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.
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.