A few issues back I wrote about our 1972 Mini Clubman being towed home from a Memorial Day trip to Arcadia, Fla. At the time, I guessed it was an electric fuel pump/filter problem. I was wrong!
After installing a new pump and filter, I checked for power to the pump and found nothing. I also had no power to anything else except the starter. Checking for electrical problems is not something I like to do, nor am I very good at it, however at this point, with multi-meter in hand, I charged into the engine bay.
What I found was multiple loose connections at the fuse panel. A new fuse panel was purchased and installed along with numerous new connectors. Gradually power was restored to everything that needed “juice” to operate.
I should have known that all connections will fail at some point from my years of playing with British cars. This event will serve as a reminder to frequently inspect all things electrical and repair/replace anything that is loose or does not look right.
Other improvements to the purple Mini include new shocks, knuckle joints and tie rod ends. I will soon be replacing the outer CV joints as I found the rubber gaiters to be split.
The one visible improvement was a new dash with oil pressure gauge and voltmeter. This job was much easier than I expected, with the hardest part being making sure all the electrical connections were right and working before the final bolt-up of the dash.
In a future issue I will discuss the unique suspension systems used in the Mini. Happy 60th Birthday to Mini!
FT. MYERS, Fla. — Our meeting on tuesday, July 9th, was called to order by President Cecil Carter at 6:30 p.m. There were no guests or new members. The Secretary stated that the minutes of the June meeting are on the website and in British Marque. The Treasurer, Tom Brewsaugh, gave his report.
Cecil reported that six club members attended breakfast at Skillets Restaurant in Ft. Myers. He stated the food was good as well as the service. He asked for suggestions for the July breakfast and the club decided on Mel’s Diner in Ft. Myers on Cleveland Avenue. The Secretary will send out an e-mail.
October 9-13 — “Mini 60 Celebration,” Wytheville, Va., presented by Classic Mini United.
October 12 — Jaguar Concours at St. Armands Circle, presented by the Suncoast Jaguar Club.
October 26 — 33rd Annual TBAHC All-British Field Meet & Autojumble, presented by the Tampa Bay Austin-Healey Club.
October 26 — 4th Annual Concours d’Elegance at Charlotte Harbor Event Center, Punta Gorda, Fla., presented by the Jaguar Club of Southwest Florida.
November 16 — Luncheon run with the Gold Coast British Sports Car Club at Jo Ann’s Blue Crab Café, Ochopee, Fla.
November 30 — “A Holiday Happening” Car Show, 8 a.m to 3 p.m., Muscle Car City, 10175 Tamiami Trail, Punta Gorda, Fla.
December 10 — BCCSWF Christmas Party. More details to follow.
January 11, 2020 — 2020 Land Yachts Commodore Cup, 4400 Lister St., Port Charlotte, Fla. The show is open to American and foreign classic cars from 1886 to 1990 and all sports cars (two-door coupes and convertibles). Contact Hermann at (941) 564-5638.
January 25 — Ft. Myers Celtic Festival. Club members will be displaying their British cars.
President Cecil gave an update on the Club Participation Award.
The Secretary presented some club business cards to the members present.
The July birthdays were celebrated, the 50/50 raffle was held, and the meeting adjourned.
On Saturday June 8th the BCCSWF met in Bokeelia, Fla., for a fun-filled adventure to Cabbage Key, for a “Cheeseburger in Paradise”!
Legend has it that singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffet occasionally visited Cabbage Key and dedicated the song to Cabbage Key during a concert at Ft. Myers. There are many places who claim the infamous cheeseburger, and only Buffet knows for sure. But it certainly was a fun trip, and a perfect, sunny day!
The tour began at the Jug Creek Marina on Bokeelia. The cruise went to Cayo Costa State Park before dropping us off at Cabbage Key. These places are only accessible by helicopter or boat. You can camp overnight on Cayo Costa and get back to nature (beaches, shelling, trails and wildlife are abundant).
The tour was narrated and the history of the area is fascinating. Our guide spoke of a beautiful Spanish princess who was kidnapped by a pirate named José Gaspar.
Gaspar wanted to marry the princess, but she wanted nothing to do with the “dirty pirate,” and completely rejected him. He tried and tried and tried to win her over, and finally he beheaded the princess with his sword, possibly in a jealous rage (another version of the story states his crew demanded her death).
The lovelorn pirate instantly regretted the deed, and buried her on Useppa Island, which he named for her. This is the legend of Useppa, and whether there is truth to that story, I cannot say.
We left Cayo Costa and were able to photograph playful dolphins swimming in our wake. Arriving at the Cabbage Key Marina, we were greeted by a quaint and colorful row of cabins. We disembarked and headed up the long, windy walkway to the restaurant, perched on top of a hill with an excellent view of the harbor. We chose to dine in the Dollar Bill Bar area. Dollars are taped all over the walls and ceiling. I’ve read there is $60,000 taped to those walls! It reminded me of Captain Tony’s in Key West, but without the bras!
Naturally we had to get the Cheeseburger in Paradise — we also tried the Cabbage Creeper, which we really loved.
