Panhandle British Car Association: December 2014 Newsletter

PBCA masthead from British Marque




December 2014

President & Contributing Editor: Richard Lewis, email: bettyrichardlewis (at)

Soon it all starts all over again

by Richard Lewis

By the time you have read this, the Holidays, with all their joys and disappointments, will be in full swing. As Your Loyal Correspondent (YLC) writes this, they loom large, like a freight train bearing down on a stalled Austin-Healey Sprite. To quote the satirist, songwriter, and Harvard mathematician, Tom Lehrer, it’s time to “Drag out the Dickens, even though the prospect sickens. Brother, here we go again.” YLC hears in the background the faint echoes of Pogo, singing, sotto voce, “Deck us all with Boston Charley, Walla Walla, Wash, and Kalamazoo! Nora’s freezing on the trolley, holler, dollar, cauliflower, allegaroo.”

One should not assume from the above much beloved, if somewhat puzzling, quotes that YLC has anything except for the greatest love for this madcap rollercoaster we all call the Winter Holidays. He relishes the opportunity to see his antique and quite deranged Uncle Almer, who will rail on and on about government takeover and how CIA agents are stealing his underwear. It is also comforting to see Cousin Bessie Mae, who collects glass elephants, and has them displayed on every horizontal surface in the house, to the degree that there is not enough table space to put down a cup of coffee. There are many more similar relatives, people my late and greatly lamented maiden Aunt Maude used to call “singular,” clearly a polite euphemism for totally bonkers. She may have been the only moderately sane one from that generation.

Additionally, and best of all, it may be an occasion where YLC receives his most favorite of all Christmas gifts, a bourbon-soaked fruitcake. He is fully aware that fruit cakes are no longer hip, no longer cool, but that is only because its detractors had both their taste buds and brain cells reduced from the effects of massive doses of cannabis.

It is oddly comforting to reacquaint oneself with all those folks and experiences. It seems to connect one to his life and helps explain one’s own occasional bizarre behavior. It nails one to the ground. Wouldn’t miss it for the world.

The New Year will also see YLC pass on the torch of leadership to younger and more able leadership when the PBCA elects a new President, as well as other officers of the organization. Like most, if not all satisfying experiences, one moves on with a sense of both relief and regret, but with nothing but the best wishes for the new leadership. As we labor mightily to produce the finest “Brits on the Bay,” it will take the best efforts from all members of PBCA to achieve this lofty goal.

We sincerely hope your Holidays were wonderful and that you get everything you want, and some things you don’t want.

What’s been happening in PBCA country? Recently:

October 18 — The Pensacola Historical and Brewery Tour turned out to be just the Historical Tour when the brewery part was cancelled due to their new and restricted hours. Regardless, multiple LBCs traversed the streets of downtown Pensacola, the nation’s oldest city, despite its being interrupted for a brief spell. Bill Weeks put together a great and challenging tour from his vast knowledge of Pensacola. The route was made up of stops at approximately 20 of the 45 historic markers scattered around the city. In 2015 this will be repeated using the remaining markers. Attendees included Franz and Monica Bachman, Bob and Rise Manske, Bill and Donna Weeks, Bill and Melissa Silhan, Rich and Darla Willows, Tom and Jeanne Schmitz, Henry Hensel and Ingrid Candelaria, Mark and Judy Huber, Gene and Eve Wilcox, Gary and Patricia Arnold, and Al DeWeese. This list was composed from a photo that was taken at Seville Quarter where we ended the tour with a great lunch, and if anyone was missed please let the Editor know.

