July 1999: Change

Change & it’s happenin’ all the time. And it’s happening here at TE/AE in a number of ways. You have read about some of the changes and initiatives towards change previously in this column. In this issue I wanted to present some changes that I hope you will agree will make TE/AE a stronger club.

First, in an article later in this edition, you will find an announcement from Tiger Tom Ehrhart concerning his and Joanne’s parts business. I am pleased to announce that Tiger Tom’s will be offering exclusive discounts and early NOS parts availability to TE/AE members ONLY! We will have first shot at his prized NOS collection at below market prices and monthly specials from his catalog items. It won’t take many purchases to more than make up for the price of TE/AE membership. Everyone buying parts for their Sunbeam should join TE/AE & it’s cost effective! I think you will be as excited as I am at this exclusive arrangement we have with Tiger Tom. Also, I wanted to say a special thanks to Tom for his willingness to enter into this with TE/AE. It is going to cost him money offering the discounts but it sure does make membership in TE/AE more desirable. Thanks, Tom.

A while back, the board of TE/AE approved advertising in the newsletter but for various reasons, we have never solicited any. Well, that’s another change coming. Starting soon, we will have ads in the Rootes Review. Not only will it bring a few dollars into our treasury, but it will also provide members, particularly those new to the Marque, with sources for Sunbeam and other auto related parts and services.

TE/AE now has a new Publicity Chairman in Gary Schotland. Gary is a past President of TE/AE and has many ideas and much enthusiasm to promote the club. Under his leadership as President, the club’s membership expanded significantly and now we can once again benefit from his energies in this area. I would also like to say thanks to our outgoing Publicity Chairperson Mary Sue Baum. Thank you for all of your efforts during your time in this office.

We currently mail the newsletter by first class mail. This is expensive relative to other mailing classes available to us. We are going to start mailing the newsletter using bulk mailing at significantly reduced rates on a trial basis. It will add a couple of days to the time in transit in the mail, but we hope to make this up by mailing earlier. As I mentioned earlier, it is on a trial basis. We will be monitoring the effects of the new mailing class and would ask for your feedback too. Please contact one of the editors or officers if you have any problems whatsoever caused by this bulk rate experiment. If all goes well, it will become our standard, freeing up some funds for other purposes.

This past Sunday (June 6, 1999) The New England Region, headed by Stu Brennan, hosted their Spring Regional get together at my house in Concord, Mass. We had almost 20 people and 7 Sunbeams made it & some coming over 100 miles just to be with fellow Beamers for an afternoon. It was a very enjoyable time, swapping tips, stories and getting to know a few new people. There is a more complete write up on the event later in this edition.

I am putting the finishing touches on the Tiger to get ready for SUNI. Pat and I are going to tow it out. It was never built as a long haul road car what with the 3.31 gearing and the four speed so it gets trailered to the really far away events. 2400 miles each way to Big Sky, but we will see a lot of new places on the trip and, most importantly, have the car at SUNI. Hope to see many of you there.

September 1999

As was mentioned in the last newsletter, my car received the first place award in the Concours Personalized class at SUNI. I am quite proud to have accomplished this against some extremely nice cars. But it is even sweeter because of what I am about to tell you about the car and how it came to be. What Paul Harvey would call “The rest of the story.”

Dan Cameron, our current club Vice President, and I used to go to the TE/AE Uniteds together when we both lived in Alabama in the 80’s. His car never seemed to be quite ready to take to a United, so we would take my Tiger. It was a Silver ’66 Mk1a with a 289 and it was a nice car but not as nice as I wanted it to be. We would kill time by conceiving of our “ultimate Tiger.” We would plan the car in detail & the color, the engine, the transmission, the rear end, the interior & even the undercoating. It was these discussions that formed the basis for my current black Tiger.

Skip ahead a few years to 1992. John Webber, our current Newsletter Editor, mentioned to me that he had gotten a little burned out on a Tiger restoration he was performing. Coincidently, I was just getting in the frame to mind to tackle another one at that same time. So I bought John’s project car. It was a bare metal shell (no engine, drive train, interior & completely bare). John had replaced the needed sheetmetal. Along with it came some new parts and all the rest of it was in boxes.

My goal from the outset was to build a car along the lines of my ultimate Tiger and take it to SUNI II in 1994 and win the Personalized Concours. It was to be perfect. My time and money were no object. This was going to be a car I kept the rest of my life and I was going to do it all the way.

