I bought my first Triumph Spitfire from RS&S Sports Cars in Baton Rouge, La., in early 1977. After looking at several TR3s, I found the yellow 1976 Spitfire 1500 with only 15,000 miles parked on the dealer lot, looking like it needed a new home. For $3,500 I became a British car owner for the first time.
The yellow Spit became my daily driver and weekend autocrosser for many years. In those days I was autocrossing every weekend, somewhere in Louisiana or Mississippi. Notable events were in the New Orleans Superdome parking lot, the streets of downtown Baton Rouge, and a banked oval speedway in Jackson, Miss. My son and daughter both learned to drive with the yellow Spit and my adventures were many.
Of course, all this action took a toll on the car, and it is now on the fourth engine and a few rebuilds in between. My Spitfire engine sports a twenty-thousandths overbore, performance cam, roller rocker, oversize valves and 10:1 compression, and breathes with a 40mm sidedraft Weber carb and performance exhaust header. The wheels are 6” wide Superlights.
About 15 years ago it was repainted in the original Mimosa Yellow and a hardtop was installed. I still own the yellow Spit and consider it to be a part of my family. It has been resting in our garage for a few years, needing a rear suspension rebuild, which will be happening soon.
Sometime around 1982 I bought a very early Spitfire 4 racecar. This machine raced SCCA H Production and I saw it in action at the one and only Baton Rouge Grand Prix in the early 1980s. I autocrossed it in the Production class during the times the yellow Spit was resting. I remember one event where I spun out at the finish and won the class crossing the line backwards.
This car was dark brown with twin SU carbs and an 1147cc engine. It was sold to a Baton Rouge undertaker as part of a property settlement with my first spouse.
Before leaving Louisiana, I obtained an SCCA competition license and began racing a VW GTI in Showroom Stock, then a Spec Racer Sports Renault. By this time I had met and married Mary and had become dissatisfied with SCCA club racing — and especially the non-British cars I had been racing.
Having moved to Florida in 1985, I started autocrossing the yellow Spitfire again with the Gulf Coast Autocrossers, a local Ft. Myers group that had the use of a small airport for their events. This type of motorsports held my interest until 2005, when Mary gave me a birthday gift of a performance driving event at Palm Beach International Raceway (then known as Moroso Motorsports Park). The cars were Factory Five AC Cobra replicas and the experience convinced me to go racing again.
An ad in Autoweek for a Spitfire Mark II vintage racecar caught my eye and I called the owner, who was in Virginia. After explaining my background and my love for Spitfires, the owner promised to save the car for me. Mary and I flew to the Washington, D.C., area to look at the car and agree on a price. The next weekend we drove up with a trailer and picked up the little 1147cc white Spitfire.
The next order of business was a Panoz Racing School at Sebring, where I renewed my competition license and then went on to vintage racing with SCCA and HSR. The little white car (Mary’s favorite) was not very fast but it sure was a lot of fun. We took the car to the Mitty at Road Atlanta in 2007 and raced all the tracks in Florida.
My last race in that car was on the long course at Sebring. The Spitfire was running great and I was setting my best lap times when something under the bonnet went ping and I was trailing a cloud of white smoke behind me. The result was a broken rocker shaft. Valves had gone through several pistons and the crankshaft was broken.
The next Spitfire came along in 2012 when I heard that fellow racer Tim Slater was planning on selling off some of his racecars. The one that I liked the best was a replica of the Triumph factory effort at Sebring and Le Mans in 1964 and 1965. It was a fastback coupe similar to the GT6 but with the 1300cc engine and twin HS4 SU carbs. The color was British Racing Green with a yellow stripe and face. Tim took the white Spit and cash for the green car.
Three or four races into the 2012 season I was doing a practice lap at Sebring when the left rear tire got a puncture and the car went straight into the Armco at Turn 12. The bonnet was destroyed along with the front part of the frame and the radiator was wrapped around the front of the engine.
