At a recent gathering of vintage iron faithful at a British car event, I was a guest of a guest. The participant was Jeff, and he invited Ed, who said something like “But I don't have a british car.” Jeff said, don't worry, there is a small section for non-british cars. Ed then extended the invitation to me and I said “But I don't have a british car.” Ed said, don't worry, Jeff said there is a small section for non-british cars. The last time I attempted to get a non-british car into a british show area, a guy with a heavy yorkshire accent threatened to install Lucas electrics in my Karmann Ghia. I backed off immediately, and parked a mile and a half away.
The day of the event turned out to be a beautiful early fall day, and I decided to take the Porsche because it had practically no exercise all year
. I fully charged the batteries, and decided that they could withstand a couple of starts even if charging was not taking place. Once I arrived at the venue, I spotted what was a fairly small gathering on the edge of a food festival. I slowed, and saw no non-british cars and the folks close to the entrance were not exactly waving me in. I decided to park nearby. I sauntered back to the festival and lo and behold, several of the
faithful were in attendance. Jeff had his marvelous Jaguar SSK on hand in the show and his Opel Commodore in the small non-british corner that I had missed on the way in. Bill had both of his Volvo PV544s to round out the infidels.
The cars on hand were a nice sampling of british iron including TRs, and TVRs, a Bentley and a Bugeye, a few nice jags, MGs of all stripes, and even a quartet of british motorcycles including what appeared to be a nice unrestored Bonneville. It did not take long to take in all of the cars, but on this day it was not really about the cars and bikes. I had a great conversation with the owner of one of the Triumph motorcycles. It turns out that we were both at the
for the past few years and were both there with Nortons 5 years ago but somehow never met. We described our bikes and there was instant recognition, but as people we had no recollection of each other. We even had pictures of each others bikes from that meet. We laughed about the whole thing because it was pretty common to know vehicles but not names.
Two guys were sitting beside a Lotus Esprit and we began chatting. He was recommending a Jaguar XJ6 from the nineties as a first car for a teenager. It was a non-traditional choice, but he somehow made a convincing argument. We went on to talk about the appeal of English Ford saloons and coupes from the 1960s, and in particular the Lotus twin cam Escort. We were joined by the owner of the beautiful Bentley, and the discussion went to racing and the Isle of Man.Wonderful stuff. Back at the non-British enclave, Rocking Chair member Tom and I spoke about BMW motorcycles, and Italian sports cars that do not begin with "F" or "L". Ed showed up with his BMW 2002, and we all spoke about them for a few minutes. Jeff and I joked about test runs of rebuilt or repaired cars that ended in a call to your wife/girlfriend for rescue. His wife laughed as she thought she was the only one called upon as tow truck. Bill went over his love affair with the PV544s and his Jekyll and Hyde pair at the event.
Time disappeared and conversations had to draw to a close. They could easily have continued until, oh, say, Wednesday of the next week. Once again, I was late getting back from an event, and in this case, I did not even have a car or motorcycle in it.