History tells us that we rejected the British approach to things centuries ago and established an independent nation to do our own thing. Exhibit A, we prefer coffee rather than tea. However, the apple did not fall too far from the tree as they say. Many of our cities and towns are the same as British ones, but with the word “New” in front of them. New London, New York, New Hampshire, etc. Indeed, an entire region of our country is simply called New England. You can argue that we have a modified version of their government, and speak a modified version of their language. We also really like their stuff. Their music has invaded us a few times with lasting effect, and few would dispute that Top Gear is the best gearhead show on TV. But even more than that, we really like their bikes and cars. And particularly the old ones. The reason that there are so many British car jokes is that there are so many British cars.
So first let’s set the record straight. I have had several British bikes, but I’ve never owned a British car. I grew up riding in, and learned to drive in British cars (a LandRover Series 1 with a gear shift lever at least 7 feet long with 3 bends that made the odds of finding the right gear worse than the lottery……but I digest…). I “borrowed” my father’s British cars and raced on the street in other “borrowed” British cars, and worked on British cars. But I never actually owned one. At least a few times per year, they have enormous appeal and I have to exercise full discipline not to succumb.
One of those times is the Annual British Motorcar Gathering, an All-British car show hosted by the Keystone Region MG Club. It takes place a mere 3 miles from the house, so there are no barriers to temptation. Around 200 cars and a smattering of bikes usually show up to this event, and it gets pretty competitive in each class. This year, the threat of rain in the late afternoon may have kept the numbers below 200. Nonetheless, the show had a healthy representation of the storied British marques. To start with, the pictured Norton ES2 was one of the very few bikes at the show, but quality made up for quantity in spades. MGs were of course the largest number by far. They spanned all variants from TCs TDs TFs to MGAs MGBs and MGCs. A number of nice MGB GTs were present, and a very nice Magnette. Triumphs were next most populous with several cool Bugeyes along with almost the entire TR range (I didn’t see any TR7s this year).
Jaguars were best represented by the E-Types and a couple of XK 120s. I have never thought that red was the best color for Jaguars, but an immaculate red E-Type and a beautiful red MkI Saloon may have changed my mind. The accompanying picture of the MK I car does not do it justice, and IMHO it looked even better than the very nice silver example beside it (and I love silver cars, so go figure). The Minis occupied their usual corner of the park, including an example from the stable of our friend Spencer. TVR also had 4 or 5 cars on hand. Curiously, there were almost as many Allards as Austins! Healeys made up the majority, combined with an interesting Austin Princess. There was a lone Aston Martin, a lone Wolesley, and no Land Rovers (at least while I was there). Oh well, at least I could not be tempted by the car I learned to drive on….until next year.