I obtained another bonnet and frame from Tim Slater and brought everything to Steve Smith of Twin Cam Motorsports in Sarasota. Steve was able to put everything back together in six weeks and we took the car to HSR’s Hutchinson Island Race in Savannah. The car was successfully raced for another four years until December 2017.
The HSR event in December 2017 was the last time I drove the green car. I was on the last lap of the first race and dicing with a unique Hillman sedan. After putting some distance ahead of the Hillman I entered the Turn 7 hairpin. Upon exit the rear end stepped out and I corrected. Suddenly the rear end violently came around again and I was airborne and upside down. The car bounced off the roof and landed on the wheels facing the other direction and off track.
I was unhurt, but the desire to drive the car again was gone. Tim bought the car back and put it back together with plans to race it again.
I continued to race my Triumph GT6 Group 44 tribute car for a few more years and will write an article about the car in the future. The yellow Spitfire 1500 will hopefully be on the road again soon and will provide more adventures for Mary and me.
The meeting was called to order by President Cecil Carter at 6:30 p.m. He introduced a new guest who became a member. His name is Greg Curson and he is a friend of members Marcia and Larry McCartt. He owns a ’71 MGB.
The Treasurer, Tom Brewsaugh, was not able to attend, but sent his report. The minutes of the previous meeting are on the website and in British Marque. Past Secretary Mary Newman took the minutes for the meeting.
A few members went on the Tour of Pine Island that was sponsored by some members of the Austin-Healey club that also belong to the BCCSWF. They had a total of six cars and they had a great day.
Breakfast at Penny’s in Punta Gorda was a great success, with seven cars attending. Everyone liked the breakfast and apparently the pancakes.
The Celtic Ray luncheon had 13 people who braved the heat in their non-air-conditioned cars on a steamy July 11th. We were greeted by the friendly staff and were happy to be able to get into the air-conditioning. The food and drink were great, as usual.
Future events (as of the meeting date)
The club will meet for breakfast on July 25th at Marco’s Diner on San Carlos Blvd. and McGregor Blvd. in Ft. Myers. The President will send out an e-mail with details.
Other upcoming events
The Safety Harbor car show will be held on October 24th. [This has since been cancelled.]
The “Wheels Across the Pond” car show will be held October 31st.
The Jaguar festival has been cancelled due to the pandemic.
The meeting adjourned. —Mary Newman
PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — The British Car Club of Southwest Florida did a luncheon run to the “Best Irish Pub” in Southwest Florida, namely the Celtic Ray. It is located in Punta Gorda and is owned by an Irishman, Kevin Doyle, and his son. Kevin also is fond of British cars and has a newer Mini.
The inside of the pub is very authentic and the outside area has been expanded to accommodate the ever-growing group of patrons. He also has an outdoor stage for entertainment. Bill and I try to get to the pub about twice a month and enjoy the food, drink and hospitality.
On this particular day we had 13 members who drove their British cars in the heat on a very humid July 11th. We opted to sit inside. Along with Bill and myself were Larry and Marcia McCartt, President Cecil Carter, Dennis McKinley, Cynthia Mahoney, Bob and Susan Engelhart, Ed O’Neal, Bob Teddor, Al Jensen and Maureen Larkin. We were all grateful to get into the air conditioning and enjoyed our favorite libations and food.
The city of Punta Gorda had recently passed a “mask” ordinance and we all fully complied. There has been a very confusing set of rules set by different municipalities in the area but we all need to abide by the rules in order to be safe for us all.
Bill and I sponsored another luncheon run to the Ray last year on “Cinco de Mayo,” and they had fish tacos.
On the topic of the pandemic...
It has been very interesting and somewhat disappointing. Fellow car club members Gary and Trish Maue and Bill and I had booked a cruise to celebrate our birthdays — mine is on St. Patrick’s Day, Trish’s on March 16th and Gary’s on March 18th. We made our reservations well in advance and were looking to on a brand new ship that had a go-kart track (!) that Gary and Bill were excited to try. We were all ready to go Sunday, March 15th, when we got an e-mail on the Friday night before that all cruises were cancelled.
