Out in the Noon-Day Sun!!
BCU - British Car Festival - 2002
by Don Anderson
The 16th annual British Car Festival took place September 8th at the Morraine Valley Community College campus in Palos Hills on what was probably the hottest day the event has ever been held. Whew what a scorcher! However attendance was very good with over 650 cars coming to display. Proving again this is the area’s premiere gathering of sports cars. We even met people from six or seven neighboring states who made the drive.
Sixteen years ago the British Car Union was formed to represent each of the local British car clubs in the area; MG, Austin Healy, Jaguar, Minis, Sunbeam, etc and bring them together for a social gathering and car show. All the clubs pitched in with great enthusiasm and it’s been a winner ever since. First it was held at the Danada Estate in Dupage County, then moved to Oakton Community College campus in DesPlaines for over ten years, and now since last year settled in Palos at Morraine, a huge campus and very accommodating.
On the pavement were displays of cars of every color certainly: Austin Healeys, 100s, 3000s, Sprites, Mark I and II and III, Triumphs, TR-6s, TR-7s TR-4s, TR3s, Spitfires, Jaguars, XK-120s, XK-150s, XK-Es, sedans and saloons, Rolls Royces, Bentleys, Sunbeams, Alpines and Tigers, MGs, MGBs in abundance, roadster and GT, MGAs, Midgets, T-types, P-types, Mini Coopers old and new, Mini Minors, Morris Minors, Mini Mokes, Morgans, Lotuses, (Loti?) Sevens, Elans, Elites, Esprits, Aston Martins, TVRs, Rovers, Land Rovers, Range Rovers, and then the rare stuff, a Humber, a Wooseley, a Berkeley, and even a Salmson. I hope I didn’t miss any. And Oh yes, the Deloreans, because they were made in Ireland, are always included and they even brought a Monster truck version there as well as the popular “Back to the Future” clone. And my goodness the British motorcycles were displayed and judged too. Nortons, BSAs, Triumphs, and a neat 1950 Vincent.
B - - E - - N - - T - - L - - E - - Y
By the way, about ninety-seven percent of these cars are driven here to this show. After you arrive and find your parking spot you clean up those last minute nuisances, empty the trunk and open your lawn chairs and meet new friends. Then you set out to see the other cars. You have a choice of seminars to attend, shopping for goodies, grabbing a bite to eat, or just walk the aisles of British cars gawking and gabbing. Voting for the class trophies is by popular vote from the other contestants who are registered. And you get to vote in every class for every type of car.
But of course if you need something, and who with one of these cars doesn’t, you head over to the vendor area for parts or books or clothing or regalia. Many real rare finds can be discovered in some of the used parts displayed. One tent hosted by La Fox Imports from South Elgin, even had the exciting new Birkin on display, a neat little Lotus 7 replica with reliable modern running gear. There were always a lot of people at that display. On the other side of the pavement they had a whole aisle full of food and drink vendors including authentic British fare. But boy I’m glad I brought my Gatorade. It was hot!
Later on, the festivities climaxed in the award presentations where over one hundred cars and their owners came forward to receive their plaque, voted on by their peers. MG owners winning first in their respective classes were Alec Greaves, Earl Campbell, John Hubbard, Raymond Kunst, Dan Davis and Jeff Powell. The popular best of show was awarded to the 1955 Lotus Mark 6 belonging to Paul Quiniff. A Lotus is always a hot car at these gatherings. But this gathering was the hottest in a long time. We got some rain last year, intense heat this year, so I bet 2003 will be perfect. So until next year, same weekend, same venue. Won’t you come join us?
Congratulations to the trophy winners from our club:
Trophy-Class CMGC Member Car Entered
1st - MGA Earl&Jean Campbell 1958 MGA
1st - MGC&B-V8 John Hubbard 1964 MGB-V8
3rd - MGB D’arcy Ballinger 1980 MGB
3rd - Midget Bill Hedrich 1965 MG Midget
1st - Older MG Jeff Powell 1948 MG TC
1st - Competition Kelvin Palmer 1975 MGB
3rd - Competition David Bralich 1969 MGB
More pictures at www.chicagolandmgclub.com/photos/britcarfest02