Panhandle British Car Association: December 2023 Newsletter

PBCA masthead from British Marque




December 2023

Website editor: Mike Japp


by Michael King

FAIRHOPE, Ala. — On October 21st, the South Alabama British Car Club (SABCC) held its 33rd Annual British Car Festival at Fairhope United Methodist Church, and PBCA turned out in force

Two PBCA caravans — one from west Escambia County and one from south Baldwin County — traveled to the event, and, as the list below demonstrates, they did not leave empty-handed. Nineteen PBCA members received awards, including the Richard B. Cunningham, Jr., Best of Show trophy to Bill and Melissa Silhan for their 1949 Triumph 2000 Roadster.

SABCC adopted the MG centenary as their theme, and a special feature of the Festival was a display of MGs spanning seven decades, from a 1930 M-Type to a 1997 MGF. These cars were arranged in a semi-circle surrounding the 250,000th MGB, a car British Leyland gave away in a special drawing in 1971.

(Thanks to the foresight of an MG enthusiast, Tony Wilson, that car, a BGT, was saved from the crusher 40 years ago along with the memorabilia from its presentation to the raffe winner. SABCC announced a new historic preservation award in memory of Mr. Wilson, presenting the frst trophy to the Wilson family.)

The MG theme proved popular with car owners and the public. A record 154 cars were registered, with 140 actually on the feld. Sunny skies and mild temperatures prevailed throughout the day.

SABCC also reintroduced valve cover races and these proved popular as well. Due to a concerted effort to count votes and tabulate results as rapidly as possible, the awards ceremony started not long after the races ended.

PBCA congratulates our participating members, award winners and SABCC on a great show!

PBCA British Car Festival winners

  • Best of Show — Bill Silhan, 1949 Triumph 2000 Roadster.
  • Kids’ Choice — Tom Pocta, 2007 Lotus Exige S Coupe.
  • MG Centenary Class, Special Merit Awards — Curt Derby, 1952 MG TD; Tim Garrold, 1939 MG TA; Bob Manske, 1955 MG TF 1500; Dwyke Rushing, 1952 MG TD; Keith Sanders, 1969 MGC Roadster; Tom Schmitz, 1956 MGA Coupe.
  • Jaguar Modern Saloons — 2nd, Michael King, 2001 XJR.
  • Lotus —3rd, Taber Tompkins, 2007 Caterham 7SV.
  • MG Ts and Pre-War — 1st, Tom Schmitz, 1955 TF 1500; 3rd, William Williams, 1954 TF.
  • MGA — 2nd, Paul & Mollie Reese, 1962 MGA.
  • MGB 1962-74 — 3rd, Tom Schmitz, 1968 MGB.
  • MGB 1974.5-1980 — 3rd, Timothy Witzigreuter, 1977 MGB.
  • MGB and MGC GT — 3rd, Stan Oman, 1973 MGB GT.
  • MINI — 1st, Mike Grieco, 2014 Cooper S Roadster.
  • Morgan — 1st, Fred Veenschoten, 1935 Sports.
  • Open Britannia — 1st, Bill Silhan, 1949 Triumph 2000 Roadster.
  • Triumph Spitfre and GT6 — 2nd, Charlie Dempsey, 1980 Spitfre; 3rd, Mike Japp, 1980 Spitfre.
  • Triumph TR6 — George Bruno, 1974 TR6.

    BCF Kids’ Choice Award

    by Don Pritchett, SABCC

    This year we had 40 youngsters participate as judges in our Kids’ Choice Award. Their only criterion was “pick your favorite car.” This encouraged them to drag their parents around, looking at the 150 or more cars on display until they found their favorite one. When they turned in their ballots, they got to choose a Hot Wheels-type of British car to take home.

    Fortunately there was a wide variety to choose from because their votes were spread over 21 different cars. A bright yellow Lotus Evora GT edged out a blue McLaren GT. Forty-seven Hot Wheels-type cars were handed out. The most frequently chosen cars were Land Rovers, but only half of the available toy cars were taken.

    The kids’ selections of toy cars refected of their voting trends. All the Lotus were chosen along with all of the McLarens. Interestingly, 100% of the generic pink cars were also chosen. This is a refection of the number of girls participating. Aston Martins, London Cabs and Jaguars were chosen at a rate of 80%.

    The puzzler was a miscellaneous group that included MGBs. Cars in this group were chosen at a 45% rate, with no MGB being taken. Ouch! On a positive note, one ballot was turned in that voted for “Car Number 250,000” as their favorite.

    So I offer this fnal observation: if you are investing in a British car that will be very saleable in the future, get a pink Lotus or a McLaren. If you have an MG, list it with AARP!

    Buying, selling, socializing — the Great Gulf Coast Autojumble

    by Michael King

    Held November 4th at Tom Schmitz’s “Hut,” our annual British swap meet attracted 48 people (and one border collie named Barley) on a warm, sunny Elberta day. Bargains were to be had inside and outside, including free coffee, cold drinks, and donuts.

    A small caravan led by Fred Veenschoten made the trip from Pine Forest and Nine Mile Roads, avoiding the expected heavy traffc on the beach route due to the Blue Angels show that day. Other members arrived separately, including Mike Japp and Bob Henson, both in cars they wished to sell.

    With another successful event in the books, the Autojumble Planning Team is already discussing next year’s event. We even heard rumors of lunch!

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