, and I had a job lined up. I thought I would treat myself and relieve some stress from studying by looking for a new car.
One day I drove my 1953 Ford rustbucket to Manhattan Motors on Queens Chapel Road in Hyattsville, Md. It was a gray and dreary day, but Manhattan was the local Austin-Healey dealer. I convinced them I had, or would have, the means to purchase one and convinced them to let me take a test drive.
There was a brand new 3000, BJ8, British Racing Green, wire wheels, perfect! And I had the keys! I remember starting the car and hearing that beautiful sucking noise from the twin SUs. Then, driving off the lot, hearing the throaty roar emanating from under the car. What a thrill!
I drove the car back to the dealership with a big smile on my face. The dealer salesman asked me what I thought. I said I loved it. But then it got down to the nits and grits. The price!
Remember this was 1965, my new job was going to pay me $680/month, $8,160/year. And this salary was near the top for a new engineer in 1966. The price for this new Healey, my dream car, was $3,200 — almost 40% of my annual salary, and that was pre-tax. I melted, thinking this would never, ever happen.
So I ended up with a brand new 1966 Ford Mustang convertible, dark blue with a white top, with a 289 V8 and an automatic slushbox. The price was much more affordable, it looked cool, but it was not fun to drive. Seemed like it just couldn’t get out of its own way, and my buddies who had manual transmission would blow me away. I did put Koni shocks and Michelin Xs on it, so I felt a little better.
(I love the smell of the Xs when they warm up. I think I was the first guy I knew that had radial tires.)
Then life happened for the next 55 years. In February last year, 2019, my sister and brother-in-law were visiting us in Naples, Fla. One of our favorite events that month is the annual “Cars on Fifth,” hosted by the Ferrari Club of Naples. This event is a major supporter of St. Matthew’s House, which provides innovative solutions to fight homelessness, hunger, substance abuse and poverty in Southwest Florida.
As well as gorgeous Ferraris of various vintages, other cars are invited to participate along beautiful 5th Avenue in downtown Naples, and the 2019 show was the best one yet. There were 607 cars spread across many classes. This included more than 150 Ferraris and supercars, 70 Corvettes, 70 Porsches, 80 muscle cars, 20 antiques and classics, 30 British cars, and 30 cool cruisers.
Now, my brother-in-law has worked with cars for his entire life and loves to go to car shows. But our schedules didn’t align that year and he went to the show by himself.
On the evening of February 9, 2019, my brother-in-law sent me a photo of a 1966 Austin-Healey 3000 with a For Sale sign in it. British Racing Green, wire wheels, it was love at first sight. Déjà vu all over again.
I couldn’t make out the phone number on the For Sale sign, but he blew up the photo and gave me two deciphered numbers.
To make a long story short, she ended up in our garage. The icing on the cake is that the inside of the glove box door is signed by Donald Healey!
She had “been around the block” a few times, as they say. After a few weeks of brake work, tuning up, fluid flushing and refilling, etc., we drove it for about a month. We sent for, and received, its BMIHT certificate.
We then decided it need to be returned as closely as possible to its initial condition and drove it to Tsikuris Classics in Lakeland, Fla., for interior and exterior refurbishment.
We know it will cost three times as much as planned and take three times longer. But progress is being made, and we remain very excited each time a progress report is received.
Her name is “Victoria,” and we hope that upon her return to our garage we will be able to spend many hours experiencing fun and camaraderie with the other members of British Car Club of Southwest Florida. —Frank Palulis
Members of the British Car Club of Southwest Florida remained active during May in spite of restrictions brought on by the coronavirus.
The virtual May 12th meeting was attended by seven participants. Lively discussions about members’ cars and the future dominated the meeting. The club’s financial status was presented by Tom Brewsaugh. Cecil thanked Tom and Bill Newman for articles that were submitted to the Marque and encouraged other members to do likewise.
Inasmuch as the State of Florida was moving into Phase II of its reopening, members decided to hold a face-to-face breakfast gathering on May 30th. The House of Omelets in Cape Coral was the restaurant of choice.
Twelve club members attended the May breakfast gathering. This was our first contact since early March and members greeted each other at a distance, but enthusiastically. Several members drove their British cars, which provided the focus of much conversation among members and other restaurant patrons before and after breakfast. Social distance guidelines were followed throughout the morning.
Cecil shared with those present that Famous Dave’s could now accommodate the club and the June 9th meeting would be held there. (See the accompanying article.) Members were thankful for the return to some degree of normalcy.
President Cecil Carter called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9th. He observed that this was the first face-to-face meeting since March. The two previous meetings were virtual. Twenty members were present. There were no new members or guests.
Tom Brewsaugh presented the Treasurer’s report.
Cecil mentioned several British cars for sale that were brought to his attention. Cy Ling announced his Rover for sale. He also announced the completion of his book detailing his passion for cars, which will be published in the near future.
Past events were discussed. They included the Sports Car Club of America races at Sebring. Approximately 210 cars participated. The Rolls-Royce event was cancelled. The club breakfast gathering in May was face-to-face at the House of Omelets in Cape Coral.
Future events, as of the meeting date, were mentioned. The Austin-Healey drivers would be hosting a tour of Pine Island on Wednesday, June 10th, start time at 10:30 a.m. All BCCSWF members were invited to join them.
The Jaguar Club of Southwest Florida would be hosting Cars & Coffee on Sunday, June 14th, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. BCCSWF members were invited.
June 27 — BCCSWF Breakfast Gathering, Penny’s Café, Punta Gorda, Fla.
July 11 — Celtic Ray Lunch, Punta Gorda, Fla.
October 24 — All-British Field Meet & Autojumble, Safety Harbor, Fla.
October 28-November 1 — International Jaguar Festival, Ft. Myers, Fla.
October 31 — Wheels Across the Pond, Jupiter, Fla.
November 14 — BCCSWF Snowbirds Pool Party, Cape Coral, Fla.
Three members received traditional BCCSWF birthday wishes.
The 50/50 was won by Cecil, who promptly returned his winnings to the club.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned. —Ken Taylor
I suppose you could say growing up in the 1950s and ’60s made it almost inevitable that cars should pique my interest. I remember it was about the age of 8 when I watched a short film on the Indianapolis 500 and was completely amazed. Not long after I came across a program on the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Watching what looked to be exotic street cars racing on country roads completely blow me away, but being a small boy in Ohio I figured I’d never see any of those cars up close.
As luck would have it, at least for a budding young car guy age 9, I had a sister eight years older. She was the typical teen girl of the late ’50s — long blond hair, attractive and outgoing. Needless to say, there were always hot rods around the house.
Then one day things changed. Her new boyfriend pulled up in a British Racing Green TR3. This was the type car I only saw in in the car magazines at the drug store, and here it was in my driveway.
Larry, the only guy she dated I remember, must have noticed my jaw hit the ground because he said with a smile, “Go ahead have a seat behind the wheel!” The size and shape of that car was nothing I had ever experienced before.
Not long after that first encounter, I was sitting in the passenger seat, cruising the twisty, hilly back roads. I was in heaven. That year for Christmas Larry gave me a model kit of the Jag D-type. I was hooked, convinced it couldn’t possibly get any better than this.
One sunny afternoon I rode my bike up to the corner gas station to put air in the tires, and there in front of the service bay sat a bright red Jaguar XKE, bonnet open and those chrome valve covers glowing in the light. I couldn’t help but wonder, why wasn’t anything like this built by our American car companies?
We moved to Florida when I was 15 and as usual made new friends. Turned out one had a British Racing Green TR3 and another had a British Racing Green Spitfire, and these were the first British cars I drove. But for some reason as I started driving, I gravitated more towards the Chevy Camaro — yet the little British car still held a place in my heart.
Fast forward many years. Due to the type work I did I had sold my car and bought my dad’s pickup truck. After all, my soon-to-be wife had a car. One Friday evening I was just driving home as usual and out of the corner of my eye I spotted a blue sports car on a small used car lot. It must have called out to me, because I had to turn around and check it out.
There it sat — a Triumph Spitfire — but the lot was closed. When KiKi got home from work I told her that we were going to go look at a Spitfire in the morning. Her reaction: “A what?” My reply: “Don’t worry I’ll show you!”
True to my word, Saturday morning we headed into town to look at the car. Unfortunately, that little blue Spitfire was nowhere in sight. I felt let down. Then I heard KiKi shout, “What’s that?” Sitting right in front of us was a maroon Spitfire getting all cleaned up.
I asked about the blue car. It had been sold later Friday when the lot owner had returned from dinner, but he had taken this other one in on trade just before we arrived.
As soon as the car was done with its bath we took it for a test drive. We had not even driven half a block when KiKi said, “Let’s buy it.” Wanting not to let on I responded, “We’re not married yet and it’s my money!”
Needless to say we gave the dealer a deposit, went to the bank on Monday to get the remainder owed, and picked up our Spitfire.
Then one day life just seemed to have gotten in the way. We had our first child, bought a house, changed jobs, then child number two came and everything that goes along with those responsibilities. There was no real reason to have our little British car.
But as our girls grew up and became young women, there started to be more time for us. KiKi was looking through our local community newspaper and found an ad for an MGB for sale nearby. We jumped in our car, drove over to the seller’s house, and bought it on the spot.
That MGB became my daily driver for the next four years. About the time I was due to retire I once again needed another pickup truck. Although we both enjoyed the “B,” we decided to let it go to make room for the truck.
Over all the years we still talked about the fun we had with our Spitfire and how we hated having to sell it. I guess it was fate when fellow members of BCCSWF Bill and Mary Newman told me of a 1980 Spitfire for sale. After looking at a photo Mary had of the car, I asked her to text it to me. When I returned home from the meeting I showed the photo to KiKi. A few days later we went to look at the car. It was not in perfect shape, but nothing I couldn’t handle. KiKi leaned over to me and said in a low voice, “If you can get it for what you think is a good price, I’ll get it for you as a retirement present.”
That little Spitfire is now in my garage and has had a few changes made to it. When our eldest daughter heard about it, she said that after growing up hearing all the stories of our first Spitfire, she would have been disappointed in me had I not purchased this car.
In the last five years I have helped restore an MGA, TR6 and a Sunbeam Tiger. We got a Sunbeam Alpine for a parts car that turned out to be pretty nice once it was cleaned up. Got it running put on a new set of tires and sold it.
Most any day I can be found working on some little British car. I guess you can say I caught the bug as a kid. Just wish I could find a kid to infect.
[Note: Originally this was printed in the June 2002 British Marque. Since we have so many members that were not here then, I am hoping they will enjoy this story of old, and others will enjoy its retelling. —BN]
All of the used-up Triumph Spitfires in Southwest Florida eventually find their way to Gary and Trish Maue’s home in Cape Coral, to give up their last useable parts. Such is the case for the latest find, a 1976 Spit 1500, which was discovered in Lehigh Acres, Fla. Before I venture into the painful disassembly ritual, the story of the capture of the beast must be discussed.
Gary discovered the car during his job as “evil disconnector” of power for non-paying customers of the local power company. While trying to talk to a resident about a non-payment (and the car), he was attacked by the property owner’s large goose, which had a Doberman’s attitude about defending his turf. Gary escaped with his life while managing to get the property owner to agree to sell the Spitfire for $50. Gary also managed to convince me to collect the car using my trailer, telling me the goose story was only a joke.
On a beautiful Florida winter day, a Saturday afternoon, Gary and I took my truck and trailer into the bowels of Lehigh Acres to retrieve the “perfect” Spitfire that Gary had described. Upon arrival, Gary instructed me to talk to the owner while he sat in my truck.
My first indication that Gary Maue is a liar is when I heard a goose honking. The goose fortunately ran past me, evidently smelling Gary in the truck. When I discovered that no one was at home, I inspected the Spitfire — finding a pitiful car with a flat tire. Upon my return to my truck I encountered the goose. The goose attacked me with its head low, running at 35mph. I, in turn, tried to imitate a bigger goose by waving my arms and honking.
The goose just missed my groin area with its beak as I leaped over him when we met. The only thing that saved me from castration was the karate chop that I gave the goose as he passed under me (sorry, PETA). After Gary calmed down from his hysterical laughter, the goose allowed us to inflate the Spitfire tires and load the car.
The goose watched me leave my phone number on the door so that we could arrange for payment, but nobody called. I suspect the goose ate the note.
The car stayed at Gary’s house for about two months (under a car cover) prior to the “Tear-down Party” on April 21st. Gary supplied the beer and Trish cooked burgers and sausage for the event — which was attended by Cecil Carter, Craig Disney, Chuck Maher, John Ellsworth, Harvey Desnick and Dave Maslako, along with Mary and myself. Everyone agreed on pieces that they wanted, and the dismantlement began with people swarming all over the car. The only problem we had was that everybody wanted the same tool or wrench size at the same time.
Despite having to wait for wrenches, the car was totally disassembled and the frame cut into six pieces in two hours. Cecil and I received mashed fingers while loading the tub on my trailer, but the cold beer eased the pain. The tub was delivered to non-club member, “Earring Tom,” who had a vast collection of Spitfire and GT6 parts, but no assembled car. (Tom keeps telling his wife he is going to build her a car someday. She must love him very much.)
In any case, Trish Maue is thankful that the car is gone, and she did a fantastic job of providing food for the working crew.
Updates to this story
My best friend Gary Maue has become old and has retired from the local power company. He currently spends his time eating prunes to keep himself “regular” and occasionally looks at the Triumphs and Minis in his garage. Trish Maue, however, continues to stay young and does her best to keep Gary in line.
Craig Disney is no longer a member, but I did buy my #44 GT6 from him. John Ellsworth, Harvey Desnick and Dave Maslako have moved from the area, but Dave has become an honorary member of BCCSWF for life.
Earring Tom, also known as Tom Brewsaugh, and his wife KiKi are now members of BCCSWF, but I now have all of his Spitfire and GT6 parts. They now have an LBC (see story above) and KiKi still loves him very much.
The goose has become an urban legend. Residents of Lehigh Acres speak of the “Cujo Goose” in hushed tones, and children of British car owners are fearful at Halloween. I have vowed not to venture to this part of Lehigh Acres ever again. —Bill Newman
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and related restrictions, all BCCSWF activities were virtual during April and the beginning weeks of May.
Eight members participated in the April meeting was held through Zoom. Several members displayed models of their cars and others wore their nametags. Cecil reminded them that they would receive points for doing so.
The financial report was provided by Club Treasurer Tom Brewsaugh. Discussion centered on the numerous cancellations and hopes that the situation would improve soon.
There were no April birthdays celebrated at this meeting. All members reported the good health of their cars. Members agreed that the April breakfast meeting would be a virtual cars and coffee event on the last Saturday of April (see Cecil’s report below).
After some lighthearted banter, the meeting adjourned. —Isabel Munoz
The April Saturday breakfast gathering of the British Car Club of Southwest Florida was a virtual cars and coffee event. Eight BCCSWF members gathered through Zoom to commiserate over coffee about our British cars and the current state of affairs.
I shared a video with the group about two young Californians and their British cars, a Mini Cooper and an MGA. The members agreed that the video represented the essence of the British car hobby and the camaraderie among its enthusiasts.
After additional commiserating, the meeting ended with members wishing each other good health and returning to social distancing. —Cecil Carter
ARCADIA, Fla. — The annual BCCSWF Memorial Day Drive to Arcadia to participate in the ceremonies honoring British World War II pilots was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Inasmuch as club members have participated in this activity annually since 1995, this was especially heartbreaking. The Rotary Club of Arcadia hopes to resume the event in 2021.
On a recent visit to South Africa, my husband John and I, together with our local hosts, Odin and Liana Knutsen of Somerset West, were fortunate to join a South African Bentley Drivers’ Club event in the Cape.
The venue, La Petite Dauphine, is a wine estate nestled in South Africa’s Franschoek Valley, overlooked by the majestic Franschoek Mountains.
This area, renowned for its wine farms and fine restaurants, was first settled in the 1680s when 176 French Protestants were forced to leave France to avoid religious persecution. They settled in the Valley and established farms along the Berg River — many of the estates still have French names, a reminder of the contribution that these French Huguenots made to the wine industry.
As the Bentleys began to arrive, we were warmly welcomed by John White and Stuart Maxwell, the organizers, and after cooling glasses of superb South African wine, we enjoyed a fine luncheon. We both opted for the Ostrich Filet for our main course! Good company and brief speeches completed the program.
Our thanks to the South African chapter of BDC for including us in this fun event.
Vic Darkwood (2012), in The Gentleman’s Guide to Motoring, observed, “Once you have mastered the various controls and abstruse mechanical widgets associated with driving a car, and then purchased a vehicle that you aren’t ashamed to be seen dead in (always a sensible precaution), it is time to pose possibly one of the most crucial questions that the fledgling gentleman motorist is ever likely to have to ask himself:
‘What in heaven’s name is one supposed to wear?’”
The answer to this important question is complex. Appropriate clothing should be governed by comfort and by the nature of the event. One might also take into consideration the perceptions desired of others regarding one’s appearance.
One’s attire varies whether the event is a shakedown drive, a “Cars & Coffee” event, a cruise-in, a local or regional car show, a road rally, a concours d’elegance, or a leisurely drive. As A. B. Filson Young (1904) in The Complete Motorist stated, “The kind of clothes one wears when motoring is important.”
I first became aware of this question shortly after returning my E-type to roadworthiness. The pressing question for me was, “What hat should I wear?”
This is especially important when driving top-down in Florida. According to Darkwood (2012), “[A] gent should don a cap of a peculiarly jaunty nature.” Over time, I have collected an array of baseball caps, drivers’ caps, bucket-style hats, and a few Panama hats. All of these have found their places in my driving experiences.
The baseball caps and bucket hats tend to be suitable for less formal events such as shakedown drives and “exercise” drives. The drivers’ caps seem to be most suitable for participating in experiences with others, such as car shows and road trips.
My stylish Panama hats are reserved for the most important events. Unfortunately, inasmuch as I cannot wear them while driving top down (the brims flutter in the wind and the wind blows them off), I resort to wearing a driver’s cap or a baseball cap while driving and donning the Panama after arriving.
I never considered wearing gloves while driving until a chance visit to a local Coach store. Pairs of leather driving gloves caught my eye and I thought how cool it would be to try them. Little did I know at the time that this was expected of drivers of British sports cars.
Several pairs of driving gloves are now in my wardrobe. My favorites are two pairs of string-backed gloves that I think are especially fashionable in the E-type. Darkwood (2012) stated, “The string-backed sporting glove is best suited to later-model cars such as the Triumph Vitesse or a 1960s MG and lends a man an air of devil-may-care jauntiness.” I often seek “devil-may-care jauntiness.” The leather gloves tend to be used more in the Mk2.
Driving gloves are not only fashionable, but they also provide a special feel when gripping the large, skinny steering wheels of both cars.
Outerwear options are limited in Southwest Florida because of its climate. Sad to say, opportunities to wear tweed sports jackets with elbow patches are few and far between — although on one occasion, I drove the Mk2 to the club Christmas Party while wearing my Gieves and Hawkes suit. Otherwise, the attire is generally car-themed T-shirts or polo shirts.
T-shirts are reserved for the less formal activities including shakedown drives, exercise drives, most cruise-ins and Cars & Coffee. Polo shirts are appropriate for the more formal car shows and drives. Motoring jackets are also worn early morning during the winter months, January and February. I have a few of those in my wardrobe as well.
Finally, there is the question of footwear. The British car driver needs footwear that is comfortable, stylish, and enhances the driving experience.
For a long time sneakers satisfied these requirements for me. On occasion, I wear my vintage Jack Purcells when driving the E-type. They are lightweight, supportive, and enable me to operate the car’s pedals without difficulty. In recent years, I have started wearing moccasin-style driving shoes. I have amassed a collection of leather and suede shoes in several colors. These too fit the bill. I especially like the narrow build of the shoes and how they relate to operating the pedals.
Although I have an interest in racing shoes, inasmuch as I do not race I have not tried them. I have noticed, though, that they are becoming more stylish and perhaps one day I will give them a try.
That’s it — head to foot! Answers to the question “What do I wear?” are almost infinite. Drawing from quantum physics, “It depends.” The British car driver is best served by considering the above elements and deciding which combinations of these elements best satisfies the criteria of comfort, appropriateness, and style.—Cecil Carter
With the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, most club activities are on hold. The April 14th meeting was a virtual one, held after the submission deadline. A report of that meeting will be in the next edition of the Marque.
At this point, the next club activity scheduled is the Memorial Day drive to Arcadia. We will continue to monitor our situation, keep members apprised, and plan appropriately. In the meantime, members are encouraged to stay safe.
CAPE CORAL, Fla. — For the fourth time over 100 British, Italian and German (B.I.G.) cars graced the grass of scenic Jaycee Park in Cape Coral. On March 1st, 111 well-polished cars, some rare, in the shade under majestic oaks on the bank of the Caloosahatchee River.
The owners compared, kibitzed and voted on their favorite car in each class, while their passengers and the public spectators oohed and ahhed. Participants and spectators showered the show’s organizers with compliments.
This year this annual event, first established in 2013 by the Triumphs of Southwest Florida, was hosted and organized by the Southwest Florida Alfa Romeo Owners Club. The Park was divided by winding trails and trees into three sections, one each for each nationality.
Just north of the British cars in the show was a permanent pavilion where Boy Scouts cooked and served hot dogs and hamburgers. At the southern end of the Park between the British and Italian cars was a large gazebo where the awards were presented.
There is still room for more cars in the Park, but as the show grows each year, a limit will take effect when the participating cars reach 200.
Half of the cars on display were British — maybe because the British sports car invasion of the 1950s brought so many of them across the Atlantic first and because there were many more British marques. The British cars were divided into 11 classes, which all were awarded trophies. Their vintage range was from 1952 to 2015.
There were 20 Italian cars, of which 14 were Alfas — which is exemplary considering Alfa Romeo did not import Alfas for 20 years, 1995-2015. The Italian cars were divided into five classes that were awarded trophies. The 35 German cars, from BMW, Mercedes and Porsche, were divided into eight classes. Their vintage range was from a1959 BMW 600 to a 2019 Porsche 718.
Janet Wood, a BCSWF member, received the prestigious President’s Award (i.e., Best in Show) with her 1956 Jaguar XK140.
Other BCCSWF award winners were Ed Major, 1973 Triumph TR6, 2nd in Class Tom Lambert, 1953 MG TD Mark II, 1st in Class Janet Wood, 1956 Jaguar XK140, 1st in Class and the aforementioned President’s Award Bill Newman, 1972 Mini 1275GT, 2nd in Class and Hermann Schaller, 1954 Lagonda 3-Litre Mk1 DHC, 1st in Class.
Congratulations to the winners!
Fifteen members of the BCCSWF gathered Saturday, February 29th, to have breakfast at the Café Restaurant in Cape Coral. (Several members, who drove their British cars, will receive additional points for doing so.)
Participants enjoyed delicious meals, enhanced with impeccable service. Conversation was also lively as several members were anticipating the B.I.G. Show to be held the next day (see accompanying article). Of course, there was some crying in our coffee as members commiserated about the joys of owning a British car. —Cecil Carter
The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m. by President Cecil Carter.
Guests and new members were recognized by the President, including two visitors from New York were recognized. There were no new members present.
It was reported that the minutes of the January meeting are on the club website and in the British Marque. Tom Brewsaugh, Club Treasurer, presented his report, which was accepted as presented.
Events that occurred since the last meeting were discussed. The Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club Show was an overwhelming success. The BCCSWF received the Outstanding Club Participation trophy for having 19 members registered and participating. (The trophy was proudly on display during the meeting.)
The event also received excellent coverage in the local newspaper. Hermann Schaller, Event Chair, thanked members of the club for their participation and support. He also presented Angela Sergeant with the event’s Commodore’s Trophy.
Bill Newman reported about the January 25th Celtic Festival held in downtown Ft. Myers. The weather was perfect for the event, which featured 12 beautiful British cars. Kudos were given to Bill and Mary for promoting the event by appearing at 5:30 a.m. with their two Minis for an early morning television interview.
President Cecil reported on “Cars on Fifth,” held February 8th in Naples. The event attracted approximately 600 cars. Fifteen British cars were among those displayed. Hermann Schaller’s 1954 Lagonda was awarded Best in Show for the British car contingent.
Upcoming events (as of the meeting) were discussed. They included the following:
February 15 — Jaycee Park Charity Show, Cape Coral.
February 16 — Gold Coast British Sports Car Club show, Palm Beach (new date: March 29th).
March 1 — British, Italian, German (BIG) Show, Cape Coral. Event chair Dennis McKinley provided details. President Cecil solicited help with parking.
March 21 — BCCSWF Picnic/Potluck, Alva, Franklin Locks.
March 28 — Classic Car Cruise to Nassau, Nassau, Bahamas.
April 11 — Wheels Across the Pond, Jupiter.
April 17-19 — MG Gathering of the Faithful, Howey-in-the-Hills.
October 28-November 1 — International Jaguar Festival, Ft. Myers (Sanibel Harbor).
The Café Restaurant, Coralwood Mall, Cape Coral, was selected as the site for the monthly breakfast gathering.
Chris Cosden received the traditional BCCSWF birthday wishes. The 50/50 was awarded to Mary Jane Cosden. Cecil is still seeking help with the club website.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned, next meeting March 10th. —Isabel Munoz
The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m. by President Cecil Carter (with assistance from Jeri Schaller, who lent him her eyeglasses!).
Guests Maureen Larkin and Leonard Lewis and new member John Orr were recognized and welcomed by the members.
Minutes of the February meeting will be on the club website and in the British Marque. Cecil had a hardcopy of the minutes available for review. Cecil also stated that minutes would be e-mailed to members in the future.
Tom Brewsaugh, Club Treasurer, presented his report. The report was accepted as presented.
Events that occurred since the last meeting were discussed:
The monthly Saturday morning Breakfast Gathering was held at the Café Restaurant in Cape Coral. Fifteen members were present and enjoyed the activity. The food and the service were excellent. Cecil learned that the owner of the restaurant has an MG. He is now trying to recruit him to the club.
The March Breakfast Gathering will be March 28th at Muscle Car City in Punta Gorda.
Cynthia Mahoney reported on the British, Italian, German (B.I.G.) Show, held March 1st in Cape Coral. There were 111 cars registered, 54 British cars. Several BCCSWF members won awards, including Janet Wood, whose 1956 Jaguar XK140 received the President’s Award for Best in Show. Cynthia received applause from the membership for her work, and that of Dennis McKinley and others, in putting together a great show.
Peter Blackford reported on his attendance at the Amelia Island Concours, March 6-8. As expected, the show was “world class.” Best in Show awards went to a Duesenberg limo and a Porsche 917. A brief discussion ensued about the feasibility of club members going to Amelia to participate in Cars & Coffee sometime in the future. Peter also gave a brief report about his trip to Goodwood in September 2019.
Upcoming events were discussed. They included the following:
March 14 — Lotus Show, Naples Motorsport, Naples.
March 15 — St. Petersburg Grand Prix, St. Petersburg. Cecil and Isabel to represent BCCSWF, compliments of Bill and Mary.
March 21 — BCCSWF Picnic/Potluck, Alva, Franklin Locks.
March 28 — Classic Car Cruise to Nassau, Nassau, Bahamas.
March 29 — Gold Coast British Sports Car Club show, Palm Beach.
April 11 — Wheels Across the Pond, Jupiter.
April 17-19 — MG Gathering of the Faithful, Howey-in-the-Hills.
October 28-November 1 — International Jaguar Festival, Ft. Myers (Sanibel Harbor).
Clayton Rizor, Mary Newman and Marcia Ling received the traditional BCCSWF birthday wishes. The 50/50 was awarded to Mary Newman.
Cecil is still seeking help with the club website. He also reviewed the point system and encouraged members to participate actively. Mary Newman supported active participation especially by submitting brief articles for the Marque.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned. —Isabel Munoz
[Because of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Gold Coast British Sports Car Club show and MG Gathering of the Faithful were cancelled subsequent to our March meeting, and Wheels Across the Pond was moved to October 31st.]
NAPLES, Fla. — Fifteen British cars participated in “Cars-on-Fifth” in Naples, on Saturday, February 8th.
Cars-on-Fifth is one of the premier car events held in Southwest Florida. The event, which is sponsored by the Ferrari Club of Naples, showcases more than 600 cars along Naples’ Fifth Avenue. The British Car Club of Southwest Florida is one of the supporting organizations. Proceeds from the event are donated to St. Matthew’s House, an agency that provides services to indigent individuals in the area.
The day started out with frigid temperatures, but temperatures rose later in the day to make it perfect for displaying the cars. Temperatures were in the mid-70s without a cloud in sight.
The British cars gathered early in the morning in a nearby shopping plaza and at 7:15 a.m. caravanned to Fifth Avenue. By 8:00 all cars were in place.
There was a good mix of British marques that included Aston Martin, Jaguar, MG, Triumph and Lotus. This year a 2020 McLaren, one of the British supercars, joined our delegation.
BCCSWF member Hermann Schaller received one of the Best in Show awards for his beautiful and rare 1954 Lagonda.
By 10:00 a.m. Fifth Avenue was crowded with spectators who appreciated all of the cars, especially the British cars. A local band and a DJ, multiple vendors, and several hospitality hosts added to the festive atmosphere.
In keeping with tradition, at 3:45 p.m. all cars were started and the police-escorted exit parade began. The drivers proudly took their places among the cars and slowly exited Fifth Avenue, enabling all to admire the uniqueness of British cars.
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — On Sunday, January 19th, nineteen members of the British Car Club of Southwest Florida displayed their beautiful British cars at the Land-Yachts Commodore Cup Car Show held at the Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club in Port Charlotte.
The Yacht Club sponsored the show with support from the Vintage Motor Car Club of America, Southwest Florida Region. BCCSWF member Hermann Schaller chaired the well-organized event.
Approximately ninety-five cars, American and “foreign,” gathered on the pristine grounds of the Yacht Club for viewing by participants and spectators. The day was perfect for the occasion.
British cars ruled the day! The BCCSWF received the trophy for “Best Car Club Participation.” Several BCCSWF members were awarded individual trophies for their efforts. The results were as follows:
MG TD to 1952: 1st, Bob and Susan Engelhart, 1952, 2nd, Rich Olsen, 1952, 3rd, John Sergeant, 1952.
MG Other: 1st, Martha and Tom Lambert, 1953 TD.
Jaguar: 1st, Cecil Carter, 1966 E-type.
Austin-Healey: 1st, Ed O’Neal, 1960 3000 Mk1, 2nd, James Wagner, 1960 Sprite Mk1 (Bugeye).
Triumph Early: 2nd, George Krause, 1956 TR3.
Triumph TR6: 1st, Christopher E. Cosden, 1974 TR6.
Triumph Late: 1st, Dennis McKinley, TR7, 2nd, Dennis Labbe, 1967 TR4A.
Euro Micro Cars: 2nd, Bill and Mary Newman, 1972 Mini 1275GT.
BMW Other: 1st, Jeri Schaller, 2019 230i convertible.
Commodore Cup: Angela Sergeant, 1959 MGA.
Best European in Show: Hermann Schaller, 1954 Lagonda DB 3-Litre DHC.Congratulations to Hermann for chairing a stellar event. Thanks to all participating BCCSWF members for supporting Hermann. We look forward to next year. —Cecil Carter
The British Car Club of Southwest Florida was asked to participate in the Celtic Festival in downtown Fort Myers again this year on January 25th (our 13th year).
The Festival, put on by the City of Ft. Myers, is held on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River and includes Irish and Scottish musical groups, vendors of Celtic goods, food and drink. The City also provides trophies for the favorite cars by decade as selected by the Festival attendees.
This year we had twelve cars in attendance. Mary and I brought our 1972 Mini 1275GT and 2016 MINI Cooper S. Glenn Vrooman had his Jaguar Mark II. Cecil and Isabel Carter also brought a Jaguar Mark II. Clay Rizor had his Jaguar E-type.
Rich Olson, John Shoemaker and Tom Lambert each brought an MG TD. Headley Wilson had his MGB.
Ed O’Neal brought his Big Healey. Paul Brown came with his Triumph Spitfire, and Dennis McKinley brought his TR7.
The weather cooperated perfectly this year with bright sunshine and calm winds. There was a large spectator turnout and the music, food and Guinness were great, as usual.
Decade winners were as follows:
1950s and earlier — John Shoemaker, 1952 MG TD.
1960s — Ed O’Neal, 1960 Austin-Healey 3000 MkI.
1970s — Bill and Mary Newman, 1972 Mini 1275GT.
1980s — Paul Brown, 1980 Triumph Spitfire. —Bill Newman
The meeting of January 14th was called to order at 6:30 p.m. by President Cecil Carter.
Guests and new members were recognized by the President. The guests were Jean and Jerry Truman of Massachusetts.
Minutes of the November meeting are on the club website and in the British Marque. There were no minutes taken during the December Christmas Party.
Tom Brewsaugh, Club Treasurer, presented the Treasurer’s report. The report was accepted as presented.
Cecil reported that the club’s Christmas Party was a success. Everyone seemed to enjoy the evening. Cecil thanked the planners, Isabel Munoz, Cynthia Mahoney, and Marcia McCartt, for their outstanding efforts. He also presented Marcia with the club “Spirit Award,” which he forgot to do during the Party. Marcia is now the custodian of the Award throughout 2020.
Upcoming events (as of the meeting date) were discussed. They included the following:
January 19 — Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club Show, Charlotte Harbor.
January 25 — Celtic Festival, Ft. Myers.
February 8 — Cars on Fifth, Naples.
February 16 — Gold Coast British Sports Car Club Show, Palm Beach.
March 1 — British, Italian, German (BIG) Show, Cape Coral.
March 21 — BCCSWF Picnic, Alva.
March 28 — Classic Car Cruise to Nassau, Bahamas.
April 11 — Wheels Across the Pond, Jupiter.
April 17-19 — MG Gathering of the Faithful, Howey-in-the-Hills.
Inasmuch as the Celtic Festival would be on the last Saturday of the month, the monthly breakfast gathering was cancelled. It was suggested that members who wanted to have breakfast before the Festival could go to the First Watch restaurant, which is close to the Festival venue.
Three club members received the traditional BCCSWF birthday wishes. The 50/50 was awarded to guest Jerry Truman. There being no further business, the meeting adjourned. —Isabel Munoz
[Exec. Ed. note: The Gold Coast British Sports Car Club has rescheduled its February 16th show. It will now be on March 29th, and the location will be Tradewinds Park, 3600 W. Sample Rd., Coconut Creek, Fla. —BV]
FT. MYERS, Fla. — To start the 2019 holiday season, the British Car Club of Southwest Florida held its annual Christmas Party on Tuesday, December 10th. The venue for the party was the tastefully decorated Crown Plaza Hotel in Ft. Myers.
