Panhandle British Car Association: December 2013 Newsletter

PBCA masthead from British Marque




December 2013

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

'Tis the Season!

by Richard Lewis

Deck the halls, fill the cup and don’t say when, Joyeux Noël, break out the Dickens, etc., etc., ad nauseum. You know as well as Your Loyal Correspondent that the Holidays loom large, when peace is supposed to reign (good luck with that), the milk of human kindness is flowing, yea, overflowing, by the quart in every vein, and the brotherhood of man is rampant in every breast. Truth is, much of that does appear around the winter holidays, and cynical remarks like the aforementioned reflect poorly on the grouch who issues them. People do try to be kinder, more generous, and more attentive to others during this time. Well, at least some do, even extending such noble efforts into the New Year, and that helps make up for the rest of us who fail despite our sometimes good intentions.

So YLC will put his sharp tongue and petty comments in his pocket and do his best to be what everyone aspires to be, a better person not only during this time of year, but even beyond. He may fail miserably, as he has done so often in the past, but this year it won’t be for lack of trying. He sincerely wishes the best for you during the Holiday Season, and that you too will rise to the challenge.

Still, still, that won’t keep him from, just a little bit, protesting the injustice meted out at the October 19th Rally through Milton and Bagdad, followed by the great dinner at Nichols’ Seafood. Let YLC set the context so you too will see how cruel and heartless was the injustice heaped upon the head of YLC and his loyal navigator, Major Mickey McNair. Perhaps you will recall the triumphal victory realized by YLC and Major Mickey at the September 28th Dog Days Rally, when precision driving and flawless navigation won for them the hero’s crown.

Having honed the TR6 to a fine mechanical point, and Major Mickey having studied all possible routes and locations in the Bagdad/Milton area, both of us were ready to re-create our recent victory, and, once again, the event saw Juan Fangio-style driving and Lewis and Clark-style navigation on our part.

When it came time to look at the submitted route sheets, organizer and past President (he whose name must not be spoken and therefore shall forever remain nameless), no doubt eaten with envy over our recent triumph, subjected our document to microscopic scrutiny, nitpicking and pettifogging over every detail, even penalizing us for handwriting. Gall and wormwood! He even brought his lovely, unsuspecting, and delightful wife (whose name is also sequestered) into his perfidious scheme, innocent child that she is.

Shocked as we were, should we protest such actions? No, and again, a resounding no. Instead, we rose above such mean-spirited actions. We generously congratulated the putative winners, holding our heads high, and, recognizing that such injustices were heaped on Dreyfus, Socrates, Scopes, and other heroes, let it pass, like gentlemen. Still, still. Despite this peccadillo, the last months have seen lots of activity, and most of it above-board:

October 25-26 — 23rd Annual South Alabama British Car Club British Car Festival, Fairhope, Ala. This show is always a much-awaited event for area enthusiasts. The grassy, tree-shaded campus of Faulkner College is a beautiful setting for this prime British car show. Entered in the show were 119 cars, and that was an all-time high for SABCC. PBCA was well represented, with over 18 cars on the field, and the club won the Best Attendance Award.

Sixteen trophies were taken home by PBCAers: People’s Choice and 1st in Britannia Sports, Bill and Melissa Silhan, ’49 Triumph 2000; 1st, Tom and Jeanne Schmitz, ’59 Bugeye Sprite; 1st, Tom and Jeanne Schmitz, ’55 MG TF 1500; 3rd, Tom and Jeanne Schmitz, ’68 MGB; 1st, Richard and Donna Cunningham, ’64 Jag E-type FHC; 2nd, Bob and Margaret Henson, ’67 Jag E-type OTS; 2nd, Nancy Darby, ’67 Jag 240 Sedan; 2nd, Curt and Midge Derby, ’53 MG TD; 2nd, Mike Darby, ’59 MGA; 1st, Mark Huber, ’66 MGB; 2nd, John Mahone, ’73 MGB; 3rd, Al DeWeese, ’02 Jag X-type; 3rd, Rich and Darla Willows, ’63 TR3B; 2nd, Bob Manske, ’08 Jag XK; and 3rd, Jerry Crompton, ’07 XK8 Coupe.

