Niagara Falls, NY   1984

TE/AE – SSOCC joint event is a big success

by Bruce Johnson

United VIII is now history. It was covered by both television and newspaper, and it will also be the subject of an upcoming full color article in “Car Collector” magazine.

It was the largest Sunbeam event ever held on the east coast (214 registered for the event). Counting the number of Sunbeams present was a difficult chore, but Don Leaming has advised me that he counted 92 Sunbeams leaving the hotel parking lot for the concours. He also added that other, uncounted Alpines and Tigers were seen later at the park itself. We may have had over 100 cars present!

For me, the weekend began with a phone call from Ron Gallagher in which the password “showtime” was given. The volunteer workers quickly assembled at the hospitality suite and began setting up the registration desk and hanging the decorations. The VCR was picked up and the charcoal cooker was hidden in the corner away from the prying eyes of hotel employees. Art Cramer’s special United VIII sweatshirts sold out as fast as their packing boxes could be opened.

Friday’s Niagara Falls tour’ group was treated to an unexpected aerial show by a group of Canadian jet fighters as well as the expected charms of the Falls itself. Parking in both of our special parking areas was free as were the observation areas along the Fa11s. Everybody on the tour had a good time except for two owners whose cars, “conked out.” As is expected other owners helped out, and later I heard that my father had made “mercy runs” for yet other break down plagued drivers.

I think the Henry VIII dinner Friday night was a club dinner that will be remembered for years to come. It certainly was not for shy or prudish types. Noting the children in the audience, the waitress informed me that we were getting the “cleaned up” version of the show. I wonder what the normal version sounds like! At any rate, the show furnished us with plenty of nicknames to use on each other for the balance of the weekend. I wonder if at the 1989 United, Gord Foss will still be “Lord Gord,” Art Cramer “the limp celery,” and myself “the woodpecker.”

Saturday’s concours was run at scenic Beaver Island Park and was favored by beautiful blue skies and sunlight sparkling off the nearby Niagara River. I placed a “Do Not Judge” sign on my car, and as I walked away I overheard a visitor comment that it was the kind of car that he liked since it was a car that someone could drive every day. The tone of the comment was complimentary, but I had to smile to myself since obviously a car does not get to be a “daily driver” by being in perfect condition.

The concours luncheon turned out to be a lot of work for the small group who put it on, but the food proved to be good. Dieter Schoopen of the SSOCC was the head chef.

The Saturday night banquet food was delectable, and the awards presentation went smoothly. Mike Smith will be writing on the concours and the trophy award presentation later in this issue, but I would like to make comment on one aspect of the results.

At the conventions put on by some other clubs, the popular judging contest has the nauseating habit of turning into an owner popularity contest where the person with the most friends present wins. At International United VIII this sort of unfairness did not occur. Neither of the top winners were members of TE/AE (the majority of attendees were members of our club), and one of them (Fumi Kobayashi) had never been to one of our earlier events.

The final awards presentation concerned the Lord Rootes trophy. Mike Smith, our long time concours chairman, received this trophy. Those who have been in the club from its beginnings know that Mike has been a tireless worker who has put in years of service to the club. I give my congratulations to Mike.

The banquet was capped off by a dance featuring Dave Driggs as the DJ. Needless to say, Dave featured plenty of car songs in his repertoire.

Sunday brought the annual club meeting (which Art Cramer will cover later in this issue) and the autocross (also written up elsewhere).

I found the annual meeting especially interesting in view of the comments concerning broadening the base of the club. This topic was brought up because of the unexpected participation of several owners of Sunbeams which were neither Alpines nor Tigers.

The consensus was that these people should have more of a place in our club and later it was mentioned that we could accommodate them into our concours with a special “open” class. This should have positive, future ramifications.

According to one of my sources, the fastest driving on Sunday actually occurred on the way to the autocross and not at the autocross itself. This source, which is going by the code name “deep carburetor”, advised me that speeds up to 100 mph were hit on this excursion. I believe that this run in which only a small number of cars participated will be the topic of late night hospitality suite conversations at future Uniteds. See our later article for more details on the autocross itself. I missed most of it while trying to straighten, out the hotel bill.

In conclusion, I would like to thank everyone who either worked on the event or, came to it. We in Western New York and Southern Ontario will always remember the weekend people of the two clubs came to our area for International United VIII. It was great–see you next year at United IX.