October 24-25 — The 2014 Fairhope British Car Festival, sponsored by South Alabama British Car Club, was, as it always is, a well-produced and enjoyable show with 129 British cars on the field. The United Methodist Church was the new site for this show and very well received by all those attending. It is likely they will return to this site October 23-24, 2015. Twelve PBCA members enjoyed the Friday night welcome party along with 120 other LBC enthusiasts. Sixteen PBCA members brought 21 cars. After the voting was done and the results tabulated, the following trophies were awarded to PBCA members. Special Awards Trophy winners included the Children’s Choice Award, a new and very popular award that this year went to Taber Tompkins, who had around 42 little munchkins climbing in and out of his Caterham throughout the day. The “Pastor’s Pick” (favorite car in the show) was Tom Schmitz’s ’55 MG TF 1500. Reverend Mike McKnight said that he hoped that the owner of his second choice car, the red MGA Coupe, was not disappointed. Tom told him that was unlikely, as he owned that car also. There were 31 classes and awards. Presented in order of class, they were: Tom Schmitz, ’59 Bugeye Sprite, 1st; Mike Darby, ’67 Jaguar 240 Saloon, 1st; Richard Cunningham, ’64 Jaguar E-type Coupe, 1st; Bill Silhan, ’66 Jaguar E-type Coupe, 3rd; Al DeWeese, ’02 Jaguar XK8, 2nd; Tom Schmitz, ’55 MG TF 1500, 1st; Mike Darby, ’59 MGA, 1st; Tom Schmitz, ’57 MGA Coupe, 3rd; Mark and Judy Huber, ’66 MGB, 2nd; Al DeWeese, ’77 MGB, 2nd; Taber Tompkins, ’07 Caterham 7SV, 1st; Bob Manske, with daughter Therese Hemmert’s ’05 Bentley Continental GT, 3rd; Jerry Hall, ’67 Lotus Elan, 1st; Mike Japp, ’66 Triumph 2000 Mk1, 3rd; Tom Matsoumas, ’74 Triumph TR6 and Cameron Leonard, ’69 Triumph TR6, tied for 3rd; Bill Moseley, ’80 Triumph TR8, 1st; Mickey Kay, ’73 Triumph TR6, 1st in Restoration Class. Also attending the show were PBCA members Brian Daly, ’62 MGA, Ted and Pat Oster, ’71 Triumph TR6, and Jerry and Margaret Crompton, ’07 Jaguar XK8 Coupe.

November 1 — Marine Corps Show, which benefits Marine Corps veterans, and various area charities, saw several PBCA members in attendance. They included Rich Willows, Tom Oliver, Franz Bachman, Tom Schmitz and Taber Tompkins.

November 8 — Always a favorite, the 10th Annual Chumuckla International Airport (well, not quite) Picnic was great fun, with lots of good food and companionship, plus the opportunity to go up in one of the several aircraft for a short aerial loop around the area. There were approximately 37 PBCAers in attendance. This year the main course was fried or baked chicken, with members bringing a wide variety of appetizers, salads, side dishes and a host of great desserts. Dick and Mitzi Maddux always host this event at their hangar at the airport and as usual did a great job. Thanks to both of them.

November 11 — The Show Committee met at Seville Quarter, continuing the work on making Brits on the Bay the one of the biggest and best British car shows in the Southeast. Mark your calendars for April 24-25, 2015, and we will see you in Pensacola then.

November 16 — The Executive Board meeting at the Lewis residence saw the Board developing the first draft of 2015’s events calendar, as well as attending to the multiple tasks of running an active and vigorous organization. The Exec Board is still looking for suggestions from members for fun events for next year. Please let us know your ideas before next Board meeting on December 12th, when they will to finalize the calendar.

November 22 — PBCA members and friends gathered at the Bob and Risa Manske’s grand new garage, just finished and ready for lots of activity. This garage warming included Bob’s famous burgers (never ask what’s in them; you don’t want to know!) and Tom Matsoukas’ equally famous and greatly guarded recipe for brats. Just “screw your courage to the sticking point” and dig in. There is surely an emergency room open nearby. Everyone is asking, “What should we name this magnificent edifice?” Stay tuned to know.

December 2 will see another of the remarkably popular breakfasts at the Crowne Plaza, to begin at 10 a.m. The crowd continues to show up for nothing but a great breakfast delivered by our favorite hostess, Barb, and nothing else but good talk and fellowship.

December 6 — The fabled PBCA Christmas Party at the Crowne Plaza will see its fair share of holiday attire, with everyone looking spiffy, and great food and drinks at our command, plus a (clean) dirty Santa. This gala event doesn’t close the year for us, as we also plan a few more events before the year ends.

December 12 — The Executive Board will gather at the Manskes’ residence to finish the 2015 events calendar, chock full of great activities for an active club.

December 13 — The Lillian, Alabama, Christmas Parade will see lots of PBCA members, as well as others, tossing toys and candy to wide-eyed children and adults. Lots of fun for everyone! Tom Schmitz is the longtime PBCA organizer of this event and does a great job. Meet at the Lillian Community Club at 12 noon, and the Parade kicks off at 1 p.m. and lasts about 30 minutes.

December 14 — The Bagdad Historical Tour and Cookie/Cake/Pie Cookoff at the Bagdad Museum will include a visit to historical sites in Bagdad, followed by a contest for the best baked goods and a light lunch, all organized by Tom Matsoukas and Theresa Hemmert. This will be great fun.

Best wishes for the New Year, and remember, if you reduce that round, bulging growth bumping up against the steering wheel, you’ll find getting into a Lotus Seven a lot easier. Too much linguine!