We want to thank Cecil and Isabel Carter, Bill and Mary Newman, Mary’s sister-in-law, Mary Fitzpatrick, Marcia Ling, and Peter and Sandy Blackford for braving the heat and making the trip an absolute delight! It was the Blackfords’ anniversary, and we were so glad to share their special day.
FT. MYERS, Fla., June 11 — The meeting was called to order by President Cecil Carter at 6:30 p.m. The minutes of the previous meeting are in the British Marque (July issue) and on the website.
The Treasurer, Tom Brewsaugh, gave his report and stated he paid Faith Lamprey of the Marque for the management of the website.
The breakfast at the Alva Diner was well attended. The food was good and the service was great. The club decided to rotate locations for breakfast. The next breakfast will be held at Skillets in Ft. Myers, across from the Bell Tower. The Secretary will send an e-mail.
The Memorial Day Service at the Arcadia Oak Ridge Cemetery was well attended and the President and Gary Maue presented a wreath from the club.
The June 8th “Cheeseburger in Paradise” Luncheon Run was well attended by 10 members for the 90-minute boat trip. The food was excellent and a good time was had by all. Thank you, Marcia and Larry McCartt, for arranging the trip.
The club will be looking into business cards for the club.
Tom Brewsaugh reported on the SCCA race held at Sebring June 8th and 9th. Ken Taylor ran his TR7 in Vintage. Tom stated the race was hot and raining. The next race will be July 20th and 21st. It will be a drivers school and a vintage race.
The Safety Harbor Car Show will be held on October 26th. The Jaguar Club will be hosting a show at the Charlotte Harbor Event Center on that date also.
The Gold Coast British Sports Car Club has invited the club for a luncheon run to JoAnn’s Blue Crab Café on November 16th. More details will follow.
There will be a “Mini 60” event in Wytheville, Va., October 9th through 13th. Details are at Classicmini.org. Bill and Mary Newman will be taking their 1972 Clubman.
The annual Christmas Party will be held on December 10th at the Crown Plaza in Ft. Myers. A motion was made for the club to pay $10 per member toward the price of the dinner.
Members will submit a separate check for membership renewal for 2020.
President Cecil suggested Rosie Tomorrow’s for brunch in the future.
The 50/50 raffle was held. The meeting adjourned. —Mary Newman, Secretary
The British Car Club of Southwest Florida made our annual run to Arcadia, Fla., on Memorial Day, May 27th, for the 25th Year Memorial Service to honor the twenty-three RAF cadets who died while in training in Florida during World War II.
With the Nazis’ constant bombing of the British Isles, the United States allowed the Royal Air Force to train at six sites on this side of the Atlantic. Two of the training schools were in Clewiston and Arcadia, Fla. When the first training death accrued in 1941, the British government made arrangements for a burial site in Arcadia’s Oak Ridge Cemetery. The Arcadia Rotary Club has been holding a British Memorial Service on Memorial Day for the last 63 years.
This year President Cecil Carter and Isabel, Larry and Marcia McCartt, Gary and Trish Maue, and Bill and Mary Newman made the trip. The McCartts’ Rolls-Royce and the Newmans’ Mini were the only British cars in attendance, and our club was the only British car club there as well.
Cecil presented a wreath from our club after the singing of “America” and “God Save the Queen.” Small Union Jacks and Poppy Wreaths were placed at each gravesite when the names of the British dead were read.
This is always a very moving ceremony. There was no guest speaker from the U.K. this year, but American Chief Warrant Officer Michael Wilcox, a career military aviator and attack helicopter pilot in Vietnam, gave a great speech.
The Newman Mini ran beautifully at good speeds for the trip to Arcadia, leading the Rolls, a Honda and a Lexus. The ceremony was great as usual, and the next stop was lunch at the Celtic Ray Pub in Punta Gorda, Fla.
That was the good part of the story. Next is the bad.
When I tried starting the Mini there was nothing. There was no juice coming from the battery. I had recently installed a new battery and negative cable and cleaned all the ground connections, but I checked everything again. Still no juice from the battery.
At this point I called for a tow truck. No sense in hanging around with the temperature at 95° and no tools to do any work.
While waiting for the tow truck to arrive, I went back the battery and gave the negative cable a tug. The cable fell away from the clamp. I was able to fix the broken connection and the Mini fired right up. I made a call to cancel the tow truck and were on our way to the Pub.
Before we reached the Cemetery gates, the Mini’s engine sputtered and stopped. Several restarts produced the same results. Again I called the tow truck, waited and hour for it to arrive, loaded the Mini and made the trip home. The $235 towing fee was well worth it just to get in the air-conditioned cab.
When we got to the house, the tow truck unloaded the car in the front of the house and I expected to have to push the Mini into the garage. I got in the car and tried to start it. The Mini started with ease, idled nicely and drove right into the garage, purring like a kitten. Sometimes, I think, our British cars enjoy causing their owners problems and like to ride home on a tow truck.
I suspect that the second issue is a fuel problem and I will be replacing the fuel filter and possibly the electric fuel pump. Results of my troubleshooting will be reported in another issue.
Thanks to all the members who offered help and support at the Cemetery.