Forty-seven club members and guests enjoyed an evening of fine dining, entertainment and games. Dinner was preceded with inspiring words from Cynthia Mahoney, followed by our traditional opening of the Christmas crackers. Lorena Vargas, a local recording artist, serenaded the club members with beautiful renditions of several popular Christmas carols throughout the evening. Awards and gifts were the order of the evening.
The award for outstanding participation went to Larry and Marcia McCartt, who amassed the most club participation points during the year. Outgoing Secretary Mary Newman was presented with a special gift in appreciation of her continuous commitment and dedication to the club. Mary Jane Cogsden was the winner of the special President’s two-drink drawing.
All club members received gifts through the drawings. The club Spirit Award, which is presented annually at this event, was overlooked by President Cecil. Perhaps his brain became foggy as the evening wore on. This award would be presented instead at the January 2020 meeting.
Club officers for 2020 were presented. Serving are Cecil Carter, President Ken Taylor, Vice President Tom Brewsaugh, Treasurer and, Isabel Munoz, Secretary.
A special thanks was given to the organizers of the party: Cynthia Mahoney, Marcia McCartt, and Isabel Munoz. The annual Christmas party was a perfect culminating activity for 2019.
ARCADIA, Fla. — Remembrance Day is observed every year on the nearest Sunday of the anniversary of the end of World War I, November 11, 1918. Britons worldwide dedicate this day to the remembrance of their war dead. This year members of the BCCSWF were invited by members of the Royal Air Force temporarily stationed in Jacksonville, Fla., and the British American Club of Englewood, Fla., to participate in the observance.
November 10th was a perfect day to motor to the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Arcadia. One might recognize that this is the site of the club’s annual pilgrimage on Memorial Day to pay tribute to the twenty-three British pilots who died while training during World War II. These pilots were again given their proper recognition.
Twelve club members caravanned to Arcadia in six beautiful and well-prepared British cars. There were no incidents or love bugs to damper enthusiasm. The cars were prominently displayed at the site and well-received by those in attendance.
The impressive ceremony was led by RAF members. The ceremony included several readings, an Act of Remembrance, and the laying of wreaths and roll call. A bugler played “Reveille” and the participants sang “Amazing Grace” with the accompaniment of a bagpiper. After the program, club members stayed around for a few minutes to interact with other guests and to show off the British cars.
Of course, no road trip is complete without a meal. The venue of choice was the Celtic Ray in Punta Gorda, where we enjoyed a satisfying lunch in an authentic Irish pub setting.
The drive home was uneventful, which was gratifying. The first signs of fall in Southwest Florida brought a significant event and perfect driving weather. —Cecil Carter
The meeting was called to order by Cecil Carter at 6:30 p.m. New member Mark Eger was present. He is the owner of a 1953 MG TD. Also present were Jim Wagner, who has 1960 Bugeye, and Ed McMann, who has an MGA 1600 and a TR4A.
Secretary Mary Newman reported that meeting minutes were on the website and in British Marque. She also stated the club is always looking for members to write articles for the Marque.
Treasurer Tom Brewsaugh then gave his report.
The Saturday breakfast at Muscle City Car Museum had 12 people in attendance.
Twelve members also attended the “Welcome Back Pool Party” hosted by Larry and Marcia McCartt and all had a good time. We thank them for hosting the party at their home.
Bill Newman reported on the Safety Harbor show hosted by the Tampa Bay Austin-Healey Club on October 26th. There were about 215 cars in attendance, including Cy Ling and his Jaguar XJS, Dennis McKinley and his TR7, and Chris and Mary Jane Cosden and their MG TD. Aldis Lemesis and his 1962 Jaguar XKE won 2nd place, and Bill and Mary Newman won 2nd place with their 1972 Mini Clubman.
Twelve members attended the Remembrance Service in Arcadia for the fallen British pilots in the Pine Ridge Cemetery in Arcadia. The ceremony was hosted by the Royal Air Force. There was also a flyover by vintage aircraft.
Bill and Mary Newman attended the 60th Mini anniversary celebration in Wytheville, Va. There were over 200 Minis in attendance, and the Newmans’ 1972 Clubman performed very well. The event was put on by Classic Minis United. It was staged over several days and included many spirited runs on roads that were very twisty and mountainous.
Future events (as of the meeting date) included:
November 16 — Luncheon Run with the Gold Coast British Sports Car Club to Joanie’s Blue Crab Café in Ochopee, Fla.
December 10 — BCCSWF Christmas Party at the Crown Plaza, Ft. Myers.
January 20 — Punta Gorda car show.
Cecil opened the floor for nominations for officers for 2020. They were Cecil Carter, President Ken Taylor, Vice President Tom Brewsaugh, Treasurer and Isabel Munoz, Secretary. A motion was made by Mary Newman to accept the slate of officers and seconded by Hermann Schaller. The motion carried.
The meeting then adjourned. —Mary Newman
WYTHEVILLE, Va. — Classic Minis United put on the “Mini 60” event, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Mini from Wednesday, October 9th, to Monday, the 14th.
Mary and I registered for the event in February so as not to miss out on the fun. When the time arrived to make the trip we rented a U-Haul car trailer, loaded the purple Mini and made the two-day trip to Wytheville. We arrived at our hotel early in the afternoon of October 9th, unloaded the car, and made our way to the KOA that served as the host location.
There were over 100 Minis in attendance and we met many new friends. One of the owners drove his classic Mini from Texas, another drove from Florida, blowing the head gasket and making repairs along the way.
The weather in western Virginia was perfect — low 50s in the morning going to the 70s during the day. No rain was experienced, but we had a few foggy mornings.
Thursday morning was our first cruise. We were split into three groups: a “spirited” group and two touring groups. We were in the second touring group and soon found out there was little difference in the groups. They were all fast and spirited.
The Thursday run was about 70 miles and ended for lunch at a Walmart shopping center in Wytheville. After lunch was a scavenger hunt, followed by an evening ice cream run.
Friday was a big day with a cruise of about 180 miles through Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina, and featured a run through the “Snake” in Tennessee with a lunch stop in Mountain City. After lunch we drove more twisty roads and arrived back at Wytheville about 4 p.m. We were back at the campground Friday evening for dinner with a swap meet and silent auction. Many people were dressed in ’60s attire.
Saturday’s cruise was another long one that included the “Back of the Dragon” in Virginia and many more twisty roads. I found the mountain roads to be fun. Sort of like driving a roller coaster, but after a few hundred turns they all begin to look the same. (Mary held on for dear life, saying she was definitely a “flat lander.”)
We enjoyed seeing all the Minis, which included several Mokes, a few woody Mini Travellers and other variants. Surprising to me was that there were few breakdowns. Our Mini performed great mechanically and we only experienced a few intermittent lighting issues.
Several British Car Club members attended the Car Show hosted by the Tampa Bay Austin-Healey Club on Saturday, October 26th.
The show was held on the city streets in downtown Safety Harbor. Those who attended included Ed O’Neil and his Austin-Healey 3000, Cy Ling and his Jaguar XJS, Dennis McKinley and his TR7, and Christopher Cosden and his MG TD. Bill and Mary Newman won 2nd place in class with their 1972 Mini, and Aldis Lemesis won 2nd place in class with his XKE Jaguar.
It was a good show held at a great venue. Thanks to all who helped to put it on.
Our October 8th meeting was called to order by Cecil Carter, President, at 6:30 p.m.
Recognition of guests and new members — John Fraioli, an MG enthusiast from Colorado, attended as a guest. It was his second visit. New member David Konz, an MG TD owner, was also recognized.
Minutes — September meeting minutes were made available for review and will be published in the next British Marque.
Financial report — This was presented by Tom Brewsaugh, Club Treasurer.
September 28 — Saturday Breakfast at the House of Omelets, Cape Coral, 10 attendees, outstanding food.
Future events (as of the meeting date)
October 12 — Suncoast Jaguar Club Concours, St. Armands Circle, Sarasota, Fla.
October 26 — Tampa Bay Austin-Healey Club All-British Car Show, Safety Harbor, Fla., also Jaguar Club of Southwest Florida Concours, Punta Gorda, Fla.
October 26 — BCCSWF Saturday Breakfast, Muscle Car City, Punta Gorda, Fla.
November 2 — Welcome Back BCCSWF Snowbirds Party, 1 to 5 p.m., home of members Larry and Marcia McCartt, Cape Coral, Fla.
November 16 — BCCSWF Lunch with Gold Coast British Sports Car Club, 11:30 a.m., Joanie’s Blue Crab Café, Ochopee, Fla.
November 17 — Naples Corvette Club Show.
November 30 — BCCSWF November Saturday Breakfast.
December 10 — BCCSWF Christmas Party, Crowne Plaza, Fort Myers, Fla.
January 19, 2020 — Land-Yachts Commodore Cup Classic & Sports Car Show, Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club, Port Charlotte, Fla. Entries due by December 1st.
January 25 — Fort Myers Celtic Festival, Centennial Park, Fort Myers.
February 8 — Cars on Fifth, Naples, Fla. Space limited — register early.
February 16 — Gold Coast British Sports Car Club Annual Show, Palm Beach, Fla.
March 1 — British, Italian, German (BIG) Car Show, Jaycee Park, Cape Coral, Fla. Volunteers needed.
April 11 — Wheels Across the Pond, Jupiter, Fla.
Other discussion/good of the order
Not all members are receiving the Marque. President Cecil asked if addresses were correct and will investigate.
Upcoming election of officers — President Cecil encouraged interested members to step forward for nominations. A webmaster is especially needed.
October birthday recognition — Dennis McKinley.
50/50 — Angela Sergeant was the winner and donated her winnings back to the club.
The meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m. --Isabel Munoz
According to an old adage of management, “Proper prior planning precludes poor performance.” This is certainly true when planning a vacation that is centered on classic car activities.
Having experienced a wonderful week at Monterey 2019, I realized that much of the experience was a result of the planning that took place. Here I share my thoughts and suggestions about the process in hopes that others will benefit from my experience.
First, plan early. This is especially important for major events such as Monterey Car Week and the Pebble Beach Concours. Knowing that I would finally be able to experience Monterey in 2019 and not be constrained by the beginning of an academic year, I started out almost two years ahead of time.
Get your accommodations first. I knew the dates of the 2019 event and one of the shared rental sites allowed me to make reservations two years prior to the time we intended to be on the Monterey Peninsula. This gave me sufficient time to research extensively and to find the perfect accommodations considering type, location, and price.
Make your travel arrangements as early as possible. For us, cross-country air travel was the best option. I never have been great at finding the best airfares, so I settled for what I believed was reasonable. This meant flying out of Fort Lauderdale, on the other side of the state, to catch an early morning direct flight to San Francisco. We chose to drive over the afternoon before the flight and stay in an airport hotel at a rate that included shuttle service and parking for our car. We used the same hotel and its services upon returning.
Having a son in San Francisco has advantages. Normally I would rent an automobile for a trip of this type. Although I searched several websites and envisioned driving along 17-Mile Drive in a convertible, his no-cost Nissan Sentra was a blessing. It saved us some significant dollars. It pays, though, to explore the many options when researching car rentals and choose the one that works best for you.
Get a feel for the activities of the event or events. There are several events that occur during Monterey Car Week, culminating with the Pebble Beach Concours. Numerous resources, such as websites and magazines, are available to help one know about all that is taking place. I suggest studying present and past coverage of these events and choose those of greatest interest. If one starts planning early, there is sufficient time to do this in a relaxed atmosphere and almost become an “expert.” There will be no unpleasant surprises when the day arrives.
Make your itinerary. I used the calendars on my smartphone and iPad to do this. There were too many events for us to cover during the week. The Pebble Beach Concours and the Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca were non-negotiables. Other events were selectively added to the calendar based on interest. Do not overlook events that have no costs. They are plentiful and can be most enjoyable. Several events that caught my eye were attractive, but beyond the budget of a retired schoolteacher. Several fellow enthusiasts expressed similar sentiments in my conversations with them.
Finally, allow some time in the schedule to enjoy the local community and for some rest. In our case, the Monterey Peninsula had much to offer, plus I’m not as young as I used to be.
With accommodations, travel arrangements, and itinerary in place it’s time to pack! Two words come to mind: weather and appropriate. Know the climate of the area and the forecast for the period of time for the visit. There are several excellent resources available such as The Weather Channel and AccuWeather. The local newspaper can also be an excellent resource. Appropriate clothing should be governed by comfort and by the nature of the event. More on this topic in the next installment.
The meeting was called to order by President Cecil Carter at 6:30 p.m. Dave Konz was recognized as a guest. He has a 1951 MG TD.
The Treasurer, Tom Brewsaugh, gave his report.
Ken Taylor stated that the September Labor Day SCCA Race was canceled due to the pending hurricane.
President Cecil gave his report on his trip to the Monterey Historics in August. He and Isabel stayed at a central location. He attended many of the events including the Concours de Lemons and the Concours d’Elegance. In the course of his travels he saw Jay Leno and Donald Osborne from Jay’s show. Bentley was the Featured Marque at the Pebble Beach show since it was the marque’s 100th Anniversary.
A discussion ensued about the Preservation Class in car shows. Several different opinions were put forth by various members.
Marcia and Larry McCartt want to hold a Welcome Back Pool Party on November 2nd.
Future events (as of the meeting date, September 10th) were reviewed:
October 9-13 — Classic Mini United’s Mini 60 Celebration at Wytheville, Va.
October 12 — Jaguar Concours at St. Armands Circle, presented by the Suncoast Jaguar Club.
October 26-33 — Annual TBAHC All-British Field Meet & Autojumble, presented by the Tampa Bay Austin-Healey Club.
October 26 — 4th Annual Concours d’Elegance at Charlotte Harbor Event Center, Punta Gorda, presented by the Jaguar Club of Southwest Florida.
November 16 — Luncheon run with the Gold Coast British Sports Car Club to Joanie’s Blue Crab Café, Ochopee.
November 30 — “A Holiday Happening” Car Show, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Muscle Car City, 10175 Tamiami Tr., Punta Gorda.
December 10 — BCCSWF Christmas Party. More details to follow.
January 11, 2020 — Land Yachts Commodore Cup, 4400 Lister St., Port Charlotte. The show is open to American and foreign classic cars 1886-1990 and all sports cars (two-door coupes and convertibles). Contact Hermann at (941) 564-5638.
January 25 — Ft. Myers Celtic Festival. Club members will be displaying their British cars.
The next Breakfast would be held at the House of Omelets on Pine Island Road on September 28th.
Cy Ling revealed he has a lot of automobile memorabilia including a lot of magazines and brochures he has collected from his attendance at car shows for 25 years. He also has a 1967 Rover for sale.
The meeting then adjourned. —Mary Newman, Secretary
Monterey Classic Car Week has long been an item on my bucket list. Almost two years ago, with retirement in the near future, I decided to travel to Monterey at the first opportunity. So, I reserved a cottage through one of the home rental sites and started planning. Next came the airline tickets for Isabel and me, and finally the tickets for Pebble Beach.
We flew out of Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco on Friday morning, spent two days in San Francisco with our son, and after commandeering his car, drove down to Pacific Grove on Sunday. The first order of business after arriving was to drive along 17 Mile Drive. It was absolutely spectacular!
I did my homework before traveling and had almost every activity planned. Our cottage was within a half-block walk to all of the activities on Pacific Grove’s Lighthouse Avenue and a short driving distance to everything else.
The Week had so many activities for car enthusiasts it was impossible to do them all. Isabel and I started with Automobilia Monterey on Day One. There was a very good display of posters, artwork, apparel, books, and other memorabilia. Of course I had to splurge on a book and a necktie.
Tuesday marked the start of the real action. We drove to Carmel for the Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue. The show’s ambience reminded me very much of Naples’ Cars on Fifth, with an impressive mix of well-prepared automobiles representing multiple marques. Unlike Naples’ 5th Avenue, Carmel’s Ocean Avenue is wide with a median running down the middle. There were fewer cars at Carmel and they were not as closely parked. I took advantage of an opportunity to shake hands with Donald Osborne.
The city of Carmel added its own charm to the event however, we needed to get back to Pacific Grove in early afternoon for the Classic Motorsports Kick-off Car Show & Cruise. That show, along Lighthouse Avenue, also provided an impressive display of cars of all marques and conditions. The headquarters for the show was the local British pub that had excellent fish and chips and Boddington’s.
Wednesday’s agenda included the Little Car Show, which was also on Lighthouse Avenue. I expected to see primarily microcars, and there were a few, but there were also others such as Minis, Bugeye Sprites, and Morris Minors. I guess they too qualified as “Little.”
After viewing this excellent show, Isabel and I decided we needed a little rest and chose to forgo the other shows that day. By the way, we did spend some time along Cannery Row as tourists. My energy level, though, is not what it was.
It was back to Carmel on Thursday. We decided the best way to view the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance was in Carmel rather than at the start of the Tour or along the route. The 70-mile Tour consisted of cars that were slated to be on display on Sunday at the Concours d’Elegance. As the cars drove onto Ocean Avenue, they simply parked straight ahead along the street. The crowd then circulated among them in close proximity. No one seemed to be worried about getting a scratch on their priceless cars. I was very careful with my backpack.
We left Carmel with plans to visit the Pebble Beach Retroauto, another automobilia show, at the Inn at Spanish Bay. However, I missed a turn along 17 Mile Drive, became tired and grumpy, and decided I had already splurged enough on automobilia. We continued back to our cottage at Pacific Grove for more rest.
Laguna Seca was an absolute must on my bucket list, so Friday was set aside for the pilgrimage to the Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion. Our first order of business was to see the racetrack’s Corkscrew. We found a comfortable spot under the trees and watched several practice and qualifying runs from that vantage point.
It was all I expected it to be. At the beginning of one of the runs, the track announcer announced a driver from Naples, Florida. Of course that caught my attention and I cheered for him as he came through the Corkscrew in a 1964 Alfa Romeo GTZ.
Later, while passing through the garage area, I saw the Revs Institute (Naples) banner and stopped to let the crew know that some hometown fans were cheering for them. Miles Collier was “supervising” the work on the Alfa Romeo and a 1965 Ferrari 250 LM Berlinetta GT. We chatted briefly and he seemed to appreciate our stopping by.
The featured theme of the Reunion was a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of IMSA. Lunchtime also brought a unique experience. After negotiating with Isabel and our son over a place to sit, I was told to take the only seat that was left at the nearby table. Upon sitting down, I looked up and recognized IMSA drivers Ricky Taylor and Wayne Taylor sitting directly in front of me. A cordial conversation ensued after I complimented them on their accomplishments and we established that we were Florida residents. Spending the day at the Reunion, with almost 500 vintage race cars, was exhausting and rewarding.
The antithesis of the Concours d’Elegance is the Concours d’Lemons. The brainchild of Alan Galbraith, this event includes everything from “somewhat preserved” to “absolute junkers.” They all run! My Mark 2 would have been perfect for this event.
Several vehicles were outlandishly modified for special purposes, such as space exploration. Unlike Pebble Beach, most of the cars were not historically significant. One exception was the station wagon used in several episodes of The Donna Reed Show of the 1950s.
Several British marques were on display in the Concours d’Lemons. I had a long conversation with the owner of an MGB about the virtues of Marvel Mystery Oil. Perhaps the most profound lesson for the show, however, was that the Yugo is the “ultimate chick magnet.”
Sunday brought the most anticipated event of the week, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It was all I expected and more. The Featured Marque was Bentley, in celebration of its 100th anniversary, and several well-preserved and significant Bentleys were on display. Best in Show was awarded to the 1934 Bentley 8 Litre Gurney Nutting Sports Tourer presented by The Honorable Sir Michael Kadoorie of Hong Kong. British cars ruled!
I think my biggest take-away from the event is its focus on significance, elegance, and charitable causes. Almost all of the cars featured had some well-documented historical significance. While all were in a very pre-sentable condition, not all had undergone restorations. Many were preserved and some were in “very original” condition. But they were all significant.
Not only were the cars elegant at Pebble Beach, but the spectators were as well. Promoters encouraged “polished casual attire” and a special hat for the day. My seersucker suit (no tie) and Panama hat fit the bill. Isabel was bewitching in her fancy attire and Panama hat, too. We were well prepared for car and star gazing and our picnic along the 18th fairway.
Proceeds from the event go to several charitable causes. Jay Leno and Donald Osborne encouraged 40 people to donate $3,000 each for the local Boys and Girls Club. I had to hold Isabel’s hand down to prevent her from making a pledge.
The rewards of the week at Monterey cannot be captured fully in one sitting. There is much more to tell, which I intend to do in several follow-up pieces. Suffice it to say, the Monterey Classic Car Week should be on every car enthusiast bucket list. It’s well worth it.
FT. MYERS, Fla. — The meeting was called to order by Treasurer Tom Brewsaugh due to the absence of the President and Vice President.
Three new members were recognized. Bob and Susan Engelhart and Jim Collins were present. Guests Steve and Glyva Rentz were also recognized.
The Secretary, Mary Newman, read the minutes from the July meeting. Tom gave the Treasurer’s Report.
A club breakfast was held at Mel’s Diner in Ft. Myers on July 27th. A total of six members attended. Marcia McCartt reported that the food and service were both good.
Tom reported on the July race at Sebring Raceway. Ken Taylor ran his Triumph TR7. Tom worked Turn 6. He has been a faithful worker with Sports Car Club of America and is currently the Lt. Governor for District 8 of the Central Florida Division. The next race (as of the date of this meeting) will be August 31st and the 1st of September.
Future events (as of this meeting)
October 9-13 — “Mini 60” Celebration at Wytheville, Va., presented by Classic Minis United.
October 12 — Jaguar Concours at St Armands Circle, presented by the Suncoast Jaguar Club.
October 26 — 33rd Annual TBAHC All-British Field Meet & Autojumble, presented by the Tampa Bay Austin-Healey Club.
October 26 — 4th Annual Concours d’Elegance at Charlotte Harbor Event Center, Punta Gorda, Fla., presented by the Jaguar Club of Southwest Florida.
November 16 — Luncheon run with the Gold Coast British Sports Car Club at Jo Ann’s Blue Crab Café, Ochopee, Fla.
November 30 — “A Holiday Happening” Car Show, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Muscle Car City, 10175 Tamiami Trail, Punta Gorda, Fla.
December 10 — BCCSWF Christmas Party.
January 11, 2020 — Land Yachts Commodore Cup, 4400 Lister St., Port Charlotte, Fla. The show is open to American and foreign classic cars 1886-1990 and all sports cars (two-door coupes and convertibles). Contact Hermann at (941) 564-5638.
January 25 — Ft. Myers Celtic Festival. Club members will be displaying their British cars.
Tom Brewsaugh told the club that Steve Cleveland was having a tool sale at his shop on the weekend of August 16th.
The August Club Breakfast will be at the House of Omelets in Cape Coral.
The meeting adjourned. —Mary Newman, Secretary
A few issues back I wrote about our 1972 Mini Clubman being towed home from a Memorial Day trip to Arcadia, Fla. At the time, I guessed it was an electric fuel pump/filter problem. I was wrong!
After installing a new pump and filter, I checked for power to the pump and found nothing. I also had no power to anything else except the starter. Checking for electrical problems is not something I like to do, nor am I very good at it, however at this point, with multi-meter in hand, I charged into the engine bay.
What I found was multiple loose connections at the fuse panel. A new fuse panel was purchased and installed along with numerous new connectors. Gradually power was restored to everything that needed “juice” to operate.
I should have known that all connections will fail at some point from my years of playing with British cars. This event will serve as a reminder to frequently inspect all things electrical and repair/replace anything that is loose or does not look right.
Other improvements to the purple Mini include new shocks, knuckle joints and tie rod ends. I will soon be replacing the outer CV joints as I found the rubber gaiters to be split.
The one visible improvement was a new dash with oil pressure gauge and voltmeter. This job was much easier than I expected, with the hardest part being making sure all the electrical connections were right and working before the final bolt-up of the dash.
In a future issue I will discuss the unique suspension systems used in the Mini. Happy 60th Birthday to Mini!
FT. MYERS, Fla. — Our meeting on tuesday, July 9th, was called to order by President Cecil Carter at 6:30 p.m. There were no guests or new members. The Secretary stated that the minutes of the June meeting are on the website and in British Marque. The Treasurer, Tom Brewsaugh, gave his report.
Cecil reported that six club members attended breakfast at Skillets Restaurant in Ft. Myers. He stated the food was good as well as the service. He asked for suggestions for the July breakfast and the club decided on Mel’s Diner in Ft. Myers on Cleveland Avenue. The Secretary will send out an e-mail.
October 9-13 — “Mini 60 Celebration,” Wytheville, Va., presented by Classic Mini United.
October 12 — Jaguar Concours at St. Armands Circle, presented by the Suncoast Jaguar Club.
October 26 — 33rd Annual TBAHC All-British Field Meet & Autojumble, presented by the Tampa Bay Austin-Healey Club.
October 26 — 4th Annual Concours d’Elegance at Charlotte Harbor Event Center, Punta Gorda, Fla., presented by the Jaguar Club of Southwest Florida.
November 16 — Luncheon run with the Gold Coast British Sports Car Club at Jo Ann’s Blue Crab Café, Ochopee, Fla.
November 30 — “A Holiday Happening” Car Show, 8 a.m to 3 p.m., Muscle Car City, 10175 Tamiami Trail, Punta Gorda, Fla.
December 10 — BCCSWF Christmas Party. More details to follow.
January 11, 2020 — 2020 Land Yachts Commodore Cup, 4400 Lister St., Port Charlotte, Fla. The show is open to American and foreign classic cars from 1886 to 1990 and all sports cars (two-door coupes and convertibles). Contact Hermann at (941) 564-5638.
January 25 — Ft. Myers Celtic Festival. Club members will be displaying their British cars.
President Cecil gave an update on the Club Participation Award.
The Secretary presented some club business cards to the members present.
The July birthdays were celebrated, the 50/50 raffle was held, and the meeting adjourned.
On Saturday June 8th the BCCSWF met in Bokeelia, Fla., for a fun-filled adventure to Cabbage Key, for a “Cheeseburger in Paradise”!
Legend has it that singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffet occasionally visited Cabbage Key and dedicated the song to Cabbage Key during a concert at Ft. Myers. There are many places who claim the infamous cheeseburger, and only Buffet knows for sure. But it certainly was a fun trip, and a perfect, sunny day!
The tour began at the Jug Creek Marina on Bokeelia. The cruise went to Cayo Costa State Park before dropping us off at Cabbage Key. These places are only accessible by helicopter or boat. You can camp overnight on Cayo Costa and get back to nature (beaches, shelling, trails and wildlife are abundant).
The tour was narrated and the history of the area is fascinating. Our guide spoke of a beautiful Spanish princess who was kidnapped by a pirate named José Gaspar.
Gaspar wanted to marry the princess, but she wanted nothing to do with the “dirty pirate,” and completely rejected him. He tried and tried and tried to win her over, and finally he beheaded the princess with his sword, possibly in a jealous rage (another version of the story states his crew demanded her death).
The lovelorn pirate instantly regretted the deed, and buried her on Useppa Island, which he named for her. This is the legend of Useppa, and whether there is truth to that story, I cannot say.
We left Cayo Costa and were able to photograph playful dolphins swimming in our wake. Arriving at the Cabbage Key Marina, we were greeted by a quaint and colorful row of cabins. We disembarked and headed up the long, windy walkway to the restaurant, perched on top of a hill with an excellent view of the harbor. We chose to dine in the Dollar Bill Bar area. Dollars are taped all over the walls and ceiling. I’ve read there is $60,000 taped to those walls! It reminded me of Captain Tony’s in Key West, but without the bras!
Naturally we had to get the Cheeseburger in Paradise — we also tried the Cabbage Creeper, which we really loved.
We want to thank Cecil and Isabel Carter, Bill and Mary Newman, Mary’s sister-in-law, Mary Fitzpatrick, Marcia Ling, and Peter and Sandy Blackford for braving the heat and making the trip an absolute delight! It was the Blackfords’ anniversary, and we were so glad to share their special day.
FT. MYERS, Fla., June 11 — The meeting was called to order by President Cecil Carter at 6:30 p.m. The minutes of the previous meeting are in the British Marque (July issue) and on the website.
The Treasurer, Tom Brewsaugh, gave his report and stated he paid Faith Lamprey of the Marque for the management of the website.
The breakfast at the Alva Diner was well attended. The food was good and the service was great. The club decided to rotate locations for breakfast. The next breakfast will be held at Skillets in Ft. Myers, across from the Bell Tower. The Secretary will send an e-mail.
The Memorial Day Service at the Arcadia Oak Ridge Cemetery was well attended and the President and Gary Maue presented a wreath from the club.
The June 8th “Cheeseburger in Paradise” Luncheon Run was well attended by 10 members for the 90-minute boat trip. The food was excellent and a good time was had by all. Thank you, Marcia and Larry McCartt, for arranging the trip.
The club will be looking into business cards for the club.
Tom Brewsaugh reported on the SCCA race held at Sebring June 8th and 9th. Ken Taylor ran his TR7 in Vintage. Tom stated the race was hot and raining. The next race will be July 20th and 21st. It will be a drivers school and a vintage race.
The Safety Harbor Car Show will be held on October 26th. The Jaguar Club will be hosting a show at the Charlotte Harbor Event Center on that date also.
The Gold Coast British Sports Car Club has invited the club for a luncheon run to JoAnn’s Blue Crab Café on November 16th. More details will follow.
There will be a “Mini 60” event in Wytheville, Va., October 9th through 13th. Details are at Classicmini.org. Bill and Mary Newman will be taking their 1972 Clubman.
The annual Christmas Party will be held on December 10th at the Crown Plaza in Ft. Myers. A motion was made for the club to pay $10 per member toward the price of the dinner.
Members will submit a separate check for membership renewal for 2020.
President Cecil suggested Rosie Tomorrow’s for brunch in the future.
The 50/50 raffle was held. The meeting adjourned. —Mary Newman, Secretary
The British Car Club of Southwest Florida made our annual run to Arcadia, Fla., on Memorial Day, May 27th, for the 25th Year Memorial Service to honor the twenty-three RAF cadets who died while in training in Florida during World War II.
With the Nazis’ constant bombing of the British Isles, the United States allowed the Royal Air Force to train at six sites on this side of the Atlantic. Two of the training schools were in Clewiston and Arcadia, Fla. When the first training death accrued in 1941, the British government made arrangements for a burial site in Arcadia’s Oak Ridge Cemetery. The Arcadia Rotary Club has been holding a British Memorial Service on Memorial Day for the last 63 years.
This year President Cecil Carter and Isabel, Larry and Marcia McCartt, Gary and Trish Maue, and Bill and Mary Newman made the trip. The McCartts’ Rolls-Royce and the Newmans’ Mini were the only British cars in attendance, and our club was the only British car club there as well.
Cecil presented a wreath from our club after the singing of “America” and “God Save the Queen.” Small Union Jacks and Poppy Wreaths were placed at each gravesite when the names of the British dead were read.
This is always a very moving ceremony. There was no guest speaker from the U.K. this year, but American Chief Warrant Officer Michael Wilcox, a career military aviator and attack helicopter pilot in Vietnam, gave a great speech.
The Newman Mini ran beautifully at good speeds for the trip to Arcadia, leading the Rolls, a Honda and a Lexus. The ceremony was great as usual, and the next stop was lunch at the Celtic Ray Pub in Punta Gorda, Fla.
That was the good part of the story. Next is the bad.
When I tried starting the Mini there was nothing. There was no juice coming from the battery. I had recently installed a new battery and negative cable and cleaned all the ground connections, but I checked everything again. Still no juice from the battery.
At this point I called for a tow truck. No sense in hanging around with the temperature at 95° and no tools to do any work.
While waiting for the tow truck to arrive, I went back the battery and gave the negative cable a tug. The cable fell away from the clamp. I was able to fix the broken connection and the Mini fired right up. I made a call to cancel the tow truck and were on our way to the Pub.
Before we reached the Cemetery gates, the Mini’s engine sputtered and stopped. Several restarts produced the same results. Again I called the tow truck, waited and hour for it to arrive, loaded the Mini and made the trip home. The $235 towing fee was well worth it just to get in the air-conditioned cab.
When we got to the house, the tow truck unloaded the car in the front of the house and I expected to have to push the Mini into the garage. I got in the car and tried to start it. The Mini started with ease, idled nicely and drove right into the garage, purring like a kitten. Sometimes, I think, our British cars enjoy causing their owners problems and like to ride home on a tow truck.
I suspect that the second issue is a fuel problem and I will be replacing the fuel filter and possibly the electric fuel pump. Results of my troubleshooting will be reported in another issue.
Thanks to all the members who offered help and support at the Cemetery.
FT. MYERS, Fla., May 14 — The meeting was called to order by President Cecil Carter at 6:30 p.m. There were no guests or new members. The Treasurer was not present and we did not have an updated report. The Secretary stated the minutes of the last meeting as well as past meeting were on the website and also in the British Marque.
The Saturday Breakfast at Mimi’s did not go well and the club discussed other options. A suggestion was made to go to the Alva Diner. A motion was made and seconded and passed by the members present. An e-mail will be sent to members who can then RSVP to Cecil Carter. Steve Cleveland held an open house at his Shop following the Mimi’s Breakfast. He plans on having some more events at his shop.
The club held the 2nd Annual Cinco de Mayo Luncheon on May 5th at the Celtic Ray Pub in Punta Gorda. Thanks to all who came.
Future events (as of the meeting date)
The Memorial Day Service for the fallen British pilots who trained in the Arcadia area and are buried in the British Plot at the Oak Ridge Cemetery will be held at 10 a.m. on May 27th. The club will meet at the McDonald’s on Jones Loop Road and proceed to the Cemetery. The members who wish will meet at the Celtic Ray Pub for lunch after the service.
Marcia and Larry McCartt are sponsoring a Boat Tour & Luncheon to Cabbage Key on June 8th on the Tropic Star. The Secretary will send an e-mail along with instructions about making reservations.
The Triumph Club is sponsoring a tour of the Babcock Ranch on May 22nd. There will be a lunch following the tour.
The Gold Coast British Sports Car Club has proposed a joint event with our club in October and November.
The President will be seeking officers for the 2020 term. If you are interested contact Cecil Carter.