Bill and I decided that, as we already were packed and our house/pet sitter was already at our house, we would drive to Louisiana via Biloxi, Miss., which we have done several times before.
We took off in our 2016 red MINI early on Sunday and got to the casino hotel by the early evening. We did a few slots that night. Next morning we took off for Baton Rouge for my favorite casino hotel, at which I had made a reservation.
About 25 miles outside Baton Rouge I got a call that they were closing the hotel. Now we had to find a place to eat some lunch and regroup. We finally found the last restaurant in Baton Rouge that was open, and I called back to the hotel in Biloxi for a room that evening.
When we checked in we were told they were closing the casino that night at midnight and the hotel soon thereafter. We went to the casino and payed a few slots and ate and drank until about 10 p.m. (we can’t stay up as late as we used to). We got up the next day, St. Patrick’s Day, and decided to drive straight back.
So that is my sorry story — but we did stay home for several weeks just to make sure we were not infected. I know a lot of people had it a lot worse. We hope that next year we can all celebrate our birthdays in a more relaxing way!
It was not Tiffany’s, but Penny’s Restaurant in Punta Gorda was the venue for the BCCSWF’s June breakfast gathering. Twelve club members, and seven British cars, made the trip on the last Saturday morning in June to sample the breakfast fare and enjoy the camaraderie.
They were not disappointed. Members selected from an expansive menu and enjoyed meals of the highest quality. Excellent service was provided by the restaurant’s owner, Penny, and members of the staff. The club’s new practice of investigating various restaurants for the Saturday breakfast gathering paid off. —Cecil Carter
This is a chronological history of our 1966 Austin-Healey 3000.
It was November of 1965, before the holiday break. I was a senior studying electrical engineering at the University of Maryland in College Park, Md. There were Morgans, MGs, Triumphs, and even a V8 Daimler running around campus. But I always liked the looks and the sounds of the Big Healey.
I was scheduled to graduate in February, and I had a job lined up. I thought I would treat myself and relieve some stress from studying by looking for a new car.
One day I drove my 1953 Ford rustbucket to Manhattan Motors on Queens Chapel Road in Hyattsville, Md. It was a gray and dreary day, but Manhattan was the local Austin-Healey dealer. I convinced them I had, or would have, the means to purchase one and convinced them to let me take a test drive.
There was a brand new 3000, BJ8, British Racing Green, wire wheels, perfect! And I had the keys! I remember starting the car and hearing that beautiful sucking noise from the twin SUs. Then, driving off the lot, hearing the throaty roar emanating from under the car. What a thrill!
I drove the car back to the dealership with a big smile on my face. The dealer salesman asked me what I thought. I said I loved it. But then it got down to the nits and grits. The price!
Remember this was 1965, my new job was going to pay me $680/month, $8,160/year. And this salary was near the top for a new engineer in 1966. The price for this new Healey, my dream car, was $3,200 — almost 40% of my annual salary, and that was pre-tax. I melted, thinking this would never, ever happen.
So I ended up with a brand new 1966 Ford Mustang convertible, dark blue with a white top, with a 289 V8 and an automatic slushbox. The price was much more affordable, it looked cool, but it was not fun to drive. Seemed like it just couldn’t get out of its own way, and my buddies who had manual transmission would blow me away. I did put Koni shocks and Michelin Xs on it, so I felt a little better.
(I love the smell of the Xs when they warm up. I think I was the first guy I knew that had radial tires.)
Then life happened for the next 55 years. In February last year, 2019, my sister and brother-in-law were visiting us in Naples, Fla. One of our favorite events that month is the annual “Cars on Fifth,” hosted by the Ferrari Club of Naples. This event is a major supporter of St. Matthew’s House, which provides innovative solutions to fight homelessness, hunger, substance abuse and poverty in Southwest Florida.
