Panhandle British Car Association: August 2011 Newsletter

PBCA masthead from British Marque




August 2011

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


Recap of Recent Events (See right column for details)

Gallery Night—July 15

Annual Pig Roast—July 17

Hadji Shrine Car Show—July 23

Lighthouse and Naval Museum Driving Tour—August 6


Upcoming Events

PBCA Gulf Shores Zoo Drive—September 10.This driving tour will include a visit to the Gulf Shores Zoo and terminate with lunch at a still to be decided location.

Gallery Night—September 16. This event in Downtown Pensacola will be a repeat of the July 15 event, with music, art galleries, fine food, and an all inclusive car show.

PBCA Monthly Meeting—September 19. In addition to the business meeting, door prizes and 50-50, Mike Bamford will present “Surveying Your British Car.” We expect this to be a special event.

Natchez Car Show—September 23-4. This event is a popular one, with an excellent turnout of British cars and a delightful, another world city to enjoy.


A Leisurely July Picks Up Momentum

(Should I Be Happy?)


                July and August are the months for lassitude, for torpor, for lying lizard-like in the hammock, for reading junk novels and watching Bruce Willis movies, for staring at pretty girls in bikinis on beautiful Pensacola Beach (until your wife elbows you sharply in the solar plexus and mutters something that sounds like “disgusting, simply disgusting,” while she vividly pictures the handsome, ethical young man she could have married --who later joined the priesthood), for,, in fact, imitating coma. It is not a time for frantic to-ing and fro-ing, or anything that involves, with one notable exception, any sweating and heavy breathing.

                The French have it right. They simply give up anything that seems like work at this time and all leave town. (Where do they all go? Do they simply exchange towns, or do they all head for the border? I’ve often wondered.) That leave-taking includes the French government, for which, in the main, that is a blessing. Would that ours would do the same.

                PBCA for the first part of July followed the same prudent game plan. (Did I say “game plan"? Did I use the tritest, most overworked, most insipid simile in the English language? If I did, I profoundly apologize, and now proclaim a moratorium for all time on the phrase, pledging that never again will it either pass my lips, or darken my keyboard. I at the same time also pledge never to say “bottom line.”) We even canceled our regular July meeting, to allow even more time for inactivity.

                A discrete and unhurried June 25 event allowed for a languid drive through the south Alabama countryside to the Cheese Shop near Silverhill, where those of us in about twenty cars, mostly British and a few other marques (proving our democratic spirit), were allowed to purchase hand-crafted cheese delights which will probably pass through one’s heart like a hockey puck. Then on to Big Daddy’s Restaurant on the banks of the Fish River for a healthful diet of fried seafood. A measured, sensible, leisurely outing.

                Were some club busybodies satisfied with this sagacious policy of torpid-tude? Could some people simply sit on their hands for a brief spell, and allow others a richly deserved rest during the upcoming months? If the answer were anything except “No,” I would have fruitlessly spent a great deal of effort building up to a dramatic denouncement.  And of course the answer is “No.” These meddlesome creatures insisted on instigating a break-neck acceleration of events during the last part of the month that left some of us gasping for breath.

                First , it was the July 15 Downtown Pensacola Gallery Night, an event where the city closes off Palafox Street, hauls in every possible musical group to assail the ears, encourages shops and restaurant to exceed their best effort, plans for the art galleries to stay up late(of which there are an astonishingly large number of really quality art venues, one of which, the Quayside Gallery, involves a number of our PBCA members, especially Rich and Darla Willows), and schedules a quite exceptional car show, which draws every type of collector car imaginable. Of course, nothing would satisfy our PBCA slave-drivers except that we bring our British car out en masse. Your loyal correspondent hauled out the gleaming, jewel-like TR 6, which, in my estimation, led the field of about 15 British cars, dwarfed among a sea of Detroit iron. PBCA members perused the beautiful American cars (I especially lusted after a gorgeous turquoise and white 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air), and wandered through the watering holes of Downtown Pensacola, stopping occasionally for a light libation and savory comestibles. Despite my being flogged into participation (I had planned instead to clean out my sock drawer), it was, all in all, a delightful evening.

                Next, and on the same weekend, if you can believe it, came with freight train speed the Annual Pig Roast at the home of Jeanne and Tom Schmitz. OK, I’ll admit this event had been planned for more than a year, but it still caught me by surprise. This July 17 event, the 16th in number, is indeed a gala event, and despite torrential rains, which, while inconvenient, were welcomed by most in dry as bones Northwest Florida, was still well attended by some 75 participants. The food was wonderful, the pig, making the ultimate sacrifice, was appreciated by everyone, the talk was convivial, and the electronic racing proved only that some persons should never be allowed to drive anything faster than a Yugo. I report this only second-handedly, as family obligations prevented my presence, but I must admit, I regretted not being in attendance. All were grateful to the Schmitz for their hospitality.

                As I write today, the Hadji Shrine’s 18th Annual Car Show looms like doom on the horizon, and the leaders of PBCA, all graduates of the CIA School of Torture, will be smiling sinisterly as they urge us to “make a good showing, boys and girls, so as to reflect well on the club,” all the while twirling a truncheon behind their backs. Admittedly, the Shrine has made great accommodations for the inclusion of British cars, and striven mightily to make us feel welcome, but is that any reason I should change my plans to clip my nails on Saturday, and instead to trudge off to the show, where it is likely I will again be unjustly overlooked for a trophy? I say no, but I am not sure I can stand the pain if I am a no-show.

                Still to come is the Lighthouse and Naval Museum Tour, scheduled for August 6. This driving event is planned to conclude with lunch at the Cubi Bar Café (a reconstruction of the naval hangout found on the shores of Cubi Point in the Philippines). As delightful as this event will no doubt be, it interferes with my plans to sharpen all the pencils in the house on that day. I guess, given the vituperative threats already aimed my way, I will have to give up my industrious plans and to suffer with dull-pointed pencils ad infinitum.

                After that, back to those interminable PBCA meeting, the next which is scheduled for August 15, including a sterling presentation, entitled “Surveying Your British Car,” planned by Mike Bamford. And the beat goes on. At least, September beckons, when the temperature in Northwest Florida goes from broiling to merely blistering, and my usual hummingbird-like energy level returns. Hope springs eternal in the human breast and relief is on the way.

                However, no doubt, PBCA leadership, meeting right now in some dark, damp cave, surrounded by sharp-faced trolls hissing softly, “Yes, master, yes, master,” will continue to accelerate the pace, but some of us will resist mightily. I personally plan to write insulting things about them in my diary.

                Here’s wishing you a great fall and just enough mechanical troubles to make your next outing in your British car interesting.