SCCA Club Racing has two upcoming races. They are June 8th and July 20th.
Following these announcements the meeting adjourned. —Mary Newman, Secretary
On April 27th, the Car Club met for our regular Breakfast Run to Mini’s Café in Fort Myers. Following breakfast we traveled a few miles south to Steve Cleveland’s shop for a tech session.
Steve had some help from Tom Brewsaugh and Ken Taylor in setting up a few equipment demonstrations. The main display in the shop was a blue Sunbeam Tiger that Steve and Tom are finishing for a customer. There was quite a bit of sheet metal work and fiberglass work that went into the project. Steve showed his skills and equipment in cutting and shaping metal. Tom described the fiberglass work that went into the custom bonnet for the Tiger.
Everyone had a great time at the session, and many members went home with British car magazines and posters that Steve gave away. Thanks go to Steve, and hopefully he will invite us back to look over his next restoration.
The following weekend, on May 5th, was the Club’s 2nd Annual Cinco de Mayo at the Celtic Ray Irish Pub in Punta Gorda. Tom and Martha Lambert in their MG TD and Larry and Marcia McCartt in their Rolls-Royce met Mary and me in our Mini at a supermarket parking lot for the 20-mile run to the Celtic Ray.
This pub is one of our favorite watering holes. Owned by Irishman Kevin Doyle, it features traditional Irish food, Irish music, and of course whisky and beer. When we arrived we met Hermann and Jeri Schaller, who live in Punta Gorda and drove their 1954 Lagonda convertible. The Lamberts had invited some friends who were seated with the Schallers, all having pints when we got there. We were soon joined by Gary and Trish Maue and President Cecil Carter with Isabel.
Everyone ate, drank and talked cars for a few hours until the threat of rain had the open-car members thinking of heading home. Mary and I did run into some rain on the way home, but it was good because it washed off the bug splatters we got on the way to the pub!
FORT MYERS, Fla., Apr. 9 — The meeting was called to order by past President Bill Newman due to President Cecil Carter being ill.
Tom Brewsaugh gave his Treasurer Report and stated we have 67 members. He received a renewal from member Jim Andrews.
Mary Newman, Secretary, gave her report and stated that the minutes of previous meetings were on the website and in the British Marque.
Hermann Schaller introduced his guests, Mary Jo and Jerry Strom. They are looking to buy a Jaguar.
The Picnic on March 16th was discussed. There were 15 attendees. Ken Taylor was thanked for his duties as chef for the affair. Cecil and Isabel were gracious enough to host the games. Bill Newman won the pasta game, John Frioli (a guest) won the corn hole game and Cecil Carter won horseshoes.
Peter Sales gave information about the Island Walk Car Show in Venice, Fla., that was put on by the Jaguar Club.
As of the meeting date, we were looking forward to the following events:
April 14 — Oak Hammock Middle School Car Show, East Fort Myers, Fla.
April 20 — Wheels Across the Pond Show, Jupiter, Fla.
April 26-27 — Pensacola “Brits on the Bay” show.
April 27 — Tech session at Steve Cleveland’s Shop after Mimi’s Breakfast, Fort Myers, Fla.
Also upcoming were the Annual Cinco de Mayo at the Celtic Ray in Punta Gorda, Fla., and the Arcadia Memorial Day Observance commemorating the British pilots buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery.
The McCartts related their past experiences with a car club tour event similar to one that President Cecil Carter has proposed called the “Tour de Southwest Florida.” They passed around their log book as an example of what they did.
The 50/50 raffle was held, after which the meeting adjourned. —Mary Newman, Secretary
Saturday, March 23rd, was a picture-perfect day in Southwest Florida as we headed north out of Ft. Myers to Venice in “Lady Jane” (our ’62 Jaguar Mk2), with its 3.8, straight six breathing in the cool morning air. The destination was the Island Walk community, conveniently located on Rt. 41 in South Venice, where the 4th Annual Island Walk Car Show was held.
On arrival we were greeted by the organizer, Phil Mannino (President of the Southwest Florida Chapter of JCNA), who guided our car into a predetermined spot and invited us to enjoy complimentary coffee and cake, which was most welcome after the 70-mile drive.
In addition to the wide range of about 30 classic cars of various marques there was a crafts and art fair, multiple customized baskets as raffle prizes and a 50/50 cash draw. The show appeared to be very well attended by community residents who fully supported the chosen Community Emergency Response Team charity.
Around midday all show car participants were invited to a complimentary lunch held beside the beautifully designed community pool area. At 1 p.m. very nice custom designed glass trophies were presented in four specific classes, and everybody was invited to continue to enjoy the really nice facilities rather than leave immediately. We enjoyed receiving a “1st in Jaguar Class” trophy and a swim in the gorgeous pool before heading back south.
A final surprise was being passed on I-75 by good friends and fellow BCCSWF members Lionel and Jackie Hill, who were en route from their new home on the Florida Panhandle to visit friends around Ft. Myers over the following week!
It was a pity that few BCCSWF and JCNA members/cars attended this event, but Phil was positive that this show will continue to grow stronger over time. It should — it is a very well planned, friendly classic car show with something of interest for everyone.
The club held its Annual Picnic with about 15 members attending. There was a threat of rain so the turnout was less than expected. We want to thank Vice President Ken Taylor for being our chief chef with help from some others.
Isabel and Cecil Carter organized the games and the winners were as follows:
Pasta Contest — Bill Newman
Corn Hole — John Fraioli
Horseshoes — Cecil Carter
They each received a gift card.
Thank you, Cecil and Isabel, for your help, and everyone else who helped the Picnic be a success by attending. —Mary Newman
The British Car Club of Southwest Florida has reinstituted its Member Point System. The System is designed to stimulate participation of all club members in more and in a variety of activities.
Club members receive “points” for participating in various activities. At the end of the calendar year, the three club members with highest point totals will be recognized.
The activities and points awarded for each activity are listed below:
• Attend a monthly meeting (2 points)
• Drive your British car to a monthly meeting (2 points)
• Wear your name tag at a club meeting or activity (1 point)
• Write an article for the British Marque (5 points)
• Participate in a club activity (3 points)
• Lead a club activity (5 points)
• Attend the club Saturday breakfast (2 points)
• Drive your British car to the club Saturday breakfast (2 points)
• Recruit a new member (3 points)
Members may record their points at each club meeting through November. The club president will maintain the records and will announce the winners at the 2019 Holiday Party in December. —Cecil Carter
FT. MYERS, Fla., Mar. 12 — The meeting was called to order by President Cecil Carter at 6:30 p.m. Mary Newman gave the Treasurer’s Report in Tom Brewsaugh’s absence. She stated the minutes of all meetings are on the website and printed in the British Marque.
Guest John Frioli from Colorado was introduced. He has an MGB.
The Cape Coral Charity Car Show was held on February 16th at Jaycee Park. Many members attended.
The Gold Coast All-British Car Show was held on February 17th at a new venue, the Palm Beach Outlet Mall. Peter Sales won a 2nd place with his Jaguar. John Sergeant won a 1st with his MGA. Bill and Mary Newman attended with their 1972 Clubman, and John Welch, with his Jaguar, also made the trek.
The BIG Show was held March 3rd at Jaycee Park in Cape Coral. The British car winners were a 1929 Austin Seven Tourer owned by Robert Faria of Englewood, Fla., Hermann Schaller’s Lagonda with 2nd place, and John Shoemaker’s MG with 3rd.
February and March birthdays were celebrated.
The membership discussed the upcoming Picnic on March 16th at the Franklin Lock Park.
The Breakfast Runs were discussed. Steve Cleveland made a motion to continue to go to Mimi’s and the motion carried. Glenn Vrooman volunteered to make the reservations.
Upcoming events (as of the meeting date)
April or May — Bill Newman would be organizing a luncheon run to the Celtic Ray.
April 20 — Wheels Across the Pond show.
April 26-27 — Pensacola Brits on the Bay show.
April 26-28 — Sunshine Speed Show, Lakeland, Fla.
Other club business
President Cecil Carter will be writing an article for the Marque on the new Member Recognition program.
Vice President Ken Taylor and Steve Cleveland will sponsor upcoming tech sessions including these topics: Inspecting Your British Car Troubleshooting your Car Preparing to Show Your car Basic Welding Electrical Session Powder Coating. Dates will be discussed at future meetings.
Cecil discussed an ongoing event idea brought to him by Larry and Marcia McCartt. It is based on touring Southwest Florida in your vintage car and documenting your visit with pictures of each of the counties. A log will be kept and ultimately the logs will be submitted and the winner will be recognized at the Christmas Party.
President Cecil wants to send out a survey to see what the members are interested in.
The meeting adjourned. —Mary Newman, Secretary
NAPLES, Fla. — Thirty British cars participated in “Cars on Fifth” in Naples on Saturday, February 9th.
Cars on Fifth is one of the premier car events in Southwest Florida. The event, which is sponsored by the Ferrari Club of Naples, showcases more than 400 cars along Naples’ Fifth Avenue. The British Car Club of Southwest Florida is one of the supporting organizations. Proceeds from the event are donated to St. Matthew’s House, an agency that provides services to indigent individuals in the area.
This year, the event hosted approximately 50,000 spectators and raised about $250,000.
The day was perfect for displaying the cars. Temperatures were in the mid-80s without a cloud in sight. The British cars gathered early in the morning in a nearby shopping plaza and at 7:15 a.m. caravanned to Fifth Avenue. By 8 a.m. all cars were in place.
There was a good mix of British marques that included Aston-Martin, Jaguar, MG, Triumph, Rolls-Royce and Lotus. Unique among the cars was a miniature, petrol-powered 1969 Jaguar E-type, which arrived loaded in the back of an SUV. It had a Honda gas engine and three-speed transmission with clutch, all hand-assembled and painted in Poland.
A 1952 Austin-Healey BN2 100M that was caught in a disastrous garage fire two years ago returned after a beautiful total restoration.
By 10 a.m. Fifth Avenue was crowded with spectators who appreciated all of the cars, especially the British ones. Two local bands, multiple vendors, and several hospitality hosts added to the festive atmosphere.
In keeping with tradition, at 3:45 p.m. all cars were started and the police-escorted exit parade began. The drivers proudly took their places among the cars and slowly exited Fifth Avenue, thus enabling all to admire the uniqueness of British cars.
February and March have become “Car Show Months” in Southwest Florida.
As you just read, on February 9th was Cars on Fifth, a big show held annually by the Naples Ferrari Club).
February 16th was the Cape Coral Charity Car Show put on by the Cape Coral 1st United Methodist Church, with proceeds donated to the Cape Caring Center. The multi-marque show raised over $30,000 and was attended by Mary and me with our Mini Clubman and Al Iagemno with his Jaguar XK140. I don’t know the winners since we left early, but did stay long enough to win a big gas grill door prize. The grill would not fit in the Mini, so we sold it to a visiting couple from Canada who attended our last meeting.
Mary and I left early to drive the Mini to West Palm Beach for the All-British Show put on by the Gold Coast British Sports Car Club on February 17th at the Palm Beach Outlets Mall. Our little car made the three-hour trip across the state with no problems and continues to build my confidence in driving the car long distances.
The Gold Coast club put on an excellent show at a new venue this year. Since Mary and I are members of GCBSCC, it was a great time to renew friendships and recall past adventures. We were joined by BCCSWF members John and Angela Sergeant, who took 1st place with their 1959 MGA, and Peter and Pam Sales, who were in the “Jaguar Other” class with their MkII Jaguar. John Welch also joined us with his 2007 Jaguar.
The BIG (British, Italian & German) Show was sponsored by Triumphs of Southwest Florida and was held on March 3rd. There were over 100 cars, with the majority being of British manufacture. Many of our present and past members were in attendance and I will provide the winners next month. —Bill Newman
FORT MYERS, Fla., Feb. 12 — The meeting was called to order by President Cecil Carter at 6:30 p.m. at Famous Dave’s in Fort Myers.
We welcomed guests Barry and Joy Preston from Kitchener, Ont., Canada. Also we welcomed guest Al Rios, who has an MGB.
Cecil detailed a participation program for the membership. He will keep track of the points and pass a sheet around at every meeting. Two members volunteered for planning the Christmas Party.
Secretary Mary Newman said the minutes for the January meeting were on the website and in the British Marque. The Treasurer gave his report and stated we had 53 paid members as of that meeting.
Past events were discussed, and they included the Celtic Festival that was held on January 26th in Centennial Park in Fort Myers. Twenty-one cars signed up, but due to concerns about the weather only six cars came. The weather turned out fine and those who came had a great time. The winners were John Sergeant for the ’50s, Peter Sales for the ’60s, Mary and Bill Newman for the ’70s, and John Welch for the ’80s. The plaques were presented by the Festival MC. Headley Wilson also participated.
Cecil discussed the “Cars on Fifth” in Naples on February 9th. Thirty British cars signed up, including a small-size Jaguar E-type. Isabel Carter sat in the little car and it looked like it fit her fine.
The McCartts stated they attended a Rolls-Royce event.
Ken Taylor discussed the February Sebring races. There were 15 vintage cars. Ken drove his Triumph TR7.
Future (as of our meeting) events include:
February 16 — Charity Car Show in Jaycee Park, Cape Coral.
February 17 — Gold Coast British Sports Car Club Show, Palm Beach Outlet Mall.
March 3 — BIG (British, Italian & German) Show, at Jaycee Park in Cape Coral.
March 16 — Annual Club Picnic Franklin Locks Park in Alva.
April 6 — All-British Car Show, Winter Springs, in Central Winds Park.
A discussion was held regarding Club Breakfast Runs. It was decided that members could attend breakfast at Mimi’s on February 27th and/or breakfast at Skillets on March 2nd.
The 50/50 was held and the meeting then adjourned. —Mary Newman, Secretary
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The City of Fort Myers held its 16th Annual Celtic Festival on January 26th, and for the 16th time asked our club to participate with a British car display.
The Festival is always lots of fun, with several Irish and Scottish musical groups, vendors selling Celtic goods and food, and of course Guinness and Smithwicks.
Last year the club brought 30 cars, but this year the forecast called for possible rain, wind and temperatures in the 50s (much too cold for us Floridians!).
As a result only six cars showed up, brought by Peter and Pam Sales, Glen Vrooman and Bob Frost, John and Angela Sergeant, John Welch, Headley Wilson, and Mary and me. We were treated to some wind, partly cloudy skies, but no rain.
At the end of the day the City awarded trophies to the spectators’ favorites for each decade. The winners were John Sergeant (1959 MGA) in the ’50s and earlier group, Peter Sales (1962 Jaguar MkII) in the ’60s group, Mary Newman (1972 Mini Clubman) in the ’70s group, and John Welch (2007 Jaguar XK) in the ’80s and later group.
This “auto-biography” starts strangely, with my employment in 1952 with the Chrysler Corporation in Highland Park, Michigan.
I was a third year co-op student at the University of Cincinnati in the College of Applied Arts. During my very brief eight-week stint at Chrysler, I was responsible at times to convert photographs of various foreign-built cars to line drawings that easily could be used in printing documents comparing foreign cars to those offered at the time by Chrysler. In 1952, auto manufacturers were starting to fret a wee bit regarding those horrid little cars running around the 48 states. In other words, they thought, rightfully so, they were losing sales to overseas products.
One of the little cars I illustrated was the MG TC. At the time (and at present, too) I thought the TC was a knockout of a car. I even converted my line drawing to a finished piece of art by rendering a full-color version — in red, of course, what else?
Upon returning to classes in late February, I showed my work of art to fellow students, male, of course. One of them told me there was one just like my illustration near the campus. Having never laid eyes on one, I eventually found it and admired it. It looked like new, and it was red over red, just like my artwork.
Boldly I left a note under the wiper arm inquiring whether she might be for sale. To make a long story short, I took delivery of the 1949 MG TC on Saturday evening, April 26, 1952, just a few hundred feet from my church home in Covington, Kentucky. You see, the owner, James Francis, was church organist for a nearby church, and he needed to part with the TC to augment the purchase of an Auburn Boattail Speedster — which ran Jim around 2,600 dead presidents in 1952.
Note: The TC cost me (er, my father) $1,350, a tidy sum in 1952, but interestingly two TC purchases in later years were the same, $1,350, the last being in 1972 — the primrose TC now sitting in my garage in Monroe.
The next morning, Sunday, was exciting. There sitting in our back yard in Ft. Mitchell was the red MG that I had longed for while perched at my drawing board in Michigan. My father agreed to be shuttled off to church in my little beauty and proudly showed her off to other church members after the morning’s service was over.
The service seemed extra-long that day, I guess because I wanted to be back on the streets and byways of Northern Kentucky with my TC. After lunch I hurried on over to a favorite girlfriend’s home next to Lookout Stud Farm in the Crestview Hills area, and off we went on a my first drive. I wish I could remember what the drive was like, but that was 53 years ago.
During the three-plus years I owned the TC, a lot happened to it and me. The engine “wore out” in about 25,000 miles,. It had less than 15,000 on it when I bought in 1952, but I drove her every day, to UC, dates, mini vacations, SCCA rally junkets, gymkhanas — you name it, we were there.
Speaking of dates, a few mothers had mixed thoughts about letting their daughters ride around in “that noisy little thing.” But the true-blue girls loved it, thank goodness for that.
The clutch gave out and a Covington Ford dealer fixed that. My father’s mechanics gave her a valve job. A lady backed into her one day while parked in front of a frat house in Clifton and I resorted to cycle fenders for a repair job whilst blowing the insurance check on a new black Haartz top with windows over the dashboard.
She got a new paint job, blue, and a set of Rudge wheels from one of Ebby Lunken’s Ferraris, complete with tires and all. I affixed a copper straight pipe for exhaust purposes, and later added a cycle muffler on the outside of the body because the car with its 15” Ferrari wheels was just too low to the ground.
My TC was one of about six or so in Greater Cincinnati in those days, all running and some in very original condition, which is the way I should have left mine — not screwing around with funny paint jobs, 15” wheels, weird exhaust treatments, etc. But I was a young college kid with a new and different toy.
I now look back and think about the things I did, both to and with her, but it was great experience and now, some 20 or so British cars later, I wince every time I see something off the beaten path done to a vehicle, whether it’s British or not. Look what the customizers do to vehicles in their charge.
My first MG TC taught me a lot about automobiles, things I’ll never forget. It was a great learning experience, as is every car or truck after that if you’re a do-it-yourselfer like me.
The evening I sold the TC was another nightmare. I took a Ford Model A coupe in trade plus $650 in cash from a UC student, and before the night was over, had to buy him a new battery. He later retrieved the fenders from my parents’ crawl space, and the last time I saw her she was racing at an abandoned airport northeast of St. Louis. She was back to red, the 15” wheels were still on the ground, and the interior looked new after seven years of use. —Larry McCartt
March 3 — BIG (British, Italian and German) Car Show.
March 12 — Regular meeting at Famous Dave’s.
March 16 — BCCSWF Annual Picnic, Franklin Lock Park, Alva, Fla.
March 15-16 — Jaguar Club of Florida event, The Villages, Fla.
April 9 — Regular meeting at Famous Dave’s.
April 20 — Wheels Across the Pond, Jupiter, Fla.
For more information see our website, www.bccswf.com.
December 11, 2018
Our December meeting (the Club Christmas Party) was called to order at 6:30 p.m. by President Bill Newman.
Guests were introduced. Roger Wright and Jerry and Mary Jo Strom joined us for the party.
President Bill thanked all of the officers for their past service. Bill acknowledged all of the past Presidents in attendance.
It was reported that 14 of our members joined members of the Gold Coast British Sports Car Club for dinner at the British Open Pub in Bonita Springs on December 1st.
Upcoming events were discussed:
January 26 — Celtic Festival, Centennial Park, downtown Fort Myers. Contact Bill Newman, firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 9 — Cars on Fifth, Naples, Fla. Contact Cecil Carter, email@example.com.
February 16 — Cape Coral Charity Car Show. Contact Mary Newman, firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 17 — Gold Coast All-British Car Show. Contact Bill Gearheart, email@example.com.
March 3 — BIG (British, Italian and German) Car Show. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 16 — BCCSWF Annual Picnic, Franklin Lock Park, Alva, Fla. Contact Mary Newman, email@example.com.
Bill congratulated Cecil Carter as incoming President.
Two awards were given out. Tom Brewsaugh received the Outstanding Club Member Award for doing a great job as Treasurer. Ken Taylor was presented a Race Fuel Can from Bill for his racing efforts with as little fuel as possible.
January 8, 2019
The meeting was called to order by President Cecil Carter at 6:30 p.m. There were no new members or guests.
The Secretary, Mary Newman, stated the minutes from the December meeting and Christmas Party will soon be on the website. The Treasurer, Tom Brewsaugh, gave his report. He is busy collecting the yearly dues from members. A motion was made to accept his report. The motion carried.
President Cecil wants to reinstate the Participation Award. Members would receive points for attending events. The points list will be available at the meetings and people can use the sign-in sheet to register their points. Isabel and Cecil will keep the list.
Past events — As reported previously, 14 club members met for dinner at the British Open Pub and were joined by 14 members from the Gold Coast British Sports Car Club. The club celebrated Christmas at the Christmas Party on December 11th. It was well attended.
Upcoming events were discussed:
January 26 — Celtic Festival, Centennial Park, downtown Fort Myers. Contact Bill Newman, firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 9 — Cars on Fifth, Naples, Fla. Contact Cecil Carter, email@example.com.
February 16 — Cape Coral Charity Car Show. Contact Mary Newman, firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 17 — Gold Coast All-British Car Show. Contact Bill Gearheart, email@example.com.
March 3 — BIG (British, Italian and German) Car Show. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 15-16 — Jaguar Club of Florida event, The Villages, Fla.
March 16 — BCCSWF Annual Picnic, Franklin Lock Park, Alva, Fla. Contact Mary Newman, email@example.com.
April 20 — Wheels Across the Pond, Jupiter, Fla.The 50/50 was held and the meeting then adjourned.
Part of enjoying a British classic vehicle is taking a drive and getting together with other enthusiasts. What’s better than combining both by attending shows where over 200 British classics attend, representing virtually every marque.
On Friday evening everyone was welcomed to the local Coastal Cantina Grill & Bar for nibbles, drinks and chat. A new feature was that registered drivers could collect their package there, allowing immediate vehicle placement Saturday morning. Joining us at the Meet & Greet were members Lionel and Jackie Hill, who recently moved to Crawfordville, Fla., in the Florida Panhandle. The good news was they were spared the wrath of Hurricane Michael.
On Saturday, October 27th, the 32nd Annual All-British Field Meet & Autojumble was held in Safety Harbor, well known for being really well organized by the Tampa Bay Austin-Healey Club in a perfect venue. The event supports the Special Olympics charity. It is always a well-attended event, often regarded as the opening of the Florida classic car season.
No exception this year, although only four BCCSWF family groups took on the 300-mile round trip. Club members in attendance were Peter and Pam Sales, Bill and Mary Newman, Steve and Nancy Volk, and Dennis McKinley. The weather for the drive was not perfect, with some rain showers, although on Saturday it recovered, and some clouds around made the day a lot more comfortable than usual.
At 2 p.m. participants gathered at the Main Street bandstand to hear the trophy winners in their class. Three BCCSWF members came away with 1sts and were warmly congratulated by their peers. Another highlight was to learn that a check for over $1,000 was passed to the designated charity as part of the 50/50 drawing.
BCCSWF winners at the All-Brit were:
Jaguar Saloon: 1st, Peter and Pam Sales, 1962 Jaguar MkII.
Minis and Varieties: 1st, Bill and Mary Newman, 1972 Mini Clubman.
Race Prepared: 1st, Dennis McKinley, 1965 Triumph TR4A.
My adventures with British cars began in 1976 when I purchased a yellow 1976 Triumph Spitfire with 20K miles from a British Leyland dealer in Baton Rouge, La. That car was my daily driver for 10 years, and both of my children learned to drive in the Spitfire. I still have that car and it is an important part of the family.
After the Spitfire came a 1972 Jensen-Healey, a Spit 6 of mixed years, a 1972 Triumph GT6, a 1960 Bugeye, a 2003 MINI, a 2005 MINI, a 2016 MINI and a 1972 Mini Clubman. All of these were road cars with some of them on the road more than others.
Of this bunch, the Jensen-Healey was the worst vehicle I have ever owned. It was haunted by the ghost of Lucas and had a tendency to stop just before the highest points of all bridges, which was almost a daily occurrence when we lived near Pensacola.
Motorsports adventures began for me shortly after purchasing the Spitfire. I began autocrossing in the Central Louisiana Region, SCCA, and soon found myself the Regional Executive of that organization. The Spitfire and I were at an autocross event somewhere in Louisiana, Texas or Mississippi almost every weekend. After rebuilding the Spitfire engine several times, I bought a 1964 Spitfire G Production racecar for autocrossing and retired the yellow Spit to the more relaxed life of a road car.
Around this time I met my wife Mary, who had a 1982 Mazda RX7, and one of our first dates was an autocross. In addition to marriage, our thoughts turned to road racing and we both attended the Skip Barber Racing School at Roebling Road in Savannah, Ga. The school cars were Crossle 35F Formula Fords, and even though I was terrible in the open-wheel cars the racing bug had bitten me.
The first racecar was a first-year VW GTI purchased from Tom Benson’s dealership in New Orleans. We put in a rollbar and a fire extinguisher and went racing in SCCA’s Showroom Stock Class.
After a few years, I bought the Chassis #120 Sports Renault, an SCCA Spec Class Sports Racer. The car had a single seat surrounded by a fiberglass body and powered by a 1700cc Renault Alliance engine. I raced this car at Texas World Speedway, Road Atlanta, Nelson Ledges, Ohio, and my home track and old airport course at Lake Charles, La.
By the end of 1986, Mary and I were living in Navarre Beach, Fla., and I had become unhappy with the ever-changing rules in the SCCA Spec Class. At this point, we sold the racecar and got back into boating and other things we enjoyed.
In 1989 we moved again to the Ft. Myers/Cape Coral area in southwest Florida, where I found a job with the County and Mary went to work at Florida Gulf Coast University. We became charter members of the newly formed British Car Club of Southwest Florida in 1993.
We started autocrossing the Spitfire again. The racing bug bit me once more after I attended a track day at Palm Beach International Raceway driving a Factory Five Cobra in 2005. I followed this with a session at the Panoz Racing School at Sebring and purchased another early Spitfire racecar. The decision was to stay away from production car club racing and concentrate on racing with the Vintage group.
I had lots of fun with the little Spitfire, but had the opportunity to buy a 1971 Triumph GT6 racecar in 2009. The inline two-liter, six-cylinder engine had more speed and opened up a new adventure in racing excitement.
Another racecar was purchased in 2012, a 1965 Spitfire Coupe built to replicate the Triumph factory effort at Sebring and Le Mans in 1964 and 1965. That car was really pretty and fun to put on the track. Unfortunately I crashed it at Sebring in 2013 when the right rear tire went flat.
The final race for me in that car was in December 2016 at the Sebring hairpin, when I experienced violent oversteer, causing the car to go airborne, bounce off the roof and land wheels down. I was O.K., but the car was done.
I continued to race the GT6, but began having breathing problems at the beginning of 2018, struggling to finish a race in February. A July race caused similar breathing troubles and I only did two laps. My doctor diagnosed COPD.
A trip to Put-in-Bay, Ohio, was an attempt to see if cooler weather would help my breathing situation. After having lots of fun at the non-competition events, on Tuesday morning, September 25th, I strapped in, put on my helmet and headed to the staging line for the first practice. Once released on the track, I began gasping for air. I made two laps, came in and hung up the helmet for last time.
I sold the GT6 in Ohio to the son of a friend of mine, another Spitfire driver, whom I had driven with in the past. It was not too hard to let the car go because I realized I just couldn’t race anymore.
Yes, I will miss the excitement, but I still have several British cars that will keep me busy — and we bought another boat. —Bill Newman
The meeting was called to order by President Bill Newman at 6:30 p.m.
Bill recognized guests Susan and Tim Coyne from Canada. They drove their MGB GT from Canada to Cape Coral. They said they also had driven their MGA from London, Ontario, to Key West. Quite an adventure!
The Secretary, Mary Newman, stated the minutes are on the website from past meetings. She also gave some details about the Christmas Party, which will be December 11th on the regular meeting night. She will send out an e-mail for club members to RSVP.
The Treasurer, Tom Brewsaugh, gave his report and stated we had two new members and the membership now stands at 90. He also stated dues are due in January and will remain $30.
The Nominating Committee consisting of Bill Newman and Cecil Carter gave a report and stated we have a full slate of officers. They are: President, Cecil Carter Vice President, Ken Taylor Secretary, Mary Newman and Treasurer, Tom Brewsaugh.
Ken Taylor reported on a race he ran at Sebring on October 13th. He ran his Miata. The vintage group had 30 cars. He said it was a good weekend.
Peter Sales and Bill Newman talked about the Safety Harbor car show put on by the Tampa Bay Austin-Healey Club. Those in attendance included Bill and Mary Newman, Peter and Pam Sales, Dennis McKinley, and Steve and Nancy Volk. There will be an article with pictures in the December Marque. (See accompanying article.)
Upcoming events (as of the meeting date)
November 17 — Luncheon Run to the Hut Restaurant in Buckingham, Fla.
December 1 — Dinner meeting at the British Open Pub in Bonita Springs, Fla., with the Gold Coast British Sports Car Club.
December 11 — Christmas Party at Famous Dave’s.
January 5 — Rally by the Alfa Car Club, starting in Punta Gorda. Check with Dennis McKinley.
January 26 — Celtic Festival, Centennial Park, Ft. Myers, Fla.
February 9 — Cars on Fifth, Naples, Fla.
February 16 — Cape Coral Charity Car Show at Jaycee Park.
February 23 — Car Show at Muscle Car City, Punta Gorda, Fla.
Other club business
Car for sale: 1967 Rover P5 III. Contact Cy Ling, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 50/50 raffle was held.
The meeting then adjourned. —Mary Newman, Secretary
I have heard about this laid-back racing event for several years and thought this would be a good time to give it a try. Mary grew up in northern Ohio, near Cleveland, so I figured that might come in handy for this south Louisiana boy if I needed an interpreter!
We left home with our Triumph GT6 racecar in tow on Thursday, September 20th, for the 1,300-mile trip north, arriving Saturday, September 22nd, at the ferry landing for the 20-minute trip to South Bass Island in Lake Erie.
The original Put-in-Bay races were held 1952 to 1959, with another in 1963. These events ran a crude rectangular course delineated by haybales through the island’s narrow streets and was attended by many of the great drivers of that era.
In 2009 Jack Woehrle and Bob Williams, who were with the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA), decided to try racing at Put-in-Bay again. The early event caught traction and has continued to grow each year since. This year there were 73 racecars in four race groups and 15 exhibition cars including a 1985 Porsche 962.
The tourist season comes to a close in late September on South Bass Island, and this event brought the curtain down. Most of the restaurants and bars were open on the weekend when we arrived, but there were only a few places open during the next week.
The major mode of transportation on the island was the golf cart, but racecars were making their presence known as the second most common means of getting around. On Sunday the island had a weekly car parade through town, and Mary and I gladly joined in with the GT6.
Monday’s events started with a car show at one of the two Island wineries. There were 150 cars, most of which reside on the island. This event was fantastic, with wine flowing, pets everywhere, and the friendliest people you could ever meet.
Following the car show, the racers were allowed to take two laps of the original racecourse. This was my favorite portion of the event. The GT6 was making about 65-70mph through town, past the bars, restaurants and cheering residents. I hit one or two slightly low manhole covers, which bottomed the car and caused me to back off, but I will never forget the fun.
The races were held on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 25th and 26th, on the 1.2-mile airport course. More to come on this portion of the event and my life adventures in sports car racing next month!
Our October 9th meeting was called to order by President Bill Newman at 6:30 p.m. Bill welcomed Sandy and Edie Sanders and their daughter Heidi, who are potential new members. They have a 1987 Jaguar XJS that they will be bringing to their home in Naples.
Secretary Newman gave her report and stated the minutes from past meetings are on the website and also published in the British Marque. She also asked for articles for the Marque from the membership.
Treasurer Tom Brewsaugh gave his report and stated we had 89 members.
Put-in-Bay race — President Bill stated he took his last flag in racing at the Put-in-Bay races on South Bass Island located on Lake Erie.
Bill and Mary towed the GT6 racecar 1,300 miles to the ferry to the island on Saturday, September 22nd. There were many events over the next several days. There was parade of the cars around the island. There also was a car show at one of the two wineries on the island.
The car show was well attended. After the show the cars ran the old race course through town. They had two laps and Bill really enjoyed the event.
The first racing events happened on Tuesday. Bill ran two laps and determined that he had too much difficulty breathing to complete the race. We were fortunate enough to be able to sell the racecar to some fellow Triumph lovers and the car stayed in Ohio.
Upcoming events (as of the meeting date)
October 13-14 — Vice President Kenny Taylor is racing at Sebring.
October 20 — North Naples Church Car Show.
October 27 — Safety Harbor Car Show. Some members will be attending. Bill and Mary are going up on Friday evening.
November 3 — Marco Island Knights Car Show, San Marco Church, Marco Island.
December 1 — Dinner at the British Open Pub in Bonita Springs with the Gold Coast British Sports Car Club.
December 11 — Car Club Christmas Party at Famous Dave’s.
February 9, 2019 — “Cars on Fifth,” sponsored by Naples Ferrari Club. Bill appointed a nominating committee consisting of himself and Cecil Carter. They will report at the next meeting.
The meeting adjourned.—Mary Newman, Secretary
BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. — A small but weather-tolerant group of members made a run to the British Open Pub in Bonita Springs on August 26th.
Mary and I met Marcia and Larry McCartt along with Dennis McKinley and Cynthia Mahoney at the Lowe’s parking lot in Ft. Myers and braved the heat, humidity and the chance of rain on the run to Bonita Springs.
None of us had been to this pub in several years, but found the atmosphere and menu to be terrific. The British Open Pub is, of course, golf-themed but there are pictures of all things British hanging on the walls.
The pub menu has all the British favorites including fish and chips, bangers and mash and all sorts of pasties. There are also several local seafood dishes and American fare as well. The bar is well stocked with many British beers and some great Scotches.
We all had great meals, talked about our cars, and made our way home before the afternoon rains came down.
Please mark your calendar for Satuday, December 1st, at 5:30 p.m. We will be meeting our friends from the Gold Coast British Sports Car Club for dinner at the British Open Pub.