As well as gorgeous Ferraris of various vintages, other cars are invited to participate along beautiful 5th Avenue in downtown Naples, and the 2019 show was the best one yet. There were 607 cars spread across many classes. This included more than 150 Ferraris and supercars, 70 Corvettes, 70 Porsches, 80 muscle cars, 20 antiques and classics, 30 British cars, and 30 cool cruisers.
Now, my brother-in-law has worked with cars for his entire life and loves to go to car shows. But our schedules didn’t align that year and he went to the show by himself.
On the evening of February 9, 2019, my brother-in-law sent me a photo of a 1966 Austin-Healey 3000 with a For Sale sign in it. British Racing Green, wire wheels, it was love at first sight. Déjà vu all over again.
I couldn’t make out the phone number on the For Sale sign, but he blew up the photo and gave me two deciphered numbers.
To make a long story short, she ended up in our garage. The icing on the cake is that the inside of the glove box door is signed by Donald Healey!
She had “been around the block” a few times, as they say. After a few weeks of brake work, tuning up, fluid flushing and refilling, etc., we drove it for about a month. We sent for, and received, its BMIHT certificate.
We then decided it need to be returned as closely as possible to its initial condition and drove it to Tsikuris Classics in Lakeland, Fla., for interior and exterior refurbishment.
We know it will cost three times as much as planned and take three times longer. But progress is being made, and we remain very excited each time a progress report is received.
Her name is “Victoria,” and we hope that upon her return to our garage we will be able to spend many hours experiencing fun and camaraderie with the other members of British Car Club of Southwest Florida. —Frank Palulis
Members of the British Car Club of Southwest Florida remained active during May in spite of restrictions brought on by the coronavirus.
The virtual May 12th meeting was attended by seven participants. Lively discussions about members’ cars and the future dominated the meeting. The club’s financial status was presented by Tom Brewsaugh. Cecil thanked Tom and Bill Newman for articles that were submitted to the Marque and encouraged other members to do likewise.
Inasmuch as the State of Florida was moving into Phase II of its reopening, members decided to hold a face-to-face breakfast gathering on May 30th. The House of Omelets in Cape Coral was the restaurant of choice.
Twelve club members attended the May breakfast gathering. This was our first contact since early March and members greeted each other at a distance, but enthusiastically. Several members drove their British cars, which provided the focus of much conversation among members and other restaurant patrons before and after breakfast. Social distance guidelines were followed throughout the morning.
Cecil shared with those present that Famous Dave’s could now accommodate the club and the June 9th meeting would be held there. (See the accompanying article.) Members were thankful for the return to some degree of normalcy.
President Cecil Carter called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9th. He observed that this was the first face-to-face meeting since March. The two previous meetings were virtual. Twenty members were present. There were no new members or guests.
Tom Brewsaugh presented the Treasurer’s report.
Cecil mentioned several British cars for sale that were brought to his attention. Cy Ling announced his Rover for sale. He also announced the completion of his book detailing his passion for cars, which will be published in the near future.
Past events were discussed. They included the Sports Car Club of America races at Sebring. Approximately 210 cars participated. The Rolls-Royce event was cancelled. The club breakfast gathering in May was face-to-face at the House of Omelets in Cape Coral.
Future events, as of the meeting date, were mentioned. The Austin-Healey drivers would be hosting a tour of Pine Island on Wednesday, June 10th, start time at 10:30 a.m. All BCCSWF members were invited to join them.
The Jaguar Club of Southwest Florida would be hosting Cars & Coffee on Sunday, June 14th, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. BCCSWF members were invited.
June 27 — BCCSWF Breakfast Gathering, Penny’s Café, Punta Gorda, Fla.
July 11 — Celtic Ray Lunch, Punta Gorda, Fla.
October 24 — All-British Field Meet & Autojumble, Safety Harbor, Fla.
