It’s almost year’s end. What have you done?
by Richard Lewis
Another month, and it will be 2015. Since this is the last time Your Loyal Correspondent (YLC) will have an opportunity to converse with you, this might be a good time for us to take stock together of our year’s accomplishments in regards to our common obsession, the wide and varied British marques.
The year started off with some challenges, with harsh winds, freezing temperatures, and record snow in some parts of the country — and in our little part of northwest Florida, a spate of record temperature drops and, most deadly for many of us, unheard-of deluges of moisture, with about 25 inches of rain falling in a 24hour period, resulting in torrential flooding in many residential and public areas, and multiple washouts of bridges, homes, businesses and roads.
For part of the year, taking our LBCs out on the road was a daunting prospect. However, some of our more hearty souls braved the elements and soldiered on, with
roadsters sometimes buttoned up with tops and windows, five-candlepower heaters
blasting, all keeping old Jack Frost or Raymond Rain at arm’s length. We should ask
ourselves, were we one of these intrepid few, or were we one of those zombie-like creatures holed up on the couch in an over-heated room, watching the 100th mindless ball game, stuffing ourselves on pork rinds and Pepsi?
Even if some days it was impossible to venture abroad, were we one of those diligently working in the garage, finally fixing that oil leak, full of the sad
understanding that British cars were designed to leak oil, and our attempts were contrary to the goals of British engineering? YLC has a clear vision of some group of Limey engineers, back in the day, circled around a drafting table, all with pencils in pocket protectors and slide rules dangling from belts, with one saying, “If you design it that way, that oil seal won’t leak. Are you trying to ruin our reputation?”
Everyone knows the tired old joke, “Why didn’t the British go into the manufacturing of computers?” (Pause for the drum roll.) “Because they couldn’t get them to stop leaking oil.” Okay, it’s obvious that one is out of Joe Miller’s Joke Book, updated for current technology.
Instead of helping a friend restore a classic Jaguar, were you glued to the computer, trying to reach Level 13 of “Grand Theft Auto,” or some equally inane computer game? At least, you could have been reading up on the history of the Sunbeam Tiger or the decline of British Leyland. Worst of all, were you one of those who said, “Darn! I forgot to go to my British car club meeting. That
makes five years in a row!”
Both you and YLC are surely none of these negative stereotypes, instead being
the kind of person who drives those LBCs, works on them, remains up to date on the
history and technology of British cars, is loyally helpful to his auto-loving friends in need of a helping hand, and is always there to help out with British car club activities. At least, that is how we hope to be.
Early best wishes for a new year and the strongest encouragement to rise to greater heights, overcoming those little foibles. Maybe what we need is a 12-step program.
This whole year has been particularly active for the Panhandle British Car Club, with something almost every weekend. Here are a few of the recent happenings and
September 18-21 — Peachtree MG Registry Show, Dillard, Ga. Several of our PBCA members showed up for this very-well-attended show in historic Dillard, site of one of the first gold strikes in the South. Stalwart Tom Schmitz earned a 2nd in the MG TF class and Bob Manske garnered a 3rd. Dick Maddox drove his TR3 from his cabin in North Carolina to enjoy the show.
September 19-20 — “Brits on the Bluff” Show in Natchez, Miss. On the same weekend, Bill and Melissa Silhan drove their ’66 E-type Jaguar to the show, earning
a 3rd place and a glorious weekend in a beautiful city.
September 27 — Dog Day Rally. PBCA held its annual event to benefit the Pensacola Humane Society, the Hare and Hound Rally, with 18 cars participating. Reputedly the toughest rally ever, it was organized by veteran rallyer Tom Matsoukas. (Tom affirms that if people would just follow instructions...) The Rally ended at the Oar House in Pensacola, but not before donating 521.5 lbs. of pet food and cash donations totaling $120 to the Humane Society, helping lots of pets — a success all the way around.