President Bill Newman called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. There were no new members or guests to introduce.
The Secretary, Mary Newman, gave her report and stated the minutes were on the website and will be in the British Marque. In her capacity as Marque Contributing Editor she asked for members to contribute articles for the upcoming issues.
The Treasurer, Tom Brewsaugh, gave his report and stated that we had 87 members.
We had the birthday celebration for the August birthdays. The members present who received a special dessert were Ken Taylor, John Liversedge and Martha Lambert.
Old business — President Bill stated that he and Mary had attempted to go racing at Sebring for the July event but had brake issues with their truck and had to cancel. Ken Taylor participated that weekend and stated there were 15 or 16 vintage cars at the event.
There will be a race at Sebring September 1st and 2nd on the long course. Bill and Ken will both be attending.
Members Larry and Marcia McCartt suggested having a luncheon run to the British Open Pub in Bonita Springs on Sunday, August 26th. The Mimi’s Breakfast is on the day before and they did not want to interfere with that monthly event. The Secretary will send out an e-mail to get the members to RSVP to get a head count. We will meet at the Lowe’s parking lot in Fort Myers.
Events — Upcoming British car club shows were discussed. Many members will be attending the 32nd Annual All-British Field Meet & Autojumble on Saturday, October 27th. The Marco Island Car Show is on November 3rd at the San Marco Church. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The entry fee is $20.
Our club and the Gold Coast British Sports Car Club will be meeting for dinner at the British Open Pub in Bonita Springs on December 1st.
The 50/50 raffle was held and long-time member Louise Krause won. The meeting then adjourned.
September 11th Meeting
The meeting was called to order by Bill Newman, President, at 6:30 p.m. A new member was introduced: Steve Kurowski. He owns a 1953 TR3. He inquired about autocrossing with the Gulf Coast Group. We referred him to the website.
The Secretary, Mary Newman, gave her report and stated that the minutes from both the August and September meetings will be on the website. She also asked for articles for the British Marque. The Treasurer, Tom Brewsaugh, gave his report and stated that with the new member we have 88 members.
Old business/past events — Several members attended a luncheon run at the British Open Pub on August 26th. The members attending were Bill and Mary Newman, Larry and Marcia McCartt and Dennis McKinley and Cynthia Mahoney. All had a good time.
There was an SCCA race at Sebring International Raceway September 1-2 on the long course. Both Bill and Ken participated. Twelve Vintage cars took the track on the first race. During the second race Kenny had coil issues that prevented him from finishing.
New business — Bill mentioned the death of Jean Shipley Summers, the wife of Dan Summers, a past member.
Upcoming car shows and other events were discussed:
October 20 — North Naples Church show.
October 27 — Tampa Bay Austin-Healey Club show at Safety Harbor.
November 3 — Marco Island Knight Car Show.
December 1st — Joint dinner with the Gold Coast British Car Club at the British Open Pub in Bonita Springs.
High Five Pizza in Estero requested that the club do a car display at the end of November.
The Classic Mini 60th Anniversary International will be held August 8-12, 2019 in Bristol, England.
The Classic Mini 60th Anniversary US Celebration will be held October 9-13, 2019 in Wytheville, Va.
Bill announced a Nominating Committee consisting of Bill and Cecil Carter. The 50/50 raffle was held and the meeting then adjourned.—Mary Newman, Secretary
Several of our members have been racing their British cars with organizations that sanction road racing for vintage automobiles. Locally there are two groups that sanction races at nearby racetracks: the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) and Historic Sports Car Racing (HSR).
The SCCA’s Central Florida Region (www.cfrscca.org) has a Vintage Race Group that runs events at Sebring, Daytona, Homestead and Palm Beach as part of their Regional Club Racing Program. The Vintage Group usually consists of 25-30 cars ranging from Bugeye Sprites to big horsepower Corvettes and Shelbys, all on the track at the same time. The rules require that only cars from 1989 and earlier are eligible, but most are pre-1972.
SCCA races are members only, non-spectator events, but entry can be had by special invitation or by serving as a crewmember for one of the drivers.
Historic Sports Car Racing (www.hsrrace.com) is an organization that can find a race group for almost any age and type of car. Many of the top drivers, now retired from professional racing, call the HSR their home. Our small-bore British cars race in Group 2 and Group 3 and are called Vintage or Historic Production Cars, depending on age. These Groups have their own races and are more or less equal in performance and handling abilities.
All HSR events are open to the public for an entry fee (usually $45) and you can even take your car on track at the lunch break for an additional fee.
Any BCCSWF members interested in vintage racing can contact me, Bill Newman.
Upcoming vintage races
September 1-2 — SCCA, Sebring.
September 20-23 — HSR, Road Atlanta.
October 25-28 — SCCA, Sebring.
October 25-28 — HSR, Savannah.
November 7-11 — HSR, Daytona.
November 29-December 2 — SCCA, Sebring.
FT. MYERS, Fla. — The meeting was called to order by President Bill Newman at 6:30 p.m. There were no new members or guests.
The Secretary, Mary Newman, stated the minutes of the June meeting are on the website. She also wanted people to update what cars they want listed on the website. The Treasurer, Tom Brewsaugh, gave his report and stated we had 87 members.
Past events — The Miromar Outlet Car Show was attended by several club members. Bill and Mary Newman brought both their 1972 Mini Clubman and the 2016 MINI Cooper S Coupe, along with some needed shade from a canopy. Larry and Marcia McCartt brought their 1977 MGB, John Sergeant his MGA, Mike Wheeler his MGB, and John and Heather Dent their Bentley. Chris Cosden had his MG TD and Ed O’Neal brought his Austin-Healey 3000.
We did our birthday celebration for Tom Brewsaugh and Gary Dworkin. A dessert was provided by Famous Dave’s.
Upcoming events — As of the meeting date, there was an upcoming race at Sebring Raceway on July 20-21. It also would be a Drivers School and Enduro.
The Safety Harbor Show is slated for October 27th, and we always have a lot of members attend.
The McCartts talked about a cruise that they will look into for a future event. Also we will look into the Muscle Car City Car Shows to see if they are something the club would like to be involved with.
The Gold Coast British Sports Car Club will be getting together with our club for dinner on December 1st at the British Open Pub in Bonita Springs.
The Christmas Party was discussed. We are looking at various options along with having the party at the December meeting date at our usual location.
The 50/50 raffle was held and won by our Vice President, Ken Taylor.
The meeting adjourned. —Mary Newman, Secretary
My history with cars goes back to when I took my driver’s training class in the summer of 1966. I took my test that fall in my aunt’s 1962 Corvair. I had some hand-me-down American cars until my senior year of college, when I purchased my 1966 Corvair Monza convertible. It cost $600. How times have changed.
After the Corvair I went through a series of small cars until I met my husband Bill in the early 1980s. He had a 1976 Triumph Spitfire, which was his daily driver.
Bill purchased the car from a British Leyland dealer in Baton Rouge, La. (We still have that car today.) He was autocrossing the Spit at the time and invited me to bring my 1982 RX-7 and give it a try. So I got involved in autocrossing also.
Before we got married we both did a Skip Barber Driving School at Roebling Road Raceway outside of Savannah, Ga. That started the racing bug for Bill, and I was content being crew chief. Many years later he went back racing in the Vintage car group with the Sports Car Club of America.
We have had three British racecars. The first one was a 1964 Triumph Spitfire roadster. It really was a cute little car with an 1147 motor. Bill wanted more power, so when an opportunity arose to buy a 1972 Triumph GT6 we jumped on it.
The GT6 has been a pretty reliable car. It is in Group 44 colors and looks great.
A few years later we traded the little Spit racecar along with some cash for a 1965 Triumph Spitfire Le Mans Coupe Replica, which we sold back to the original owner after a few track mishaps.
Our other British acquisitions included a 1970 red Triumph GT6. We did some mechanical work on it and sold it. Bill said it fought him all the way (but I think most of them do).
We also owned a 1969 Spit-Six, which we took off the hands of a guy going through a divorce. We did not do much with that car and found a willing buyer.
One of our less satisfying acquisitions was a 1972 Jensen-Healey. It was a beautiful yellow convertible, for which we traded a pontoon boat to our neighbor. It had a bad habit of dying at the top of bridges. We sold that car to a young man who told us he never had trouble with Lucas electrics in the past. I’m sure it gave him a new perspective on that subject.
Another car that was in our stable for a while was a 1960 Bugeye that we rescued in Fort Myers. It was in good shape but needed some restoration and we finally realized that we did not have the time or the energy to do it. We sold that car to a good home, and hopefully we will see it out and about one day.
In 1999 Bill and I went to the Mini 40th Birthday Celebration at Silverstone Raceway and saw over 5,000 Minis in all different body styles and configurations. It was there that we saw the introduction of the new MINI One. It was in a giant bubble and piqued our interest — so much so that in December 2002, we took delivery of our 2003 Chili Red MINI. I named her Chili Girl, and that was the start of my love affair with my MINI.
When we picked her up she had a big bow on her bonnet, and we received a snow globe with a MINI in the city inside. We also were sent several other goodies throughout the next year. A special MINI mug was my favorite. I’m still using it.
Bill really wanted to drive the new MINI more but I used her as my daily driver to work. Ultimately we ordered his 2005 Hyper Blue Metallic with a British flag on the roof.
In 2005 we went to the British Grand Prix at Silver-stone and arranged a trip to tour the new MINI factory outside Oxford. It was the first tour of an automobile factory I had ever taken and it was very impressive.
I have driven my MINI over 164,000 miles. She just had a new paint job that makes her look like she just came off the showroom floor.
Our Mini saga went on after we purchased a classic 1972 Clubman from our friends. It is our primary show car and has won some trophies. We have really enjoyed the little purple Mini. It is right-hand drive and people ask us if it is legal in this country.
Our most recent acquisition is a 2016 Mini Cooper S, for which we traded in our 2005 MINI. It is much different from my MINI in that it has a lot of technology. No key, but a fob that you have to have in the car. The start-up procedure takes a while to get used to.
I am still in love with my MINI and intend to have many more adventures with her.
Our club was invited to bring our cars to the Miramar Outlets Mall on Father’s Day, June 17th, for a car show.
One of the local hot rod clubs, the Cool Cruisers, has a monthly display at the mall and wanted to expand the show with our British cars for Father’s Day. Since many of our members travel north for the summer, I called the other local British car clubs, Triumphs of Southwest Florida and the Jaguar Club of Southwest Florida, to round up a few more cars.
The parking lot venue was on a lake, but shade was very scarce with the Florida sun shining brightly in the 90°-plus heat.
Mary and I brought the 1972 Mini Clubman and the 2016 MINI Cooper S. We also brought some shade and a lot of cold water.
There were several MGs — Chris Cosden’s 1952 TD, Larry and Marcia McCartt’s MGB and Mike Wheeler’s MGB. John and Angela Sergeant brought their MGA.
John and Heather Dent came in style with their 2007 Bentley. Ed O’Neal brought his Austin-Healey 3000. Representing the Triumphs were Dennis McKinley with his TR7 and Mark Shilen with his TR6.
The Mall provided some free raffle prizes, free water, and lots of shopping.
We all lasted about four hours, escaping before the afternoon rains came down. —Bill Newman
ARCADIA, Fla. — Before Pearl Harbor there was a need to establish flying schools in the United States. South Florida became the site for two that were important British training schools: the British Number 5 at Riddle Field in Clewiston, and the US School at Carlstrom Field in Arcadia. Carlstrom Field opened in June 1941 and Riddle field opened in September 1941.
During the course of their training several young pilots had accidents and 23 died. The British authorities requested a burial spot for the fallen pilots. Five plots of adequate size were set aside for this purpose, along with two extra plots for meditation and memorials.
At Carlstrom Field training was with planes of simple design, such as the PT-17s. At Clewiston advanced trainers, the BT-13s and AT-6s, were used.
Each year a formal commemorative service is held at the British Plot in Arcadia’s Oak Ridge Cemetery by the Rotary Club of Arcadia. The British Car Club of Southwest Florida has participated in this event for many years. Each year our club has presented a memorial wreath for placement at the plot.
This year’s ceremony included memorial comments by Brigadier General Bradley Swanson of the US Central Command at Mac Dill Air Force Base, Tampa, Fla. He had been stationed in England for several years and was a pilot himself.
Our Club President, Bill Newman, presented our wreath for the ceremony. Also attending were Cecil Carter and Isabel Munoz from the club.
A PT-17 under restoration was at the memorial, having been brought there by Hal Thompson (see photo). The turnout was lower than in past years because of the threat of rain. We all then met up again at the Celtic Ray Pub in Punta Gorda for some lunch.
The June 12th meeting was called to order by President Bill Newman at 6:30 p.m.
Mary Newman gave the Secretary’s report. She stated the minutes were on the website and also in the British Marque. Mary Newman, also interim Treasurer, reported we had three new members, which brings the membership to 87 members. A motion was made to accept the report and seconded.
Ken Taylor made a motion to nominate Tom Brewsaugh as Treasurer. Larry McCart seconded the motion and the motion passed. Tom is the new Treasurer.
On May 27th the club attended the Memorial Day Service at the British Plot at the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Arcadia, Fla. Bill and Mary Newman and Cecil and Isabel Munoz attended from our club and placed a wreath at the plot containing 23 British pilots who died while training in Florida. After the event the group proceeded to the Celtic Ray in Punta Gorda for lunch.
On June 9th and 10th Kenny Taylor raced at Sebring in the vintage races, stating it rained on Saturday but was dry on Sunday.
Bill asked for an organizer for the Christmas Party. We can have it the usual meeting location if no one steps forward.
Miramar Outlets has contacted us about a car display on June 17th we have contacted the membership and hope to have a turnout.
There is a SCCA vintage race on the weekend of July 21st and 22nd at Sebring on the short course. It is a Drivers School also, along with an Enduro.
The 50/50 was held and the meeting then adjourned.—Mary Newman, Secretary
When I was in college in New England in the ’60s, I was not allowed to own or operate a car on campus because I was on financial aid. All the rich kids were tooling around in MGs and Triumphs, and I was very jealous.
Last term senior year, this limitation was relaxed, the school aware of soon-to-be-alumni from whom they would be soliciting donations. My dad gave me some money as a graduation present to buy a car.
I found a 1961 Morgan owned by a Harvard student. The price was more than I had, so I called my mom and secretly got her to give me some more money under the table. I quickly hitchhiked to Cambridge, and bought it. I spent many hours during that last term working on the car, replacing floorboards, making side curtains, etc.
I took it on a road trip, revving the engine up to red line, and it threw a rod and broke the camshaft, and I was stuck by the side of the road. I found a garage that worked on British cars, and the guy offered to swap the engine of a TR3 he had for $250. That bill ended up being $400, and since I didn’t have any money, I went into the financial aid office and begged them to increase my student loan. They looked at my record, and increased my scholarship by $400, not knowing what it was for!
On graduation, I took the car home to Chicago and enjoyed driving it for two years, then got Jaguar fever and spent my entire annual salary on an XKE. I sold the Morgan to my best friend, who started to restore it. He eventually burned out, and the car sat in his garage in Chicago for 45 years.
I bought the car back from him in 2016, and after all those years, got back the very car I had in college. I decided to complete the restoration. After two years, the restoration is now finished, so everything has been renewed, and it now has a new TR4 engine with more power. It is a beauty, a real gem.
It has been a 50-year saga, and now that the car is done, I am thinking of moving on, so I will put it on the market. If interested you can contact me at email@example.com!
The May Luncheon Run to the Celtic Ray Public House in Punta Gorda was attended by a small but happy group on May 5th. Cinco de Mayo at an Irish pub may seem strange, but the Celtic Ray actually has the best tacos in Punta Gorda.
Mary and I met Larry and Marcia McCartt with their MGB at a shopping plaza and were joined by Tom Howard, a potential new member with a nice black MGA. Tom made part of the Run but had to get home due to some visiting relatives.
We arrived at the Pub to find Mike Wheeler with his MGB along with Aldis and Janet Lemesis with their late model Jaguar. Soon joining the group were Sindy and Carl Steinberg with their Mini Panel Van, and Cecil Carter and Isabel Munoz with his “British” Honda.
We were fortunate to be able to sit together since we were the first customers in this very busy pub. The group enjoyed great conversation and good food and drink.
The Celtic Ray Public House is owned by Irishman Kevin Doyle, who is a big fan of all Minis, both old and new. The Pub is listed on Foursquare as #5 on a list of the top 25 most popular pubs in America! —Bill Newman
The May 8th meeting was called to order by President Bill Newman at 6:30 p.m. A smaller group was present due to the absence of the seasonal residents. There were no new members or guests.
Our Secretary, Mary Newman, reported that the minutes of the last meeting were on the website. She also asked for people to submit articles for British Marque Car Club News.
We celebrated the May birthdays of the members present. Mary also asked to let her know if you have not received e-mails about upcoming events.
Treasurer Jackie Hill gave her report and stated that there were 84 paid members. This was Jackie’s last report, as she has resigned from being Treasurer because she and her husband Lionel have sold their home and are moving to North Florida. They were presented with a gift card for their past years of service to the club.
President Bill asked for a volunteer for Treasurer but no one volunteered. A motion was made by Vice President Ken Taylor for Mary Newman to be interim Secretary/Treasurer. It was seconded by Tom Brewsaugh. The motion carried.
Past events — The Jaguar Club of Southwest Florida held an event in Port Charlotte and several club members attended. They included John Welch, Cecil Carter, Al Iagnemmo, Gary Dworkin, and Linda and Bob Ray.
The local Triumph Club held a cruise-in at Nathan’s Hot Dogs in Fort Myers. Attendees from our club included Lionel and Jackie Hill, Peter Sales, Larry and Marcia McCartt and John Liversedge.
President Bill sponsored a luncheon run to the Celtic Ray Pub in Punta Gorda on May 5th (see accompanying article). Attendees included Bill and Mary Newman, Larry and Marcia McCartt, Cecil Carter and Isabel Munoz, Mike Wheeler, Aldis and Janet Lemesis, and Carl and Sindy Steinberg.
Upcoming events (as of the meeting date)
May 28 — Memorial Day Service at the British Pilots Plot at the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Arcadia, Fla. The group will meet at the McDonald’s at Jones Loop Road and I-75 at 8:15 a.m.
June 9-10 — Vintage Race on the Short Course at Sebring International Raceway.
Other business — Peter Sales had a question about sending out other clubs’ newsletters with our e-mail list. President Bill explained he did not give permission for that and will not promote competing clubs.
The 50/50 raffle was held. President Bill asked for a volunteer to organize the Christmas Party. No one volunteered.
The meeting adjourned.—Mary Newman, Secretary
The story of this car is the automotive history of four men in England, whose actions created the stuff well suited for a movie:
Wilbur Gunn, a Scottish-American and former opera singer, who emigrated to England and became a British citizen in 1891. He worked as a speedboat and motorcycle engineer in Staines, Surrey, UK, where he founded the Lagonda Company in 1906. He named the company after the Shawnee name of a creek close to Springfield, Ohio, where he was born.
Gunn had originally built motorcycles on a small scale in the back of his house with reasonable success, including a win on the 1905 London-Edinburgh race. In 1907 he built his first car, the 20hp, 6-cylinder Torpedo, with which he won the Moscow-St. Petersburg race of 1910.
After Gunn’s death in 1920, Lagonda continued to develop cars with groundbreaking technologies, but had continuous financial problems.
Alan Good, an Irish entrepreneur, outbid Rolls-Royce in 1935 to buy the assets of the bankrupt Lagonda Company, which was the beginning of a fierce competition.
Walter Owen Bentley found himself in a difficult situation after Rolls-Royce bought his company. They forced him to stay on for three years, but kept him away from the engineering department and pushed Rolls-Royce engines into Bentley cars.
“W.O.,” very frustrated, joined Lagonda in 1935, in spite of their small-scale business facilities. He developed a 4.5-liter V12 engine that consequently placed Lagonda in direct competition with Rolls-Royce and Daimler. The car debuted in 1937 and its race version won respectable results at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1939.
Towards the end of World War II, W.O. developed a new 2.6-liter inline six-cylinder for a smaller car to position Lagonda between Rover and Rolls-Royce. Alan Good had started the advertisement for the new car already in 1944 by promoting the Bentley connection with the new Lagonda. Since Rolls-Royce owned rights to the Bentley name, they sued Lagonda successfully, which ruined Alan Good.
David Brown, a British entrepreneur, saw in 1947 a classified advertisement in The Times offering for sale a “High Class Motor Business.” Brown acquired it — Aston Martin — for £20,500, but discovered that they had only old engines and chassis constructions. When Lagonda became for sale in 1948, he bought it for £52,500 to get his hands on the Bentley engine. Lagonda moved in with Aston Martin in Feltham, Middlesex, and production resumed with the latest prototype from W.O., the 1948 DB (for David Brown) 2.6-Litre, with a new chassis featuring fully independent suspension. Its new 2580cc twin overhead cam straight-six became the basis for the Aston Martin engines of the 1950s.
In 1953 Brooklands of Bond Street purchased the last sixteen 2.6 Mk2 rolling chassis and had them bodied by Tickford in a more modern style. After Brooklands’ sales success with the new design, Lagonda decided to produce these cars themselves.
The new body was still all-aluminum-over-ash-frame, but became too heavy for the 2.6-Litre engine. Therefore, the engine was enlarged to 3-Litre, producing 140bhp.
The car featured built-in hydraulic jacks as standard equipment as well as trafficators (semaphore turning signals). At the front there were coil springs and the De Dion rear axle used torsion bars. The Lockheed drum brakes, 12” at the front and 11” at the rear, were servo-assisted, and steering was by a rack-and-pinion system.
Like its predecessor, the DB 3-Litre was available as a four-seat, two-door coupé or as a drophead coupé, produced by the coach builder Tickford — which David Brown took over in 1955, moving Aston Martin and Lagonda to their Newport Pagnell facility. A four-door saloon was introduced in 1954, and the two-door coupé was discontinued in 1956.
The 3-Litre was more expensive than its competitors, and a total of just 270 of the three body styles were sold. The convertible ended production in 1957 (ca. 55 made), with the saloon following one year later.
The Florida Connection
Jeri and Hermann Schaller (yours truly) moved full-time to Punta Gorda, Fla., in the summer of 2014.
Unfortunately, their vacation house in Harbour Heights didn’t have enough garage space for their two BMWs and the 1949 Triumph Roadster 2000, so they sold “Lord Callaby,” as they had named their Triumph. Three years later, they finished a new house that included a four-car garage, and they went looking for their next classic car.
Jeri liked one of the cars in the PBS TV series Grandchester. Hermann needed three days to find out that this car was a Lagonda DB 3-Litre Drophead Coupé.
While the car fulfilled the important requirements — all-aluminum body, inline six-cylinder, four-seater convertible, affordable price level — there was no car to be found for sale in the US.
Knowing that some cars are mostly traded between people in the respective car club, Hermann joined the Lagonda Club in the UK. Through e-mails, he learned that perhaps one member was willing to part with his car. Some planned vacation travel was adjusted to be able to meet him and other members at the club’s annual meeting in South England. At the end of that day, three members had offered their cars, but the prices seemed to be one condition level higher than the cars!
Back in Florida, I saw an advertisement from a Portuguese car dealer on a Swiss website. Several e-mails later, the owner of a restoration company in Porto drove three hours to Lisbon to review the car and supply Jeri and me with a detailed report. Since nothing looked too bad in the report, price negotiations led to a deal to be finalized in person in Lisbon.
On November 14, 2017, the personal inspection, test drive and paper stuff were all done, and the car could go on its long voyage to Miami, where, with the help of good friends, I would pick it up the car on December 29, 2017, and bring it to Punta Gorda.
This car was finished on July 8, 1954, and delivered to a Mrs. E. Segrave at North Heath House in Chieveley, Newbury, Berkshire, on July 24, 1954, a long way from Lisbon and Punta Gorda. As much as the international Lagonda Club knows, this car is the only DB 3-Litre DHC in North America.
Jeri and I named the car “Largo de Lisboa” because of its relatively large size (for a European car) and the place where we found it. We want to bring “Largo” back to its original grandeur and will work on an intensive technical and optical overhaul. After that you might see it driving around Southwest Florida, because it will not stay in the garage or become a “trailer queen”!
WINTER PARK, Fla. — Three BCCSWF members headed in convoy for the 34th Winter Park All-British Classic Car Show held on Saturday, April 7th.
The 160-mile journey went well, apart from the usual traffic jams along the various family park/Kissimmee sections of I-4 that test the inevitable hot engines and the driver’s patience — all forgotten by the time we enjoyed a cold beer with club members at the Fiddler’s Green Irish Pub Meet & Greet!
On arrival at the show we joined about 180 other British classics spread around the many large shade trees, and almost immediately met John Dent, another club member, who had arrived ahead of us. We all enjoyed a wonderful day walking, talking, viewing and voting other attendees’ cars.
At 2 p.m. the trophy presentations took place. John Dent took a 1st with his 2013 XKR-S in the XK Jaguar class. Lionel Hill collected a 2nd for “Spiffy,” his 1962 MGA. My 1962 Jaguar Mk2 (“Lady Jane”) also took a 1st in the older Jag saloon class.
Dennis McKinley’s 1981 Triumph TR7 didn’t gain a trophy this time but, like everyone involved, he was full of praise for the Central Florida British Car Club who, once again, had organized a bloomin’ lovely car show! —Peter Sales
Winners at our Club Picnic! Left to right: Rich Lesinski, Trish Maue, Mike Wheeler and Isabel Munoz.
Photo by Mary Newman
Bill Newman, BCCSWF President, called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. There were no new members or guests to introduce.
Mary Newman, Secretary, said the minutes of the March meeting were on the website. She also stated that anyone not receiving e-mails should see her after the meeting to sort out the issues. Jackie Hill, the Treasurer gave her financial report and stated we have 82 paid members.
Old business and past events — March 11th, Mike Wheeler attended the “Cruise for the Cure” Car Show. He stated he won a raffle prize and there were a lot of nice cars.
March 31st was the club’s annual Picnic at the Franklin Locks in Alva, Fla. About 31 people attended and many people helped make the Picnic a success. Trish Maue and Mary Newman set up for the Picnic and also shopped for the food. Vice President Ken Taylor and President Bill Newman cooked the food. Cecil Carter and Isabel Munoz organized the games (along with a few others), and the attendees brought a side dish to complement the hamburgers and hot dogs.
After we ate, Cecil solicited participants for horseshoes and a corn hole game. After a rousing competition, the winners both male and female won gift cards to local restaurants. Winners were, for horseshoes, Trish Maue (Ladies) and Rich Lesinski (Men), and for corn hole, Isabel Munoz (Ladies) and Mike Wheeler (Men).
On April 7th, Peter Sales, Jackie and Lionel Hill, Dennis McKinley and John Dent attended Winter Park show. John Dent took a 1st place with his Jaguar XKS. Peter Sales took a 1st with his Jaguar Mk2. Lionel and Jackie took a 2nd with their MGA.
Upcoming events — On May 5th is the Luncheon Run to the Celtic Ray Pub in Punta Gorda. The Secretary will send out an e-mail about the details.
Memorial Day, May 28th, at the RAF Fallen Pilots plot in Arcadia Oak Ridge Cemetery, the club will present a wreath for the ceremony. Details will be given at the May meeting.
April birthdays were celebrated. The 50/50 raffle was held, after which the meeting adjourned. —Mary Newman, Secretary
Several car shows have been held this past month or so in and around Southwest Florida. A number of our members not only participated, but also were awarded trophies for their beautiful cars.
On February 17th, Jaycee Park in Cape Coral was the site of a charity car show that was attended by members Bill and Mary Newman, Mike Wheeler and Al Iagnemmo. Al won two trophies at the show, one for being in the Top 20 and for Best in Show, with his beautiful red XK140.
The BIG Show (British, Italian and German) was also held at Jaycee Park in Cape Coral on March 4th. The show was very well attended by a group of our members, including trophy winners Jan Lindberg for his 1970 TR6, Carl and Sindy Steinberg for their 1969 MGC GT and 1970 Mini Panel Van, Gary Dworkin for his 1952 Jaguar XK120 DHC, Peter Sales for his 1962 Jaguar Mk2, Gary Robinson for his 1967 Austin-Healey Sprite, Janet Lemesis for her 2001 BMW Z3, Robert Frost for his 1972 Ferrari 365 GTC Spyder, and Dennis McKinley for his 1965 Triumph TR4A.
Also attending were Bill and Mary Newman, John Welch, Lionel and Jackie Hill, Cecil Carter, Rich Olson and Al Iagnemmo.
I apologize if I missed anyone. We all enjoyed the venue and hope to attend next year.
Thirty British cars participated in Cars-on-Fifth, in Naples, Fla., on Saturday, February 10th.
Cars-on-Fifth is one of the premier car events held in Southwest Florida. The event, which is sponsored by the Ferrari Club of Naples, showcases more than 500 cars along Naples’ Fifth Avenue. The British Car Club of Southwest Florida is one of the supporting organizations. Proceeds from the event are donated to St. Matthew’s House, an agency that provides services to indigent individuals in the area. Last year’s event hosted approximately 50,000 spectators and raised approximately $250,000.
The day was perfect for displaying the cars. Temperatures were in the mid-80s without a cloud in sight. The British cars gathered early in the morning in a nearby shopping plaza and at 7:15 a.m. caravanned to Fifth Avenue. There were no causalities along the way, and by 8:00 a.m. all cars were in place. There was a good mix of British marques that included Aston Martin, Jaguar, MG, Triumph and Lotus.
By 10 a.m. Fifth Avenue was crowded with spectators who appreciated all of the cars, especially the British cars. A local band, multiple vendors, and several hospitality hosts added to the festive atmosphere.
In keeping with tradition, at 3:45 p.m. all cars were started and the police-escorted exit parade began. The drivers proudly took their places among the cars and slowly exited Fifth Avenue, thus enabling all to admire their cars. —Cecil Carter
FT. MYERS, Fla. — President Bill Newman called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. on March 13th. Brian Sumard was introduced as a new member. His car is a 2002 Jaguar XK8.
The Secretary, Mary Newman, reported minutes of the last meeting (which are on the website) and also asked for “My Car” articles for the British Marque. Jackie Hill, Treasurer, gave her report and stated we had 80 paid members as of this meeting.
Past events — Several members attended the Charity Car Show on February 17th held at Jaycee Park in Cape Coral. Bill and Mary Newman, Mike Wheeler and Al Iagnemmo all attended. Al won Best in Show in his Jaguar XK140 and also a trophy for being in the top 20.
The BIG Show (British, Italian and German) was held at Jaycee Park in Cape Coral on March 4th. The Triumph Club of Southwest Florida put on the show. There was a large turnout and the show was in a beautiful location with great weather. Dennis McKinley and the members of his committee, which consisted of members from each of the clubs represented, did a great job of organizing the event. There were 188 cars representing many years and models. An article with details of the participants from the club and winners will be in the April Marque.
[See accompanying article.]
Dennis McKinley and Rollie Welch participated in an Alfa Romeo rally that went from Port Charlotte to Lake Wales. The weather was chilly and windy.
Steve Emmerman gave a report on the 22nd Annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, which was held on March 8-10. Bill Warner organized the show and the Honoree was Al Unser, Sr. The only difficulty was the weather, and the main event was moved to Saturday. There was a very large crowd, and the Concours, Cars & Coffee at the Concours, the RM/Sotheby’s auction, the seminars, and the ride-and-drives all happened on Saturday.
Upcoming events — The club will host its annual picnic at the Franklin Locks on March 31st. The Secretary will send out the details and we hope to have many members attend.
The “Wheels Across the Pond” show, an all-British event, will be held in Jupiter, Fla., on Saturday, March 31st, at Carlin Park. The 34th Annual All-British Show will be held in Winter Park, Fla., on April 7th.
The Jaguar Club of Southwest Florida will host the 1st Annual Southeast Regional Jaguar Concours d’Elegance April 14-15. The event will be held at the Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center.
The club will be getting together for a luncheon run to the Celtic Ray in Punta Gorda on May 5th. More details will follow.
On May 28th the club will participate at the Memorial Day British Pilot ceremony at the Arcadia Cemetery. More details will be discussed at upcoming meetings.
The 50/50 raffle was held. The meeting adjourned. —Mary Newman, Secretary
On January 20th, Florida Gulf Coast University held their annual car show on the main Ft. Myers campus. Five members of the BCCSWF attended this event, arriving at car lot #5 to find around 400 or more cars, trucks and exotics filling every available space, reflecting superb support for the chosen American Heart Association charity.
Unlike typical classic car shows where the average age of owners is 60 or older, it was totally refreshing to be surrounded by young guys moving around the show in great excitement admiring cars of virtually every marque, which had been heavily modified for unique looks and, in many cases, amazing engine/transmission upgrades! These transformations clearly require incredible skills, determination, hard-earned money and patience while (hopefully?) concentrating on meeting curriculum grades.
The exotics were located in a special area and wowed everyone with the frequent sound of engines being revved to moderate levels. Talking about sound — no ’60s rock-and-roll here, more current sounds with a heavy bass!
It felt good to realize that many of these guys could well be searching out and restoring these cars in 30-40 years’ time, probably to demonstrate how exciting transport was before autonomous vehicles!
A total of 20 trophies were presented, with four going to our BCCSWF group including one Best of Show (1962 Jaguar E-type Roadster).
The City of Ft. Myers, Fla., always holds the Caloosahatchee Celtic Festival on the fourth Saturday in January, with live performances of the best Celtic national and international touring artists. There are many vendors selling Irish and Scottish items, lots of good food, and of course the Guinness beer is flowing. The City invites the British Car Club of Southwest Florida each year to display our cars, and provides trophies for the best cars of each decade as voted by the Festival attendees.
On January 27th of this year our club had 22 participants with a variety of cars covering the 1950s through the 2000s. We all assembled at a spot near the Festival entrance and lined up by vehicle age. Rich Olson in his MG TD led the way into the gate about 9 a.m., but had to get out to move tables and other obstacles so that the rest of the group could get into position along the Caloosahatchee (thanks, Rich, for your efforts).
The weather was perfect for this time of year in Florida and the crowd seemed to enjoy the cars. Voting lasted until 2 p.m. and trophies were awarded on the music stage at about 2:30.
Results are as follows:
1950s and earlier: Rich Olson, 1952 MG TD.
1960s: Clayton Rizor, 1966 Jaguar XKE.
1970s: Carl Steinberg, 1970 Mini Panel Van.
1980s and later: John Welch, 2007 Jaguar XK.
