Monday, June 18, 2012

Mugs & Motors: We Shut Down a Restaurant Edition

The Gang at Serda's
Mugs & Motors  -Coffee and Conversation for Motoring Enthusiasts continues to a favorite of SABCC members. Last Saturday's event brought out 25 SABCC'ers to Serda's Coffee and Tea in downtown Mobile for a cup of joe and something from the baked goods case.

We arrived at opening time for the coffee house on Royal Street and immediately began the began the line for service at the barista counter. Most of the gang ordered a standard coffee (although a couple of members required a complete sentence to describe what they were after in their particular coffee) and something delicious from the baker's artistry. The staff at Serda's took care of us in fine fashion as always.

Noel and Cecil Grab Their Mugs
Grabbing our favorite spot in the back of the 100+ year old building, we filled the tables to capacity and the conversation never let up. It was a pleasure to see some faces that we don't always get to see at club events. And it was a joy to view the photos taken by our immediate past club president Noel Eagelson of the weekend he and ace British car restorer Mike Darby spent in Dillard, Georgia at the annual convention of the North American MGB Register. The photos showed literally hundreds of MGBs and other classic British cars in the beautiful mountains of northeast Georgia. Mike allowed how his MGA was running better than it ever had after NAMGBR Technical Advisor John Twist laid hands upon it at the famous "rolling tech session" John is famous for conducting.

The Fort Conde Portrait
We understand that the trip to Dillard was pleasantly uneventful, but the return trip was a soggy mess due to the incessant rain that pounded the southeast that weekend. 

A quick poll taken at the Mugs & Motors event confirmed that the members present would enjoy a Saturday morning coffee gathering a little more often. The feedback from the gang indicated that a later event in the day isn't really necessary to having a great time - maybe something as simple as a scenic drive. You've been heard loud and clear!

Pierre Fontana (right)
Once the coffee was consumed we gathered our cars for a group photo at Mobile's lovely Fort CondĂ© Village. This area consists of several ante and post-bellum   homes that are in various states of preservation or restoration. A number professional organizations have their offices in the village and there is a lovely bed and breakfast tucked away in this quiet corner of old Mobile.Our impromptu car show brought a number of guests and staff to the front porch of the B&B to sip coffee and look over the classic Brits on the street below.

The brick paved streets were a perfect spot to park the cars and take advantage of the sunrise lighting conditions. All of the members with cameras snapped away with a few of them taking advantage of a steel fire escape to shoot from above. Yours truly decided that he was probably over the safe weight limit for the fire escape of unknown vintage and elected to stay firmly on terra firma. 

The Gang at Auto-Fleet
Photos taken, we caravanned to Auto-Fleet Machine and were delighted to see SABCC's Technical Advisor Pierre Fontana at the door to greet us and introduce us to the staff at the shop. The tour got started a bit late as we took time to admire Pierre's newly-acquired 1950 Ford Tudor with a mildly tuned flathead V8. 

This was the first time most of the members present had seen the inside of an operating machine shop. Auto-Fleet is neat and well laid out with specialized machinery to perform practically any operation on automotive mechanical bits.  

Lunch at the Tiny Diny
Zeno and the rest of the team were incredibly patient and thorough in answering our questions and going into as much detail as we wanted (or could handle). We saw such rarities as a crankshaft from a Packard straight 8 engine or as common as a GM 350 V8 and an MG Midget engine. Pierre kindly showed us some of the work that he brought in and vouched for the expertise of the crew at Auto-Fleet.

 Almost two hours passed and the interest of the members present never waned. In fact it took a mention of lunch before everyone headed for the door. The group decided that we'd lunch at a Mobile institution - the Tiny Diny just up the street from Auto-Fleet.
We headed inside looking forward to simple homestyle cooking that the restaurant is known for. As we took our seats, SABCC'er Sandy Walter announced to the club that this day was the last day that the Tiny Diny would be open. It was shutting down at the end of business that evening. The news put a bit of a damper on lunch, but the wait staff did their jobs to perfection and with smiles on their faces. 

With lunch dispatched we said our goodbyes to each other and headed to our own destinations.

SABCC owes a great deal of thanks to Pierre Fontana and to the staff of Auto-Fleet Machine.

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