The MGA With An Attitude
The British Invasion
(September 16-18, 2016)
Friday, September 16, 2016:
In early afternoon we were muddling our way through Stowe, VT to find the show grounds and get registered for the British Invasion car show. Signage was less than efficient, and we ended up U-turning a couple of times before we were directed where to park. With registration done we had a few hours to spare before the evening welcome party, so we toddled off 10 miles north to Morrisonville. Mapquest says that's 37 miles from North Troy, VT, which is within a mile of the US-Canadian border. Better swap my MG hat for the US Border Patrol hat. By 4:30pm we were back in Stowe for the welcome party. Hundreds of people here, and I don't recognize any of them. One person from a rally a couple weeks earlier recognized me and said hello. I finally found Richard Miller, director of MG Drivers Club of North America. I knew he had to be here somewhere, as this is their annual MG Drive-In.
After a couple hours we thought maybe better luck down town with a live band and the show cars parked in the streets. Arriving there exactly at 6:30 appointed time, no joy here either. Show street is full and barricaded, very long way to crawl around to get to other end of the street, and no parking anywhere within half a mile of the place. This is a little town, two lane streets, congestion, tourist trap with lots of antique shops, restaurants, and a few tiny hotels. I have no idea where many hundreds of British car enthusiasts will spend the night. Much too confined in the business district for a crowd this size with this many cars. They should have taken the band over to the show field and built a bonfire. This has all the earmarks of a commercial enterprise to bring economic business to the town rather than what might be best for the participants. Give up and go south 27 miles to Barre, VT to find another WiFi spot and the larger hotels.
Saturday, September 17, 2016:
Car show! The British Invasion in Stowe Vermont.Something like 560 cars, and pictures, pictures, pictures. To right of center, spectators, visitors, and non-registered cars. In the middle, large tents are car show central, registration and some vendors. Upper left, more vendors and the car corral (cars for sale). Left of center, the large field of show cars. Bottom center was the concourse judging circle.
I think a little over 500 British cars (and bikes) on the field.
At least half a dozen Singers (never seen that many in one place before). Plenty of new Aston Martins.
Two London taxis makes a judging class. A hand full of Morris Minors, and a long row of new Minis.
Can never resist the old Minis. Gotta love the Mini trailer, two boots to go and a tonneau cover. "Actual Size"?
Concours judging, couple dozen cars, I don't spend much time there. Rolls Royce and Bentley strutting their stuff.
Morgans, Super Sports, Four-Four, Plus Four, Plus Eight. I will get back to this red three wheeler later.
MGBs, chrome bumpers, rubber bumpers, about a dozen GTs, three MGC-GT and two more MGC tourers.
MG T-types, C, D and F (at least half a dozen of those).
MGAs trying to steal the show, about 20 I think.
How about an MG F-TF,
and an older MG Y-type.
MG Midgets with rubber and chrome bumpers, blending into Bug-eye Sprite, blending into a long row of big Healeys.
Jaguars, I'm not counting, you figure it out.
Land Rovers all over, camouflage, military, older ones, newer ones, some pretty and some bold utilitarian.
The Allard was trying to escape, but I caught him on the fly.
Triumphs, lots of TR3, 3A, 4, 4A, 250, 6, 7, 8. Where do the numbers stop?
Oh yeah, that was a Triumph Sports 6, Spitfires, and Stags.
This big beast (larger saloon car) is a Triumph Renown, 1949 to 1954 vintage. Aptly described as elegant and sedate (well, okay, slow).
There were a few Rover Sedans to appease your fancy.
Lotus, ... Lotuses, ... Loti for everyone. The first is the new (2008) Exige S-240, followed by a few new Elise, then Elan, Elite, Esprit, Europa, after which I stop guessing names (but they all start with "E"). Then I finally found the 7's (seemed to be tucked away in their own corner).
I found the Sunbeam Alpines and a Tiger, one Elva Courior (MGA drivetrain), and Volvo 1800S (first built in England).
At the larger shows you always find something new you have never seen before. This is a 1978 Ronart W152 Roadster. It is a retro 40's/50's Formula 1 car. This one would be an S6. The mechanicals are from a Jaguar XJ from 1968-1986. Engine options were XK6, AJ6 or V12. The steering rack is sourced from an MGB (TA-DA!).
This odd machine is Teal, which is British built replica of a French/Italian car. The red thing along side is a small replica Land Rover on an electric golf cart chassis. Sheesh! Who thinks up these things?
Jenson Healey's and Jensen Interceptors.
1959 Riley 1.5 Saloon, 1946 Standard 8 Saloon, 1968 Ford Cortina GT Sedan
1935 Austin Seven
2 Daimler SP 250 (with 2.5-liter hemi V8). Elva Courier (1600 MGA engine). TVR 280I (Ford 2.8L V6 engine).
Some TVR 3000M, and a Taimar (hatchback version of the 3000M).
A couple of small trailers spotted on the field. The first is a Jaguar. It looks familiar, but no info found on the internet. Could be a special labeled copy of something more common.
California Side Car, Escapade trailer with MGA 1500 type tail lights, lovingly named "MGA Too".
Lots of vendors on the open field.
Abingdon Spares (MG T-type parts). Sports Car Services (repairs and restoration), British Starters.
Donovan Motorcar Service (and restoration), Scarborough Faire, Triumph Rescue and British Wiring.
Brit Bits, British Vacuum Unit, British Miles.
Clay models of you or your car, made to order. Piccadilly Circus. British Marque Car Club News.
More pics of the Morris Minors, and a special visit by John Nikas from Moss Motors.
When it was time to head out, one of the Morgan Super Sports wouldn't start. Apparently three lever/cable controls on the steering wheel may confuse choke, spark advance, and throttle? Looks like it was flooded, so MGA guru hauled out some tools to R&R the spark plugs for cleaning, and eventually it was running again.
When the field was nearly empty, a TVR (with MGA 1500 engine) was dead with a failed fuel pump. A bit of creative plumbing and wiring got a Facet electric fuel pump in service, and that one was back on the road.
Then a quick trip with a few friends to a local bistro for dinner before a short shot on WiFi and crash for the night.
Sunday, September 18, 2016:
This would be a simpler and easier day. As we were approaching the show grounds we saw many British cars going the other way, escaping to go home on Sunday morning. When all were assembled on the show field there were maybe 25% of the prior days cars present today. The idea today was to park the cars in groups by color, to be voted for best car of each color. Not being a concours type, I seldom bother to vote, figuring I have better things to do with my time. But I did find some friends to chat.
An early task today was a minor adjustment for a control box on an MGA to correct a low voltage condition that was causing low battery when running with lights or accessories. Easy peasy and I hope negates the need for the owner to buy a new battery.
After a couple of wide angle shots of the overall field, if struck me that the show had lost some color, like a world of gray scale images. But at least we get another look as some of the prior day's display cars.
Well, at least there were red cars to save the day, and the "rainbow" class for multi-color and stripes.
A bit down the road later we stopped to assist a late model (rubber bumper) MGB in distress, dead on an upgrade,
half in the traffic lane with no safety shoulder. Poking a few wires got it running long enough to get up the hill when it died again but managed to pull off to a safe area. Some probing with a test light narrowed the disconnect in the white wire down to the ignition switch or the multi-function cable connector near the ignition switch. I installed a jumper wire to the ignition coil to assure reliable running, and sent him on his way. I received an email report later saying the fault was a loose pin in the connector near the ignition switch, easily repaired in the local motel car park, and that the car was able to return home to Canada without further incident.