Sunbeams By the Dozens by the Seaside: United XXI in Portland

Concours Winners
Autocross Winners
Pictures of United XXI here

By Jim Anderson

The weather was a perfect New England summer’s day; the Sunbeams, parked in a circle for the concours near an historic lighthouse just sparkled; and the autocross on Sunday was a lot more demanding than the 16 drivers expected.

It was a triumph of organization and cooperation; a deliberately risky operation considering that the venue was some 2,000 miles from some TE/AE members’ homes. But they came, from as far away as Genoa, WI (on the banks of the Mississippi) and Ozark, AL (the indefatigable Ed Esslinger in his air-conditioned Alpine) driving 2,900 miles round trip. More about him later.

As President Jim Morrison said at the closing banquet, it couldn’t have been done without the extraordinary effort of people like Robert Jaaresma (and his wife Marieta, who designed the plaques), David Kellogg, who laid out and organized the autocross, and platoons of others, including club secretary Pat Morrison and Stu Brennan, the TEAE regional rep. There were others. Many others.

The Aug. 24-27 event began with a memorable trip (via a relaxed “rally”) to the auto museum of Bob Brahre in Paris, ME. The Ferraris and the occasional MGs were sort of an appetizer for the main course, the classic Packards and Duesenbergs, including an Indy Duesenberg. Members emerged with their eyes spinning.

Some vignettes:

  • The Sunday autocross, laid out on a municipal parking lot near the harbor, was delayed about 10 minutes when a determined woman recycler drove her Toyota hatchback past the barricades and through the course to deliver her usual load of newspapers, as she does every Sunday. Once she deposited them, she exited and the races began.
  • The only dark spot occurred before the event when the legendary (which is now practically part of his name) Wally Swift, 80, was driving from Maryland in his BRG Alpine in convoy with Brian Boyer who was driving Wally’s legendary (also part of the name) Carnival red Tiger Mk1A. An inattentive driver (aka “moron probably talking to his stockbroker on his cell phone driving a Neon at about 85 mph”) crashed into to the left rear quarter of Wally’s Tiger in broad daylight. He said he didn’t see the bright red Tiger which was traveling at about 65 mph. Right. The Tiger was towed, Brian emerged relatively unscathed after a thrilling four-wheel 50-yard skid, and Wally arrived at Portland and took second (instead of his usual first) in his Alpine in the autocross.
  • The concours was held under new rules with the competing owners actually having a chance to read the judges’ reports, making it easier to see what a car’s weak and strong points were. The trend seems to be toward really serious 10-year project restorations with upgrades to awesome engines like the crate GT-40s.

Ed Esslinger, veteran Deep South regional rep and owner of about six Tigers and/or Alpines was chosen as this year’s winner of the Lord Rootes award, the club’s highest honor for those who devote their time, energy and skills to promoting the organization. He is a relentless promoter of the S.O.S. Roundups, the next one to take place in Birmingham in early October. He takes possession for one year of a rather intimidating tiger head. All previous winners will also get a metal bumper plaque.

In the board and general meetings, it was agreed that future Uniteds would operate on a five-year cycle, rotating the venue between south, middle and north. In 2001, the United will be held someplace in the mid-west, the exact spot to be determined.

Concours Winners

Stock Alpine
1. Jean Trace
2. Ted Casey
3. Robert Wegner

Stock Tiger
1. Dana Freeman
2. Mark Petri
3. Robert Jaarsma

Personalized Alpine
1. Art Gustafson
2. Dan Springer
3. John Miller

Personalized Tiger
1. Jim Morrison
2. Paul Silva
3. Tom Ehrhart

Modified Sunbeam
1. John Logan Jr.
2. Wally Swift

Other Rootes
1. Tony Fontaine
2. Robert Jaarsma
3. Kevin Reid

Shawn Hatch

Autocross Winners

Stock Alpine
1. David Desmarais
2. Donna Reina
3. Carl Moon

Stock Tiger
1. Mark Petri
2. Rick McCurdy
3. Pierre Denault

Modified Alpine
1. Doug Bullard FTD
2. Phil Perron
3. Wally Swift

Modified Tiger
1. John Logan Jr.
2. Tom Ehrhart
3. Bob Harper

Other Rootes
1. Tony Fontaine

1. David Kellogg (Neon)

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