'Tis a puzzlement
by Richard Lewis
Summer in northwest Florida, indeed in all of Florida, is amazing. The weather is either trying to kill you with hurricanes or heat stroke. Nobody ever said, "Let's go to Florida for the summer." The winter, maybe, but not the summer.
So it is obviously not the best time to drive an open, unair-conditioned British car. With temperatures hovering in the 90s, and often reaching into the 100s, and humidity about 80-90%, about the only tolerable times are early mornings or evenings. Even then it can be a challenge, often still hot and muggy. This is the best time of year to do all those repairs and maintenance you have been putting off for all too long.
If you just must drive that British car, it is a good time drive it (with the top up, of course) to show up for one of the numerous shows and displays of British cars, and other marques as well, that proliferate in the summer — provided they are not presented out in the open, exposed to that blistering sun, and especially not if they are presented on a strip mall or school blacktop parking lot, a suitable substitute for Dante’s first rung of hell. Instead, search for those held under the gorgeous live oak trees so abundant in northwest Florida, or some similar setting.
Your Loyal Correspondent (YLC) encourages you to attend such shows, but he is often puzzled by his and others’ willingness to show up for show after show. What, he wonders, is the appeal in attending the 400th show? He estimates he has attended that number over the multiple years of his obsession with cars of all types. It’s probably even a conservative estimate. You might have attended even more.
Let’s reflect for a moment on some possible reasons. Surely one of the reasons to show up again and again is the prospect of seeing a car one has never seen before. Veteran show goers have surely seen every possible permutation of MGs, Triumphs, Austin-Healeys, Fiats and Jaguars, even Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Aston Martins and so on. But every show offers the prospect, most often unrealized, of seeing an Auto Union, or a Facel Vega, or an Alvis, or a Blower Bentley, or a Jowett, or some other heretofore unseen piece of exotica.
A second reason is the same one that attracts persons to stamp shows, quilt shows, ball games, coin shows and the like — which is of course the opportunity to meet and share with persons of like interest. The obvious reason we want to meet fellow enthusiasts is that we might learn something of value from them, and perhaps they have something we want, or we have something they want. Is it also possible that we want also to be assured that our interest is worth our interest? It must be, if so many others share our interest, mustn’t it?.
A third reason is the aesthetic one. Just as coin collectors admire again and again the beautifully designed and brilliantly executed silver dollar, car enthusiasts find great aesthetic pleasure in gazing at, even if for the 100th time, the sinuous lines of a commonly-seen TR3 or a voluptuous Lotus Elan. Neither are rare marques, but both are still satisfying, no matter how many times they have been gazed upon. YLC can vividly recollect the pleasure he took every time he entered his garage and looked upon the gorgeous lines of his Jaguar XJS. Every time was a thrill!
You can likely add many more reasons for showing up at a show, perhaps as mundane as just to get out of mowing the lawn, but for whatever reason we keep on showing up, and will likely continue to do so until we are physically unable to do so and have to be propped up in order to walk. There are certainly many more less-productive ways to spend our leisure time.
What's been happening and what's up?
Summer is a little slower, but we have recently had one great event, the 20th Annual Pig Roast at Jeanne and Tom Schmitz’s home — with not only PBCA members, but folks from the Mardi Gras MGs and South Alabama British Car Club, with a total of more than 95 partaking in the great roast pork and fixin’s. Great time, too, with Ron Davis of B&M Starter and Alternator Service of Pensacola, who gave a tech session on British car electronics. Thanks, Jeanne and Tom.
Upcoming events (as I write this)
Some of these will have occurred before some of you might be able to read about them, but here they are: August 22nd — August 22 — Seville Quarter “Celebration of Naval Aviation” Party. The nightspots in Seville Quarter are holding a party to celebrate 100 years of Pensacola aviation. As many of you know, Pensacola is the birthplace of naval aviation and 2014 marks its centennial year. Various parts of Seville Quarter will be honoring different aspects of aviation — air training, maintenance, security, etc. PBCA has been invited to display the cars many of the staff might have driven in years past. Cars will be displayed on Government Street, in front of Seville Quarter. More details via e-mail.
September 2 — PBCA Breakfast at the Crowne Plaza Hotel at 10 a.m. No agenda, just fun. Join us.
September 6 — Emerald Coast Show, Mullet Festival Park, Niceville, Fla. With British classes for four-, six-, eight- and 12-cylinder cars, plus awards for post-2000 cars, this offers to be a treat. Usually a good number of PBCA’ers show up. Join them.
September 9 — Show Committee meeting, 12 noon at Seville Quarter. Plans for the best show in Northwest Florida continue. All are invited.
September 10 — PBCA Executive Board meeting, 12 noon at the Crowne Plaza. Continued plans for club activities. All are invited to this meeting as well.
September 13 — Classic Car and Cycle Show, Robertsdale, Ala. Benefiting girls in need of help, this is a show with quality and purpose. Show up. More details via e-mail as they become available.
September 15 — Regular PBCA meeting, 7 p.m. at Grover T’s, with business, a great quiz by Bob Manske for the program, door prizes and a 50/50. Be there for a good time and good food.
September 18-21— Peachtree MG Show, Dillard, Ga. Several PBCA members make this a regularly attended show. Join them. More details via e-mail.
September 27 — PBCA Dog Day Rally, 10 a.m. at the Pensacola Humane Society. Benefiting animals in need, this event has grown greatly, with PBCA contributing a generous amount of food and funds to the tenants of the Society. Be there for a good time and a good cause.
October 4 — Ice Cream Social at the Cunninghams’ for PBCA, SABCC, MGMG and friends, Lillian, Ala. This is a blast, with great food, friendship and ice cream to die for. Show up. More details later.
October 11 — Derail Diner Rally. A great drive, a fun contest, and a singular diner add up to fun. Planning in progress, so details later, but count on it.
In the meantime, put the lug nuts on the wheel, not in your pocket, like last time.