The biggest, best, most appropriate and most surprising occurrences at the International United VIII

  • Most number of trips home in order to keep the hospitality suite going: Art Cramer.
  • Best kick off song for a car club dance: “Spring Little Cobra” chosen by Dave Driggs.
  • Best sportsmanship in the face of having his tapes removed and replaced with Beetles tapes at the hospitality suite: Dan Hodges.
  • Largest number of partiers trying to simultaneously drive the same company car home from the Henry VIII dinner: Gary Corbett, Maureen Corbett, and Bruce Johnson.
  • Most appropriate touch: Katie Kathmann for her presentation of corsages to Pattie Cramer, Margaret Johnson, and Susan Johnson (the three ladies who spent the most time doing registration and running the hospitality suite).
  • Biggest surprise: The two standing ovations the crowd gave me at the banquet.

Thanks again!
Bruce Johnson

Tigers East/Alpines East General Meeting

Held at United VIII, October 7, 1984

President Bruce Johnson called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. with approximately 50 members in attendance.

A letter from Vice President, Barry Schonberger, was read. Barry has received no response, to date to his request for site suggestions for United IX. Members are urged to send ideas and to volunteer for the 1985 United IX as soon as possible. A discussion followed on the future sites for the next three Uniteds. Gary and Andrea Hellings volunteered to work on United X, 1986, in the Philadelphia/Valley Forge area. Other volunteers for the same United X were Tom Calvert of the Chesapeake Region and Lee Kalesis of Ohio. Other sites discussed were Charleston, SC, and Newport, RI. A discussion followed on the dates for future Uniteds with the same Columbus Day weekend remaining the favorite date.

President Johnson also discussed points in Vice President Schonberger’s letter regarding publicity and door prizes for United VIII.

President Johnson announced that Tigers East/Alpines East is now incorporated in Virginia. We were at one time incorporated in New Jersey, but the requirements of incorporation were not kept up.

Nominations for officers for 1985 were opened. After some discussion, the following slate of nominations was moved and seconded:

President – Steve Hansen
Vice President – Barry Schonberger
Treasurer – Katie Kathmann
Secretary – Joan Farmer

Additional nominations may be added before the election.

Treasurer Katie Kathmann submitted the financial report to date. Our account shows a balance of $5794,08 at this time with many of the expenses of United VIII not accounted for at this time.

President Johnson opened up the floor to a discussion on United VIII. Comments were made that the event was generally well run with over 90 cars and over 200 people in attendance. It was suggested that next year’s registration form include the number and type of cars. It was also suggested that a different type of numbering system be used to speed up the concours vote tabulation. Several members thought that the open bar could be eliminated in the future to cut costs. A question was asked about moving the time of the general meeting to a more convenient time. No alternate time was decided. A discussion followed on the possibility of having more classes for the concours.

Several members felt that because we are now seeing cars such as the early Sunbeam Talbot/Alpine, the Harrington Lemans and more Series I/II/III Alpines that they have their own class at the concours. Wally Swift and Mike Smith were asked to serve on a committee to research this idea.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at approximately 10:00 a.m.

Respectfully submitted, Art Cramer, Secretary


by Mike Smith

“It just doesn’t get any better than this” is a statement that I have heard every year since our first United at Williamsburg in 1977. Well, it must have been said a dozen times this year at United VIII, Grand Island, New York. The setting for our concours was perfect, the weather was beautiful, the cars were magnificent, and the participants …well what can I say? An organization can sponsor an event with forty or fifty of the world’s finest automobiles in attendance, but without the enthusiasm of the drivers AND their passengers, you don’t really have a totally memorable experience. I think everyone will agree that our club is somewhat unique because it is made up of and enjoyed by FAMILIES. No one is excluded from any event from the tech sessions to the banquet. I feel this is one of the things that has kept our membership close knit and–shall I say–a cut above the rest.

It was Saturday morning, the temperature was about 40 , and I was washing our Tiger thinking to myself that no one in their right mind would be out in this weather at seven in the morning doing this. At this crazy hour there were already twenty or more people doing the same thing. The non-Sunbeam guests at the hotel were (I’m sure) watching in disbelief!