October 4 — SABCC Ice Cream Social. The South Alabama British Car Club invited PBCA and the Mardi Gras MG Clubs, as well as friends, to Richard and Donna Cunningham’s Garagemahal for their annual Ice Cream Social. With lots of great food and the best homemade ice cream ever, about 71 persons had a wonderful time, including over 25 PBCA members.
October 7 — PBCA Breakfast at the Crowne Plaza. About 14 folks showed up for a great breakfast and lots of good fellowship at what continues to be a favorite event with many.
October 11 — PBCA Derailed Diner Road Tour and Lunch. Starting in north Pensacola, 11 cars drove a fun rally through some of Escambia and Baldwin County’s most beautiful pine forest areas, meeting several friends from MGMG, and ending at the iconic Derailed Diner, a railroad-themed, singular dining experience. Organized by Tom Schmitz and Bob Henson, winners included, in order of points on the 22-observations questionnaire: Steve and Sharon Clarke, XK8, 21 1/2; Franz and Monica Bachmann, TR3, 21; Oliver and Rachelle Farinholt, XJS V12, 21; Rich and Darla Willows, XJ6, 20 1/2; Henry Hensel and Ingrid Candelaria, 20; Bob Manske and Richard Lewis, TR6, 19 1/2; Jack and Jerry Rowles, 17 1/2, Bill Moseley, Kirstin and Paul, 15; Mark and Judy Huber, MGB, 15; Al Deweese, driving and navigating his XK8 alone, 12. Tom and Jeanne Schmitz, XJS, were not qualified as Tom authored the questionnaire. Joe Stephens joined the group at the Diner as did eight members of the Mardi Gras MG Club from Fairhope. Awards and gifts were distributed to all who participated in the event. Unfortunately, Bob and Margaret Henson’s Jag XJS
had a fuel failure about three blocks short of the starting point. While Bob waited for the wrecker to take him and the Jag home, Cameron Leonard, was on his way to
the event and had seen them stopped alongside the road, very kindly gave Margaret a ride home to Lillian, saving her from a trip in the wrecker cab.
October 14 — PBCA Show Committee meeting at Seville Quarter. Continued work on what will be an exceptional “Brits on the Bay” show April 1718, 2015.
October 15 — Executive Board Meeting at the Crowne Plaza. Planning the activities of PBCA requires lots of hard work by a number of folks, who meet over good food at the Crowne Plaza. All members are invited to attend.
October 18 — Pensacola Historic and Brewery Tour. Bill Weeks planned a great rally through historic Pensacola and the Pensacola Brewery, beginning at 9:30 and ending with lunch at Seville Quarter.
October 24-25 — SABCC Car Show in Fairhope, Ala. This always proves to be a fine show in a beautiful setting.
November 1 — Marine Corps League Car Show at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, benefiting local charities and Toys-for-Tots.
November 4 — Breakfast at the Crowne Plaza, 10 a.m., another chance to eat well and enjoy good conversation.
November 8 — Chumuckla International Airport Picnic. While “International” may be a bit of an exaggeration, the fun to be had at the picnic is not. Main course will be provided by PBCA and everyone is invited to bring their special dish. Mitzi and Dick Maddox always organize a great event. More by e-mail.
November 11— PBCA Show Committee continues work on Brits on the Bay at Seville Quarter at noon. All are invited.
November 16 — Executive Board 2015 Events Calendar Planning Meeting, 2 p.m. at the Lewis home in Bagdad. Mapping out next year’s events and activities will begin here. The Board is looking for input from club members. Any suggestions that you may have can be passed on to Board members or you are welcome to attend the meeting to participate in the planning.
November 17 — PBCA regular meeting at the Quality Inn on Scenic Highway at Exit 17, 6 p.m. The usual business meeting program, 50/50 and door prizes will be enlivened by good food and fellowship. Be there.
November 22 — Garage Warming with burgers and brats at the Risa and Bob Manske home, beginning at 4 p.m. Not only will you get great food and drink, but also you will get to see the Manskes’ spectacular new (and still unnamed) garage. You’ll have a good time on all fronts. More later.
Until next time, don’t try to tow a trailer with your Sprite.