Sponsored by the British Car Club – Midlands Center
Sunbeams of the South: Invasion 2023
Having fourteen years of prior experience planning and organizing the Carolina Classic in Columbia, the British Car Club of Midlands Center has got their collective act together.
Registrations, breakfast treats and coffee, boxed lunches, awards, music, and organization of the worker-bees all developed to perfection. My hat is off to Eric Gibeaut and Todd Smith for the outstanding job they did with the B.A.S.H.-based accommodations, parts room and pizza/subs supper at the Wyndham Hotel in Lexington and at the Cayce Speedway. Unfortunately, one imperfect aspect of any show was the weather. You can predict it, but you can’t guarantee it.
Weather, what you gonna do?
This year’s weather was iffy from the get-go. Storms were predicted but their arrival time and duration were changing frequently, well, like the weather. Everyone was watching the overcast skies for signs of rain, but the show went on. The drummers and bagpipers from Tartan Day South Festival were marching around and playing without a care for the alleged oncoming storm. All the British Car guys went on about their business with set-up, detailing and discussing their LBCs. Spirits were high and the weather was just something we would deal with, whatever it would be.
There were those registrants who decided to change their plans for the Carolina Classic when storms were posted for the day. About one-third of them stayed home or were in town but didn’t leave the hotel. It’s understandable that people don’t want to drive an antique car in bad weather or even take a chance on it happening at all, but those who tossed the forecast out the window had a great day in spite of 45 minutes of not too bad precipitation. The upside of that short rain delay was the good opportunity to get to know each other better as we crammed under the tents to stay relatively dry.
With about a third of the registrants missing, the show’s content was thin, but the quality was still quite high. Being the 100th Anniversary of the MG there was a significant number of MGs on the field. TDs, TFs, BGTs, As, and Bs made up the largest marque presence. There were a couple of new MGs, a custom V8 called the “Silver Lady,” a 4X4 B, with a few sedans rounding out that display. Austin Healeys came on strong too, followed by Triumph, Jaguar, Lotus, and Wolseley classes.
Sunbeam owners had their onsite B.A.S.H. and made their presence known with a strong showing of 15 cars including two Harrington Le Mans Coupes, two Alpines, six Alpine V6s, and five Tigers. Looks like V6 cars are going to need their own class soon.
All-in-all it was a great start to the 2023 Car Show year. And it only gets better the more we all participate in sharing and introducing others to the British Car experience.
Rare Rootes: First – Eric Gibeaut ( ’63 Harrington); Second – David Hall (’62 Harrington)
Tigers: First – Joel Martin; Second – Bill Bulpitt; Third – Todd Smith
Alpines: First – Bob Sharkey (V6); Second – Richard Fritz (GT): Third – Whitt Taylor (V6)