Approximately one hundred Sunbeams traveled to Beaver Island State Park to participate in what, I feel, was the best concours ever sponsored by Tigers East/Alpines East. Forty eight cars were judged, and shortly thereafter a fantastic picnic lunch was served alongside the Niagara River. Our thanks to Chef Schoopen who was in charge of the barbeque grill.

Our events do not always run like a well-oiled machine, and this year was no exception. I made several mistakes with the concours and the presentation of awards, and I hope some feelings weren’t hurt too badly. Many hours of preparation were spent by the owners of the mid-fifties Alpines, Talbots and Humbers attending this event, and I failed to acknowledge them at the banquet. For this oversight, I apologize. As names of winners are announced during the trophy presentation, I usually have a description of the winning car and a little something to say about its owner. This year I simply did not have the time to talk to each owner beforehand and to acquire the information to use during the awards presentation. A solution is at hand at this writing, and you will be informed at some time in the near future. For years I have been asking for input as to how the concours could be improved, and I am finally getting it–boy, am I getting it! All kidding aside, please keep writing as each and every idea helps us to give you a better event.

The following are the concours award recipients:

Stock Alpine
1st – Ed & Judy Atkinson (114 points)
2nd -Rick & Trish Klose (103 points)
3rd – Ed Voelcker (101 points)

Stock Tigers
1st – Ray & Beverly Buczak (112 points)
2nd – Fumi Kobayashi (111 points)
3rd -Wally Swift (109 points)

Personalized Alpine
1st – Bert Szulc (108 points)
2nd – Gordon Foss (105 points)
3rd – Gordon Holsinger (100 points)

Personalized Tiger
1st – David Johnson (106 points)
2nd – Kenneth Bishop (103 points)
3rd – Steve & Janet Towle (102 points)

Modified Sunbeam
1st – Gary & Andrea Hellings (110 points)
2nd -Barry Pizzano (105 points)
3rd – Tom Ehrhart (100 points)

1st (and only award) – Phil Perron

Popular Vote – Alpine
1st – Ed & Judy Atkinson
2nd -Bert Szulc
3rd -Rick & Trish Klose

Popular Vote – Tiger
1st – Fumi Kobayashi
2nd – Scott & Bobbi Woerth
3rd – Gary & Andrea Hellings

Advisory Committee:

Judging for an event such as this is always. a difficult task, and just saying thank you doesn’t seem to be enough. To each and every one of the following people who gave of their time and knowledge, the membership of Tigers East/Alpines East salutes you:

  • Wally Swift (Maryland)
  • Dave Reina (Few Jersey)
  • Dave Lawler (Pa.)
  • John Quinter (Maryland)
  • Alpine Judges:
  • Scott Woerth (Pennsylvania)
  • John Schneider (Michigan)
  • Kevin Reid (New Hampshire)
  • Gordon Foss (Ontario)
  • Gordon Holslinger (Maryland)
  • Bruce Boyle (Ontario)
  • Tiger Judges:
  • Dallas Hunt (Maryland)
  • Tom Calvert (Maryland)
  • Dave Driggs (New York)
  • Brian Scott (Ontario)
  • Wolfgang Kaufmann (Alberta)
  • Charlie Wainwright (Massachuettes)

A very special thank you to Andrea Hellings who helped tally the scores. To A1 Johnson, Bruce Johnson, Art & Patti Cramer–the people from Buffalo who acquired the perfect setting for the concours, helped with the caravan, and provided the picnic–we thank you.

As we have said many times, an event such as this is only as good as the people involved; so thanks to everyone for your participation.

A view from the parts line at United VIII

by T. T. Cantwin

Uniteds have ultimately been people events, people who own Rootes products (and some actually bring them!). Of course, the main concern is the care and feeding of people with constant food/drink in the hospitality sweet (pun intended), banquet, concours, etc. It is obvious fine folk are well taken care of, but what about the cars?
United’s are well planned out events and feeding our cars is no exception. They are fed well, too! A trip through United VIII parts emporium indicated our cars are fed quite well, thank you! In fact, judging from money and parts trading hands, the cars are better fed than the people who brought them.

The magnitude of parts available and the quality, new items are a testimony to the strength of the marque. I am sure that just about everyone who attended the United, benefited from the parts swap. Hard to find items like LAT wheels, tri-y headers, clocks, hardtops, trick engine parts, sun visors, and more and more all surfaced to everyone’s delight. I think we should call the parts swap “Sunbeam Hershey” at next year’s United because it is almost as large. How large, you say?

