Monday, April 18, 2011

PBCA's Brits on the Bay Event

One of the most eagerly anticipated events on the South Alabama British Car Club's activity calendar is the annual British car show sponsored by the Panhandle British Car Association in Pensacola, Florida. Being just a short jaunt across the state line, SABCC'ers usually turn out in force and this year was no exception.

Courtesy Robb Ogletree
While the majority of the gang chose to meet at the Daphne Starbucks location to begin a group caravan to the show site, I offered my services as a driver to Mike Darby to help him bring both of his stunning showstoppers to Pensacola. Mike drove his lovely MGA roadster and he entrusted me with his gorgeous Jaguar 240. I met Mike at his shop for an 8:00AM departure which would allow him to grab a quick breakfast on the way and pick up shop supplies from his favorite auto parts store in Robertsdale. 
 
MGBs Aplenty
I loaded my gear in the Jag and slid behind the wheel. A quick cold start refresher (half choke, twist the key and press the starter button) and I had the 2.4 liter straight six idling quietly. Mike got saddled up in the MG and we were off. The big Jaguar did not like to have its gearchanges rushed while the gearbox oil was cold so it was easy does it until everything was up to operating temperature.

Jaguar Saloons
We got into a comfortable pace on the Baldwin County back roads as we drove into the rising sun and the Florida state line. I relaxed enough to take in my surroundings at the helm of the light gray Jaguar. With fine wood on any surface that wasn't covered in blue vinyl, I felt like I was ensconced in Grandma's china cabinet. Flicking in and out of overdrive is accomplished with a lever on the right side of the steering column. Lift off the throttle slightly when engaging OD and give it a little more throttle on coming out of overdrive. Nice, smooth action that prevents excess stress on the driveline  - and neck snapping jerks. That just doesn't do in a Jaguar, you know.  

Jaguar XJ-S Class
Mike and I arrived at the show site near the Pensacola Civic Center and we were put in line to get our car's portraits made. The famous Maguire's Restaurant double decker bus was the perfect backdrop for the souvenir photos. We were then directed to our respective spots on the expansive show field. 

Not long after our arrival the main SABCC caravan pulled in with no reports of trouble during the trip. For a while, the line to get registered and photographed was nothing but SABCC members. I was proud of our club's turnout and thought that we had a chance to do well in the balloting later in the day.

An Ailing Morgan
I spent the next hour getting the road grime off the Jaguar and generally giving it more of a spruce up than it really needed. It is a treat to run a detailing rag over the curves of this beautiful car. Mike tended to his MGA and to the emergency mechanical needs of other cars on the field. His reputation as a top-drawer auto fettler keeps him in demand at events and Mike's generosity at times like this is legendary.

As always the PBCA ran the show like the well oiled machine that it has become. Extra classes were created when enough vehicles arrived to make them. Unusually, there were enough Morgans on the field to have their own class this year. Several PBCA members remarked that last year there were nine Triumph Spitfires in the show while this year there were only two. It is a challenge to anticipate the field layout, so pre-registration at any show is helpful for the organizers.

The day was sunny and breezy and many of us found shelter in the SABCC pop up tent where we enjoyed each others company. When the ballots were handed out, everyone made their choices and when the awards were presented, SABCC did very well. Our club secretary, Becky Kramer was kind enough to provide me with the list of awards won by SABCC'ers:

Mr. Goodspanner Award - MIKE DARBY
(Presented by British motoring Club New Orleans for his beyond-the-call-of-duty efforts to help a fellow motorist)

Moulton Properties Trophy - MIKE DARBY
MGA
1st - MIKE DARBY
SABCC Hdq.
2nd ROBB OGLETREE

MGB 62-68
1st TOM & JEANNIE SCHMITZ
3rd DICK BISHOP

MGB 69-74
1st - KEN MCELHANEY

MGB- C GT
3rd - TOM & JEANNIE SCHMITZ

MGB 74-1/2 - 76
2nd BRUCE DONALDSON
Big Healeys
3rd NOEL EAGLESON

MGB - 77 - 80
1st - STUART WADDINGTON

TRIUMPH TR8
1st BILL MOSELEY

JAGUAR XJS - XK8 UP TO 1999
1st - MICHAEL KING
2nd- RICHARD CUNNINGHAM

JAGUAR XK8 - OPEN
3rd (TIE) JON GOSNELL

JAGUAR - E TYPE
3rd - JACK ROSS

JAGUAR SALOON
1st - MIKE DARBY

MORGAN
1st - MELISSA SILHAN
Showing the SABCC Colors


After the awards ceremony, the main SABCC caravan formed up and made its way back to Lower Alabama. Once again, Mike Darby was called on to help a TR-6 driver who was having a bit of trouble with a new set of SU carburetors that had been installed the night before. Mike got out his tool bag and set the carbs up so that the TR ran well enough to make it back home. 

Richard and Donna Cunningham and Michael King waited for Mike and I so we could grab a bite of dinner on the way home. We formed up and set out for a barbeque dinner at Sonny's near our exit to US Highway 90. It was a fine end to the day to share a few laughs and a delicious supper with good friends. 

We drove back at a leisurely pace on the two lane highway with the setting sun in our eyes. Yes, it was tough to stay awake, but we returned safely having had one of the best days out ever. 

Thanks, PBCA for a great show.

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