Among other PBCA members attending the show were Mike Japp, Triumph Spitfire; Jon Gosnell, TR6; Gus and Ann Fell, whose Mustang was denied entry. Apologies to other PBCA’ers we may have missed.

October 29 — Breakfast at The Broken Egg. Simply an early morning get-together, with no driving, no contests, no tech session, brought out some 15 PBCA members and guests. Theresa Hemmert again organized this pleasant event at a truly exceptional restaurant. Good show, Theresa, and thanks.

November 2 — Stop Diabetes Marathon and Car Show. Mariners Park was the site of this fundraiser to benefit diabetes victims. Approximately 100 cars participated. PBCA showed up with six cars: Rich and Darla Willows, TR3B; Michael Lindley, TR6; Russ Pasco, Healey 3000; Michael Scordato, Model A Ford; new PBCA member Michelle Van Dusen, XJ6 Jag; and Tom Schmitz, MG TF 1500, which took the trophy for the British cars.

November 9 — Chumuckla Airport Picnic, hosted by Mitzi and Dick Maddux in their hangar/workshop where several Triumphs have gained a new lease on life. This event saw about 35 folks show up for exceptional food and conversation, and that even included some airplane rides for those courageous enough (or slim enough to fit in some really small cockpits) to soar above some fluffy clouds on a beautiful day. Thanks, Maddux, for your good work and your always present hospitality.

November 13-14 — Executive Board and “Brits on the Bay” meetings on consecutive days. These included planning for club activities and the upcoming April 25-26 Brits on the Bay show. We are counting on exceeding the 146 cars that showed up last year as we strive to make this the premier show in the entire area.

November 15 — “Brats and Burgers” Cookout. At their beautiful home in Milton, Risa and Bob Manske welcomed a bumper crowd of 36 PBCA members on a balmy November night. The crowd was complemented by the generous hospitality of the Manskes as well as some excellent burgers grilled by Bob and outstanding brats prepared Tom Matsoukas. A number of members brought some great desserts just loaded with calories. Thank you, Bob and Risa.

Upcoming as I write this are: November 23 — Breakfast at Aces in Milton, followed by a Blackwater driving tour, which includes a turn through the beautiful Blackwater Forest. Organized by Tom Matsoukas, this event begins at 9 a.m. and, after a leisurely meal, will be followed by the tour. Tom does a great job on his tours, and this one will be over by the time you read this, so I hope you were there.

December 1 — The PBCA Holiday Cake, Cookie and Pie Contest. This will begin with a brief history of Bagdad, a very important 19th and 20th century commercial center. A very brief drive to some historic locations in Bagdad will be followed by the judging of the desserts ($5 to enter, with all proceeds going to the Museum) and lunch. Theresa Hemmert, our own Martha Stewart, is organizing the event, which might yield up some interesting results.

December 7 — PBCA Annual Christmas Party, 6 p.m. at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Pensacola. This year we are enhancing our event with an elegant setting, an invitation to dress up, including holiday attire, and a cash bar, a great dinner, awards, and the fabled “Dirty Santa” (remember, G-­rated) gift exchange. While the club is picking up most of the expenses for this gala, a $10 per person charge is added. Do not, again, do not miss this one. An RSVP is required for this event.

December 11 — “Brits on the Bay” planning session at Seville Quarter, to begin at 12 noon. Plans are moving smoothly, but they require diligence and we are assuring that by thorough advance work. All members of the group are expected.

December 14 — Lillian, Alabama Christmas Parade. Our representative to this event, Tom Schmitz, asks that we gather at the Lillian Community Center with our LBCs at noon for a drive through Lillian to share candy and toys with the children. This is a great event and we have in the past had a great turnout. Thanks, Tom, for organizing our part.

December 15 — Executive Board 2014 planning session at the Lewis home, 4629 Church St., Bagdad, 3 p.m. Planning for our events and activities for next year will be the agenda and all Executive Board members, as well as any member, are invited to attend this important session. Late lunch will be provided.

As always, we will precede these events with an email reminder, so look for them. In the meantime, don’t let Santa’s reindeer eat your seat covers.