FT. MYERS, Fla., May 14 — The meeting was called to order by President Cecil Carter at 6:30 p.m. There were no guests or new members. The Treasurer was not present and we did not have an updated report. The Secretary stated the minutes of the last meeting as well as past meeting were on the website and also in the British Marque.
The Saturday Breakfast at Mimi’s did not go well and the club discussed other options. A suggestion was made to go to the Alva Diner. A motion was made and seconded and passed by the members present. An e-mail will be sent to members who can then RSVP to Cecil Carter. Steve Cleveland held an open house at his Shop following the Mimi’s Breakfast. He plans on having some more events at his shop.
The club held the 2nd Annual Cinco de Mayo Luncheon on May 5th at the Celtic Ray Pub in Punta Gorda. Thanks to all who came.
Future events (as of the meeting date)
The Memorial Day Service for the fallen British pilots who trained in the Arcadia area and are buried in the British Plot at the Oak Ridge Cemetery will be held at 10 a.m. on May 27th. The club will meet at the McDonald’s on Jones Loop Road and proceed to the Cemetery. The members who wish will meet at the Celtic Ray Pub for lunch after the service.
Marcia and Larry McCartt are sponsoring a Boat Tour & Luncheon to Cabbage Key on June 8th on the Tropic Star. The Secretary will send an e-mail along with instructions about making reservations.
The Triumph Club is sponsoring a tour of the Babcock Ranch on May 22nd. There will be a lunch following the tour.
The Gold Coast British Sports Car Club has proposed a joint event with our club in October and November.
The President will be seeking officers for the 2020 term. If you are interested contact Cecil Carter.
SCCA Club Racing has two upcoming races. They are June 8th and July 20th.
Following these announcements the meeting adjourned. —Mary Newman, Secretary
On April 27th, the Car Club met for our regular Breakfast Run to Mini’s Café in Fort Myers. Following breakfast we traveled a few miles south to Steve Cleveland’s shop for a tech session.
Steve had some help from Tom Brewsaugh and Ken Taylor in setting up a few equipment demonstrations. The main display in the shop was a blue Sunbeam Tiger that Steve and Tom are finishing for a customer. There was quite a bit of sheet metal work and fiberglass work that went into the project. Steve showed his skills and equipment in cutting and shaping metal. Tom described the fiberglass work that went into the custom bonnet for the Tiger.
Everyone had a great time at the session, and many members went home with British car magazines and posters that Steve gave away. Thanks go to Steve, and hopefully he will invite us back to look over his next restoration.
The following weekend, on May 5th, was the Club’s 2nd Annual Cinco de Mayo at the Celtic Ray Irish Pub in Punta Gorda. Tom and Martha Lambert in their MG TD and Larry and Marcia McCartt in their Rolls-Royce met Mary and me in our Mini at a supermarket parking lot for the 20-mile run to the Celtic Ray.
This pub is one of our favorite watering holes. Owned by Irishman Kevin Doyle, it features traditional Irish food, Irish music, and of course whisky and beer. When we arrived we met Hermann and Jeri Schaller, who live in Punta Gorda and drove their 1954 Lagonda convertible. The Lamberts had invited some friends who were seated with the Schallers, all having pints when we got there. We were soon joined by Gary and Trish Maue and President Cecil Carter with Isabel.
Everyone ate, drank and talked cars for a few hours until the threat of rain had the open-car members thinking of heading home. Mary and I did run into some rain on the way home, but it was good because it washed off the bug splatters we got on the way to the pub!
FORT MYERS, Fla., Apr. 9 — The meeting was called to order by past President Bill Newman due to President Cecil Carter being ill.
Tom Brewsaugh gave his Treasurer Report and stated we have 67 members. He received a renewal from member Jim Andrews.
Mary Newman, Secretary, gave her report and stated that the minutes of previous meetings were on the website and in the British Marque.
Hermann Schaller introduced his guests, Mary Jo and Jerry Strom. They are looking to buy a Jaguar.
The Picnic on March 16th was discussed. There were 15 attendees. Ken Taylor was thanked for his duties as chef for the affair. Cecil and Isabel were gracious enough to host the games. Bill Newman won the pasta game, John Frioli (a guest) won the corn hole game and Cecil Carter won horseshoes.
Peter Sales gave information about the Island Walk Car Show in Venice, Fla., that was put on by the Jaguar Club.
As of the meeting date, we were looking forward to the following events:
April 14 — Oak Hammock Middle School Car Show, East Fort Myers, Fla.
April 20 — Wheels Across the Pond Show, Jupiter, Fla.
April 26-27 — Pensacola “Brits on the Bay” show.
April 27 — Tech session at Steve Cleveland’s Shop after Mimi’s Breakfast, Fort Myers, Fla.
Also upcoming were the Annual Cinco de Mayo at the Celtic Ray in Punta Gorda, Fla., and the Arcadia Memorial Day Observance commemorating the British pilots buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery.
The McCartts related their past experiences with a car club tour event similar to one that President Cecil Carter has proposed called the “Tour de Southwest Florida.” They passed around their log book as an example of what they did.
The 50/50 raffle was held, after which the meeting adjourned. —Mary Newman, Secretary