October 2013, St. Michaels, MD

By Jim Lindner

Over the Columbus Day Weekend, Saint Michaels on the beautiful Eastern Shore of Maryland served as the venue for the Tigers East/Alpines East United XXXII; and although Mother Nature tried her best to dampen things, she could not break the spirit of 136 Rootes vehicle enthusiasts.

The remnants of tropical storm Karen stalled directly over the Eastern Shore for the entire weekend but, fortunately, breaks in the rain occurred right in sync with the schedule and all the events, except the drag race, proceeded as planned.

This year the United celebrated “60 years of the Alpine”. In addition to a healthy contingent of Alpines and Tigers, there was a wide variety of “Rare Rootes” vehicles represented including: a 1954 Alpine Mk 1; an Alpine Venezia; a Singer Gazelle Series 3; a Series IV Holbay Automatic and an Imp…overall, 60 cars participated.

The weekend kicked off on Thursday with registration and the opening of the hospitality and parts room. At check-in each attendee received a “goody bag” that included a recent copy of Classic Motorsports, a United XXXII commemorative glass, dash plaque, and United XXXII hood magnet. The hood magnets and the United logo golf shirts were made by the Benedictine Foundation, a facility for special needs individuals.

Friday began with the driving tour that wound through scenic Talbot County and finished in Oxford, MD where the 70 tour participants enjoyed a lunch at the historic Robert Morris Inn. After lunch several of the cars took the opportunity on the return trip to ride the ferry across the estuary that separates Oxford from St. Michaels.

Upon returning to the host hotel, the tech sessions organized by Tom Calvert were presented. The sessions included:

  • Electrical System Considerations, by Clyde McGlaughlin
  • Alpine Gearbox Concerns, by John (The Box) Roseby
  • Rebuilding an Early Alpine Front End, by Eric Smyder
  • Sunbeam Alpine GT, by Wayne Pierzga
  • Harrington Limited Sunbeams, by Eric Gibeaut
  • V6 Alpine – Updated Building Tips, by Bob Sharkey
  • Sunbeam Interiors – Q&A Session, by Martha Christiansen Pro Prep Interiors

Sponsored by Hagerty Insurance, Friday evening’s cookout dinner menu included chicken and pork Spiedis along with a variety of salads and desserts. Chef Ronnie Silber fired up the “barbie” and did all the cooking. After dinner everyone settled in to watch Agent 86 behind the wheel of his Sunbeam Tiger as he battled KAOS, in the movie “Get Smart“.

This year’s Concours was held Saturday morning right along the edge of Chesapeake Bay on Tilghman Island. The show field was quite soggy from the overnight rain but still firm enough in most places to proceed. Over several hours the judges inspected the vehicles which were divided into stock and personalized classes. Judging focused on five areas: chassis, exterior, interior, trunk compartment, and engine compartment.

The Concours was followed by a crab feast at the Harrison House pier restaurant which is adjacent to the show field. Musical entertainment was provided by the band Four on the Floor with Overdrive. For those who were not crab eaters, an excellent selection of all the usual barbeque delights was available.

After the crab feast approximately 90 people embarked on a sightseeing cruise of the Chesapeake Bay. Upon arriving back at the hotel many settled into the hospitality room while seven cars received their TAC certifications from our local TAC inspectors.

Sunday morning broke under very bleak skies after a night of continued rain. After inspecting the site for the autocross, the organizers decided to proceed and set up a challenging course with the help of our guest, Classic Motor Sports Publisher Tim Suddard. After some adjustments in the course to better accommodate for the wet conditions the cars were off.

The course conditions got more slick with each run and times went up across the board. Consequently, Clyde Mclaughlin in his Tiger MkIA (Street Prepared Class) posted the fastest time of the day on his very first run. The competition was close and in some instances class awards were determined by 1/100th of a second. Many local Ridgely and Caroline County residents witnessed the Autocross along with several county commissioners, Ridgely’s mayor, police and fire chiefs.

Unfortunately, the drag race, which was to be run on a closed off public road, was cancelled because of the wet conditions.

At that point, every one proceeded to the shop of Combined Technology Solutions (CTS) which is partially owned by United Organizer Joe Parlanti. Everyone was treated to a presentation by CEO Joe Anderson about drag racing and the unique ignition technology developed by CTS.

Afterward, Joe Parlanti led tours describing the various projects and engine dyno facility. Lunch was provided including subs and Hot Dogs by local Ridgely favorite, Dobson’s Dogs. Afterward over 60 people went to the Ridgely Pharmacy for Ice Cream.

The weekend’s events concluded Sunday night with the Awards Banquet. The banquet was held at the Harrison House overlooking Chesapeake Bay. Tiger Tom welcomed a number of special guests including John Roseby, who came all the way from England, Martha Christiansen and our very special guest, Aunt Helen Swift. The guest speaker Tim Suddard gave an informative — and humorous—presentation on car restoration and his 38 years in the car restoration and auto magazine business.

The weekend went by quickly and soon it was Monday morning and everybody was saying goodbye.

Congratulations and thanks to the Chesapeake Region, especially Joe Parlanti and everyone on his team, for a well organized and fun event. Thank you to all who attended and a special thank you to our guest Tim Suddard. Hopefully, all are looking forward to United XXXIII, which will be hosted by the Midwest Region at Boyne Mountain, MI on September 11-13, 2014. See you all there.

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