I thank all of our members who attended this event and hope to see all of you again next year. —Bill Newman
FT. MYERS, Fla. — The meeting was called to order by President Bill Newman at 6:30 p.m. Guests and new members were recognized — Kurt and Kimberley Hasterman, who have a Jaguar XKR, and Rick Fitzgerald, who has a 1980 Triumph Spitfire.
Bill also recognized George Krause and displayed the article in the Grandeur magazine regarding his ’53 TR3, and acknowledged the death of past member Tom Bruno, who passed away in January.
Mary Newman gave the Secretary’s report and stated the minutes were on the website. Also she stated she will be sending e-mails about upcoming events, but club members should also look at the website and attend meetings.
Jackie Hill gave the Treasurer’s report and stated we had 73 members. Cy Ling passed around pictures from the Shell Point Car Display in which several club members participated.
Past event reports included:
January 20 — FGCU Car Show. Four members took trophies, including Al Lemesis with Best in Show.
January 27 — Celtic Festival. Good weather, and four trophies were awarded: Rich Olson, 1952 MG TD Clayton Rizor, 1966 Jaguar XKE Carl Steinberg, 1970 Mini Panel Van and John Welch, 2007 Jaguar XK.
January 27 — Jackie and Lionel Hill along with Peter and Pam Sales went to the Highlands Festival in Sarasota, Fla. Lionel and Jackie placed 2nd.
February 10 — Cars on Fifth I, Naples, Fla. Weather was good, and 30 British cars attended — and numerous Ferraris and Corvettes.
February 10 — Race in Sebring. Club members Bill Newman and Ken Taylor competed and Tom Brewsaugh worked corners and flagging.
Upcoming events (as of the meeting date) included:
February 17 — Charity Car Show, Jaycee Park, Cape Coral, Fla.
February 18 — Gold Coast Car Show, Boca Raton, Fla.
March 4 — BIG Show, Jayce Park, Cape Coral, FL.
March 31 — British Car Club Picnic moved to March 31st due to over booking at Franklin Locks Picnic Pavilion.
March 31 — Wheels Across the Pond, Jupiter, Fla.
April 7 — All-Brit Show, Winter Park, Fla.
April TBD — Cruise to Celtic Ray Pub in Punta Gorda, Fla., for lunch.
December 8 — Luncheon with the Gold Coast British Sports Car Club.
Meeting adjourned. —Mary Newman, Secretary
LAKELAND, Fla. — Saturday, October 21st, presented a dilemma for members of the British Car Club of Southwest Florida. The 31st All-British Car Show at Safety Harbor sponsored by the Tampa Bay Austin-Healey Club was scheduled on October 21st, as was the Lake Mirror Concours, which is the featured event of the Lakeland Auto Show weekend. Having two outstanding car shows scheduled for that same day forced us to make the decision which to attend. While a number of us once again attended the Safety Harbor show, a few of us entered our cars in the Lake Mirror Concours.
The Lake Mirror Concours promotes high standards in the classic automobiles it selects. A selection committee carefully reviews all applicants. Due to these high standards, additional information is requested for registration. The criteria listing informs attendees that although a former national show winner will certainly command attention, the selection committee is equally interested in original, unrestored, rare and unusual cars.
Which brings us to yours truly, Aldis and Janet Lemesis. We proudly represented the BCCSWF by entering our 1962 E-type.
A great time was had by all at the pre-show reception and on Saturday, the 21st, when the competition began. To make a long story short, our E-type was awarded a runner-up in Foreign Division Group 1, which covers cars produced up to 1972.
Club member Gary Dworkin also entered his 1953 XK120 Jaguar but ended up just short in the judging. Club member John Dent also attended the event.
[Congratulations to Aldis and Janet for their strong showing at the nationally-known Lake Mirror event!]
A new year of enjoying our British cars is upon us. I want to thank our outgoing officers, VP Gary Dworkin, Secretary Rollie Welch, and Treasurer Lauren Welch. All served above and beyond my requirements during the past year of my Presidency. I will continue to serve as President this year with the help of VP Ken Taylor, Secretary Mary Newman, and Treasurer Jackie Hill.
By the time you read this issue our members will have participated in car shows at Shell Point Village, Florida Gulf Coast University and the Ft. Myers Celtic Festival. During February and March, the club will be participants in the Naples “Cars on Fifth” Show, Vintage Racing at Sebring, a Poker Run, the British, Italian and German Show put on by the Triumph Club, and our Annual Picnic on March 24th. We hope to have articles on these events in upcoming issues of the Marque.
I am looking to our membership to chair some luncheon/breakfast runs throughout the coming months, as well as any other events that may be of interest. Please join us at our meetings and bring up your ideas. —Bill Newman
FT. MYERS, Fla., Jan. 9 — President Bill Newman called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. Bill introduced guest Joan Maupin, who had brought pictures of her Morgan that she has for sale. He also introduced Herman Schuller, who spoke about the various British cars he had along with the Lagonda that he currently has.
Rollie Welch gave a report on the Shellpoint Retirement Community car display that we participated in on January 6th. We had a good group that attended and the residents were happy to see the cars and were very interested about the various marques.
Mary Newman, the new Secretary, gave a report on the Christmas Party that was held on December 12th at the Hilton Garden Inn in Ft. Myers. Everyone seemed to enjoy the British-themed party and the Christmas crackers. Jackie and Lionel Hill were given the Outstanding Achievement Award and Lauren and Rollie Welch were recognized for their service as club officers.
Jackie Hill, the new Treasurer, gave a report on the membership and the need to pay your dues to continue receiving British Marque. She also stated that members need to send their changes of address to the Marque in order to make sure that they can get the paper to the correct address.
Bill announced birthdays for December and January, and the members that were present received a special treat.
Bill discussed upcoming events, including a rally with the Alfa Club and an upcoming car show at Florida Gulf Coast University on January 20th. The British Car Club also participates in the Celtic Festival in Ft. Myers on January 27th, which we have for a number of years.
Other upcoming events included:
February 10 — Vintage and Regional SCCA Races on the Long Course, Sebring, Fla.
February 13 — Regular club meeting, Famous Dave’s, Ft. Myers, Fla.
February 18 — Gold Coast British Sports Car Club All-British Classic at Boca Raton, Fla.
March 4 — Triumphs of Southwest Florida’s B.I.G. Show, Jaycee Park, Cape Coral, Fla.
March 13 — Regular club meeting, Famous Dave’s, Ft. Myers, Fla.
March 24 – Annual Club Picnic, Franklin Locks Park, 11 a.m.
A 50/50 raffle was held, and the meeting adjourned at 7:30 p.m. —Mary Newman, Secretary
SAFETY HARBOR, Fla., Oct. 20 — It was a lovely, warm morning for traveling to Safety Harbor for the 31st Annual All-British Field Meet & Autojumble organized by the Tampa Bay Austin-Healey Club. (The actual show would be held the following day on the 21st.)
The first leg of the journey required driving north from Ft. Myers on busy I-75 in a caravan of British cars. Several ex-members of the BCCSWF now live in the Sarasota, which meant a quick stop to rendezvous with them.
None of the vehicles experienced car problems, and we arrived in plenty of time to book into our various hotels. We all joined up for the Meet & Greet, held this year at the Paradise Restaurant on Main Street in Safety Harbor. Each year for the show, Main Street gets blocked on Friday and Saturday for vendor booths on Friday and the entire show on Saturday.
After eating our fill and meeting other club members we strolled up and down the vendors perusing all the goodies for sale until we decided it was time to get back to the hotel and have a good night’s sleep.
Last year we had a disaster when we unknowingly parked our MGA near a ground-level water sprinkler. When the water came on overnight, our poor MGA looked as though it had the measles! Learning from our mistake, this year we left our car at our hotel, parked in a safe spot away from those evil lawn sprinklers. We didn’t want to repeat the nearly two hours of hard work to remove those hard water spots.
The next morning began with a decent breakfast and we proceeded back to Main Street, which was already filling up with early-arriving British cars. By 10 a.m. all cars were in their allotted spaces and many spectators were straining their necks to check out the beautiful vehicles on display.
There were quite a few marques represented, highlighted by a large selection of Austin-Healey, MGA and MGB, Triumph, Jaguar and Mini vehicles. For once my husband Lionel and I agreed on our favorite, which was a fabulous claret red Triumph 1800 complete with dicky seat. What a super car.
The featured marque this year was the Land Rover, which was well represented with all ages of vehicles. Unfortunately, there was only one British motorbike on display, a Vincent Rapide. Hopefully word will get out to other British bike owners for next year’s show.
Throughout the day a fundraiser 50/50 raffle was held for the Special Olympics of Florida. At the award ceremony it was announced that the sum of $1,000 was to be donated to the fund. Well done, TBAHC, for raising that great amount and for once more putting on an excellent, well-organized show!
Six present members and one ex-member of BCCSWF participated in the event, with five cars taking awards. A pretty good percentage I would say!
They were Dennis McKinley, 1st place, Preservation Award, Triumph TR7 Lionel Hill, 1st place, MGA Bill and Mary Newman, 1st place, MINI New Generation John Liversedge, 3rd place, British Modified, MGB and Bruce Skaggs, ex-BCCSWF, 2nd place, Triumph TR7.
FT. MYERS, Fla., Nov. 14 — The November meeting of the BCCSWF was held at the usual location, Famous Dave’s in Ft. Myers, with 43 members attending.
Club President Bill Newman called the meeting to order at the earlier time of 6:30 p.m., following dinner. Bill made a point to welcome back many snowbirds who have returned to Southwest Florida for the winter months. A new guest was introduced who has recently upgraded from an S-type Jaguar to an XKR, which is one of 125 units of that type.
Rollie Welch again mentioned that the club always welcomes any articles to be presented to British Marque. Rollie also stated that the club minutes appear in British Marque each month.
There was a reminder about the display car show scheduled for Shell Point on Saturday, January 6, 2018. An e-mail roster of the cars and owners who agreed to take part in the display will soon be sent out to members.
The club received notice that our last-Saturday-of-the-month breakfast destination has re-opened after hurricane damage. Thus, there would be a breakfast gathering on Saturday, November 25th, at Mimi’s Café.
Mary Newman mentioned that plans for the annual Christmas/Holiday Party are going well. Club members were encouraged to sign up before November 22nd. There will be door prizes and “other little things going on” at the event. The cash bar will be open at 6 p.m. with dinner starting at 7 p.m. Members may combine payment of 2018 dues and Christmas Party registration.
As Webmaster, Mary also reinforced the need for photos if a member is selling a car or just wants to display a British vehicle. Cars for sale should include basic information such as price, contact info, style and make, year of car, etc.
Lauren Welch presented the Treasurer’s report. Following the Treasurer’s report, the group sang “Happy Birthday” to three members who have birthdays in November: Bill Newman, Jim Woodall and Cecil Carter.
Kiki outlined the plan for a poker run to benefit the Cape Coral Art League. The event will be Sunday, February 25th, and should last around two hours. All vehicles are welcome, but we would like a strong British car presence with at least two people per vehicle. The cost will be $20 per car with only the first 50 cars accepted, as the end-of-run restaurant can only hold 100 people. The poker hand will be seven to a hand with an eighth wild card to break ties. The cost will be $5 per poker hand. The event will be offered to several car clubs and T-shirts plus door prizes along with a 50-50 raffle will be included. More details will be forthcoming.
Bill mentioned several upcoming events: the car show at FGCU on Sunday, January 21st the Caloosahatchee Celtic Festival, Saturday, January 27th Cars on Fifth, Saturday, February 10th the car show at Cape Coral Jaycee Park, Sunday, February 18th Triumphs of Southwest Florida’s B.I.G. (British, Italian, German) Show, Sunday, March 4th the BCCSWF Club Picnic in March on the long course at Sebring, details to be announced and vintage racing in February, dates to be announced.
Changes in the club by-laws were outlined by Bill Newman. Two major changes were the elimination of the Activities Coordinator position along with a system for writing checks via the Treasurer. A motion was made to accept the changes and was seconded.
Club officers for 2018 are Bill Newman, President Kenny Taylor, Vice President Mary Newman, Secretary and Jackie Hill, Treasurer.
Racing update -- On October 14th, Kenny Taylor and Bill Newman raced at Sebring with Kenny taking a 1st in the first race and then Bill besting Kenny in the second. The weather then turned poor, which ended the racing. Bill described a serious wreck between a Lotus Elan and a BMW, which broke the doors off the Elan. The driver broke a few ribs and suffered a concussion but was back racing at Daytona soon after the accident.
Tom Brewsaugh talked about his corner work at the Daytona race for SCCA where six classes rotated time on the track for 24 hours. Tom mentioned there were Porsches, BMWs, Corvettes, Jaguars and many other types of cars, from the 1950s to the present. Again there was a serious accident, where a Nissan went over the top of an Aston Martin on the first turn. Thus, the last race was a three-lap affair.
Car show recaps -- John Dent talked about the fabulous Lakeland Auto Show and Lake Mirror Concours on October 21st, where between 500 and 600 cars were presented. Club member Gary Dworkin represented BCCSWF with his Jaguar named Winston.
Peter Sales attended the Jaguar 32nd Concours d’Elegance at St. Armand’s Circle in Sarasota on October 14th. Peter was impressed with the over 50 vintage cars on display in this great venue.
Jackie Hill and Bill Newman mentioned the club’s representation at the Safety Harbor show sponsored by the Tampa Bay Austin-Healey Club on October 21st. Jackie wrote a full-length article about the show to be included in the December British Marque (see accompanying article). Jackie and her husband Lionel were awarded a 1st place in the MGA class for their blue MGA named Spiffy.
John Welch took part in the Autoberfest at Naples on November 5th. Although many cars were there, only three of them were British.
Peter Sales won the 50/50 raffle of $51. There will not be a December meeting but instead the Christmas/Holiday Party will be held on December 12th. The next club meeting at Famous Dave’s will be on Tuesday, January 9th. --Rollie Welch
FT. MYERS, Fla., Oct. 10 — The October meeting of the BCCSWF was held at the usual location of Famous Dave’s in Ft. Myers, with 27 members attending. This was the first post-Hurricane Irma meeting and everyone seemed to have fared well following the storm.
Club President Bill Newman called the meeting to order at the earlier time of 6:30, following dinner.
Rollie Welch again mentioned that the club always welcomes any articles to be presented to the British Marque. Rollie also stated that the club minutes are submitted to the British Marque each month. Rollie recognized Peter Sales for sending “mystery photos” of vintage British cars as he visited car shows throughout England during the summer. Club members had great fun guessing the marque from the cropped photos. Among the mystery cars were a 1934 Lagonda Rapier and a 1933 Riley.
The Treasurer’s report was presented by Lauren Welch, who mentioned that the club membership now stands at an even 100. Following the Treasurer’s report, the group sang “Happy Birthday” to six members who have birthdays in either September or October: John Welch, Lauren Welch, Louise Krause, Barbara Liversedge, Ken Oehler, and Steve Ruppert.
Car shows are popping up now that the hot summer is waning. Several members were planning to make the trek to Safety Harbor for the British car show sponsored by the Tampa Bay Austin-Healey Club. The show would be Saturday, October 21st, but members were planning to make a weekend of it.
Club members were reminded about the need for attention when registration opens for “Cars on Fifth.” The BCCSWF is allotted a limited number of spots and they fill up quickly. Club members will be notified of a Cars on Fifth website password, and that password must be typed in to begin the registration process. Again, it fills up fast, so be alert! The registration will begin in mid-November. The date of the Cars on Fifth show will be Saturday, February 10, 2018.
Bill Newman spoke about the need for updating the club’s by-laws. The by-laws will be distributed to members via e-mail and open for discussion at the November meeting, which will be held on November 14th.
Lauren Welch spoke to the point that the club should vote on single expenses over $500. It seems a hack came through our President’s e-mail via the website asking the Treasurer to write a check for $1,700. Lauren, in her wisdom, did not act upon the rude request.
Bill and Mary Newman outlined plans for the Christmas/Holiday Party to be held at the Hilton Garden Inn on Tuesday night, December 12th. The cost will be $35 a ticket or $70 per couple. The cut-off date for reservations is November 22nd.
The club is seeking officers for year 2018. Bill asked Cecil Carter and Rollie Welch to take part on a nominating committee. Of course, volunteers for Secretary and Vice President are welcome. Tom Shaw has volunteered to be next year’s Treasurer. Bill would like members to step up and volunteer as organizers of different events such as a road rally, a tech session or a picnic. Speaking of the picnic, Lionel Hill has begged off being the grill cook and asked for anyone to take over the duties of hot dog and hamburger cooking.
Finally, George Krause mentioned that his son has written a book that is currently available to purchase on Amazon. The author is G. William Krause and the title is The Illustrated History of Triumph Sports and Racing Cars. The book was published on September 8, 2017, and sells for around $21.
Barbara Liversedge won the 50-50 raffle of $32. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, November 14th. —Rollie Welch
This summer while in England, I attended quite a few British car shows and thought it would be of interest to experience a bit of how car shows are presented in Great Britain.
The most recent event was called the Rye Summer Fair and held in the picturesque village of Micklesham. There were around 180 cars of all marques on display, but also folks were treated to many events including dog shows with obedience testing, a gun dog display, a contest for the best “amusing match of dogs’ looks to owner”, a falconry exhibit, an amateur horse gymkhana, a fox hunt group and all sorts of specialist stalls, a Pimm’s tent and various country style bric-a-brac outlets. All money collected from entry fees were passed on to worthy local charities.
Rye is two miles away from Micklesham and a “must see” historic town located on the south coast of East Sussex, with cobbled streets and many original medieval buildings including a 12th century church and the world famous Mermaid Inn built in 1420. Known as a Cinque Port, Rye and the surrounding area was prepared with heavy defense measures in the 14th century to protect Britain from invasion and strengthened in 1801 in preparations to fight Napoleon.
My wife Pam and I enjoyed the day with a typical English picnic, especially as we were able to spend time with ex-BCCSWF member Ted Fleet, who attended with his 1955 MG TF 1500, which he bought in Florida during one of his visits a few years back.
When I decided to send my Le Mans Austin-Healey back to England in 2016, one of the reasons was that I longed to drive the back roads around the county of Sussex, where we live during summer months. The first summer was blighted with various problems with the Healey, however, and finally I replaced the gas tank and fuel line and had the carburetors totally rebuilt, plus did a few other maintenance actions. I’m pleased to report the car now seems to be quite reliable and running great!
We’ve attended several local car shows this year and met some very nice car guys who introduced me to a variety of events. This resulted in joining a group who get together as “the Austin A35 Club.” Various marques are represented and we all meet at a pre-arranged spot. Once there we’re given a route guidance sheet and off we drive.
Not being totally familiar with the area and traveling solo (my wife Pam couldn’t be on this particular joyride), I chose to fall behind a Ford twin-cam Cortina. It turned out this driver, along with his wife, was expert in the art of route navigation. For a few miles we joined the main A22 Eastbourne-to-London road before turning off into what are called B roads. In reality these are often merely a step up from ancient horse-and-cart tracks. They’re just about wide enough to take a current-model car with surfaces that, while originally smooth blacktop, are now a patchwork of finishes with an abundance of medium depth potholes. Twisting and turning of the steering wheel is needed to avoid the worst hazards, and our suspensions systems and seat designs certainly receive a workout!
The route was actually a lot of fun although I did ground my exhaust once and it was clear all drivers dreaded the possibility of cars coming in the opposite direction. Yet there were no major incidents, although on two occasions we had to rely on the courtesy of truck drivers who pulled over into field hedges to allow our classic car caravan to pass!
As can be seen from the photos the weather was very pleasant. In fact it was a little too warm, which sent the Healey temperature north of 180°F for most of the drive. At one point the Cortina suddenly pulled up and after quick map reading took a right, letting the main group proceed in the wrong direction!
Our destination turned out to be a lovely country pub where, by taking the correct route, we were the first cars to arrive. Drivers and passengers relaxed with a cool (if not cold) drink and awaited the main group, who arrived shortly after us safe and sound. We all ordered typical pub grub to enjoy before heading out in different directions and making our way home.
All in all the route covered about 50 miles and featured a very enjoyable group of classic enthusiasts — a classic British drive along classic country roads, thus resulting in an authentic classic British car day!
FORT MYERS, Fla., Aug. 8 — The August meeting of the BCCSWF took place at the usual location, Famous Dave’s in Fort Myers, with 27 members braving the oppressive evening heat.
As voted on during the July meeting, the starting time was 6:30 p.m., moved up from the prior 7 p.m. time. With President Bill Newman on vacation, Activities Coordinator Gary Dworkin conducted the meeting. Two new members/guests were introduced to the club: Dane Green, who owns a 1980 MGB that is in “so-so shape,” and Glenn Green, who owns a 2003 Jaguar S-type that is “keeping him busy.”
Kenny Taylor informed the group of the generous event sponsored by the SCCA at Sebring on Saturday and Sunday, September 2-3 (Labor Day weekend). It will be “British Car Club Weekend,” and club members are invited to drive on the track during lunch hour in a controlled lap behind a pace car. All members have to do is drive their car to Sebring and mention at the gate they are with the BCCSWF. It was a fun event last year for several members who braved the rainy weather.
Lauren Welch recapped the Treasurer’s report and mentioned that we now have 99 members in the BCCSWF. Rollie Welch once again mentioned that articles for British Marque are welcome and encouraged members to write about any topic of British car interest.
The mystery car photos submitted by Peter Sales while spending his summer in England were mentioned, and club members agreed how much fun it is to see photos of extremely rare British cars.
Rollie mentioned that the roster for the Shell Point display of members’ cars set for January 6, 2018 is up to 20 cars and 38 members.
In the area of old business, Gary Dworkin reminded members of the October 21st Safety Harbor show, which is the premier British car show in Southwest Florida. Other car shows coming up are the 32nd Concours d’Elegance at St. Armand’s Circle in Sarasota, Fla., on October 14th, and the car show at the Vanderbilt Shoppes in Naples, Fla., sponsored by the Rotary Club on November 5th. More information will follow.
Club members sang a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday” to Kenny Taylor and Isabel Munoz.
Gary Dworkin offered his resignation as Vice President and Activities Coordinator, effective immediately. Gary has found retirement to be quite busy, and his volunteer commitments will take him out of the country for extended lengths of time. Thanks to Gary for all his organizational efforts for the club, especially corralling members and their cars for the huge “Cars on Fifth” show.
Tom Shaw won the 50-50 raffle of $31.
The next meeting will be at Famous Dave’s on Tuesday, September 12th. --Rollie Welch
SEBRING, Fla. — The Central Florida Region of Sports Car Club of America held its annual “June Bug Dash” on the weekend of June 10th and 11th.
The races, which included the Vintage Group and various Regional Club Racing classes, were held on the Sebring short course, 1.7 miles. For this configuration the track eliminates the long back straight and the start/finish front straight used during the 12-hour race. Without these long straightaways the higher-horsepower cars have less of an advantage, and cornering ability becomes the important factor.
This was my first race of 2017, my last race being an HSR Sebring event in December 2016 when I rolled my Spitfire exiting the hairpin and destroyed the car. The Triumph GT6 has been undergoing an engine rebuild after bending a valve and blowing the head gasket last fall. The car now has a fresh look with prepared cylinder head and valves, new pistons and rings, new rod and main bearings — plus I had everything balanced. My goal for this race was to break in the new motor, bed the new brake pads, and regain confidence in my racing ability.
Joining my wife Mary and me at the event were fellow vintage racers and BCCSWF club members Ken Taylor (Triumph TR7) and Steve Schultz (MGA). We all cleared registration and tech inspection on Friday afternoon, set up in the Green Park Paddock, and then proceeded to the hotel for drinks and dinner.
Everyone was up early on Saturday morning, since the Vintage Group had a combined practice and qualifying at 8 a.m. There were 18 cars that qualified, with Steve Smith on the pole with his Lotus Elan.
American cars were the featured marque for this event, including Steve Piantieri in a Shelby 350 GT at 2nd. Ken Hazelton in a Corvette was 5th, Derek Stennes in a Shelby 350GT was 7th, and Dale Lagasse in a Mustang was 15th. I stayed with my game plan, taking things easy, and qualified 12th. Steve Schultz would start 13th and Ken Taylor qualified 16th due to problems with his timing transponder.
Our first race, billed as a “fun race,” was only five laps and started about 10 a.m. Our tires were just getting up to temperature when the checkered flag came out. Ken Taylor in the TR7 came up behind me within the first or second lap. He followed me for about one lap while I tried to make the GT6 as wide as possible. I signaled him to pass in the carousel and then did my best to stay with him. At the checker it was Steve Piantieri in the Shelby in 1st place. Ken finished 11th, I was 12th and Steve Schultz was 14th.
The next race on Saturday was at 3 p.m. and my car had several maintenance issues that needed attention. First, the valve cover gasket was leaking badly and had covered most of the engine compartment with a generous coating of oil. Ken came over with cleaning materials and I proceeded to use about half a tube of gasket maker to fix the leak. Second, the bolt holding the right side of the front sway bar was gone, making this suspension component totally useless. Steve Schultz came over with a 60-lb. box of nuts and bolts and I found one that fixed the problem.
The second race found our group at the grid with rain starting to fall. Rain usually favors the small-bore cars and this proved to be true during the race. Steve Smith, in the Lotus Elan, finished 1st. I experienced a good race with Harvey Lewis’ Datsun 510 and passed him in the hairpin on the last lap, but then missed a shift. He got me back before the checkered flag. I finished 8th, Ken Taylor finished 5th and Steve Schultz finished 14th, dropping out early due to some handling issues.
The Sunday race began about 11 a.m., with Ken coming up behind me in the early laps again. I waved him around and chased him for the rest of the race. The weather was good, but Florida-hot, and the race was pretty unexciting. Steve Smith in the Lotus Elan won, Ken finished 9th, I finished 10th and Steve finished 13th.
We were all loaded up and gone before the lunch break was over. My goals had been achieved and now I am ready to race again. Our next race (as of this writing) will be July 22nd at Sebring on the same short course.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The July meeting of the BCCSWF was held at the usual location, Famous Dave’s in Fort Myers, with 26 members attending.
Several guests/new members and the cars they own were quickly introduced: Tom and Martha Lambert, owners of a 1953 MG, Rick and Chris Green, who drive an MGA, and Bob Field and Bonnie Bauer, members who joined several months ago but were attending their first meeting. Tom told us he was already ordering parts for a car he has owned for only two weeks. Bob spoke about his 2007 Jaguar XKR and also quietly mentioned his German Mercedes.
Rollie Welch once again mentioned that articles for British Marque are welcome and encouraged members to submit any content relevant to British cars. Rollie thanked Lin Dworkin for her fine article about the Arcadia Memorial Service. Also acknowledged was Bill Newman’s article about vintage racing at Sebring.
The January Shell Point display event was mentioned, with 19 vehicles agreeing to participate. More details will follow as the January 6, 2018 date draws closer.
Lauren Welch summarized the Treasurer’s report. Membership now stands at 93 with more memberships yet to be renewed. The meeting paused to sing “Happy Birthday” to Gary Dworkin and Tom Brewsaugh, who were enjoying their birthday month in July.
Webmaster Gary Eidson thanked everyone for their efforts on the web page and told us how easily the transition to Mary Newman worked. Mary will be the Webmaster for the upcoming year. Gary pointed out how much improved the web page is, with quite of bit of relevant information for club members. Club members gave Gary a round of applause for his web work.
Bill Newman spoke about how the club needs to remain active through the peaks and valleys of attendance throughout the year. Our snowbird members cannot attend summer events, but it is important to have activities planned for the winter months.
Activities Coordinator Gary Dworkin spoke about the monthly breakfast get-togethers at Mimi’s on the last Saturday of each month. Gary expressed in detail his desire for the club to change venues on July 29th to the Garden Café in Bonita Springs, about eight miles south of Mimi’s. Gary listed the menu items and price points while expressing the setting, which in his opinion has more privacy for conversation about cars and such.
Several members asked if moving the location without contacting the full membership was too rushed of a decision. Much discussion ensued with several motions for membership surveys to be submitted. Members voiced concern about alienating a percentage of the membership by a location that may be less centrally located. Other suggestions were to alternate locations. Gary felt that the Garden Café would offer better service performance, but that seemed not to be a motivating factor for other members. A motion was made and seconded to send out via e-mail a simple survey to gauge which members would be in favor of a venue change.
Bill Newman mentioned the SCCA event at Sebring on July 12th. Bill also reminded everyone of the big event, the Safety Harbor show on October 21st, which promises to be a huge gathering of British vehicles.
Bill also mentioned the need to “polish up” the club’s by-laws regarding monetary concerns along with more precise procedures for club policy. Cecil Carter and Bill Newman will review the by-laws and propose recommendations within the next few months.
Kenny Taylor moved that monthly meetings at Famous Dave’s begin a half hour earlier at 6:30. The motion was seconded and passed with a majority. Thus, the August 8th meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.
Gary Dworkin will conduct the next meeting as Bill and Mary will be vacationing in Nova Scotia.
Mike Wheeler won the 50-50 raffle of $32. Congrats!
The next meeting will be on August 8th — with a starting time of 6:30 p.m. —Rollie Welch
ARCADIA, Fla. — Each year on Memorial Day, a service organized by the Arcadia Rotary Club is held to honor 23 Royal Air Force trainee pilots who were killed during training at nearby Carlstrom and Riddle flight schools during World War II. Buried with the cadets is one of the flight instructors, John Paul Riddle, who died many years later. He was also one of the originators of the Embry-Riddle Aeronautic University in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Over one hundred people attend, many of whom bring floral tributes and congregate at the beautifully maintained British Plot in the Oak Ridge Cemetery in Arcadia to express their appreciation for the ultimate sacrifice made by these 23 young men.
The one-hour service, which begins at 10 a.m. each Memorial Day and is always attended by members of the British Car Club of Southwest Florida, is a very dignified, unexpected and moving experience.
This year was no different. A further touch of British atmosphere came with the Union Jack and RAF flags fluttering overhead.
Our group gathered among the flags and gravestones to remember what these young men did in another time to keep the world safe and end all wars. We still pray the same prayers to end conflict between the peoples of the world and sing the same songs to get closer to their hopes for a peaceful world.
It was a beautiful day, clear and warm. The service was lovely, complete with placing a flag on each tomb of each of the 24 servicemen. There were also many wreaths presented by various associations, including one from the British Car Club of Southwest Florida.
After the service, we proceeded to Mary Margret’s Tearoom for lunch with our club members. All and all it was a very fitting Memorial Day for those who attended and experienced a touching tribute to those brave souls who gave their all for peace.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The June meeting of the BCCSWF was held at the usual location of Famous Dave’s on June 13th, with 24 members attending.
Several guests and new members (and the cars they own) were quickly introduced. Jim Pace, newly arrived to Southwest Florida from New York, mentioned his 1972 TR6, which has a Toyota transmission David and Julie Mizzoli, also new to the area and from Long Island, spoke about their TR250, with David noting that he loves the mechanical work and is looking for a shop in the area.
Gary Eidson introduced Scott Allen, who is connected with a development project and is interested in promoting storage suites, which Scott called “man caves,” to local car clubs. There will be 68 units total and 12 have already been sold. For more information, Scott told us to contact Island Storage Units at (239) 333-3637 or islandstoragesuites.com.
Rollie Welch once again mentioned that articles for the British Marque are welcome and encouraged members to write about the history of their British cars and how they came to own them. Rollie also recapped the impressive identification of Jaguars used in Pippa Middleton’s wedding that was e-mailed to club members. Derry Haynes was able to identify the cars within three minutes of receiving the e-mail photos!
Lauren Welch summarized the Treasurer’s report. Membership now stands at 90, with more memberships yet to be renewed.
Webmaster Gary Eidson again voiced his desire to turn over the Webmaster duties to any club member, and Mary Newman volunteered to do the task for the next year.
Bill Newman spoke about the wonderful and moving experience of the Memorial Day service at Arcadia (see the accompanying article). The event honors the British airmen who perished in World War II training accidents and are buried in Arcadia. Around 20 club members attended the ceremony, and BCCSWF donated a wreath to be set at the gravesite. Even though it was a hot day, club members agreed that the experience was rewarding. Thanks to Terry Luck, Bill Newman and also Cecil Carter for organizing the event.
Bill and Kenny Taylor summarized vintage races held on the weekend of June 10-11. Kenny and Bill entered three races over the weekend and Kenny outdistanced Bill in all three, including a Saturday rain race. (Bill claims he was being cautious, breaking in a new motor.) Kenny drives a TR7 that is running well and even has a new paint job. Bill talked about how much fun vintage racing is as there are British, Italian and German cars, plus several American vehicles including two Shelby 350GTs. Bill was thrilled that his British car passed several Corvettes. Bill also mentioned Steve Smith of Sarasota, who won races driving a Lotus Elan, which Bill described as “wicked fast.”
Lionel Hill told us that the Isle of Man TT motorcycle races were currently being held, and that it was well worth watching the madness of this dangerous race.
Bill ended the meeting by reminding club members that the SCCA will again sponsor car clubs for a courtesy lap on the track at Sebring during Labor Day weekend. Last year several members took part in the lap and enjoyed it tremendously. More information will follow in the July meeting.
Rollie Welch won the 50-50 raffle of $30. The next meeting will be held on July 11th. —Rollie Welch
Before any comment about the Best in Class trophy (for Jaguar Saloons) presented to my 1962 Jaguar Mk2, it first must be noted that in 2017 the “Wheels Across the Pond” classic car show celebrated its 11th successful year. The venue was once again Carlin Park in Jupiter, Fla., with this premier event welcoming over 200 classic cars, motorcycles and several historic bicycles that were placed in groups.
Vehicles were grouped by marque and displayed over the beautiful, undulating parkland complete with a lake vista. The spring weather, combined with strong sea breezes off the Atlantic, was once again picture perfect.
Car shows always allow enthusiasts to meet and talk about a wide range of subjects that usually resolve around their specific cars. As for the Mk2 Jaguar, I tend to emphasis its history, though I cannot claim to have carried out the restoration that now invites so many compliments.
A quick summary shows the car was originally purchased directly from Jaguar by Rex Sage — for his wife Jane’s birthday — in 1962, during a vacation in England.
The original Mk1 model, fitted with a 2.4-liter, twin overcam straight six was first shown at the London motor show in 1955 and was an instant success. In 1959 the improved Mk2 was launched, with the choice of 2.4-, 3.4- and 3.8-liter powerplants offering speeds well above 100mph.
