Saturday, March 27, 2010

Another Great New Orleans British Car Day

Once again, the more intrepid members of the South Alabama British Car Club made the trek to New Orleans to attend the British Car Day sponsored by British Motoring Club New Orleans.

For me, the day began early. The club was meeting at the I10- Government Street interchange to assemble our little caravan for the trip over. Since I was riding shotgun with Mike Darby in his Jaguar 240, he dropped by my house at 5:45 to pick me up. Richard Cunningham decided that he would leave his Jaguar XJS at home this year, it being a victim of an undiagnosed transmission fluid leak. He accepted Mike's invitation to ride with us. We met the rest of the gang at gathering spot and set out before sunrise.

The British car contingent included Stewart Waddington (MGB), Chris Cronk (MG
B) and Michael King (Jaguar XJS). We had several escorts in non-British iron, they bringing things like the new club shelter, banners, tables, chairs, etc. Along the way, we picked up our club president, Noel Eagleson, since he struck out on his from his home in the western part of Mobile county.

The group made great progress and soon we were in Louisiana, taking advantage of the newly renovated welcome center just across the state line. We saddled up and steeled ourselves for the New Orleans traffic that lay ahead. Thankfully, the group kept up a quick pace and was able to stay together for the trip to Delgado Community College.

A certain three SABCC'ers in a Jaguar 240 decided that we should have some morning nourishment and peeled off at a McDonald's in Slidell for biscuits and coffee. Once we had our fill of caffeine and carbs we, too headed off towards the Big Easy. We arrived at the show site and found that the new pop up shelter had already been popped up and the members were staking out places under it. Mike got his photo made and took his place on the field with only one other Jaguar saloon.

I took the opportunity to browse the show field and was impressed with the quality and variety of the cars present. The organizers welcomed three Deloreans, a handful of Rolls Royces and Bentleys, along with a very large field of MGBs, TR6s and MG T-Series cars. We also met SABCC'ers Ken McElhaney (MGB) and Bill Silhan (Aston Martin DB6) who came separately to the event.

As always, the folks of BMCNO ran a tight ship. Organization was top-notch and the show site was perfect.

As the day wore on, it became apparent that the we would be lucky if we managed to dodge rain in the afternoon. We had several periods of sprinkles during the prize giving ceremony but it didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the attendees.

SABCC once again made out well with trophies going to every SABCC car registered with the notable exception of our steed. It seems that BMCNO decided that classes with only two cars would have one trophy awarded. Too bad for Mike Darby, but then he's not given to arm-twisting for votes. He's content
to let his cars speak for themselves.

With clouds gathering, we bid our New Orleans friends adieu and headed for Alabama. Several SABCC members elected to take advantage of some of the fine eateries in New Orleans and delayed their return home. Our car pointed its nose towards the Portable City and home.

Outside New Orleans, Mike asked if I would help with the driving chores. Has a toad got warts? Are flounders flat? Do wild bears - -oh, never mind. I gathered up all the cool I could muster and tried to keep from snatching the keys from Mike's hand.

I settled into the right hand seat and immediately enjoyed the smooth, torquey XK power. The 43-year old car pulled strongly and kept up with the east New Orleans traffic with grace and style. I mai
ntained a 70MPH cruise (with occasional forays into the low 80s) and soon found us in Mississippi.

And a rain shower.

The old Jag's windscreen wipers were well up to the task and we didn't slow our pace. While cruising the left lane, we came upon Ron Wolverton and Becky Kramer following Noel Ealgeson. We gave them a pip
on the hooter and passed them by.

We passed through the rain and found ourselves hungry (again) so we stopped in Gulfport at a chain eatery. Don Pritchett joined our group for dinner and we enjoyed a good meal and fine conversation.

And the rain caught up to us.

Mike wrestled the keys from me and drove back into Mobile. I enjoyed the ride in the left hand seat, secretly thankful that I wasn't driving this very special car in the downpour. We pressed on to my house in Spanish Fort where I was deposited. I had to watch as the fine Jaguar drove away in the rain, lit by the street lights in my neighborhood.

Thanks BMCNO for a great day!

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