October 28-November 1 — International Jaguar Festival, Ft. Myers, Fla.
October 31 — Wheels Across the Pond, Jupiter, Fla.
November 14 — BCCSWF Snowbirds Pool Party, Cape Coral, Fla.
Three members received traditional BCCSWF birthday wishes.
The 50/50 was won by Cecil, who promptly returned his winnings to the club.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned. —Ken Taylor
I suppose you could say growing up in the 1950s and ’60s made it almost inevitable that cars should pique my interest. I remember it was about the age of 8 when I watched a short film on the Indianapolis 500 and was completely amazed. Not long after I came across a program on the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Watching what looked to be exotic street cars racing on country roads completely blow me away, but being a small boy in Ohio I figured I’d never see any of those cars up close.
As luck would have it, at least for a budding young car guy age 9, I had a sister eight years older. She was the typical teen girl of the late ’50s — long blond hair, attractive and outgoing. Needless to say, there were always hot rods around the house.
Then one day things changed. Her new boyfriend pulled up in a British Racing Green TR3. This was the type car I only saw in in the car magazines at the drug store, and here it was in my driveway.
Larry, the only guy she dated I remember, must have noticed my jaw hit the ground because he said with a smile, “Go ahead have a seat behind the wheel!” The size and shape of that car was nothing I had ever experienced before.
Not long after that first encounter, I was sitting in the passenger seat, cruising the twisty, hilly back roads. I was in heaven. That year for Christmas Larry gave me a model kit of the Jag D-type. I was hooked, convinced it couldn’t possibly get any better than this.
One sunny afternoon I rode my bike up to the corner gas station to put air in the tires, and there in front of the service bay sat a bright red Jaguar XKE, bonnet open and those chrome valve covers glowing in the light. I couldn’t help but wonder, why wasn’t anything like this built by our American car companies?
We moved to Florida when I was 15 and as usual made new friends. Turned out one had a British Racing Green TR3 and another had a British Racing Green Spitfire, and these were the first British cars I drove. But for some reason as I started driving, I gravitated more towards the Chevy Camaro — yet the little British car still held a place in my heart.
Fast forward many years. Due to the type work I did I had sold my car and bought my dad’s pickup truck. After all, my soon-to-be wife had a car. One Friday evening I was just driving home as usual and out of the corner of my eye I spotted a blue sports car on a small used car lot. It must have called out to me, because I had to turn around and check it out.
There it sat — a Triumph Spitfire — but the lot was closed. When KiKi got home from work I told her that we were going to go look at a Spitfire in the morning. Her reaction: “A what?” My reply: “Don’t worry I’ll show you!”
True to my word, Saturday morning we headed into town to look at the car. Unfortunately, that little blue Spitfire was nowhere in sight. I felt let down. Then I heard KiKi shout, “What’s that?” Sitting right in front of us was a maroon Spitfire getting all cleaned up.
I asked about the blue car. It had been sold later Friday when the lot owner had returned from dinner, but he had taken this other one in on trade just before we arrived.
As soon as the car was done with its bath we took it for a test drive. We had not even driven half a block when KiKi said, “Let’s buy it.” Wanting not to let on I responded, “We’re not married yet and it’s my money!”
Needless to say we gave the dealer a deposit, went to the bank on Monday to get the remainder owed, and picked up our Spitfire.
Then one day life just seemed to have gotten in the way. We had our first child, bought a house, changed jobs, then child number two came and everything that goes along with those responsibilities. There was no real reason to have our little British car.
But as our girls grew up and became young women, there started to be more time for us. KiKi was looking through our local community newspaper and found an ad for an MGB for sale nearby. We jumped in our car, drove over to the seller’s house, and bought it on the spot.
That MGB became my daily driver for the next four years. About the time I was due to retire I once again needed another pickup truck. Although we both enjoyed the “B,” we decided to let it go to make room for the truck.