After touring the United Kingdom, this vehicle was shipped back to America and stayed with the family for around 54 years. Jane passed away in 1999 and the Jaguar was left to daughter Cyndi who, with car enthusiast husband Jack, decided to invest in a complete restoration in memory of Jane. By 2002 the car was looking great again and back on the road in Florida, christened “Lady Jane” in Mum’s memory!
I took over stewardship from the second owner in the spring of 2016 and have enjoyed “the ride” ever since. As with any old vehicle maintenance is essential, and there is always the need to prep for presentation before showing. The result is a classic automobile that is truly an elegant sports sedan that turns heads wherever driven.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The May meeting of the BCCSWF was held at the usual location, Famous Dave’s in Fort Myers, on May 9th with 33 members attending.
Guests and the cars they own were quickly introduced. Several members mentioned they had recently acquired new vehicles. Cy Ling has purchased a 1995 Jaguar XKS convertible with 35,000 miles. John and Angela Sergeant now own a 1980 TR8. The astounding thing is they drove the TR8 from Seattle to Fort Myers! That’s a total distance of over 3,200 miles, which is a formidable feat. However, John stated, “Never again!” Bill Newman announced he would soon acquire a right-hand-drive 1972 Mini Clubman.
Rollie Welch mentioned that articles for British Marque are welcome, and encouraged members to write about the history of their British cars and how they came to own them. Rollie also announced that Shell Point Residential Living Center has asked if the BCCSWF would be willing to display members’ cars in January 2018. Many members showed interest — another “excuse” to drive their cars.
Lauren Welch summarized the Treasurer’s report. Membership now stands at 89, with more memberships yet to be renewed. Webmaster Gary Eidson announced that the members’ roster on the website has been updated. Gary also informed the club that the Palm Beach International Raceway has an offer where you can drive the car of your dreams for five laps with a cost of around $250. Gary encouraged us to look into the offer. Gary also voiced a plea that since he is currently without a British car, he is willing to drive any other member’s car to events.
The meeting paused to sing “Happy Birthday” to club members with May birthdays: Rollie Welch, Margrit Vegter, Peter Sales and Lionel Hill.
Bill Newman expressed the need for a quick commitment to the Memorial Day ceremony held at Arcadia. The event honors the British airmen who perished in World War II training accidents and are buried in Arcadia. There’s a limit of 22 people for the post-ceremony luncheon. Thanks to Terry Luck and Cecil Carter for organizing the event.
Mary Newman has agreed to be the organizer for the BCCSWF Christmas/Holiday party in December. Bill and Kenny Taylor spoke about the upcoming vintage races on the weekend of June 10-11. Bill and Kenny encouraged club members to attend as it is a good show.
At the “Wheels Across the Pond” event in April, Peter Sales’ Jaguar Saloon took a 1st place. John Sergeant took a 3rd place with his British car.
Lionel and Jackie Hill drove their MGA to a first-time car show event on the Sanibel Causeway Islands sponsored by the SanCap Motor Club. It was a great location with the Gulf of Mexico as a backdrop but what stunned Lionel and Jackie was they met a former neighbor of years ago that lived nearby in New Hampshire! It’s a small world. Their former neighbor now owns two AC Bristols.
Bill Newman will be selling a 1960 Bugeye Sprite. Terry Luck mentioned that autocross is a great event and encouraged members to take part. Kenny Taylor, who normally races his TR7, raced a Miata in Daytona and experienced all sorts of weather — cold on Saturday and warm on Sunday — but a good weekend of racing.
Cecil Carter won the 50-50 raffle of $41. John Welch donated a $25 coupon for an auto parts store, and Angela Sergeant won that gift.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, June 13th. Check the BCCSWF.com site for more information. —Rollie Welch
Sunday is always a beautiful day for a car lovers’ picnic and March 19th was just perfect! Members of the British Car Club of Southwest Florida gathered in the parking lot in Fort Myers early that morning to line up and caravan to the Franklin Locks Recreation Area, situated on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River in Alva, Fla.
We had about 14 cars from our club proudly driving through the byways towards our Annual Picnic. Those of us lucky enough to have convertibles had our tops down and were enjoying the best weather Florida has to offer. Crisp warm breezes were ruffling our hair that morning, with everyone watching from the sidelines wishing they had a little British car just like us!
Once we reached the Locks we were greeted by our best mates cooking up a storm for lunch. Doesn’t everything taste so much better alfresco? Really, it couldn’t have been better! We had a spread fit for the Queen. If she could have fit it in her schedule, she would have been with us I am sure! It was a lovely affair as tried-and-true grill masters Lionel Hill and Larry Gleeson cooked up burgers, hot dogs and chicken and deftly used spatulas to keep plates filled. The club gives thanks to Alan Shakman for generously providing the abundance of meat for the grill. They all really put their hearts into their work.
To work off the comfort food, lawn games of horseshoe pitching and cornhole toss were organized. Many club members took their turns with varying levels of success. Under the watchful eyes of judges Jackie Hill and Bunnie Gleeson, each attempt was measured. At times the audience heckling could be quite biting in sarcasm but was all in good fun. However, the completion, although intended to be casual, had an underlying spirit of competition. Winners of the horseshoe pitching were Gary Eidson for the men and Janet Lemesis for the ladies. The cornhole toss was won by Rich Lesinski for the guys, and, in a triple overtime of extended tosses, Margrit Vegter won for the ladies.
After a quick cleanup it was a tough sell to get our members to leave but we did convince them to get back in their great little cars and hit the road home.
Another great season is in the rear view but we have a great year to look forward to. Thank you everyone who made this Picnic and made the year a great one for our club. Same time next year?
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The April meeting of the BCCSWF was held at the usual location of Famous Dave’s in Fort Myers, Fla., on April 11th with 39 members attending. New members were introduced: Janet and Aldis Lemesis, owners of a 1962 Jaguar E-type, Rich and Judy Fifield, who own a TR250, and John and Angela Sergeant, who own an MGB, but have also rebuilt a TR3 and a TR4. Also introduced were guests Jack and Francis Breece, who own a 1980 MGB. Jack told the group he has owned in the past two MGAs and ten MGBs.
President Bill Newman mentioned several e-mails he received from outside people. One person has a 1961 Morgan for sale another needs help starting his car that has been sitting for some time, and another is interested in exchanging MG T Series info. Club members should contact Bill Newman if any of these queries sound intriguing.
Rollie Welch once again mentioned that articles for British Marque are welcome even if bullet points of an event are provided. An article can always be formed around them. Rollie also reminded members that jpeg is the preferred form of photos for articles. Lin Dworkin was mentioned as the author of an upcoming article detailing the Annual Club Picnic. Lauren Welch summarized the Treasurer’s report. Membership now stands at 82 with many more memberships yet to be renewed.
Webmaster Gary Eidson reiterated the process to post photos of members’ cars for sale on the website. A jpeg is needed along with specific information about the car (year, model, price, any flaws or recent improvements). Gary also is involved with tweaking the B.I.G. show next March to make it an even more attractive venue along the banks of the Caloosahatchee River. Since 60% of the automobile entries come from BCCSWF members, Gary feels better signage and a more favorable parking layout for showing cars are needed.
The meeting paused to sing “Happy Birthday” to three club members with April birthdays: Richard Bartlett, Aldis Lemesis and Steve Ruppert. Bill Newman introduced the possible change in location for the last-Saturday-each-month breakfast run. The current location of Mimi’s has been up and down in service and several members have voiced their displeasure. Gary Dworkin has discovered The Garden Café in Bonita Springs, which is a possible destination. Much discussion ensued about central location, service, parking and ease of access. No decision was made, as this was the opening discussion of a possible change in location.
Bill Newman mentioned the many upcoming events through April and reminded members to check the webpage for details. Several members spoke about the good times at the Annual Picnic, including the thrilling competition of horseshoes and cornhole. Thanks went to cooks Lionel Hill and Larry Gleeson, along with Alan Shakman who provided the food.
New member Margrit Vegter won the 50-50 raffle (for the second month in a row) of $48.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, May 9th. Check the BCCSWF.com site for more information. —Rollie Welch
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The March meeting of the BCCSWF was held at the usual location of Famous Dave’s in Fort Myers, with 42 members attending.
New members were introduced: Margrit Vegter, a new owner of a 1972 MGB, Jim Woodall, who is bringing back to life a 1961 TR3 that has been in a garage for 20 years, and Bill Keister, who recently purchased a 1967 MGB. A guest also sat in on the meeting, Alex Gellwielier, who is in the market to purchase a TR6.
Rollie Welch mentioned that articles for the British Marque are welcome even if bullet points of an event are provided. An article can always be formed around them. Rollie also reminded members that JPEG is the preferred form of photos for articles.
Lauren Welch gave the Treasurer’s report. Membership now stands at 78, with many more memberships yet to be renewed.
Bill Newman encouraged the membership to step up and volunteer for the official positions of Treasurer and Secretary after this year. Replacements are needed as officers have been in place for three years, which is longer than the usual two-year service.
Webmaster Gary Eidson has looked into having a discussion forum added to the club’s webpage, but decided the cost and upkeep would be too much of a burden. Gary also asked the membership for anyone to step forward who wants to take over the webmaster duties and be trained in how the webpage works.
Speaking of web services, Bill Newman mentioned that his Spitfire rollover on the track at Sebring in December has a place on YouTube as the driver behind him filmed it all with a Go-Pro. Ah, fame.
Gary Dworkin brought forth an announcement for the Jaguar Concours d’Elegance event at Sanford on April 7th. Gary also reminded members of the club’s Annual Picnic on March 19th. Jackie Hill outlined details of the event, which were relayed via e-mail to club members.
Gary congratulated Dennis McKinley on the great effort to put on the B.I.G. (British, Italian, German) Show. The event is unique among car shows and has put Southwest Florida on the classic/sports car map. This is the fifth year of the Show and registrants have grown from 24 the first year to 133 this year. About 60% of registered cars were of British make.
Thanks were given to Bunnie Gleeson and Pam Sales for roving through the crowd to sell 50-50 raffle tickets.
The meeting paused to sing “Happy Birthday” to three club members: Lionel Hill, George Krause and Barb Henry.
Gary Dworkin mentioned the many upcoming events through April and reminded members to check the webpage for details. Club members were informed that the REVS Institute is seeking possible volunteers. REVS is one of the foremost automobile collections in the world and is located in Naples, Fla.
Dennis McKinley reminded club members of the Key West adventure during the last week of April. If driving a British car to Key West, members are welcome to take part in the Key West all-British parade on Thursday, April 27th. Details will be sent out via e-mail.
Cy Ling mentioned three books he has read that may be of interest to members: British Motor Cars, Triumph 2000 — Defining the Sporting Saloon, and British Leyland — Chronicle of a Car Crash. Cy also brought forth the idea of having some sort of library for club members as he has several shelves filled with British-car reading material.
In old news, Peter Sales mentioned he attended the Gold Coast British Sports Car Club event in Boca Raton on February 19th. His Jaguar took 1st in class — and Peter reports that it was a fine show, with 119 cars involved.
New member Margrit Vegter won the 50-50 raffle of $57.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, April 11th. Check the BCCSWF.com site for more information.
NAPLES, Fla. — It’s February in Southwest Florida, and that must mean it’s time for the “Cars on Fifth” show in Naples, Fla. sponsored by the Naples Ferrari Club!
On February 11th over 600 classic vehicles gathered in downtown Naples, parking along Fifth Avenue. Although sponsored by the Ferrari Club, many other types of cars were well represented, from Corvettes, muscle cars and cool cruisers to Porsches, Alfa Romeos, and of course, British cars. Members of the British Car Club of Southwest Florida were fortunate to secure over 30 spots in the show, and 27 BCCSWF club members’ cars were part of the actual show.
Accolades go to Club Activities Coordinator Gary Dworkin for organizing the registrations. Also, hats off to Dennis Labbe, who coordinated the tough job of corralling drivers and their vehicles at 6:45 a.m. and then proceeding in a caravan to Fifth Avenue.
While over 600 cars and drivers participated in this year’s event, Cars on Fifth consistently draws spectators numbering in the tens of thousands. An eyeball estimate of this year’s show revealed over 40,000 people attended.
As the day closed and drivers began thinking of starting their engines, club member Peter Sales found himself contacted by the event organizers. Peter tells us he had no idea trophies were given out at this event. Nevertheless, he was excited when a small team from the sponsoring Ferrari club appeared next to his 1962 Jaguar 3.8 Mk2 and awarded Peter’s gorgeous vehicle Best in Show. Needless to say, the British Car Club of Southwest Florida was well represented at this outstanding event!
FORT MYERS, Fla. — What do you have by combining Irish dancers, bagpipes and men dressed in kilts in a sunny riverfront park? Oh! It must be the 14th Annual Caloosahatchee Celtic Festival in Fort Myers, held on January 28th!
Of course, a great Celtic Festival is even more complete with a British car show, and there’s where the British Car Club of Southwest Florida stepped up its game. Over 30 shiny examples of classic British cars gathered and from Fort Myers’ Centennial Park paraded to the riverfront. Triumphs, MGs, Jaguars and even a Mini Moke were parked along the break wall of the Caloosahatchee River, and the vehicles’ presence added spice to the Celtic festivities.
Of course, awards were distributed. Larry and Bunny Gleeson’s 2003 Jaguar XK8 was recognized in the After 1979 Class. Peter and Pam Sales’ gorgeous 1962 Jaguar Mark II also won its division.
Recalling that the 2016 Celtic Festival was cancelled due to nasty weather, everyone was pleased that in 2017 the Florida January weather cooperated with a nice, sunny, 70° day. And timing is everything. The very next day the temperature dropped to the mid-40s!
Club members are already looking forward to returning to the 2018 Celtic Festival. —Rollie Welch
FORT MYERS, Fla., Feb. 14 — The monthly meeting of the BCCSWF was held at the usual location, Famous Dave’s in Fort Myers, with 37 members attending. Four guests were introduced: Larry and Marsha McCartt, owners of a 1981 Rolls-Royce and a 1980 Austin Mini Cooper, and Bill and Cindy Wood, owners of a 1973 MGB. Bill informed the group that he has had a “whole bunch of British cars” including a Bugeye Sprite.
In Lauren Welch’s absence, Rollie Welch summarized the Treasurer’s report. Membership now stands at 63 with many more memberships yet to be renewed. On a sad note, it was noted that recent new club member Barry Swartz passed away on February 4th. Barry had proudly displayed his black Jaguar XKR at the Celtic Festival a week before his death.
Rollie mentioned e-mail threads about recommended oil for British engines along with chrome-plating shops. The copy-and-paste task of e-mail is a bit of a pain, but does allow direct communication on interesting topics with members. Cal Calvert graciously donated small MG pins (for hats or lapels) to any club member who wanted them. Lionel Hill was noticed trying to find one that resembled his MGA.
Rollie also mentioned that the club always welcomes any articles and photographs to be presented to British Marque.
Webmaster Gary Eidson stated that several vendors have approached him asking to display their products on our webpage. The club feels that is not the purpose of the webpage rather, it is in place to disseminate club information to our members. Bill Newman said he did not want the club to morph into a for-profit organization. Gary also mentioned that he would like someone who is computer-savvy to help out and possibly take over the Webmaster duties. This person would work closely with British Marque.
In new business, Bill Newman recapped the list of upcoming events, especially the B.I.G. (British, Italian, German) car show coming up on March 5th. Sponsored by the Southwest Florida Triumph Club and organized by Dennis McKinley, this show draws a wide range of interesting vehicles. At this time 45 cars are registered, many by BCCSWF club members.
There was much discussion about the casual rally organized by Rob Frost, which will happen on Sunday, March 26th. The rally has to be limited to 12 vehicles due to the neighborhood around the roads. Folks don’t want a fleet of British cars zooming by for hours.
Jackie Hill outlined the details of the Annual Club Picnic that will be held Sunday, March 19th. Specific details and directions will be put out to club members via email in the near future.
Bill Newman mentioned that if club members are having trouble finding 13- or 14-inch tires for their British cars, he recommends www.onlinetires.com. Through that website Federal tires can be found for around $40.
Cy Ling mentioned that August 11-13 is an event called “Roverfest” in the UK honoring the Rover V8 engine. Cy is concerned that steps need to be taken to preserve the heritage of British cars as European governments are placing driving restrictions on older cars built before 1977.
Gary Eidson and Bill Newman mentioned that SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) has taken steps in California to confront automobile restrictions for older cars. Bill and Gary suggested contacting SEMA if there’s concern about harsh vehicle laws being implemented.
Peter Sales recapped the Cars on Fifth event that happened February 11th (see accompanying article). Of the 34 cars registered for the BCCSWF, 27 of them showed up, which was a solid representation. Peter then wowed the group by displaying his Best in Show trophy for his 1962 Jaguar Mark 2. That was a big thrill for Peter. and members expressed great admiration to him.
Bill mentioned the upcoming SCCA vintage racing at Sebring, which recently had a German vehicle emphasis. Bill told us about a Jaguar E-type that had two spark plugs per cylinder, making the engine look like an electronic nightmare — but it was still very slow. Bill shook his head about a Bugeye Sprite that ran into a wall and was all but destroyed.
Tom Brewsaugh told a wild story about what happened as he was flagging Turn 7, where a Jag was racing a Porsche. The Jag broke late and ran into the door of the other car. Turns out the two drivers were father and son! They were most concerned about how they would tell the wife/mother about the damage!
Mary Newman won the 50-50 raffle of $51.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, March 14th. Check the BCCSWF.com site for more information. —Rollie Welch
The annual Club Picnic is Sunday, March 19th, at S. Franklin Lock, 1660 S. Franklin Lock Rd., Alva, Fla.
Want to caravan to the site? Meet at Lowe’s, 8040 Dani Dr., Ft. Myers, Fla. (Colonial Blvd. and Six Mile Cypress at Exit 136, I-75). Arrive by 10:40 a.m. Departure is promptly at 11 a.m.
Your job? Bring a dish with serving utensils, drink and chair. Main course provided: hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken breasts along with buns, cheese slices and various condiments.
The contact? Jackie Hill, (603) 660-1031.
FT. MYERS, Fla., Jan. 10 — The January meeting of the BCCSWF was held at the usual location of Famous Dave’s in Ft. Myers, with 42 members attending.
Three guests were introduced: Bob Manhart, owner of a Bugeye Sprite and a Healey 100 Larry Margraf, who also owns a Bugeye Sprite, plus a stable of vehicles that includes an MG Midget, MGA, MGB and TR3 and Dick Cogswell, who recently reacquired the same 1961 Morgan he had in college — 41 years ago!
New Club President Bill Newman gave a brief summary of the club’s history, which began in 1994. Bill also recognized several past Presidents: George Krause, Cecil Carter, Headly Wilson and Mary Newman.
Rollie Welch mentioned that the club always welcomes any articles to be presented to British Marque. Rollie also stated that the club minutes are submitted to the Marque each month.
Webmaster Gary Eidson told us that several non-members have approached the club via e-mail to post their automobiles for sale. The club will charge them $15 to post the car on our webpage.
Rollie Welch will send a group e-mail out (one time) with specific information for folks not wanting to post their vehicle on the website.
Gary said that the website will begin rotating photos of featured cars on the main page to display some of the club’s more dazzling vehicles. Gary reminded the group that the Resource page should only contain information recommended favorably by club members. He also reminded members to check the schedule of events for the upcoming busy spring.
Gary recapped the Lizard Run sponsored by the Alfa Romeo Club on New Year’s Day. It was a fast driving event similar to the Cannonball Run and covered over 220 miles. It was not a casual rally.
Lauren Welch presented the Treasurer’s report. Following her report, the group sang “Happy Birthday” to two members who have birthdays in January.
Gary Dworkin outlined the many events that club members may be interested in during the upcoming months:
January 21 — Peace River Car Show, Port Charlotte, Fla.
January 22 — Polo & Car Show, Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
January 28 — Celtic Festival, Fort Myers, Fla.
The January events will have taken place by the time you receive this paper. But coming up are:
February 11 — Cars on Fifth, Naples, Fla.
February 19 — Gold Coast British Car Show, Boca Raton, Fla.
February 25 — Car Show, Gamble Mansion, Sarasota, Fla.
March 5 — B.I.G. Show (by Dennis McKinley), Cape Coral, Fla.
March 19 — BCCSWF Annual Picnic (see article above).
March 25 — BCCSWF Rally (hosted by Rob Frost).
April 1 — Mead Garden Show, Winter Park, Fla.
April 8 — Exotic Car Festival, Celebration, Fla.
April 8 — Jaguar Concours d’Elegance, Sanford, Fla.
April 15 — Wheels Across the Pond, Jupiter, Fla.
October 1 — JCNA International Jaguar Festival, Buford, Ga.
October 21 — Lake Mirror Classic, Lakewood, Fla.
Peter Blackford mentioned the Fly-in, Drive-in show at the Naples Municipal Airport on February 4th, which will benefit college scholarships. Information will be distributed via group e-mail.
Robert Frost outlined his plan for a casual rally in the Punta Gorda area on March 25th, which will be divided into three 20-minute sections along the best curvy roads in the area. Speeds will be below the speed limit and participants will require simple map reading. A show of hands of interest resulted in over 20 members interested in attending. More details will follow.
Bill Newman related an offer from the Tampa Bay Club for the need of pre-1964 British or European cars to be “extras” in a low-budget sci-fi movie in the town of Bartow, Fla., which is 40 miles east of Tampa. The movie company is called Iconic Time Box and they have a presence on Facebook.
Bill has a neighbor, Norman Mills, who is selling a 1974 MGB for $5,000. Please e-mail Bill if interested.
There was discussion about if the club should offer regalia for sale to members. Several new members are interested in shirt badges and the club’s logo should be on file with CCC Company. The situation will be explored.
Kenny Taylor mentioned that vintage racing at Sebring sponsored by SCCA will continue through the upcoming months. On February 11th and 12th (the same weekend as the Cars on Fifth show) there will be a race. Please let Bill or Kenny know if you are interested in attending and they will inform you on how to get to the track. Kenny will be racing his TR7 and Bill hopes to have the motor on his GT6 repaired soon. Bill told us of how he rolled his Spitfire in a recent race. Luckily he came out O.K., and even drove the car onto the trailer to ferry it home.
At his first meeting as this-time-around President, Bill Newman won the 50-50 raffle of $76. Will help on expenses of that GT6 motor, we are guessing.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, February 14th. —Rollie Welch
SAFETY ISLAND, Fla., Oct. 22 — It turned out to be a beautiful Florida day for the drive north to Safety Harbor to attend the 30th Annual All-British Field Meet and Auto Jumble organized by the Tampa Bay Austin-Healey Club.
Peter and Pam Sales, fellow members of the British Car Club of Southwest Florida, drove their newly acquired 1962 Jaguar MkII and joined Lionel Hill and me for the 125-mile journey from Fort Myers. We encountered no mechanical or traffic problems and arrived in good time to check into our hotel. There we met John Welch, another BCCSWF member, and proceeded to the Tapping of the Vine pub for the well-organized Meet and Greet.
At the pub we met another four members of our club, and after eating our fill from an excellent buffet, along with a couple of glasses of wine for those of us not driving, we sauntered down Main Street.
Every year the town allows the closing of Main Street to accommodate all the vendors on Friday and the car show on Saturday. This year featured vendors selling jewelry, car accessories, food and much more. There were a few booths representing the Humane Society and Adopt-a-Dog organizations, with the “Doggie Marque of the Day” being Labradors. There was even a mermaid in attendance.
Tomfoolery before the show!
After a good night’s sleep followed by breakfast it was time to head off to the car show. That’s when disaster struck! We had unwittingly parked directly in line with the lawn sprinkler system. It looked like our 1962 MGA had a dire case of the measles as it was covered from bumper to bumper with gray spots.
Those of you who are familiar with the hardness of Florida water can appreciate the hard work of cleaning the car. We spent a half hour at the hotel and another one and a half hours at our allotted space on Main Street making the MGA look somewhat better. We are now considering changing the car’s name from Spiffy to Spotty.
Water spotting aside, the show was terrific with many beautiful cars on display. The show marque was Healey, and these were well represented by the host club.
Four of our members won class awards, as follows:
1st, Gary Dworkin, 1953 Jaguar XK120.
1st, Peter Sales, 1962 Jaguar MkII.
2nd, John Dent, 2007 Bentley Continental.
2nd, Cy Ling, 1967 Rover MkIII, 3 Liter.
Congratulations to all four. Also, congratulations and thanks to the Austin-Healey club for once again putting on a superb show. The Safety Harbor event is certainly worthy of many more visits.
The November meeting of the BCCSWF was held on the 8th at the usual location, Famous Dave’s in Fort Myers, Fla., with 38 members attending.
A guest, Dick Otten, was introduced. He is the owner of a 2007 Jaguar.
Lauren Welch presented the Treasurer’s report. Following the Treasurer’s report, the group sang “Happy Birthday” to four of our members who have birthdays in November.
A lively discussion ensued about club officers for the upcoming year. Cecil Carter is unable to fulfill President duties and Vice President Harry Hartwell is no longer active due to health issues.
Kenny Taylor nominated Bill Newman as incoming President with Gary Dworkin doing double duty as Activities Director and Vice President. The slate is set to be voted on in December. Bill Newman recognized past officers Headley Wilson, George Krause, Jackie Hill and Ken Oehler.
It was determined, after a suggestion by Bill Newman that was seconded by a variety of members, that Secretary Rollie Welch, Treasurer Lauren Welch, Activities Director Gary Dworkin and Web Master Gary Eidson will remain in place for a minimum of one more year.
Gary Dworkin outlined the upcoming events towards the end of 2016 and into 2017:
December 3 — Cancelled — The Mercato Show in Naples.
January 1 — Florida Worm Lizard Rally, sponsored by the Alfa-Romeo club, in Charlotte County, Florida.
January 28 — Caloosahatchee Celtic Festival, Fort Myers.
February 11 — 13th Annual Cars on Fifth, Naples.
March 5 — 5th Annual B.I.G. European Sports & Collector Car Show, Cape Coral.
April 1 — All-British Meet in Mead Garden, Winter Park.
April 15 — Wheels Across the Pond, Jupiter.
New to this list of activities is the Florida Worm Lizard Rally on January 1, 2017. Details will follow via e-mail.
Much discussion took place regarding the fine Safety Harbor show, which was attended by many BCCSWF members. Many prizes were awarded to club members, and the event was reviewed in an article submitted to British Marque.
Bill Newman recapped the SCCA short course at Sebring, where Kenny Taylor took a 1st and a 2nd in a Miata. Bill took a 6th and a 7th in his Triumph Spitfire. Steve Schultz also raced his MGA. The next racing event will be the 12-hour Classic to be held on December 1st.
John Liversedge won the 50/50 raffle of $63.
The second Tuesday in December will be the date of the Holiday Party, December 13th.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The September meeting of the BCCSWF was held on the 13th at the usual location of Famous Dave’s in Fort Myers, with 20 members attending. Officers absent were President Cecil Carter, Activities Coordinator Gary Dworkin and Treasurer Lauren Welch. Secretary Rollie Welch conducted the meeting. A summary of the Treasurer’s report was presented and approved.
Rollie Welch relayed a request from a Boston Area MG Club member who is interested in purchasing an MGC GT that is in the Southwest Florida area. He would like an eye-on inspection conducted. Several members were willing to help but needed to know exactly where the vehicle is located. Club member Terry Luck offered the suggestion of using Hunt Auto at (239) 481-1978 to do the inspection. That information was later sent to the Boston club member.
Club members sang “Happy Birthday” to Ken Oehler, John Dent, and Gary Jones, who have birthdays in September. The three birthday lads enjoyed their ice cream from Famous Dave’s.
Rollie Welch ran down a list of upcoming events with emphasis on the car shows scheduled between September 1st and December 21st. The list of events is as follows:
October 1 — 2016 Wilde on the Water Concours d’Elegance and Jaguar Festival in Sarasota.
October 22 — 30th Annual All-British Field Meet in Safety Harbor.
November 19 — 1st Inaugural Jaguar Concours d’Elegance in Fort Myers.
December 3 — The Mercato Show in Naples.
January 28, 2017 — Caloosahatchee Celtic Festival in Fort Myers.
February 11, 2017 — 13th Annual Cars on Fifth in Naples.
March 5, 2017 — The 5th Annual B.I.G. European Sports & Collector Car Show in Cape Coral. Please note the day and date of this show, which were listed incorrectly in earlier publications. The actual date is Sunday, March 5, 2017, as shown here.
April 1, 2017 — The All-British Meet in Mead Garden in Winter Park.
April 15, 2017 — Wheels Across the Pond in Jupiter.
Jackie Hill reminded everyone that the Annual Club Picnic has been held on a Sunday “right around St. Patrick’s Day,” and in 2017 that could either be March 12th or the 19th. More information will be presented as the date draws closer.
Rollie reminded everyone of the huge Cars on Fifth show in Naples scheduled for February 11, 2017. Spots are very limited and reservations for this show tend to fill up very quickly. Rollie also reminded the group of Cecil’s idea of a night run on February 25, 2017, which is the anniversary of the first Lucas patent. More information will be coming but all participating cars should have some sort of Lucas electrical part (working or non-working).
Bill Newman recapped the Labor Day events at Sebring by first lamenting his bad luck of only doing 1-1/2 laps in his race before experiencing engine failure. Then he mentioned that several club members took advantage of the offer of two courtesy laps behind a pace car, as it was British Car Club Weekend at Sebring. Reports came back with positive results, saying that the speeds rose up to around 50mph. Club member John Welch showed us a picture of him driving his Jaguar by the Sebring sign and outdistancing an Aston Martin!
The turnout for the weekend was low in numbers due the hurricane threats leading up to Saturday. Bill Newman mentioned that the Sebring officials would probably offer the same event next year in September.
The group welcomed Rosemary Taylor, who graciously drew the 50/50 raffle ticket. The winner was John Welch with $44, which will offset his cost of the race picture at Sebring where he zoomed past the Aston-Martin.
The next meeting would be held at Famous Dave’s on Tuesday, October 11th.
The October meeting of the BCCSWF was held on the 11th at the usual location, Famous Dave’s in Fort Myers, with 34 members attending.
Several new members and guests introduced themselves, listed British cars they owned, and just for fun were asked to describe the most frustrating repair job they’ve undertaken on their British cars. A great story was relayed about a stray wire connecting with a fuse, which caused a Jaguar’s windshield wipers to come on every time the horn was pressed. Ah, the mysteries of British cars!
Lauren Welch presented the Treasurer’s report. Following her report, the group sang “Happy Birthday” to Terry Luck, Gary Eidson, John Welch and Dennis McKinley, all of whom have birthdays in October.
Rollie Welch outlined upcoming events towards the end of 2016. Members were reminded about the limited number of spaces available for the Cars on Fifth show in Naples on February 11th. The registration process for that show will probably begin in early November.
Discussion ensued about the Safety Harbor Show, which would be held on October 22nd. At this meeting the decision was made not to form a caravan to Safety Harbor, so members traveling to the show would need to find their own way.
There was much discussion about non-members asking to place a classified ad on our website. The decision was made to charge them $15 for the service. However, if a non-member e-mails the club, we will group e-mail — one time only — the “for sale” information to our club members.
The December Holiday Party was mentioned and members were encouraged to “save the date” of Tuesday, December 13th, when the Party will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn on the corner of Summerlin and College.
John Welch reminded the club of the upcoming 1st Inaugural Jaguar Concours d’Elegance, to be held on November 19th in Fort Myers. John Welch also proudly has posted the class winners and points totals for the 2016 Wilde on the Water Concours d’Elegance and Jaguar Festival that was held on October 1st in Sarasota. Congratulations to all!
Champion Div. C02: 1st, Gary Dworkin, 1953 XK120, 98.58.
Champion Div. C15: 1st, John Welch, 2007 XK, 99.86.
Champion Div. C13: 1st, Derry Haynes, 1993 XJR-S, 99.87 2nd, Derry Haynes, 1993 XJR, 99.84.
Driven Div. D8: 1st, Dan Sater, 1985 XJS, 99.88.
Upcoming British car events were then reviewed:
November 19 — 1st Inaugural Jaguar Concours d’Elegance, Fort Myers.
December 3 — The Mercato Show in Naples canceled.
January 28, 2017 — Caloosahatchee Celtic Festival, Fort Myers.
February 11, 2017 — 13th Annual Cars on Fifth, Naples.
March 5, 2017 — Fifth Annual B.I.G. European Sports & Collector Car Show, Cape Coral.
April 1, 2017 — All-British Meet in Mead Garden, Winter Park.
April 15, 2017 — Wheels Across the Pond, Jupiter.
Bill Newman mentioned the upcoming Vintage races that will happen in early November. Bill plans to take the first few laps fairly slow, as the rebuilt head on his car needs to be tested before really racing the engine. Kenny Taylor plans to drive his Miata as one of the 50 vehicles anticipated for the event.
Bill Newman won the 50/50 raffle of $55, which will make up for the expense of a flywheel that needs to be replaced on his GT6.
The next meeting will be held at Famous Dave’s on Tuesday, November 8th.
Maybe some of you have seen a motorized bicycle (a/k/a Moped) with a diesel engine, or possibly run across EMW cars?
Back in the 1970s the British company I worked for exhibited at the huge Leipzig Fair in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). Due to that exhibition, for three years I made the trip through the Berlin Wall driving to Leipzig, which could only be recollected as “interesting.” Apart from other Fair attendees in their Mercedes, Audis and Volkswagens, the only vehicles to be seen on the East Berlin to Leipzig Autobahn were the now-infamous Trabants.
Trabant bodies were formed from a mixture of paper and plastic material and glued together, with a small 500cc (600cc after 1962), air-cooled, two-cycle twin-cylinder engine installed that sounded both loud and weak, which it was! My memory of these tiny cars is the unique rin, ting, ting sound every time the driver changed gear, rattling along with up to five people inside at a maximum of about 70 km/hour (45 mph).
All Leipzig hotels were reserved for Russians and therefore I was directed to a private family apartment. While by no means luxurious and with both of their sons away in the army I did have a cozy bedroom, and was treated like a member of the family even though communication was extremely limited due to my very few words of German.
After my first visit I was able to apply to stay at the same apartment for subsequent Leipzig Fair trips, and while my original hosts passed away some years ago my wife and I have stayed in touch with their sons for over 35 years. Now the eldest son, Steffen, lives in a quiet town called Luckau, which is about 100 km from Berlin. During a visit in August we met up again with Steffen, his wife Erica and their children, who are proud to be known simply as German, not labeled as East Germans as was the practice pre-1989.
