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Christmas Reminiscence and LBCs

Subject: Christmas Reminiscence and LBCs
Date: Tue, 24 Dec 1996 16:54:34 -0500
I was just reminiscing and thought I would share a memory with you.  When I
was 16 years old, my mentor in our Rover Crew (Senior Boy Scouts) traded
his '50 Chev coupe in on a new 1956 Chev Bel Air 2 dr. hardtop - Bronze and
Cream.  This was the coolest car in the world.  Because my birthday is in
December, all thought of taking my drivers' test to obtain my driver's
license had to be postponed until the roads cleared.  Came spring my
thoughts turned to my license but my father's car would not do for the test
because it had a frozen handbrake and would not pass the pre-exam safety
check.  My friend Don, who owned the Chev and was 5 years older than I,
offered to let me use his car.  I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  I
passed with flying colors.

Came the following spring and time for our Rover meeting.  Outside the den
(club house), I parked my father's old Chev.  I couldn't afford a car yet.
I walked inside and found Don - already arrived.  "Where's your car", I
shouted.  I hadn't seen it outside.  "Oh, I got a new one", he replied,
"It's outside, you just didn't see it".

I walked outside and there on the other side of the pickup truck I had
parked beside was a brand new 1957 MGA, apple green with red interior and
wire wheels.  "Want to take that for a spin?", he asked.  At that moment I
realized that there was a whole other world besides cool Chevies.  As a
result, my first LBC-driving experience was that MGA.  Interestingly, I saw
its twin at the GOF West this year.  There aren't very many left in that
apple green color.  Have you seen any?

Later, one of my friends acquired a TD while we were in University.  (Today
he is a successful doctor and has owned a series of Lotuses (Loti?).)  Then
another bought a Morris Minor and subsequently a new Farina Morris Oxford.
Another friend bought a Hillman Minx.

I also used to get rides from a fellow with a '51 Vauxhall Velox.  He and I
and another friend decided to go on a weekend trip to Banff.  It was my
first trip away from home without my family.  The Vauxhall ran beautifully.
I loved the fusty British look and the delightful leather smell.

Then another buddy got an Austin A40.  The final touch was another
acquaintance while we were at University who drove an Austin A90 Atlantic.
During this time, my favourite uncle owned two Vanguards, a 1951 and a
1954.  The latter was traded on a '54 Studebaker.

Later, one of my best friend's girl friends got an Austin A40 Sports from
her father.  This was the Jensen bodied car.  I have often wondered where
that went.  A memorable experience involved riding in a 1953 Sunbeam Alpine
Drophead which was a great-looking car.  I would love to own one today.
Does anyone have one they would like to trade for my '62 Alpine?

 Finally, I got to keep a TR-2 for a friend who needed storage.  He let me
drive it when I wanted to.  This was awesome.  My first vehicle however was
much more prosaic.  I bought a 1940 Chev pickup.  It was junk but I
couldn't afford anything better - I had $100 and the Chevvy was only $95.
After this, I owned a succession of 1939, then 1947 Chevs.  The most I paid
for any of them was $35.  These lasted until I graduated from University
and bought my first "sports car", a year-old Volvo 544.

Canada at that time had a great number of LBCs, probably more per capita
than in the US.  Unfortunately few have survived.  The most common today
are the sports cars. of the late sixties and newer.  There are very few
MGAs.  There were a lot of T-series cars but I don't know where they went.
The most common sedans are still probably Austin A40s although few are
restored. There were quite a lot of big Jags, but again, they are all gone.

My experiences when I was a teenager did not lead directly to my own LBC.
This didn't happen until 1966 when I purchased my new Rover 2000TC.  You
have probably read my postings about this miserable experience.

In any event, I hope that each of you might consider sharing your LBC
experiences with all of us over the next few days of holidays - if you have
time to sit down at the keyboard - or if you reach over a turkey-bloated

Merry Christmas and may Santa bring each of your LBCs something special.

John McEwen

1949 Austin A40 Devon
1950 Standard Vanguard
1962 Sunbeam Alpine
1966 Austin Cambridge
1970 MGB Roadster
1957 AJS Model 20
1970 Norton Commando Fastback

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