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Champaign Brit Car Fest - final report (promise)

Subject: Champaign Brit Car Fest - final report (promise)
From: Barney Gaylord <>
Date: Mon, 31 May 1999 19:40:57
Greetings from Naperville, Illinois.  Yup, home AND rested (but not for
long).  And I was just admiring my newly enhanced sun tan.  Four days in
the open air will do that you know.

Sunday started off bright and early (well, early anyway) with the now
traditional Dawn Patrol Tour.  Nothing terribly spectacular about this one,
about 30 miles touring in the country including a few miles here and there
of nice twisty asphalt, at least one lane wide all the way.  I got the
impression that for many of the participants the great significance of this
event was the celebration that one could still be alive just a hand full of
hours after surviving the Pub Crawl.  And of course there was that badge of
honor feeling that we could use later to aggravate the ones who didn't find
the will to be moving at that time of the morning.

Well I still wasn't exactly ready for a normal convoy, so, being the rally
veteran and familiar with the roads thereabouts, I snatched a copy of the
route instructions and lit out ahead of the rest.  I was pleased (and
surprised) to discover that there were only minor errors in the route
instructions, and the included map was sufficient to easily figure it all
out.  There were a couple of places along the way where I had the pleasure
of making a U-turn to park on the shoulder and honk and wave as the convoy
was passing.  Then I would quietly fall in behind to follow for a bit
before taking a devious shortcut down some gravel road, and a few miles
later I could sit at an intersection and greet the entire line again.  By
the end of the tour my MGA was nicely covered with that fine tan powder
that makes it look so dang FUN.  Then as a matter of common courtesy I did
hose it down before the car show so the visitors wouldn't get totally grimy
just walking within six feet of it.

For a while there it looked like the CBCF would break an eight year running
record and make it through the ninth show without the rain.  No way!  These
are British cars after all.  So, contrary to all forecasts, right in the
middle of the beauty contest the sky opened up and dump out copious amounts
of the wet stuff, no survivors, everyone had to button the cars up quickly
and run for cover inside the mall.  I think it was just Mother Nature
teaching us a lesson, all in good fun, because it was mostly over in a hour
or so.  Those of us with tonneau covers were all aglow because we didn't
have to put the tops up, and the drive home later was pleasant and mostly

There were some special attention grabbers this year (as usual).  First to
demand your lust and drooling were the featured mark, the MGB-V8s, hanging
on from their national meet to join us for that extra special show touch.
Many of these had taken early leave to head home to their respective far
away places of origin, but five of the nicest examples were still in
attendance, and drool we did.  Each was shinier than the rest and very
nicely presented.  All but one were carrying the traditional aluminum 3.5L
V8, but not all were Rover heritage.  Some of the engines were Buick or
Oldsmobile recyclables, and one was a 5.0L Ford iron block with more go-go
than you can imagine (this being the one that turned 102 mph in the quarter
mile).  To my slight disappointment, all of them were sporting four barrel
carburetors, absolutely nice for the performance curve, but none of the
original type twin SU carb setups.  Hey, if you're going for a V8, you
might as well go all the way!

Browsing around the lot one would find the race prepared Austin Mini that
seemed to be exhibitor's choice by ballot.  Very close by was a pristine
Aston Martin DB4 that netted the Queen's Trophy for best of show.  Not too
far away was one of my vavorites, a vintage racing MGA in full dress.  A
little farther down the line was the 1936 Jaguar SS1 that makes all those
wonderful noises wherever it goes, even impressive while idling around the
blind driver's funkana on Saturday (if you could call it idling).  And
covering the entire lot and spilling over into a couple of access aisles
were more of the 150 or so entries that came to honor our presence (or was
that the other way around).

As the sudden rainfall cut the display part of the show a little short, the
lottery prizes and awards presentation was held inside of the mall.  The
MGA with an attitude garnered lots of attention and honorable mention, but
no show award.  I did however come away with the satisfaction of giving a
bunch of V8s a hard time at the Thursday autocross (V8 convention), and the
First Overall trophy from the Friday Night Rally (Champaign County Sports
Car Club), and a big squeaky rubber rat to share with the Alpine owner for
second place in the Saturday funkana.

Of course the real significance of these events is the opportunity to meet
and greet some old friends, and to make a few new friends, and to share in
the social activities, and a chance to drive around a bit with a bunch of
other LBCs, and to generally enjoy the open roads coming and going.  The
car display event after all was only a few hours out of the extended
weekend.  And then there's this really impressive sun tan to go with the
big glowing grin and wind blown hair.  What more could you ask?  Really
great way to top off British Car Week.  And for all those complaining of
not seeing enough British cars on the road this last week, ya just ain't
lookin' in the right places.

Now there's this club meeting in Champaign Wednesday night, and the
Michiana Brits Tour out of South Bend on Saturday, and the Chicagoland MG
Club autocross at Utica on Sunday, and ....  Well, you get the idea, the
summer here is just getting into full swing.  I know it's early, because I
only have 7000 miles on the MG so far this year.

Y'all come out and play now,

Barney Gaylord
1958 MGA with an attitude

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