What do you get when you mix an absolutely beautiful day with proud British car owners getting together to have fun and help support a wonderful charity, then throw in a solar eclipse for good measure?
Our very own Houston MG Car Club’s 33rd Annual (almost) All British Car Day! This year’s show was held once again on the grounds surrounding The Butler House restaurant. We could not ask for a better host – the Butler House staff went out of their way again this year to help us stage our cars and supported us in every way possible. They even went out and obtained Old Speckled Hen English Ale just for us! We are happy to report that they also found the event a wonderful success and have asked us to return next year.
From the start, one of the main reasons for putting on the show each year is to help support a local charity, and this year’s show was no different. The Isaiah 117 House of Montgomery and Walker Counties was this year’s charity, and we are happy to report that the show raised $1,500 that will be going directly to them. Isaiah 177 House is a wonderful charity set up to help kids transition through a very difficult time in their lives, and we are proud to support it.
The show this year attracted 77 registrants, including six that surprised us all by showing up on the day of the event! Six gorgeous vehicles were in our Premier Class (winner of a first place award in their class two out of the last three years) and were featured in their very own fenced and artificially turfed showcase grounds, complete with cardboard strategically placed under the cars.
Our featured marque this year was Jaguar, and their owners responded with a great representation of their beautiful cars, including our own Mike Woodward who garnered a second-place trophy for his wonderful 2009 Jaguar Vanden Plas. Along with the Jags, Triumph also had a good showing of their fine cars this year, but the largest showing and the best cars (let’s be honest here!) were our very own MG’s, with 34 examples ranging from Raymond Barth’s 1948 MGTC to René Buerger’s 1980 MGB.
The beautiful day also attracted the participation of other British car brands, including Jensen Healey, Sunbeam, Morgan (even a 1937 model), Mini, and a rare 1951 Allard J2. The lone non-British entrant was a crowd pleasing, 97 year old, “I drive the wheels off of it” 1926 Bugatti Type 35 Targo Florio! And yes, it was driven to the show!
This year saw the introduction of a new voting system using our cell phones and a link to vote for your favorite cars. While there were some growing pains with our first use of it, the pluses more than made up for any hiccups encountered and next year it will be even better! We have our own Steve Session to thank for implementing this system. He had the vision for it, found a system that we could work with and adapted it to our needs. By using your phone to vote, the tabulation of votes (and the anxiety that goes along with rushing to get it done) was greatly reduced and allowed us to get to the awards a lot quicker. And who doesn’t like getting their award quicker? The list of class winners can be found in the article below.
Another first this year was the hip sounds and groovy licks from our very own in-club band – the Abingdon Express, made up of Ken Evesson, John Bowyer, Walter Bernard, Al Slater and Rich Cowell. A big thank you to the members of the band for giving their time and energy to come out and play for us and help create a fun and festive atmosphere for us to enjoy.
A big part of the success of the show every year lands squarely on the shoulders of the wonderful people that volunteered to help out. A special thank you to Dwight Dawson for helping to register voters, and his wife Candy and Libby Childs for making the silent auction the success that it was. Thanks also to all who donated items to the auction, to Scott Kalish and Byron Nash for helping with registration and parking, and to Bob and Kim Chalker for making a special trip for supplies and answering all of our last minute questions.
We are excited to be already making plans for next year’s 34th Annual event! It will return to the Butler House on October 12. We look forward to seeing even more beautiful cars and hopefully some motorcycles too, along with the great company of fellow enthusiasts and more of the fine food from The Butler House. Meanwhile, we are working on dialing up more fantastic weather – but arranging another solar eclipse is proving challenging!
- Contributed by Lee Drum
- Photos by Bob Chalker