Knowing my interest in classic cars they had arranged a visit to an exclusive German Democratic Republic/Russian vehicle museum in a small town called Calau, a few kilometers from Luckau. The tour guide had no English but with the help of our younger hosts we enjoyed detailed history of many of the more that 200 cars and motorcycles on display.
The mentioned diesel Moped is about the only survivor of the 19 produced by an engineer who was motivated by the lack of available gasoline in the post-World War II period. The diesel engine is tiny and is of two-cylinder design and mounted low down by the pedals, and the final drive is a friction roller pressed against the tire. Our guide did stress that the Moped was “a failure,” as it took at least a kilometer of pedaling “in gear” at any attempt to start the motor. The only way to stop the engine was to find the switch that turned off the flow of fuel and then pause for any residual diesel to be used up.
I had not heard of EMW cars, and it was explained that in the 1950s a business arrangement was reached with BMW allowing several of their models to be built in the GDR. However, BMW did not sanction the use of their name and finally took legal action — thus EMW was born! These cars were built to a good standard but expensive, and of course availability was extremely limited.
Our friend Steffen explained that when he and Erica married in the mid-1960s they decided to order a Trabant. They didn’t have any money at that time but knew delivery would take a while. They finally took delivery of their Trabant 11, yes, 11 years later!
There were many rare cars and motorcycles on display with unrecognizable names and history. Several that had links to the USA were there, including a late-’60s American look-alike with an imported Cadillac engine and transmission.
If you ever visit Berlin and would like to learn about the USSR/GDR car industry from 1945 to 1989, head for Calau, but first check their website www.ddr-museum-burg.de to be sure they will be open. This is a small enthusiasts museum, reflected by the low 5€ entry fee.
Following my visit I was whisked away for another exciting experience, a test drive of a 1988 Trabant! It still is what it was, a noisy, poorly put together car with maybe a few unique features for its time but without any serious development from start to end of production. My host Steffen did emphasize that it was easy to keep Trabants running, but I’m not sure that would be a plus! With three people onboard I did manage to approach 90 km/hour (55 mph) after wrestling with the weird and sloppy dash-mounted gearlever. Steffen tried to shout instructions over the incredible noise and vibration, warning me to remember the weak brake system to ensure our safety as my test drive ended.
How times have changed! And certainly for the better. After 25 years of reunification the old East Germany is now fully contributing to the country’s strong economy and, as we all know, to a thriving and most successful modern car industry.
As the old saying goes, mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. That also applies to members of the British Car Club of Southwest Florida that are hungry for good old-fashioned rib dinners.
On a typically hot Florida August Saturday morning with temperatures shooting up over 90°, seventeen intrepid British car enthusiasts seized the opportunity to drive their cars from Fort Myers along the straight shot of Rt. 80 to the quiet settlement of Labelle, Fla. Labelle is a town away from the Gulf Coast and about 45 miles into the Florida interior.
Noted in the caravan to Labelle were a couple of British cars with their tops down, embracing the blazing sun, but there were also several later model Jaguars with passengers enjoying air conditioning during the run. Not that anyone is jealous or anything.
At any rate, the reward for the fast trip was a delicious lunch of ribs, roast beef, black-eyed peas, French fries and more at the quaint Log Cabin Restaurant in the center of Labelle.
Great conversation comparing the usual problems popping up with British cars and plenty of iced tea dominated the enjoyable hour spent in Labelle.
Many thanks go to Club Activities Director Gary Dworkin, who coordinated the event with the helpful Log Cabin staff. Also, an appreciative thank you to Gary Eidson for leading the caravan in his 1957 Morris Minor Traveler, which kept speeds right at the 55 mph mark. Several members mentioned that this was a fun trip and we should plan to do it again, once the Florida temperature drops below 85°.
FORT MYERS, Fla., Aug. 9 — The August meeting of the BCCSWF was held at the usual location, Famous Dave’s in Fort Myers, with 27 members attending. The meeting was called to order five minutes before 7 p.m. due to the rain pouring outside. Unfortunately, no new members or guests were present at this meeting.
Lauren Welch presented the Treasurer’s report, giving the starting balance, income, expenditures and ending balance. Lauren also mentioned that the club’s membership now stands at 106.
After the Treasurer’s report, the group sang “Happy Birthday” to Kenny Taylor and Isabel Munoz, who have birthdays in August.
Activities Director Gary Dworkin has been tracking upcoming British car events and mentioned quite a few that will occur in the next eight months. A list of dates is provided here:
October 1 — 2016 “Wilde on the Water” Concours d’Elegance and Jaguar Festival, Sarasota, Fla.
October 22 — 30th Annual All-British Field Meet, Safety Harbor, Fla.
November 19 — Inaugural Jaguar Concours d’Elegance, Fort Myers, Fla.
December 3 — Mercato Show, Naples, Fla.
January 28, 2017 — Caloosahatchee Celtic Festival, Fort Myers, Fla.
February 11, 2017 — 13th Annual Cars on Fifth, Naples, Fla.
March 4, 2017 — 5th Annual B.I.G. European Sports & Collector Car Show, Cape Coral, Fla.
April 1, 2017 — All-British Meet in Mead Garden, Winter Park, Fla.
April 15, 2017 — Wheels Across the Pond, Jupiter, Fla.
Gary spoke about the enjoyable rib dinner run several members of the club made to the Log Cabin Restaurant in Labelle on Saturday, August 6th, which proved to be a very hot day. No matter, the ribs were tasty and the group totally enjoyed driving British cars and engaging in great conversation.
Cecil Carter mentioned how he is formulating a plan for a night run on February 25, 2017, which happens to be the anniversary of Joseph Lucas’ first patent. Each car involved has to have a Lucas electrical component (working or otherwise) to take part in the run. Stay tuned for more details.
Bill Newman outlined the exciting opportunities for the club to be part of a race weekend at Sebring on September 3rd and 4th, which has been designated at British Car Club Weekend. Details of the event have been distributed to club members via e-mail.
Gary Eidson mentioned that the Shell Factory would soon begin their Monday night car shows, which draw between 100 and 250 vehicles of an eclectic variety. Gary encouraged club members to bring their British cars to the outing, which tends to prompt many questions about them amongst muscle car owners.
Bill Newman recapped the most recent race weekend at Sebring where Kenny Taylor did not race but served as Paddock Marshal. Bill described the twelve cars involved in the Vintage races, which included his GT6. Unfortunately, on the fourth lap, Bill’s car “gave it up” and he knows he bent a valve. Bill listed other cars in the Vintage category, such as a Frogeye Sprite, a Lotus Elan and a Lotus 7. However, the winner was an open wheel 4-cylinder Formula Ford.
Cecil mentioned to club members, if you are out and about at Sebring or other locations, please take a picture of yourself, friend or family member wearing BCCSWF gear. The photo can then be posted on our website.
Gary Eidson has offered to chair the nominating committee to select the next set of officers who will be inducted in December.
Peter Blackford won the 50/50 raffle of $43, which will make up for the expense of his Labelle Log Cabin lunch.
The next meeting will be held at Famous Dave’s on Tuesday, September 13th.
In an earlier article I wrote about our decision to send our Austin-Healey back to England to enjoy drives around beautiful Sussex. Unfortunately, the result was not as straightforward as anticipated.
The actual shipping from Brunswick, Ga., was the simple part. The roll on-roll off ship took about ten days to reach Southampton and a few days later the shippers confirmed that we could collect the car. With our plan to drive it back to our UK base in Eastbourne, roughly an 80-mile drive east, we took the train to Southampton on May 12th.
After reporting to the dock office we had to sign for release of the Healey. In a few moments, as a member of the dock-positioning team drove our car down from the huge temporary storage building, we heard a roar echoing from the engine exhaust. I would imagine that our smiles at that point reflected our excitement. We looked over the car quickly and all seemed well. We removed the various cabin protection packaging and took off the side screens for storing in the trunk.
On opening the trunk our smiles quickly turned to anger and disappointment. Neatly stored inside the trunk was the complete lower exhaust system. On closer inspection we noted that the exhaust pipe must have rammed upwards on dropping to the ground as the under fender area was damaged and prevented steering.
Obviously someone either in Brunswick or on arrival at Southampton had not considered the low riding height of a Healey roadster. Had we been advised in advance we would have been able to immediately make arrangements for delivery by trailer and make the necessary insurance claims. As it was we had to report the damage back in the shipper’s office, book into a hotel, and find urgent transport.
We knew of a specialized Healey restoration company located a short distance from Eastbourne. They kindly agreed to take on the immediate insurance repairs. Finding a transportation company who could collect the car within the port’s time restrictions was the next priority. We were able to meet this challenge and the next day returned home by train. While cars manufactured before 1960 do not require an MOT (emissions/roadworthy check) or road tax in the UK, the garage did carry out a general inspection and highlighted some serious brake problems that added several weeks and also almost doubled the cost of importation!
Of course we knew we needed to register the car with the British version of the DMV (DVLA). Last year there were local high street DVLA offices and we had planned to make a visit with the required infamous registration form V55/5. However, all the local offices have been closed with the service now centralized in Swansea, South Wales! I won’t bore you with subsequent delays except to say that we are still waiting six weeks later to get a final, necessary piece of paper to provide complete the DVLA process. The best guess is another two weeks before being advised of the allocated tag plate number.The third Sunday of June was Father’s Day and also a midsummer’s day with temperate sunshine. We’re not sure if it was legal, but we decided to take out the Healey with its old Florida tag plate to attend a family gathering to enjoy a ‘bacon butty’ breakfast. It was wonderful. Afterwards we moved on to attend our first British Drive & Show classic car meet held in the shadow of Bodiam Castle (with a missing front UK tag plate!). We passed several police cruisers without incident, making for a very good first pleasure drive through beautiful Sussex.
If you are planning on shipping a classic to Britain, just plan on being very patient, make sure you service your car thoroughly and have adequate shipping insurance, and you might just eventually enjoy the “experience.”
BCCSWF members are invited to participate in a Sports Car Club of America event at Sebring where British car owners can run their vehicles on one lap behind an official pace car.
The set date will be Saturday, September 3rd, and possibly Sunday, September 4th. Entry will require going through the registration process, but there are no limitations on the number of BCCSWF cars that can take part in the courtesy lap.
This event is in the early planning stages and detailed information will come to club members through e-mail early in August. The track awaits roars of many British engines!
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The July meeting of the BCCSWF was held at the usual location of Famous Dave’s in Fort Myers with 32 members attending. Two guests, Curt and Aileen Croly, were introduced. The Crolys came from Orlando and are part of the Central Florida Triumph Register and wanted to spend some time with the BCCSWF. The club also acknowledged new member Jeanne Swartz, proud owner of a 2010 Jaguar XKR.
The Treasurer’s report was approved. It stated the club’s starting balance, income, expenditures, and ending balance. Activities Coordinator Gary Dworkin spoke about his deep pride for the club representation at Jeremy Taylor’s funeral and how many members supported Rosemary Taylor.
With the summer heat, there are only a few events planned. On August 6th the club will travel to LaBelle, Fla., to the Log Cabin rib joint for lunch. Details will be forthcoming in e-mail. Bill Newman outlined the trip to the Sebring racetrack on September 3-4 for club members’ to register for a sample lap behind a pace car around the 3.87-mile track. This is an SCCA-sponsored event and there are no limits on how many British cars (of all marques) can take part. Details on how to register will be forthcoming, also via e-mail.
Cecil related an invitation for British cars to be shown at the Cape Coral 7-11 on the corner of Gleason and Santa Barbara for National Hot Dog Day. Show your British car and chow down on hot dogs for $1!
Bill Newman also spoke about the upcoming weekend racing at Sebring where the vintage racers will run at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and at 8 a.m. on Sunday in order to escape the July heat. After the vintage races, there will be a seven-hour endurance race where teams compete but drivers can only be behind the wheel for 90 minutes at a time. There will also be a “bracket endurance” competition, which Bill described as too complicated to explain.
Members sang “Happy Birthday” to members celebrating birthdays in July. Club members were reminded that photographs to accompany British Marque articles should be of the highest resolution possible, ideally 1600x1200. Recently some pictures of club events were unable to be used due to low resolution.
Gary Dworkin mentioned that George Krause, Larry Gleeson and John Dent are all now esteemed volunteers at the Revs Museum in Naples. Club members were encouraged to view the great collection of automobiles (and play in the billionaires’ toy box) at the Museum. The Revs Institute for Automotive Research, Inc., is located at 2500 S. Horseshoe Dr., Naples, Fla., and can be reached at (239) 687-REVS (7387).
Steve Ruppert won the 50/50 raffle of $54. The next meeting will be at Famous Dave’s on August 9th.
ARCADIA, Fla. — Twenty-two members of the British Car Club of Southwest Florida caravanned to Arcadia for the annual British Memorial Service conducted by the Rotary Club of Arcadia.
The service is held to honor 23 Royal Air Force cadets who died while training in Arcadia during World War II and are buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery. The club has participated in this event since 1994 and considers it to be one of its signature activities.
The weather was perfect for the drive up Route 17 with sunny skies and reasonable temperatures. The absence of love bugs this year made the trip even more pleasurable. (For those of you unfamiliar with these little beasts, love bugs are often out in Southwest Florida this time of year and wreak havoc with LBCs. They must be immediately removed otherwise their splatters can cause serious damage to the paint. They can also make it challenging to drive when they completely engulf one’s windshield!)
Several members of the club participated in the ceremony by laying Union Jacks and poppy wreaths on gravesites. The club’s wreath was placed by Cecil Carter, assisted by Gary Dworkin and Terry Luck. Special remarks were made by Art Rimback of the Military Heritage and Aviation Museum, Punta Gorda.
Following the ceremony, club members drove over to Mary Margaret’s Tea House for lunch. Mary Margaret’s is a most charming Victorian teahouse located in downtown Arcadia. Members were able to enjoy an absolutely delicious lunch while surrounded by the beautiful décor.
The drive home was warm but uneventful. Everyone got home in one piece and the chase car was not called into service. There was even a blue MGA (Lionel and Jackie Hill) spotted on I-75 making its way home!
Special thanks are in order to Terry Luck for organizing and orchestrating this event. Everything went off without a hitch and all members had a great day. Thanks, Terry.
The British Car Club of Southwest Florida has frequently taken part in an event that now approaches an annual happening. The fun time is a sponsored run to the Alva Country Diner, which this year occurred on Saturday, May 21st. Eighteen stalwart members of BCCSWF arrived at various times, but none later than 9 a.m., to enjoy a great breakfast at a truly country diner that serves the best pancakes in all of Southwest Florida.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough space to park our LBCs in the same area, but nonetheless several marques were well represented, including two MGBs, an MGA, a TR6, a Jensen-Healey, and several Jaguars. Members who own cars that were not running, or shied away from driving an open car in 90° heat, chose to participate in vehicles of Japanese manufacture.
The Alva Country Diner is always a favorite location for patrons looking for good ol’ country cookin’ served with a smile. Our waitress was most accommodating and did a great job taking care of us in a mostly timely fashion while also trying to serve an otherwise full restaurant of regular patrons.
No one in our group was brave enough to order the full stack of pancakes (enough to feed a family of four), and there were more than a few take-home packages seen carried out the door.
The weather that day cooperated — a cool drive in the early morning, sun mostly shining, but a little on the warm side going home. A great day! Great company. Great food. Great cars. Life doesn’t get much better.
The June meeting of the BCCSWF was held at the usual location of Famous Dave’s in Fort Myers on June 14th with 29 members attending.
The meeting was called to order five minutes before 7 p.m. upon the approval of Kenny Taylor. The club welcomed new members Steve and Sue Kindelan. They have owned British cars for over 50 years but currently do not own a British vehicle. Several members shouted out cars that they have available at a steep price! Steve mentioned his favorite car was an MGA and he wouldn’t mind owning another one.
Lauren Welch presented the Treasurer’s report.
The meeting moved on to the sad task of organizing the club’s role in the funeral of member Jeremy Taylor. Jeremy was the victim of a random act of gun violence and died while on his beloved motorcycle. Much discussion ensued about having members’ British cars involved in a procession from the Taylor residence to the funeral home. The club voted to order a flower arrangement delivered to the funeral home. A dish garden was already purchased by the club and delivered to the Taylor home as a more permanent item than flowers. A motion was made and seconded about waiving the monthly 50/50 raffle and having the Club Treasurer gather donations to give to Jeremy’s widow, Rosemary. Members should be proud of stepping up and being generous in this tough time for the Taylor family. There are plans for club members pitching in and finishing repairs on Jeremy’s 1967 Sprite.
The Alva Diner Breakfast Run was quickly recapped and approval made of the huge pancakes the club consumed. Thanks to Ken Oehler for organizing the trip. Also, thanks went to Cecil Carter, Gary Dworkin and Terry Luck for their roles in presenting a wreath on Memorial Day to the Arcadia Cemetery where 23 British airmen who died during World War II training exercises are buried.during World War II training exercises are buried.during World War II training exercises are buried.
Activities Coordinator Gary Dworkin brought up the possibility of having an event in July — driving our British cars to Labelle and dining on barbecue at the Log Cabin. Club members were understandably concerned about Southwest Florida’s extreme July heat. The event is in the beginning planning stages.
Bill Newman recapped his racing adventures at Sebring on June 12th. The heat proved to be the toughest part of the weekend with many cars and drivers not able to compete. Of the 28 registrants, only 10 managed to race. In the Vintage races a Corvette, a Bugeye Sprite and a Lotus Elan were some of the cars competing. Bill took 3rd in his race but then the heat prompted him to pack it in. Kenny Taylor took a 6th in his race while driving a Miata. Kenny hopes to have repairs made to his TR7 and soon to have it back on the track.
Bill also mentioned an event in the planning stages for September, a car carousel at Sebring where members can drive one lap on the track. Sounds like great fun.
The next meeting will be held at Famous Dave’s on Tuesday, July 12th.
Sunday, March 13th, came to Southwest Florida with decent weather, which means no rain and cooler temperatures around 75°. These facts totally contradicted weather reports that called for storms. The fine weather was excellent news for 53 members of the British Car Club of Southwest Florida who gathered for their Annual Club Picnic.
The site once again was the grounds around Franklin Locks, which control water flow and boat traffic from Lake Okeechobee to the Caloosahatchee River and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico.
Larry and Bunnie Gleeson co-chaired the event and arrived at 9:30 to set up the barbeque grill, tables and chairs. Other members of the club met at a rendezvous point organized by Peter and Pam Sales. From that central starting mark, about 25 British cars caravanned the quick ten miles to the site.
Once all was in place the club savored wonderful food (each member brought a covered dish) and grilled hot dogs and hamburgers expertly cooked by Larry Gleeson and Lionel Hill. Conversation (of course) drifted to British cars and vapor lock, a faulty condenser, and quality body shops to fix dents after a careless citizen driver backed into a rubber-bumper MGB.
After eating, games of horseshoes and cornhole began with fierce competition all around. Winners in horseshoes were Lionel Hill and Brenda Hillard, and in cornhole Steve Emmerman and Jackie Bartlett.
The club plans to repeat the picnic fun next year with even more members coming on board.
Our 1962 MGA has been lovingly restored and on the road since 2002. Nicknamed “Spiffy,” the car has not missed a beat in the past 14 years. With that confidence my husband Lionel and I set out the day before the 32nd Annual British Car Show held at Winter Park, Fla. The weather forecast for our travel day was excellent but was not looking too good for the actual day of the show.
Of course, we all know that meteorologists are often wrong, so we shrugged off the possibility of bad weather. We set off with the sun beating down on us for the first 100 miles. Suddenly the MGA that was always reliable started sputtering and hiccupping. Lionel thought that maybe one of the spark plugs was oiling up, so he pulled over and cleaned all four of them. After two more miles, the same thing happened. Lionel began talking to himself and muttering things about bad gas, fuel pump and other possibilities. On the third pull-over, Lionel cleaned the fuel filter. It looked clean but was actually clogged. Magic!
The car now drove great but the delays put us in the middle of afternoon rush hour traffic. What should have been a four-hour trip with a quick lunch turned out to be a seven-hour marathon. By the time we made it to Winter Park, it was definitely time to enjoy a pint at the Meet and Greet held at the Fiddler’s Green Irish Pub. After downing a pint or two, we made our way to the hotel for a well-earned night’s sleep.
The day of the show started off cloudy but soon a light drizzle started. The rain became progressively heavier and accented by thunder and lightning. Pre-registration had 118 cars but only 80 turned out, all polished and sparkling.
Some beautiful cars were displayed, including a 1960 British-made Ford Capri, which I have not seen since leaving Britain in 1978. We spotted a 1935 Morgan three-wheeler amid many other Morgans. Also catching our attention were a beautifully restored Jaguar XK150 and a Jaguar 240 along with two lovely-looking Sunbeam Tigers. Lionel’s favorite turned out to be a Marcos, but he has no chance of owning one, as his arthritic knees would not allow him to climb inside.
Although the weather did not cooperate, the Central British Car Club did a wonderful job of organizing everything in such challenging conditions. We must say, “Well done.”
To make the journey all worthwhile, our 1962 MGA was voted 1st in its class. Lionel was so delighted, I think even if it snowed he wouldn’t have cared one bit.
Because he knew that my Austin-Healey would shortly be shipped back to England, BCCSWF member Dennis McKinley suggested that my wife and I arrange a “Last Healey Day” here in Fort Myers, Fla.
After some moments of pondering we decided to take advantage of Southwest Florida’s unique and beautiful shoreline. Along with eight other BCCSWF members we took the toll bridge to Sanibel Island and then drove north along the only direct road to Captiva Island. We arrived at the South Seas Marina to board a “Captiva Cruise” tourist boat bound for Useppa, a small private island located in North Pine Sound about a mile from Captiva Island. The boat trip took about an hour and kept to deep channels. To everyone’s delight, we were followed by dolphins that gave a splendid show playing in the boat’s wake.
Once on the island the first thing we noticed was how quiet it was. There are no roads and seasonal residents use only their fleet of electric golf carts or boats to move around. After a lovely lunch at the 100-year-old-plus Collier Inn we were able to enjoy a brief visit to a very informative museum and learned about the long history of this remote area. Then we began the journey home.
My Healey didn’t leave the garage! After a general Internet search for a replacement US-based LBC, I found and purchased a 1962 Jaguar Mk2, which we were able to use for this very special trip. Thus the day run to Useppa became an “Inaugural Jaguar Day” rather than “Last Healey Day”! Everyone enjoyed the atmosphere, the driving and, of course, the beautiful Florida weather.
FT. MYERS, Fla., Apr. 12 — The April meeting of the BCCSWF was held at the usual location, Famous Dave’s in Ft. Myers, with 38 members attending.
President Cecil Carter called the meeting to order five minutes before 7 p.m. upon the approval of Kenny Taylor. As usual for each meeting, members with birthdays during the month were treated to ice cream and a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday.” Congratulations to Steve Ruppert, Glenn Vrooman and Janet Iagnemmo.
Lauren Welch presented the Treasurer’s report, with starting balance, income (members’ dues), expenditures (Picnic fees) and ending balance.
Activities Coordinator Gary Dworkin provided updates on two soon-to-happen club events. More details will be forthcoming for the Breakfast Run to the Alva Diner along with the Memorial Presentation at the Arcadia Cemetery for British airmen killed in training exercises during World War II. The dates will also be posted on the BCCSWF webpage, www.bccswf.com.
Gary Dworkin also mentioned the success of the Club Picnic held in March.
Gerry Odenbach announced the room has been contracted at the Hilton Garden Inn for the December Holiday Party.
Lionel Hill described his trip to the Winter Park Car Show in his 1962 MGA, with impromptu tech sessions on the side of the road. The show was marred by constant rain and only 80 of the 118 registered cars showed up. Through all that and a round trip of 358 miles, Lionel felt it was worth it, as his car took 1st in class.
John Welch told the group that the Wheels Across the Pond show was awesome, with music provided by the Rolling Stones and Beatles (not the actual groups). Jeremy and Rosemary Taylor also attended the show.
Bob Hanczar spoke about his 1978 MGB for sale that is in excellent condition with no major engine repairs required. He bought it 30 years ago for his wife and now it is time to part ways with it. He is asking $4,700 for the vehicle.
Gerry Odenbach won the 50/50 raffle of $55, which could be considered his salary for organizing the Holiday Party.
After 60 years residing in the United States of America, my Austin-Healey BN2/100M is ready to return to its place of birth, England.
For the last 25 years the car has been part of my life. A British Heritage certificate shows the car originally came off the production line in November 1955 in a single color, white, and as the engine number denotes it as a “Factory M,” it would have been transported to Donald Healey’s factory in Warwick, England, for the 100M upgrades before leaving Southampton.
The previous owner said that he had purchased the car in the early ’70s, and since around 1975 it had been placed in dry storage on his family’s potato farm near Clearfield, Pennsylvania. Earlier history had not been documented. A friend of mine actually found the car and suggested that we take on the restoration, feeling sure that we would be having fun drives within six months.
On purchase, the car was trailered back to Elizabeth, a suburb of Pittsburgh. After finding Bondo in the doorsills, we realized a total body-off job was needed. About ten years later we proudly, if not foolishly without any test drive, drove the restored Healey to the annual downtown Schenley Park Vintage Racing and Car Show, which was the start of the “fun experience of owning an LBC”!
In 2002 my wife and I retired to Fort Myers and shortly after joined the British Car Club of Southwest Florida. The Healey arrived in the Sunshine State in 2008. Since then we have enjoyed all the aspects of LBC social events, including many car cruises and shows around Fort Myers and beyond.
The car has been very loyal, complaining little and winning quite a few trophies along the way. Naturally, most miles in Florida have been covered over the fall, winter and spring seasons taking it easy in the hot/humid summer months.
The Healey should be crossing the Atlantic by mid-April, and we will follow a few days later on a cruise ship also bound for Southampton. With luck and a good east-to-west wind we should be reunited by the end of April, ready to enjoy the summer months around the beautiful county of Sussex.
We expect to return to Fort Myers by October, storing the Healey for the cold British winter. Would guess we will then assume the title “Florida Snowbirds” rather than “legal aliens,” a term we held during our working life in America. Who knows, maybe there is another United States-based LBC is in our future?
In the meantime my wife and I do thank all the friends, BCCSWF members, and others who helped us and our Healey have so many memorable motoring fun days over the past 25 years.
FORT MYERS, Fla., Mar. 8 — The March meeting of the BCCSWF was held at the usual location of Famous Dave’s in Fort Myers, with 41 members attending. Guest (and shortly after the meeting, new member) Steve Schultz introduced himself as an owner of a 1961 MGA. Steve also told the club that he participates in vintage racing, which immediately established a bond with fellow racers Bill Newman and Kenny Taylor.
The Treasurer’s report was approved, summarizing the starting balance, income, expenditures and ending balance.
Activities Coordinator Gary Dworkin lauded Dennis McKinley for his great effort organizing the B.I.G. (British, Italian, German) Show held on March 6th. The weather was great, and 97 vehicles were registered with 91 actually taking part in the show. Several BCCSWF members won awards for their cars in different classes:
1st, George Krause, 1956 Triumph TR3.
1st, Gary Jones, 1953 MG TD.
1st, Lionel Hill, 1962 MGA MkII.
1st, Gary Dworkin, 1953 Jaguar XK120.
1st, Peter Sales, 1956 Austin Healey 100-4.
1st, Dennis Labbe, Lotus.
1st, Alan Shakman, 1961 Morris Minor Convertible.
1st, Jon Liversedge, 1980 MGB LE.
2nd, John Welch, 2007 Jaguar XK.
3rd, Susan O’Bryan, 1967 Mini Moke.
Oldest Car, Alan Shakman, 1952 MG TD.
Gary reminded everyone of the details of the annual club picnic to be held on Sunday, March 13th. Also, the day trip to Useppa to be held on March 18th was mentioned. Gary encouraged members to check out the webpage and the events link for upcoming events spread out across southwest and southeast Florida.
Gary was teased about his wonderful Jaguar that failed to start due to electrical issues and needed much manpower to push it. Being a good sport, Gary said, “If you can get a British car to 4th gear, you’re golden.” See above for a picture of the club effort to push Gary’s car.
Members sang “Happy Birthday” to those members celebrating birthdays in March.
Bill Newman informed the club that he and Kenny Taylor had some issues racing at Sebring three weeks ago. Bill repeated the rumor that Kenny broke his TR7 while it was still on the trailer. Bill also voiced another rumor that Kenny was later seen racing behind the wheel of a Miata!
Bill’s own luck changed for the worse when he blew a big old hole in his radiator after two laps. Utilizing JB Weld, he patched the hole that night only to have another hole blow out on the other side the next day. A new radiator is on order.
Steve Schultz joined the racing crowd and kept to form by breaking the engine on his MGA. At any rate, it was felt that all three racers would be on the track shortly. President Cecil Carter encouraged club members to take in a vintage race and support the guys.
Headley Wilson related the story of how he had to leave last month’s meeting to help a fellow MG owner with an immediate repair to his alternator. The alternator was fixed with some ingenuity on the spot and Headley was amazed on how much he learned that night about by-the-seat-of-your-pants repairs.
Cecil Carter, President of the club, won the 50/50 raffle of $58.
The next meeting will be at Famous Dave’s on Tuesday, April 12th.
FORT MYERS, Fla., Feb. 9 — The February meeting of the BCCSWF was held at the usual location, Famous Dave’s in Fort Myers, with 50 members attending. President Cecil Carter called the meeting to order five minutes before 7 p.m. upon the approval of Kenny Taylor. Guests Albert Andrews, Mike and Jenny Bonnough and Bob Vance were welcomed, along with Steve and Dan who own a variety of British cars from a 1974 Jensen-Healey to a 2013 Jaguar F-type, including a ’75 MGB (project car), a Spitfire, and an E-type Jaguar.
The Treasurer’s report was given and approved, including starting balance, income, expenditures, and ending balance.
Activities Coordinator Gary Dworkin provided updates on several soon-to-happen club events that will also be posted on the BCCSWF webpage, www.bccswf.com.
Coming right up on February 13th was “Cars on Fifth,” in Naples, Fla. This event was fully subscribed with 29 cars for the club. Parking for BCCSWF was moved off of Fifth Street to Third Street, which was away from the main event. Gary gave intricate instructions on how members had to enter the event quite early at 7:15 a.m.
Gary Dworkin also gave the date of the Club Picnic, which will be held on Sunday, March 13th. Jackie Hill asked each member to bring a dish (plus serving utensils) to share, plus whatever each member wants to drink. A caravan of British cars will meet and then embark from Lowe’s parking lot on the corner of Six Mile Cypress and Colonial. The address of the picnic area is the W.P. Franklin Lock Recreation Center, 1660 S. Franklin Lock Rd., Alva, Fla. More details will be forthcoming, probably through an e-mail alert.
Peter Sales outlined a suggestion for a fun outing that could be an excuse to drive British cars through a wonderful setting. Peter proposed an excursion to Useppa, a private island off of Captiva that’s about a 40-minute boat ride from the South Seas Resort. The proposed date is Friday, March 18th, and it would be an all-day affair. The cost of the boat trip is $40 per person plus $5 to park. Details will follow if interest sparks.
Terry Luck announced that to place a polo shirt order, he needs 10 orders. Members were encouraged to buy one!
Bill Newman informed the club that he and Kenny Taylor would be racing at Sebring on the long track on the weekend of February 13-14. There would be 31 cars in the vintage races, with Bill driving his GT6 and Kenny behind the wheel of his TR7. Bill could not imagine a better way to spend Valentine’s Day weekend.
Cecil presented the proposal of a fixed menu offered by Famous Dave’s to pick up the pace of the service during our monthly meetings. The proposed menu has been mailed to the group for review.
Jon Liversedge won the 50/50 raffle of $75.
The next meeting will be at Famous Dave’s (possibly with the fixed menu) on Tuesday, March 8th.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Members of the British Car Club of Southwest Florida gathered at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fort Myers for their annual celebration of the holiday season.
The evening opened with cocktails, and the conversation at many of the tables gravitated towards the joy and hardship of owning a British car. The event progressed to the buffet dinner featuring roast beef, chicken Marsala, mashed potatoes and a variety of desserts highlighted by chocolate cake, plus both apple and pumpkin pies.
Once the feast was completed, all 74 club members pushed their chairs back and enjoyed a rousing magic/comedy show by Joey Evans. His magic tricks included many head-scratching moments manipulating numbers, which dazzled the audience. One particular trick had club member Steve Emmerman somewhat apprehensive about volunteering for a skit when it seemed he was about to lose a $100 bill inside a lemon. The fascinating show ended with club members thanking Joey with a loud ovation.
Prizes were then raffled off with each couple winning a door prize based on a British theme. The culminating moment of the evening was when Gary Eidson was presented with the Club Spirit Award trophy, which is a miniature gas pump that doubles as a clock. Gary’s marching orders for 2016 are to make the clock operational. (In all seriousness, Gary has been instrumental in uplifting the club’s website into a vibrant commodity.)
The BCCSWF owes great big thanks to John Welch and Kathy Weber for their organizational efforts for the event. The Florida temperature outside remained in the mid-70s, and it was matched by the warmth and fellowship inside the Hilton.
The January meeting of the BCCSWF was held on the 12th at the usual location, Famous Dave’s in Fort Myers, Fla., with 57 members attending.
President Cecil Carter called the meeting to order and introduced guests who own a variety of British cars, from a Jaguar XK120 to several Austin-Healeys. Keith Daniel was a visitor to the area from Pittsburgh who located our meeting by logging on to our website, which we all are calling a win. Welcoming remarks were made by all of the guests including Lillian, who is Kathy Weber’s mother.
The Treasurer’s report was approved, with starting balance, income, expenditures and ending balance all duly noted. Treasurer Lauren Welch thanked the group for the many early membership renewals, which makes the task much easier to complete.
Cecil expressed his thanks to John Welch and his crew for a wonderful Holiday Party, which Cecil mentioned was an event that brought much joy to the club just before the holidays.
Activities Coordinator Gary Dworkin provided updates on several of soon-to-happen (as of the meeting date) club events and their dates, which would also be posted on the BCCSWF webpage, www.bccswf.com.
January 23 — Celtic Festival in Fort Myers. Limited to 30 cars, so e-mail Gary Dworkin if interested: firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 31 — Alfa Romeo Club has invited interested members of BCCSWF to attend a polo match at Longwood Ranch. Tickets are priced at $15 a person.