Well, let’s start with the heavies. Doug Jennings of Tiger Auto, 425 Bluebell Road, Dayton, OH. 45431.(513-252-3317), was in attendance with all kinds of neat parts, like Delrin A-arm bushings, new electronic replacement fuel pumps that look just like OEM (no more point burn outs), CAD plated OEM rebuilt servos, MkII grille and upper aperture, and about a truck load of trick stuff.

Joe Lewis of Classic Sunbeam Auto Parts, 592 Baron Street, Toms River, NJ 08753 (201-270-4958), was there with many hard to find rubber parts, Tiger panhard rod bushings, Series III to MkII Tiger seat straps and much more.

Ian Young, Young Imports, 4388 Portage Road, Niagara Falls, ONT L2E 6A4 Canada (416-356-5160), came with an unbelievably impressive array of OEM parts for late ’40s to late ’50s (Rootes sedans, Humber Super Snipes, Mini Hunters, Imp Talbot, etc.). This was the largest display of these vintage parts at any United. We understand Ian has a large cache of parts back home for these vintage cars.

While on the subject of Rootes sedans, I would like to say we missed not having Mario Bores of 8075 Niagara, Brossaro, Quebec J4Y 2G2 Canada (514-676-6930). Mario, too, is a good source for these vintage parts. We missed you Mario!

Now what would a parts swap be without Phil Perron of Auto Britain, 30 Tower Street, Worcester, MA 01606 (617-7910142). I swear this guy follows all the Alpines and Tigers in New England area and picks up all their parts as they fall off. Each United, Phil comes in with a van, truck, or a couple of Sunbeam trunks full of used parts. This year, he stuffed a real nice Harrington Lemans and a ’69 Alpine GT full of parts. O.K., you folks from New England, now you know where to reclaim your parts–but it will cost you! See you at next year’s United.

Even Sunbeam Specialties, P. 0. Box 771, Los Gatos, CA .95031 (408-371-1642) got into the act. Although Rick McLeod could not be at this United, he had Tiger Tom hand out their new sales brochure, display new aluminum triangular sill plate at the B-post (that will soon be available), and provided an emergency, overnite shipment of sill plates, so the parts swap would not come to a grinding halt!

The anchor store for this year’s parts swap was Tiber. Tom’s, 15 Knight Road, Harrisburg, PA 17111 (717-566-6813) trailer load of parts. New OEM, repro, and refurbished. Rubber parts, trick parts, unusual parts, service parts, clocks, sum visors, sheet metal patch panels, repro exhaust systems, etc. Basically, there was something for everyone plus more under the tables., Even Sunbeam parts for Christmas presents for the spouse were to be had. Why, even rubber parts from C.A.T. were available at this United.

Let’s not forget the real purpose of the parts swap. It is intended as a forum for parts interchanging between all the owners–not just an outlet for vendors to sell parts to feed your cars. An impromptu bulletin board was made on the wall of the Holiday Inn for “us owners” to write our WANTED/FOR SALE graffiti. This, in turn, caused an immediate Wall Street (New York City style) atmosphere for the trading of cars and parts. Who was it that wanted to trade their wife for a Tiger? Where else but a Holiday Inn?

If parts and offers were not made off the wall, then many owners resorted to bringing their parts into the parts swap area where they vowed not to take them home. They did not–some other owner did. Gee, maybe that is how Phil Perron gets all his used parts…
The parts swap at the Tigers East/Alpines East United is the largest of its kind as can be attested by owners who have attended similar meets elsewhere. It is the keystone of the United for many owners. Some go home a little poorer but are much richer from their experiences at the United.

(ED NOTE: Rumor has it that some folks did not return to their rooms/homes until past 3 a.m. Saturday night-or Sunday morning as the case may because the parts and stories were swapping until the wee hours!)

Some very interesting license plates showed up. Here’s a few:

  • NH – 4 TIGER
  • ? – GR-RRR!
  • PA – I-PROWL
  • PA –  TIGERS
  • NY –  ALPINE V
  • IL      – TIGERS
  • NY  – 1-ALPINE
  • OH – TIGRR
  • ?  – TIGRR 2

Leave a Reply