Over all the years we still talked about the fun we had with our Spitfire and how we hated having to sell it. I guess it was fate when fellow members of BCCSWF Bill and Mary Newman told me of a 1980 Spitfire for sale. After looking at a photo Mary had of the car, I asked her to text it to me. When I returned home from the meeting I showed the photo to KiKi. A few days later we went to look at the car. It was not in perfect shape, but nothing I couldn’t handle. KiKi leaned over to me and said in a low voice, “If you can get it for what you think is a good price, I’ll get it for you as a retirement present.”
That little Spitfire is now in my garage and has had a few changes made to it. When our eldest daughter heard about it, she said that after growing up hearing all the stories of our first Spitfire, she would have been disappointed in me had I not purchased this car.
In the last five years I have helped restore an MGA, TR6 and a Sunbeam Tiger. We got a Sunbeam Alpine for a parts car that turned out to be pretty nice once it was cleaned up. Got it running put on a new set of tires and sold it.
Most any day I can be found working on some little British car. I guess you can say I caught the bug as a kid. Just wish I could find a kid to infect.
[Note: Originally this was printed in the June 2002 British Marque. Since we have so many members that were not here then, I am hoping they will enjoy this story of old, and others will enjoy its retelling. —BN]
All of the used-up Triumph Spitfires in Southwest Florida eventually find their way to Gary and Trish Maue’s home in Cape Coral, to give up their last useable parts. Such is the case for the latest find, a 1976 Spit 1500, which was discovered in Lehigh Acres, Fla. Before I venture into the painful disassembly ritual, the story of the capture of the beast must be discussed.
Gary discovered the car during his job as “evil disconnector” of power for non-paying customers of the local power company. While trying to talk to a resident about a non-payment (and the car), he was attacked by the property owner’s large goose, which had a Doberman’s attitude about defending his turf. Gary escaped with his life while managing to get the property owner to agree to sell the Spitfire for $50. Gary also managed to convince me to collect the car using my trailer, telling me the goose story was only a joke.
On a beautiful Florida winter day, a Saturday afternoon, Gary and I took my truck and trailer into the bowels of Lehigh Acres to retrieve the “perfect” Spitfire that Gary had described. Upon arrival, Gary instructed me to talk to the owner while he sat in my truck.
My first indication that Gary Maue is a liar is when I heard a goose honking. The goose fortunately ran past me, evidently smelling Gary in the truck. When I discovered that no one was at home, I inspected the Spitfire — finding a pitiful car with a flat tire. Upon my return to my truck I encountered the goose. The goose attacked me with its head low, running at 35mph. I, in turn, tried to imitate a bigger goose by waving my arms and honking.
The goose just missed my groin area with its beak as I leaped over him when we met. The only thing that saved me from castration was the karate chop that I gave the goose as he passed under me (sorry, PETA). After Gary calmed down from his hysterical laughter, the goose allowed us to inflate the Spitfire tires and load the car.
The goose watched me leave my phone number on the door so that we could arrange for payment, but nobody called. I suspect the goose ate the note.
The car stayed at Gary’s house for about two months (under a car cover) prior to the “Tear-down Party” on April 21st. Gary supplied the beer and Trish cooked burgers and sausage for the event — which was attended by Cecil Carter, Craig Disney, Chuck Maher, John Ellsworth, Harvey Desnick and Dave Maslako, along with Mary and myself. Everyone agreed on pieces that they wanted, and the dismantlement began with people swarming all over the car. The only problem we had was that everybody wanted the same tool or wrench size at the same time.
Despite having to wait for wrenches, the car was totally disassembled and the frame cut into six pieces in two hours. Cecil and I received mashed fingers while loading the tub on my trailer, but the cold beer eased the pain. The tub was delivered to non-club member, “Earring Tom,” who had a vast collection of Spitfire and GT6 parts, but no assembled car. (Tom keeps telling his wife he is going to build her a car someday. She must love him very much.)
In any case, Trish Maue is thankful that the car is gone, and she did a fantastic job of providing food for the working crew.
