Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Trip to Pensacola

The plan called for the SABCC group attending the 'Brits on the Bay' event to meet at the Scenic Overlook in Spanish Fort for an 8:30AM departure. When I got there at 8:25, the lot was filling up with classic British cars shined to perfection. We even pulled a few passersby in off the busy street that wanted a closer look.

We held off the departure time until a couple of later arrivals could make it so we got on the road about 8:55 for the ride to P-Town. The group decided to take the more leisurely US Highway 90 route instead of I-10. Surprisingly the caravan stayed together fairly well even wit
h the collection of stoplights that plague Daphne. Led by the XJS of Richard and Donna Cunningham, we made good time in the cool dry morning. It was a perfect morning for a convertible. I was in the Missus' modern MINI so I had the sunroof and windows open while jamming to the best of The Who.

We hopped on I-10 for the short ride from the US Highway 90 interch
ange to I-110 and the show site. Within a few minutes we were at the event and were treated to some very impressive organization by the Panhandle British Car Association. Greetings were exchanged, goody bags were handed out and photos were made before we found our places on the mostly shaded show field. When the registration closed there were 104 cars in attendance.

The weather was positively beautiful with steady sunshine and temperatures hovering just below 80. A breeze blew in off the bay to keep everyone comfortable.

The PBCA team got the ballots and dash plaques out to everyone in attendance and the balloting began.
There were many difficult choices with so many quality cars present. The event attracted several unique cars including a stunning AC 428. The show field was graced by a torrent of TRs, a gaggle of MGs and a flight of Spitfires. There was even a Lotus class with three of the rare rides in attendance.

As usual, while the ballots were counted a very competitive valve cover race was organized. For those of us without a race team, we took the t
ime to catch up on news with other British car enthusiasts from all over the Southeast.

When the balloting results were
announced, South Alabama British Car Club took home the silverware:
  • Tom Schmitz - two 3rd places MGB/GT and MG-TF
  • Dick Bishop - 3rd place MGB
  • Ken McElhaney - 1st place MGB
  • Alan McDonald - 3rd place MGB
  • Stuart Waddington - 1st place MGB, 2nd place & Diamond in the Rough Award Triumph Stag
  • Michael King - 2nd place Jaguar XJS
  • Richard Cunningham - 3rd place Jaguar XJS
  • Jack Ross - 2nd place Jaguar E-Type
  • Mike Darby - two 1st places Jaguar 240 and MGA
  • Robb Ogletree - 2nd place MGA
  • Tony McLaughlin- 1st place Morgan Plus 8
  • Bill Silhan - 2nd place Aston Martin DB6
  • Yours Truly - 3rd place tie MINI Cooper
The club also won the Best Attendance award with 18 cars registered. In fact, the only SABCC'ers not taking home a trophy was our own club President Noel Eagleson, charter members Sandy & Sam Walter and Keith Jarvis.

The PBCA members bid us farewell and we made arrangements to head our separate ways. Some of the SABCC crowd elected to stay for a meal at Maguires, others headed to different eateries, while the rest of us formed smaller convoys home.

Robb Ogletree, Alan and Debbie McDonald and I made up a three car caravan when we met up at a Shell station not far from the show field. For some reason, British sports cars seem to attract admirers and there were admirers aplenty at the gas station. Most of them were under the influence of budget-priced wine and REALLY wanted to engage the group in deep conversation. We extricated ourselves and headed to the Portable City.

We backtracked the I-10 to US Highway 90 route and all went well for our little group until we turned on Baldwin County 54 in Robertsdale. Alan reported that he heard a 'bang' from Robbs MGA along with a rattle. Since Robb was actually IN the car, he heard it first and pulled to the roadside. The gorgeous black MGA was stricken with something internal to the engine. Nothing more to do than call the rollback.

I told Alan and Debbie that I would stay with Robb and they headed on to west Mobile. The rollback arrived and took the MG on board. I led him to Mike Darby's shop in Silverhill where the shapely car was deposited and I took Robb on to meet his better half who drove over to Spanish Fort.

In all, we had a fine day, but it was heartbreaking to know that the award-winning MGA of the Ogletrees is off the road. Here's hoping that the cure is budget-friendly and easy.

This just in... Robb tells us that his MGA engine has a new picture window on the induction/exhaust side of the block. Any leads on a rebuildable 1622cc B-series block would be appreciated.

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