Panhandle British Car Association: July 2002 Newsletter




July 2002

President: Ron Newman
Contributing Editor: Tom Schmitz (251)961-7171

Record Turnout for Fish Camp Tour

Forty PBCAers turned out for the June 9th tour and brunch at the Fish Camp Restaurant in Bon Secour, AL. Even though it threatened rain early in the morning, plenty of LBCs showed up with tops down and ready to go. The team of Bill and Gail Snyder and Jeff and Marie Olive won the tour trivia contest (Jeff for the second time).

Gus and Ann Fell and their guest, Vic; Pete and Norma Peterson, 76 spitfire; and Bill and Elaine Cornacchione and Mitzi Maddux scored in the "close but no cigar" category. New members Chuck and Martha Jo Murphy, TR3, brought a guest, Foster Barnwell, Austin Healey 3000, and David and Cindra Anderson, who we haven't seen in a long time, were there.

Tom and Susan Page, MGA, met us at the restaurant and joined PBCA. They have recently moved to Gulf Shores from Covington LA, where they were members of the New Orleans British Car Club.

Other members making the event were: Tom and Jeanne Schmitz, XJS; Dieter and Inge Bruening, they are off to Canada for several months; Bob and Margaret Henson and grandson, Jonathan; Bill and Monnie Mosely, TR8; Tom and Sheri Francis, MGB; Joe and Terri Stephens, MGB; Richard and Louise DeCrevel (good to see you guys again); Keith and Nelda Sanders, MGC; Frank and Pat Hubbard; and rounding out the crowd were Prez and Historian Ron and Sylvia Newman in the TR8.

(Fourth in a Series of Member Articles)


by Bill Silhan

The most prestigious car show awards, in my opinion, should not always be awarded to completely restored (over-restored?) cars. The great majority of car show participants don't desire, or can't afford, to do this type of restoration. Making the cars look as good as possible while at the same time trying to keep them as original as possible should be at least an equally desirable goal, and should be rewarded when accomplished. You repair or replace things only when necessary to keep it looking good and operating correctly, in as original manner as possible. Driving the cars is what this hobby/passion should be about. If you drive a car, it will develop a patina of use which shouldn't automatically eliminate it from being considered for a major award.

My thoughts, about the nature of car show awards, were brought to fruition several years ago after hearing about what happened at the inaugural Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz and the Ritz-Carlton, which has become Pebble Beach East. Ralph Lauren sent his perfect Count Trossi 1930 Mercedes SSK, restored by Paul Russell and Company, that took Best of Show at Pebble Beach four years previous. However, the Amelia Island Best of Show was awarded to a clean, original 1938 Talbot-Lago 150-S by Figoni et Falaschi, shown by Chris Gardner, with a patina of use about it! Further, Bob Bahre's unrestored and "crusty-looking" Mercedes-Benz SSK won Christie's Most Exceptional Car honors. About this car, Russell is quoted as saying "There are so few unrestored cars that are correct and original, that to restore it would possibly lower its value." A "trailer queen" Bugatti was blackballed from the field when the owner refused to start its engine! The show was judged by an impressive panel led by Cobra Daytona coupe designed Peter Brock and included Pebble Beach veteran designer\judges Dave Holls and Larry Shinoda.

A couple of years ago I convinced my fellow Panhandle British Car Association colleagues to award two Best of Show awards, of equal stature, at our annual Pensacola Beach British Car Show. One award is for the traditional Best of Show, high point car, chosen by a team of expert judges. The other Best of show is determined by a vote of the car show entrants, similar to the "peoples choice" award many shows have adopted. The difference is that since an Major award is already being given to the most perfect car, this should allow my fellow British enthusiasts greater freedom to select a car the for this second major award, of equal stature, based more on the criteria similar to that used at Amelia Island. You know the kind of car we are talking about!

Some award criteria I believe should be considered follows: The car should be at least ten years old. Older cars are more difficult to keep original and looking good. Originality is important, but should not be the sole determining factor. It's harder to find correct parts for old and low production cars. It should look good, but not have to be perfect. A light patina of use is desirable. Finally, I believe desirability, aesthetics, mystique, presence, and aura should also have a significant part in the choice.

Thanks for your indulgence . . . . . . . . . Bill Silhan

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