Updates to this story
My best friend Gary Maue has become old and has retired from the local power company. He currently spends his time eating prunes to keep himself “regular” and occasionally looks at the Triumphs and Minis in his garage. Trish Maue, however, continues to stay young and does her best to keep Gary in line.
Craig Disney is no longer a member, but I did buy my #44 GT6 from him. John Ellsworth, Harvey Desnick and Dave Maslako have moved from the area, but Dave has become an honorary member of BCCSWF for life.
Earring Tom, also known as Tom Brewsaugh, and his wife KiKi are now members of BCCSWF, but I now have all of his Spitfire and GT6 parts. They now have an LBC (see story above) and KiKi still loves him very much.
The goose has become an urban legend. Residents of Lehigh Acres speak of the “Cujo Goose” in hushed tones, and children of British car owners are fearful at Halloween. I have vowed not to venture to this part of Lehigh Acres ever again. —Bill Newman
Due to the coronavirus pandemic and related restrictions, all BCCSWF activities were virtual during April and the beginning weeks of May.
Eight members participated in the April meeting was held through Zoom. Several members displayed models of their cars and others wore their nametags. Cecil reminded them that they would receive points for doing so.
The financial report was provided by Club Treasurer Tom Brewsaugh. Discussion centered on the numerous cancellations and hopes that the situation would improve soon.
There were no April birthdays celebrated at this meeting. All members reported the good health of their cars. Members agreed that the April breakfast meeting would be a virtual cars and coffee event on the last Saturday of April (see Cecil’s report below).
After some lighthearted banter, the meeting adjourned. —Isabel Munoz
The April Saturday breakfast gathering of the British Car Club of Southwest Florida was a virtual cars and coffee event. Eight BCCSWF members gathered through Zoom to commiserate over coffee about our British cars and the current state of affairs.
I shared a video with the group about two young Californians and their British cars, a Mini Cooper and an MGA. The members agreed that the video represented the essence of the British car hobby and the camaraderie among its enthusiasts.
After additional commiserating, the meeting ended with members wishing each other good health and returning to social distancing. —Cecil Carter
ARCADIA, Fla. — The annual BCCSWF Memorial Day Drive to Arcadia to participate in the ceremonies honoring British World War II pilots was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Inasmuch as club members have participated in this activity annually since 1995, this was especially heartbreaking. The Rotary Club of Arcadia hopes to resume the event in 2021.
NAPLES, Fla. — Fifteen British cars participated in “Cars-on-Fifth” in Naples, on Saturday, February 8th.
Cars-on-Fifth is one of the premier car events held in Southwest Florida. The event, which is sponsored by the Ferrari Club of Naples, showcases more than 600 cars along Naples’ Fifth Avenue. The British Car Club of Southwest Florida is one of the supporting organizations. Proceeds from the event are donated to St. Matthew’s House, an agency that provides services to indigent individuals in the area.
The day started out with frigid temperatures, but temperatures rose later in the day to make it perfect for displaying the cars. Temperatures were in the mid-70s without a cloud in sight.
The British cars gathered early in the morning in a nearby shopping plaza and at 7:15 a.m. caravanned to Fifth Avenue. By 8:00 all cars were in place.
There was a good mix of British marques that included Aston Martin, Jaguar, MG, Triumph and Lotus. This year a 2020 McLaren, one of the British supercars, joined our delegation.
BCCSWF member Hermann Schaller received one of the Best in Show awards for his beautiful and rare 1954 Lagonda.
By 10:00 a.m. Fifth Avenue was crowded with spectators who appreciated all of the cars, especially the British cars. A local band and a DJ, multiple vendors, and several hospitality hosts added to the festive atmosphere.
In keeping with tradition, at 3:45 p.m. all cars were started and the police-escorted exit parade began. The drivers proudly took their places among the cars and slowly exited Fifth Avenue, enabling all to admire the uniqueness of British cars.