Well, as those of you who have done a restoration know, it takes longer than you can even imagine at the start. And costs more too. Kind of like the baseball manager, who, when hired, was given an unlimited budget and then fired later for overrunning it! The painter, who I looked long and hard for, said he would have the car back to me in 90 days. He had it for 18 months! When SUNI II rolled around, the car was not yet finished and, a bit dejected, I skipped the event knowing that my window of opportunity had passed. While I had built what I thought was a great car, it was five more years until the next SUNI and by then, the car would be an aging restoration. Not much chance against the superb cars coming out today. Fortunately, I was wrong.

I decided to fix what had become a major oil leak (3 quarts in 800 miles) ten days or so before we were to leave for SUNI. It appeared to be the rear main seal or something else on the back of the block having dumped all the oil inside the bellhousing and on the clutch! This involved taking out the engine, finding the leak, fixing it, replacing the clutch, etc. Well, various unforeseen complications and other time demands ensued and I just got it back together at 3 pm the day before we left for Montana. Whew!

So to win this year and accomplish my goal was even better than just winning itself & even if was five years later than I had anticipated! My thanks to Dan Cameron for his contributions to the concept and to John Webber for his hard work in getting the car to the point of my purchasing it.

Enjoy what is left of your summer months and get out and drive those Sunbeams.

October 1999

As you may notice from the list of Officers and Regional Representatives on the inside cover of this newsletter, TE/AE now has nine Reps rather than eleven as we have had for a while. Henry Ward (Rep for central New York) and George Coleman (Rep for The Carolinas) have resigned their positions. They both served long terms in these positions of service to the club (Henry was a Rep from the beginning of the club in 1976) but found it necessary to step down at this time. I thank them for their years of dedication and hard work and look forward to their continued membership in the club.

The Board will soon be reviewing the entire area of Regions and Representatives, trying to better define our regions and the best roles for the Reps and Board members. I will keep you posted on this as it solidifies.

When John Webber took on the heavy lifting of the Editorship again, it was with the agreement that it be for only one year. That time will be upon us before we know it. We need to find a skilled and motivated volunteer to pick up the reins from John early next year. As some of you may know, Kirk Even was planning to be the next Editor but his change to a new job (and career) and the addition of their new daughter Shannon has overtaken his spare time and he has had to forego the position & for now. So if you know of someone or are that someone that can take on this critical club responsibility, please contact John Webber or me.

Pat and I leave in a couple of days for our longest trip ever in the Tiger & both in miles and days. We leave from here (near Boston) down to Pasadena, Maryland for the Chesapeake Region’s Clam Feast on Sunday, September 12. Tom Calvert and his team putting on the event anticipate a great turnout and wonderful time.

From there, we head down to Raleigh, North Carolina for a few days and from there, to Dillard, Georgia for the 1999 S. O. S. event on the 17th – 19th of September. Over 25 cars and 75 people are expected for this event. Ed Esslinger, Eric Gibeaut, Jim D’Amelio and the crew seem to have found a winning combination of location and timing for this event. That is, as long as we don’t get a hurricane coming through at the wrong time!

I have checked the car over from end-to-end for a safe trip and hope for good weather. A tops-down trip sure beats a rainy, foggy (on the inside), wet (on the inside) trip. Better for marital harmony too. We look forward to seeing everyone at these two great TE/AE events.

November 1999

First, let me add my congratulations to all the others that Tom Patton and Barry Schonberger are receiving for their superb performances at the run-offs at Mid-Ohio. Tom’s first place finish and Barry’s fifth place finish really let the world know that “Sunbeams Rule!!” (as the younger generation would say).

As you may notice from the list of Officers and Regional Representatives on the inside cover of this newsletter, TE/AE now has two new Regional Representatives: Eric Gibeaut for the Carolinas and Bob Wegner for New Jersey. This brings us back to eleven Reps as we have had for a while. Eric has been in Sunbeams and the Club for quite a while, has worked very actively in its support and is currently Regalia Chairperson. Bob has not been into the cars that long but has made up for it with a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and time spent promoting the Marque. I thank them for their commitment to the Regional leadership of TE/AE and look forward to working together.

Let me slide in here with another plea for someone stepping up to be our next Editor. While they are big shoes to fill, we do have some training time to bring the next volunteer up to speed. So if you know of someone or are that someone that can take on this critical club responsibility, please contact John Webber or me.

Elections are coming up soon. Elsewhere in this issue you will find the slate of Officers as put forth by the Board. You will be asked so submit any other nominations so that we may prepare the ballots for the next edition of the
Rootes Review.