February 13 — Cars on Fifth, Naples, Fla. This event is fully subscribed with 29 cars from the club. Parking for BCCSWF has been moved off of Fifth Street to Third Street, which is away from the main event.
Gary Dworkin also gave the date of the Club Picnic, which will be held on Sunday, March 13th.
Terry Luck complimented Gary Eidson on the continued fine work of making the club’s webpage a key component of information for members.
Gary Jones mentioned the passing of Jay Helt. Jay’s cars will be sold at some time (1979 MGB, 1992 XJS, and 1953 MG TD). If interested please contact Gary Jones at email@example.com.
Bill Newman recapped his adventures racing his Triumph at Daytona and let the group know he took a 1st in both of his events. Bill is looking forward to racing his Triumph GT6 in a vintage race in mid-February. Kenny seemed at odds to reveal his efforts other than to say he unloaded the car, raced, and loaded it back onto the trailer, which made for a good day.
Marlene Darley was the winner of the 50-50 Raffle of $93. The next meeting will be at Famous Dave’s on February 9th.
My British vehicle is a 1967 Austin Mini Moke, which I’ve named Yellow Rose, and 2015 is the second year I have shown my Mini Moke in many local shows. Thus this past October was also my second year to be part of the Safety Harbor All-British Car Show in Old Tampa Bay.
The two logical routes from Fort Myers to Tampa are either I-75 or old Route 41. In 2014 I decided that I-75 would be too fast and too crowded for my petite Yellow Rose, so I elected to travel Route 41. I drove it alone, including over one huge bridge, but found 41 to be a miserable drive with congested traffic and dozens of stoplights. A three-hour trip stretched to almost five long hours. So in 2015, I decided to bring a friend and caravan with other BCCSWF members from a predetermined rendezvous point.
Here’s where the “village” comes in.
First, my phantom husband Jim, who has to work on Saturdays and cannot attend most shows, totally detailed the Moke, checked her tires and all her liquids. She was spic-and-pan and ready to show.
Second, my friend Donita stepped up. She had never been in a Moke before but was willing to experience I-75 from the passenger seat with no seatbelt, no door to lean against, and only one handle next to her seat to keep from falling out! Plus, she shouldered the GPS navigation duties.
Third, we met up with the gang at the rendezvous. Donita obtained all the information about how to navigate the confusing roads after crossing the Sunshine Skyway Bridge (430 feet at its peak) to arrive finally at the Safety Harbor Resort.
Off we went!
I begged for help while on I-75 and found a whole flock of guardian angels! Two British cars ahead, three behind with the Moke in the cradle spot — it was wonderful! We all stuck to the right-hand lane, traveling between 55 and 65mph, which made it a terrific trip. Along the way, people in several passing cars photographed the caravan. One guy in a Corvette tried to initiate a drag race, but the Morgan and Austin-Healey ahead of the Moke held steady. I owe them for that.
Once over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, we followed I-275 past St. Petersburg, hoping to find the Bayside Bridge and a shortcut to Safety Harbor. The back three British cars were staying elsewhere and peeled off. The “angels” in front became confused, having to perform several U-turns but still not sure where to go. Finally, navigator Donita shouted, “I got it! Follow us!” That’s how the Mini Moke led the group to the hotel’s front door.
All of us showered after the long trip and headed for the Meet and Greet. Donita and I met fellow BCCSWF members “Peter-Pam” Sales for a drink by the pool. Later, searching in vain for wine and beer, we returned to the hotel and entertained ourselves by laughing, dancing and overall having a wonderful time.
The highlight of the show was being parked next to a 1966 Land Rover and walking around seeing the other vehicles. But best of all is that the Moke won her class! Other BCCSWF class winners were Peter Sales’ 1956 Austin-Healey 100M, along with Terry Luck’s rubber bumper MGB.
The return trip to Fort Myers took just under three hours. Along the way, the caravan experienced no incidents. However, one car pulled off ahead of our group and photographed our cars as we went by. When the car pulled back on the road, they pulled up next to the Moke and we laughed hysterically at the sight of many cameras poking out of the windows at the Moke.
What a great weekend and a big thank you to the village of “guardian angels”!
The summer of 2015 will certainly not be remembered for having a “hot English summer”! Since we arrived in England in early July, we could count the days when temperatures reached 80° on one hand. Nevertheless it should be said that those few days really showcased the beauty of the English countryside and selection of classic car shows it’s possible to attend.
One of the best days for us occurred when we drove through Sussex, specifically along the very hilly and picturesque South Downs. We were heading towards an annual event held on the grounds of Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre. Amberley is typical of many English villages, having a population of less than 600, with a garage, grocer and several lovely old pubs. It is located close to Storrington.
The purpose of the Museum & Heritage Centre is to allow visitors to witness country life in England over the past 200 years. A small steam-locomotive train takes visitors around the site, stopping at stations where there are live demonstrations of old skills, including woodwork, basket and rug weaving, iron forge works and so forth. There is an excellent transport museum displaying restored buses operated by the Southdown Bus Company from the early 1900s. Another unusual, permanent site shows the history of road building over the past 100 years, and there are many more highly educational and thought-provoking exhibits.
Having around 200 classic cars placed around this unique venue obviously enhanced the experience for us. The only problem was finding enough time to see everything in one day! Parked in a shady spot amongst Aston Martins, Bentleys and Jaguars were two identical vehicles that caught our attention. The marque was unknown to us and after chatting to the owners learned that, like the famous Cobra, these cars were based on cooperation between Britain and America. Each car was identified by its unique (and clearly misleading) tortoise badge!
They were the brainchild of John Gordon and Jim Keeble, who in the 1960s believed they could build an advanced, high-performance grand tourer at a competitive price. The prototype, with an eight-cylinder Corvette engine mounted in a square tube chassis, was shown to Chevrolet in Detroit in 1960. Following the presentation Chevy enthusiastically agreed to supply upgraded 5.4 liter, 300hp engines and gearboxes for the first production run. Eventually a total of 100 cars were manufactured, with the last coming from a factory in Southampton, using beautiful glass fiber bodies provided by Williams & Pritchard. The instrument panel design looks amazingly ahead of its time.
It seems the company made the mistake of under-pricing each car, selling them at around £3,000 ($4,500), and finally going into liquidation in 1967. If like us you have not heard or seen these rare cars, we can attest they are called Gordon-Keebles and a current claim is that 90 of them are still on the road.
The monthly meeting of the BCCSWF was held at the usual location of Famous Dave’s in Fort Myers, Fla., on November 10th, with 53 members attending. President Cecil Carter called the meeting to order and introduced four different guests who own a variety of British cars — a Jaguar E-type, an MGB, a Jaguar Mark II and a Bugeye Sprite. Welcome remarks were made by all of the guests.
The Treasurer’s report, with starting balance, income, expenditures and ending balance, was approved.
After the 30 days of notification and review, a proposal to change the club’s bylaws and raise annual dues from $25 to $30 starting in January of 2016 was brought forth and seconded. The proposal was passed by a majority of members.
Activities coordinator Gary Dworkin listed several of the upcoming club events and their dates that will also be posted on the BCCSWF webpage, www.bccswf.com:
November 15 — Jaguars at the Promenade in Bonita Springs.
December 3-6 — Key West British Car Run.
December 5 — Mercato Car Show, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
January 23, 2016 — Celtic Festival in Fort Myers.
January 30, 2016 — Sarasota Highland Games, Sarasota Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, Fla., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The BCCSWF will be limited to 30 cars for the event. More information can be located at sarasotahighlandgames.com.
February 13, 2016 — Cars on Fifth in Naples, Fla.
Gary reminded club members that the Cars on Fifth event will fill up quickly and BCCSWF has a very limited number of spots. It is imperative to register as early as possible as it is a first-come, first-serve set-up. Registration for BCCSWF is done through a password only available through President Cecil Carter or Activities Coordinator Gary Dworkin. Please e-mail them on the “Contact” tab on the BCCSWF webpage. Additional information can be found at www.carsonfifth.com.
John Welch reminded members about the Holiday Party. The event will be held on Tuesday, December 8th, at the Hilton Garden Inn at the intersection of College and Summerlin, with a cost of $35 a person. The information has been sent out to club members via e-mail with an attachment stating all the details.
Bill Newman recapped his adventures racing his Triumph Spitfire in the Vintage Group at the Historic Sports Car Racing event in Savannah, Ga., October 22-25. He talked about having fun in the town, but not so much on the track. It seems the Spitfire’s throttle stuck, which led to a series of unfortunate events including a damaged rocker arm. Bill won’t know the full extent of the problem until he pulls the cylinder head. Kenny Taylor mentioned he had a good race at Sebring with his TR7, stating he unloaded the car, raced, and loaded it back up without mishap. All in all, a good day.
Jackie Hill mentioned the good time her group had at Savannah in town and at the track observing the different levels of racing. Susan O’Bryan spoke about her adventure traveling to Safety Harbor in her 1967 Austin Mini Moke. Traveling up I-75 in the open air vehicle was quite an experience (which Susan re-capped in the accompanying article).
Louise Krause was the winner of the 50/50 raffle of $74. The next meeting will be at Famous Dave’s on January 12th. The second Tuesday in December is reserved for the Holiday Party.
Would you believe that twenty-two hearty drivers and riders of British automobiles braved the oppressive September heat of Fort Myers, Fla., just to have a tasty breakfast? Oh, what we won’t endure to show off our beloved cars. How about 90° temperatures at nine o’clock the morning of September 26th? Members of the BCCSWF collectively drove three Jaguars, two MGs, one Rolls, one Morgan, one Triumph and an Alfa. Wait, how did that Alfa get in there?
While club members dined on the usual wonderful food offered by the staff at Mimi’s, member Gary Dworkin presented and distributed the attractive BCCSWF handout card. The card lets perfect strangers one meets know all about our quirky hobby of keeping older cars running and on the road. Gary Eidson extolled the three measurements of senior success, information that surely is important to the many retirees populating the club roster.
At any rate, all had an enjoyable morning, and then folks adjourned to the outdoor heat for a photo opportunity. Note in the photo there seem to be several members sliding towards the shade.
The BCCSWF meets at Mimi’s every last Saturday of each month, rain or shine, or heat.
The October meeting of the BCCSWF was held at the usual location of Famous Dave’s in Fort Myers, Fla., on October 13th, with 28 members attending. President Cecil Carter called the meeting to order and introduced guest Ken Green, who has recently acquired a 1973 MG Midget that hadn’t run since 2009 — yet Ken has been able to start the car after some basic carburetor and fuel line maintenance.
The Treasurer’s report was read and approved.
Member Jackie Hill brought forth the concept of a possible dues increase to keep up with rising costs of events and activities. Founding members mentioned that the dues have always been $25 since the club’s beginning and maybe it is time to institute an increase. The cost of the website, while a worthwhile expenditure, has put somewhat of a strain on the club’s budget. Several club members voiced opinions with statements such as “An increase of $5 is not that big of a deal.” A proposal for increasing annual dues by $5 to $30 starting in January of 2016 was moved and seconded. The proposal was passed by a majority of members.
Activities coordinator Gary Dworkin listed the many club events and their dates:
October 17 — Java & Jags meeting at Mimi’s.
October 24 — REVS Institute tour, Jaguar Club.
October 24 — All-British Show at Safety Harbor.
October 24 — Shrine Benefit Car Run & Show.
November 5 — Guy Fawkes Day, Englewood, 5 p.m.
November 7 — Joint Picnic with the Sarasota British Car Club in Punta Gorda.
November 15 — Jaguars at the Promenade in Bonita Springs.
December 2-6 — Key West British Car Run, Wednesday through Sunday.
December 5 — Mercato Car Show, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Gary Dworkin is working on the details for recurring annual events, the Celtic Festival and Cars on Fifth. Gary also mentioned that the club received information about a polo match at the Lakewood Ranch in Sarasota. This is a new event for the BCCSWF and Gary will learn more details soon.
Cecil Carter mentioned the need to organize a caravan to the Safety Harbor show as cars must arrive by 10 a.m. in Safety Harbor. This requires members to meet and form the caravan by 7:30 a.m. at the Jones Loop exit off of I-75.
John Welch outlined details of the Holiday Party. The event will be held on Tuesday, December 8th, with a cost of $35 a person. The information has been sent out to club members via e-mail with an attachment stating all the details.
Bill Newman mentioned several racing events. Kenny Taylor will participate in the Sebring vintage race with his TR7 — if he adds enough gas to finish the race. Bill will drive a Triumph Spitfire in the Vintage Group at the Historic Sports Car Racing event in Savannah, Ga., October 22-25.
Cecil asked for feedback on the selected breakfast menus at the Saturday gathering at Mimi’s. Many members mentioned the breakfast was more organized and efficient and has improved over time.
Cecil was the winner of the 50-50 raffle of $43, to use possibly on his Jaguar repairs.
The next meeting will be at Famous Dave’s on Tuesday, November 10th.
Sir Isaac Newton, an Englishman famed for his discovery of the Law of Gravity, has a branch of physics named for him. In the 20th century, there was a real breakthrough in physics, the development of quantum physics. Often startling and unconventional, the laws of quantum physics go beyond Newtonian physics to explain heretofore little-understood phenomena. Yet no one has fully explained the perplexing contrivance of Newton’s countrymen: the British car.
Indeed these cars, which we know and love, defy all known laws of physics. In an effort to bring some clarity to the conundrum of the British car, I offer this treatise in hopes that it will account for some of the idiosyncrasies of these venerable but unpredictable vehicles. This seminal dissertation will no doubt be widely, if not soberly, debated. While I support the prerogative of the reader to question my conclusions, I challenge the skeptics to propose equally plausible, lucid and concise explanations for the phenomena in question.
1. Law of Accelerated Entropy — Entropy in British cars proceeds at twice the rate of that of normal electromechanical devices. Entropy is the propensity of matter to break down to its simplest form (ultimately the hydrogen atom). This previously unknown law has been deduced through observation, and is supported by the now famous Lucas Corollary to Murphy’s Law.
2. Law of Inverse Practicality — The most desirable British cars are the least practical to own and operate. This is also known as the Law of Sadomasochistic Attraction.
3. Law of Momentum and Inertia — Most simply stated, this law is: British cars are hard to start, but once you get them going there is no stopping them. Also known as Girling’s Law, this explains why most older British sports cars that still run need bodywork on their front wings, bonnets and/or front aprons.
4. Law of Inverse Complexity — Mechanical devices on British cars have twice as many parts as those on other cars. In Social Science literature this is referred to as the British Labour Party Law of Job Security and Featherbedding.
5. Law of Obscure and Obtuse Nomenclature — The names given to parts of British cars have no rational explanation outside of certain esoteric circles. Cases in point: a hood is a convertible top, the bonnet is the hood over the engine, the boot is the trunk, and a King Dick spanner is an adjustable wrench. Recent research has confirmed that these arcane terms were coined by early British automakers as an inside joke while in an ale-induced stupor during nightly visits to the Lucas Pub and Electrical Works in Coventry. The same beverage was consumed in quantity by writers of technical and shop manuals, with similar unfathomable results.
6. Law of Agricultural Lineage — With notable exceptions, stock British car engines look and sound like tractor engines, from whence many of their original designs came. If it could plow a field, it could power an auto.
7. Cultural Phylogenetic Law of Electrical Systems — British car electrical systems recapitulate British society in that their designs are rooted in tradition, but their components often go on strike, fail to work together, and are filled with caustic and incompatible constituents. These social conditions are exacerbated by the fact that much of the populace own Lucas refrigerators, and are forced to drink warm beer.
8. Law of Inscrutable Variables — Also known as the Stealth Corollary to Murphy’s Law, this law states that anything that can go wrong will be well hidden until it does, and will often defy diagnosis. This explains why British cars are chock full of so many delightful surprises and enigmas.
9. Law of Cyclic Effort in Restoration — Similar to the example of the process of painting the Golden Gate Bridge, this law states that as soon as one need or problem is solved, another will pop up to take its place. Thus a British car restoration is never completed, but always in progress.
[Origin unknown, but contributed by Peter Blackford.]
FORT MYERS, Fla., Sept. 8 — The September meeting of the BCCSWF was held at the usual location of Famous Dave’s in Fort Myers, with 26 members attending. President Cecil Carter called the meeting to order and introduced a guest, Dawn Bruno, who labeled herself as a British car enthusiast but not an owner.
The Treasurer’s report was approved, stating starting balance, income, expenditures and ending balance.
Cecil Carter mentioned how the BCCSWF will be well represented in the upcoming issue of the British Marque. Cecil then outlined how to log on, establish a password, and access the e-version of the British Marque, which appears a few days before the print version arrives in the mail.
Terry Luck voiced an appreciative testimonial to Gary Eidson for becoming the club’s Webmaster and making the website a valuable component of the club’s functions. Cecil also mentioned that the website now will enable members to feel proud to be part of the club. Gary Eidson informed the group that the website’s “Resources” tab will lead users to many interesting items, including history of the British Marque and merchandise to purchase.
Activities Coordinator Gary Dworkin listed the various upcoming events such as Cars on Fifth, the Safety Harbor event, the run to Key West, the B.I.G. show in March and other events still in the planning stages. Members were encouraged to check the club’s website for detailed information on all of these events.
Cecil addressed the request by the manager of Mimi’s to have the club to order from a select menu during the monthly breakfast gatherings. Although 30 people responded, results from a Survey Monkey poll were inconclusive. Members voiced ideas from having Mimi’s offer a reduced price since the menu will be limited to letting Mimi’s decide the half-dozen menu items. It was also mentioned that the goal is to not spend an excessive amount of time at Mimi’s during those monthly gatherings. In the past, service was slow and the entire breakfast lasted well over two hours, with long waits for both food and bills. Cecil and Terry Luck will confer with staff at Mimi’s to decide what works best for both parties.
Kenny Taylor briefly re-capped his recent racing exploits by saying, “The car was unloaded, I raced it, and loaded it back up. All in all, a good weekend.” The racing was at Sebring, with Kenny’s TR7 entered in the Vintage Races. Kenny mentioned some races were cancelled due to excessive rain.
Peter Blackford was the winner of the 50-50 raffle of $35. The next meeting will be at Famous Dave’s on Tuesday, October 13th.
The Jaguar Club of Southwest Florida joined forces with the Jaguar dealership in Ft. Myers hold a breakfast event on Saturday, July 25th, at the dealership. Guests and enthusiasts had the opportunity to view a range of classic Jaguars as well as all the latest Jaguar models.
Robert Bruce, President of the Jaguar Club of Southwest Florida, remarked, “This was a great event, and we would like to thank Jaguar Fort Myers, Peter Stratton and Brian Del Negro for graciously hosting the event. They put on a first class affair.”
Many members of the British Car Club of Southwest Florida are proud owners of Jaguars and have chosen to have a dual membership with the newly formed Jaguar Club of Southwest Florida.
Jaguar Club members brought all their cars out for the morning and displayed them in the showroom, out front and in a row along the side of the dealership. That morning there was a downpour, but the rain and clouds broke and things soon dried up. Everyone enjoyed the full sit-down breakfast and the dealership provided gift cards to all who registered. Then, as a cool hook, a lucky raffle winner was awarded a test drive of an F-type for one week!
Special thanks to the members who — late on Friday afternoon in a light rain, mind you — delivered their Jags to be staged in the showroom. Jaguar of Fort Myers had associates ready to dry off the cars in preparation for the Saturday morning event.
There were five classic Jags on display in the showroom. Derry Haynes showed two cars, his freshly restored XK150S and his XJR-S Convertible. Dennis Labbe showed his E-type Coupe, Dan Sater his XJS Coupe and Darrin Schutt his S340 sedan. Altogether, the display proved to be a very impressive collection.
The Jaguar Club signed up new members and took shirt orders, while the dealership staff answered questions and offered test drives in the new models. We had a very good turnout, including two members driving down from the Suncoast Jaguar Club of Tampa, as well as many of our friends from the British Car Club of Southwest Florida arriving to drink in the fine automotive machinery.
NAPLES, Fla. — The settlement of Naples had been hidden on the fringe of Florida’s Gulf Coast and overlooked by developers until well into the 1880s. The catalyst for Naples’ settlement finally arrived 40 years later when two rival railroads rolled into town within ten days of each other.
Today the Naples Depot Museum is set in the Naples’ restored Seaboard Air Line Railway passenger station, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Museum welcomes visitors to travel back to the railroading boom days of the Roaring ’20s and explains how generations of Southwest Floridians used technology and transportation to conquer a vast and seemingly impenetrable frontier.
Displays of Seminole dugout canoes, a mule wagon, antique swamp buggy, restored railcars and exciting interactive exhibits tell the story of how trade and travel transformed Naples from a sleepy village of 300 souls into one of today’s thriving Gulf Coast resort towns. After the railroad came to Naples, roads were built and automobiles began to appear, bringing many tourists and sport fishermen to the area.
In the restored station is a separate scenic, multi-level action electric train display. Ten trains operate simultaneously with buttons that can be pushed to see what is going to happen next. Adults seem to get as much fun from loading blocks of ice or sawing logs as kids do. You can envision yourself in a miniature drive-in movie theater or witness “Thomas the Tank Engine” roll through interactive circus and park accessories.
The Wall of Trains, featuring original Lionel locomotives and rolling stock including some rare models, allows you to reminisce about the trains you once had as a child. Adults and children can ride the outdoor scaled-down train pulled by live steam or diesel locomotives around the parking lot and the station.
Our group left the Depot Museum for lunch at the Naples English Pub about fifteen minutes away. There were thirteen of us who participated in this activity, but the hot Florida summer weather allowed only two brave BCCSWF members to drive their LBCs. Be that as it may, everyone had a fun-filled time at the Museum — and, of course, at the pub!
In 1978 my husband Lionel, our son Richard and I emigrated from Wales, Great Britain to the USA. We bought a house and settled in New Hampshire. One of our new neighbors had a 1962 MGA Mark II parked in his garage. He did not want to sell it but only registered it once in 1987. He went for a few runs in it and promptly put it back into storage.
Patience paid off, though, as they moved to a new house in 1999 and offered to sell us the car. Before the MGA could be moved, however, problems were discovered. After sitting through frigid winters for 21 years everything had seized up. It took four people to push it downhill to its new home.
Restoration was started immediately by removing all chrome parts, which then would each end up either being polished or re-chromed for replacement on the car. In fact, just about everything was removed and overhauled, down to the car’s bare body shell. Many hours were spent sanding the body to remove all the paint, which was Glacier White. I remember almost every closet in the house ending up with boxes of car parts taking up space.
We were not after concours condition, we simply wanted a car we could often drive and enjoy. The color we selected was Midnight Blue as we thought it would enhance all the chrome we had polished so lovingly. It is not anywhere near a standard MG color but perhaps Midnight Blue should have been an official color, as it looks great.
Of course those famous words “there’s no rust on it” turned out to be totally false. Two large garbage bins of rusty sills and other components stayed in the garage until we asked a local welder if he could help us out.
Due to the low temperatures each winter in New Hampshire, and not wanting to stop work until it became warmer, we used an old carpet set on the concrete floor so that Lionel could get down and under the car when necessary. The welder did an excellent job but also set fire to the carpet with his welding torch! Thankfully no other damage occurred due to a handy auto fire extinguisher we always kept in our garage.
The welding and the new paint job were the only two chores done by others. Lionel completed the rest of the work, from reconditioning the engine and transmission to installing new carpet. The only thing that should have been totally replaced at the time was seat upholstery. Due to years of neglect the leather had dried out and split through, so I sewed some faux sheepskin covers for a temporary fix. We purchased new seat upholstery only recently.
At last, after more than three years of anticipation, frustration and final elation, the day came when only one thing was left to be decided, a registration plate. After much deliberation we decided on “SPIFFY 1,” which suits the car so well and states exactly how we feel about it. We relocated to Florida in 2005 so we now enjoy the wonderful winter weather and the car no longer sees snow!
The August meeting of the BCCSWF was held at the usual location, Famous Dave’s in Ft. Myers, Fla., on August 11th with 30 members attending. President Cecil Carter called the meeting to order and introduced new member Peter Blackford, an owner of Lotuses.
The Treasurer’s report gave the starting balance, income, expenditures and ending balance. It was approved.
Cecil Carter recapped prior events beginning with mentioning breakfast runs to Mimi’s Café on the last Saturday of each month. Cecil also mentioned that the Jaguar Club of Southwest Florida would also have a breakfast gathering at Mimi’s Café on Saturday, August 15th. Several Jaguar owners are members of both the British Car Club of Southwest Florida and the Jaguar Club of Southwest Florida. Cecil reminded members to begin planning for the outstanding 29th Annual All-British Field Meet and Auto Jumble that will be held at Safety Harbor on October 24th.
Gary Eidson briefly spoke about plans by Lee County to change the intersection at Orange River Road and Buckingham Road. Gary encouraged people to join the Buckingham Community Association for a fundraiser on Saturday, August 15th, to support the efforts to counter this road proposal. Many British car owners enjoy driving on Buckingham Road and its various curves, which will be somewhat altered if the construction proposal goes through.
John Welch recapped the Jaguar Club of Southwest Florida’s first big event held at the Jaguar dealership in Ft. Myers. Despite the constant rain that day many Jag owners arrived, thus ensuring a great turnout.
Bill Newman outlined upcoming racing events at Savannah, Daytona and Sebring in October and other upcoming months. Bill is unsure if he will participate, as he is experiencing issues with his car’s front suspension. Bill did relate Jerry Wilcox’s recent racing efforts in his Volkswagen Golf. Jerry took 1st in his qualifying heat, and a subsequent 2nd and 3rd. In the race he finished 2nd, Jerry had several chances to pass the leader, but just couldn’t pull it off.
Gary Eidson encouraged members to submit pictures of their British cars to the new and thriving BCCSWF website. An impressive article about club member Peter Sales’ rare cars that appeared in the Ft. Myers News-Press has been archived on the website.
A casual vote by meeting attendees proved that the primary method of communication about club events happens through e-mail. Officers will continue to provide event information as efficiently as possible. John Dent was the winner of the 50/50 raffle and was thrilled with his $41 winnings.
The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 8th, at Famous Dave’s.
A nice story was posted on the website www.news-press.com about BCCSWF member Peter Sales and his Austin-Healey 100M. Here is the link...http://www.news-press.com/story/life/style/grandeur/2015/01/03/1956-austin-healey-is-a-traffic-stopper/20430547/
On the last Saturday of each month the British Car Club of Southwest Florida gathers at Mimi’s Café in Ft. Myers for breakfast and great conversation along with maybe tales of woe of recent misadventures with their British cars. Mimi’s parking lot becomes a shining oasis in the Florida sun featuring examples of many British marques, including Jaguar, MG, Austin-Healey, Rolls-Royce, Morris and Morgan.
This past June 27th, 27 members and friends drove 15 British cars to breakfast. Quite a feat considering the temperature rose to 90° by 9 a.m.
During the winter months, the monthly breakfast is attended by over 45 members reflecting the seasonal ebb and flow of our membership. Nevertheless, this past month all 15 cars made it safely home and as you can see a good time was had by all.
The July meeting of the BCCSWF was held at the usual location, Famous Dave’s in Ft. Myers, Fla., on July 14th with 29 members attending.
The Treasurer’s report was approved, stating the starting balance, income (dues, 50/50 raffle, Tervis sales), expenditures (wreath at Arcadia, website, Marque) and ending balance.
President Cecil Carter began the meeting 10 minutes early in order to see the start of the Major League All-Star Game. Cecil especially was interested in seeing the Chicago White Sox’s Chris Sale pitch. Sale is a former student at Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers.
Cecil immediately complimented Gary Eidson and Lauren Welch on their fine work to develop the club’s website. Gary outlined the highlights of the website with an opening description of how the site is intended to be interactive, and informed the members that it is their website. The overall goal is to let people know we are active. The URL for the British Car Club of Southwest Florida’s website is www.bccswf.com.
Gary went over the site’s menu specifically emphasizing the gallery, a place where photographs of members’ cars plus pictures of club events may be posted. All club information is contained on the website, including membership forms, submission forms for articles and pictures, plus information on past and upcoming club events. There are some things to be ironed out such as member access to the club roster and how to password-protect that information. Gary’s presentation was met with enthusiastic applause from the attendees.
Gary Dworkin mentioned events coming up in the fall, especially the show at Safety Harbor in Tampa. Gary Eidson encouraged club members to attend the Lake Mirror Classic to be held on the third weekend in October. More information will be forthcoming for these events.
John Welch spoke about the Jaguar Club of Southwest Florida’s event to be held on Saturday, July 25th. It will be held at the Jaguar Ft. Myers Dealership, 15875 S. Tamiami Trail, Ft. Myers. Hopefully members of the BCCSWF will attend the event following their monthly breakfast gathering at Mimi’s Café that same morning. John mentioned that the big prize is a drawing for a week’s use of a Jaguar F-type, awarded one lucky winner.
Gary Dworkin gave an impassioned talk about how he acquired a fully restored 1953 Jaguar XK120, which for Gary is the end to a 40-year quest. Cecil mentioned that members of the Triumph Club will board the Ft. Myers Mystery Train for a fun night and BCCSWF members are invited (although this is not an official car event).
As luck would have it, and appropriately enough for his fine work on the club’s website, Gary Eidson won the 50/50 raffle!
The August meeting will be held at Famous Dave’s on the second Tuesday of the month, which is August 11th.
The festivities opened with the traditional "popping of the crackers," followed by a sumptuous holiday buffet. Activities for the evening included entertainment by a local comedian and drawings for a wide assortment of door prizes. Spotted Dick pudding, a traditional door prize for the club party, was of course among them.
Special recognitions were a part of the evening. Longtime member Peter Sales was recognized for his many contributions to the club during the past year. He was especially committed to chronicling his travels between the US and the UK and his participation in many British car activities during 2014. The club’s members appreciated Peter sharing his experiences.
Peter was awarded the coveted "Spirit of BCCSWF" Award — a miniature gas pump/clock. The light on the pump works, but there is no indication that the clock works, except that previous recipients report that the alarm tends to go off at various times!
Incoming club officers were also recognized. Those who will begin their terms in 2015 are Cecil Carter, President Harry Hartwell, Vice President Rollie Welch, Secretary Lauren Welch, Treasurer and Gary Dworkin, Activities Director. Club members enthusiastically showed their support for the new officers, as well as their appreciation for the fine service provided by the outgoing officers.
Special thanks were also given to Isabel Munoz and Cynthia Mahoney, party co-chairs, who made the evening special for everyone.
Cecil Carter and Isabel Munoz present a gift to Jean Bruno.
By the end of the evening, club members were filled them with “visions of little British cars dancing in their with the spirit of the holidays — and fully ready to spend heads.”
ARCADIA, Fla. — Members of the British Car Club of Southwest Florida attended the Memorial Day service held at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Arcadia to honor 23 Royal Air Force cadets who perished while performing training exercises at southwest Florida airfields during World War II. Twenty members plus their guests journeyed to the location to pay their respects.
Of course, it being May in southwest Florida, the weather was quite warm as the little British cars gathered in Punta Gorda and steered north on Rt. 17 to Arcadia. Thankfully, despite the heat, all British vehicles kept to their best behavior. The British Memorial Service is primarily sponsored by the Rotary Club of Arcadia, which also performs caretaker duties for the cemetery’s British plot. This year’s service marked the 59th anniversary of this event.
Presenting the wreath from the BCCSWF were President Cecil Carter and Englishman John Welch.
This year’s speaker was Robert Moffa, founder of the American Ideals Foundation, a non-profit organization that celebrates American history.
The original Carlstrom Field Arcadia Training School has been bought by Ivor Wigham, a British expatriate, who states he has extensive plans for the 800-acre site. Included on the site are a museum for the Training School and a rally racetrack, which is to be named Carlstrom Ring. Robert Moffa is also the fundraiser for the Museum part of the project and is seeking all memorabilia people may have of local activities during World War II.
Once the somber service was completed it was time for refreshments. Our group drove to Mary Margaret’s Tea Room, where calories piled on from a great lunch highlighted by British desserts such as sticky toffee pudding and scones with strawberry jam and cream. All had a good day and everyone got home safely with no car problems.
The club anticipates attending next year’s Memorial Day service, which continues to be a very moving tribute to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Ft. Myers, Fla., May 12 — The May meeting of the BCCSWF was held at the usual location, Famous Dave’s in Fort Myers, with a combination of 31 members plus guests attending.
President Cecil called the meeting to order and minutes from the April meeting were approved. Visiting guests were recognized. Joe Angel was introduced as an owner of a TR3. New attendee but long-time member Jonathan Myer introduced himself as an owner of a 1977 MGB. Club members welcomed George Krause and Lionel Hill, who returned to action after recent medical mishaps.
Treasurer Lauren Welch gave the Treasurer’s report with details of beginning balance, income, expenses (including payments for the Marque, club tumblers, and the Holiday Party) and ending balance. The financial report was approved.
The glass Tervis tumblers adorned with the club’s logo had finally arrived and the mugs were distributed after the meeting.
Activities Coordinator Gary Dworkin summarized upcoming events in which the club will participate. Gary lauded Dennis McKinley for his efforts to organize the recent trip to the Collier County Museum and Gary also thanked Ken Oehler for booking lunch at The British Pub in Mercato.
Terry Luck will organize the upcoming events beginning with a group picnic with the Sarasota Suncoast British Car Club on May 23rd at Gilchrist Park in Punta Gorda. Terry also informed the club of our annual participation at the Memorial Day services held at Arcadia for the British airmen who died during training exercises during World War II. (Still in the future as of this report). Cars will caravan from McDonald’s parking lot at Jones Loop at 8:30 a.m. and drive to the memorial site. Lunch will follow at Mary Margaret’s Tea Room.
Cecil Carter reiterated that the Jaguar club is up and moving with their first meeting to be held at Mimi’s Cafe´ on May 16th. Cecil also reminded the club of the Cars & Coffee sponsored by the Porsche Club of Fort Myers on the first Sunday of each month at the Porsche dealership on the corner of Daniels and I-75. All car enthusiasts are casually invited.
The BCCSWF’s racing members, Bill Newman and Kenny Taylor, announced they will race in the vintage races at Sebring June 13-14. Bill will drive his Spitfire and Kenny his TR7.
The club approved the officers’ recommendation to place an ad in the British Marque acknowledging the Marque’s 25th anniversary. The club’s logo will be promoted in the ad and the ad will take up 1/8 of a page at the cost of $100.
Louise Krause won the 50-50 raffle of $60, which she has earned by taking care of George.
The next meeting will be held at Famous Dave’s on the second Tuesday of June, which is June 9th.