Kicking off next month, I have introduced a new (what I hope will become a regular) column in the Rootes Review. It is entitled ” I Thought It Was Only Me.” As I have worked on my cars over the past 17 years, I have done a number of dumb things. Some by inexperience, some by bad judgment and some by forgetfulness. This new column is dedicated to these screw-ups. A place for us to air our automotive faux pas so that others may avoid them, realizing that if we could do them, then others probably will too! I will start out this month airing my dirty laundry but I don’t want to be alone in this. Stand up and be counted!

Pat and I just got back from out longest trip ever in the Tiger. We went down to Pasadena, Maryland for the Chesapeake Region’s Clam Feast on Sunday, September 12. From there, we headed down to Raleigh, North Carolina for a few days (where we sat out Hurricane Floyd) and then on to Dillard, Georgia for the 1999 S. O. S. event on the 17th – 19th of September. Both events were great and a credit to the hard work put into each one. A good time was had by all.

2500 miles of driving with 2000 of it with the top down! Glorious! From interstate driving, to twisty mountain roads to 105 miles of 35 mph speeds on Skyline Drive in Virginia (extension of the Blue Ridge Parkway).

Chased down a few minor electrical gremlins and water leaks so the car is better than ever. But, my voluminous oil leak through the rear main seal reared its ugly head again. This is the forth seal and second oil soaked clutch in it so I have decided the engine is cursed (or maybe something is really wrong down there) so I am going to put in a built-up 347 stroker motor (while retaining my dual four barrel setup) and while I am at it, a T-5 five-speed. I have located the super rare tail shaft from an ’82-83 AMC Concord or Spirit that makes the five-speed kit go together so I will be on my way! I have looked into stroker motors but no decision on which one yet. I hear that they are awesome … like 370-380 hp with over 400 ft lbs. of torque. Some say you don’t even need first or second gear any more … hmmm, we will see.

Jim Morrison

December 1999

Governance: “The method or system of management. The exercise of authority”. This term boils down to how an organization is run by its Board of Directors and its Officers. It is an important issue in any organization and the topic of my column this month.

After I had been President of TE/AE for a few months and had become more familiar with how the Board and Regional Representatives work, I thought there might be a better way of governance for the Club’s future. The two main things that struck me were: 1) the traits we want in a Regional Rep and the traits we want in a Board Member as not necessarily the same thing, even though currently they are the same people; and 2) it only takes five member’s signatures to name a Regional Rep (and therefore, Board Member) but an election across the entire Club is used for selecting the Officers.

With these thoughts as a starting point, I have proposed to the Board a significant modification to the Club’s By-Laws. Our current By-Laws were put in place in 1977 when our founders started TE/AE and incorporated in Virginia. They were a great way to start the Club and to guide it all these years, but the Club has grown and times have changed since then. The method of governance of the Club needed to reflect that change.

TE/AE currently has eleven Regional Representatives and, as such, eleven members of the Board of Directors. Our Regional Reps are regional activities leaders, conducting regional Tigers East/Alpines East events, acting as focal points for the Club and the Marque and promoting Club membership. Our Board Members, as put simply in our By-Laws, “shall have final authority to act in all matters concerning the Organization, subject to law.” In practice, this means policy and fiscal guidance of the Club. We want the best Regional Reps we can find and the Best Board Members for the Club.

The basis of my proposal is to separate the functions of Regional Rep and Board Member. Currently, when one becomes a Rep, he or she is automatically on the Board. My proposal is to elect a seven member Board (independent of the process for naming Regional Reps) through Club-wide elections. By electing the Board, we can get the people on our Board that have the best experience and judgment to oversee the club. These individuals will be responsible for those duties and authorities of the Board of Directors as delineated in our By-Laws. The proposal would continue with the Regional Rep system that we have now, with the Reps being responsible for Club events and the promotion of the Marque in their regions. Reps would be also be able to be elected to the Board. The Regional Reps would be invited to all Board meetings and would be involved in all planning and governing discussions, as they are now. In this way, we can get the best people in the right jobs.

I ask for your support for these changes. I have worked them extensively with the Regional Reps/Board Members and have their encouragement to go forward. In an edition of the Rootes Review early next year, you will find a list of these and other changes to the By-Laws that are being proposed for your vote, along with an explanation of why each is beneficial to the Club. When you receive the proposed changes, please read them over carefully and vote. It is your Club.

Later in this issue, you will find the ballot for the 2000 Officers. The slate, as put forward by the Board, is shown as well as any other nominations, if any. I encourage you to vote.

Jim Morrison

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