Polar Bear!

The weird Midwest winter continues; other than a couple of snow falls and some serious cold in December, things have for the most part remained mild (shoot, most of my front yard is still green!).

Not to complain, though…this past Sunday, the 19th, some 54 cars and about 120 people participated in SLTOA’s traditional season-opening event, the Polar Bear Run (the event dates to the formation of the club in 1982 and was, in fact, the members’ first official event). When we gathered at the Schnuck’s on MO 30, the temperature was about 43 degrees with severe clear and the promise of a high of around 65. Several started the drive tops down (hey, great having cars with functioning heaters, eh?) while others put tops down when they could.

Again, an incredible turnout, easily setting the record for the Bear. We had a good turnout of Triumphs and MGs, welcomed a large contingent from the Gateway Miata Club and ones and twos of a number of other makes. They included two Fiats, two BMWs, two Mercedes-Benz, a ’73 Jensen-Healey (!), Porsche 912 and the piece de resistance, a ’66 Impala SS. Great fun!

Our thanks to the event organizers with SLTOA, the Brew Haus in Pacific (somehow they managed to get the entire crowd inside; great food, great service) and to the participants who provided additional photos. We’ll provide full coverage of the drive in the March edition of Exhaust Notes.

Photo by D Morrell
Photo by S.L. Paur

Happy New Year!

I’ve lived in the Midwest three times, Nebraska, North Dakota and now 14.5 years in St Louis, Missouri. I cannot recall a New Year’s Day where the temperature hit 60 degrees but shoot, time to get the HSD out on a local patrol, eh?

Ended up spending about an hour behind the wheel, absolutely perfect day for top-down driving. Made a stop at one of the surviving US 66 buildings for the photo and otherwise enjoyed myself, rorting here, there and everywhere.

Next up for SLTOA, our first meeting of the New Year on 17 January and our annual Polar Bear Run is Sunday, 19 February. Stay tuned and, in the meantime, Happy New Year from SLTOA!

LBC Sighting, Chester County, TN, Edition!

On the road again, earlier today while driving through downtown Henderson, TN, I spied what looked like a Nissan 280ZX parked behind an auto shop. Went back there, wondering what else might be in the lot and how ’bout that, a 68-74 Midget! Despite being on the ground, it actually looked to be in good shape although obviously the car would require a complete rework.

Anyway, back to St Louis tomorrow. Next event for SLTOA? The annual Polar Bear Run, mid-February. Stay tuned!

LBEV Sighting, Multnomah County Edition!

Yup, another road trip, this time the annual trek to the Pacific Northwest for a visit with kids and grandkids. As per usual I’ve kept an eye out for classic LBCs, such as Triumphs, MGs, Healeys, etc. Regrettably, as I prepare for my return to St Louis, haven’t seen any other than a possible MGB out in a field of mud down by McMinnville, OR.

However, on the drive from Lincoln City back to Vancouver yesterday afternoon, I saw this: a brand new Jaguar i-Pace EV400…shoot, I assumed Jaguar was developing EVs like everyone else on the planet, didn’t know the company was actually turning them out.

Termed by Jag as an “all-electric performance SUV,” the car has two electric motors, weights 4784 pounds and has a top speed of 124 mph…but no Jaguar “growl.” Driving range is in the vicinity of 230 miles. Starting price? Just a tad north of $73K.

As the saying goes, the line forms at the right

All British Car & Cycle Show

Once again, the third Saturday of September brought out the LBC faithful to the All British Car & Cycle Show at Creve Couer Lake Park. Organized by the MG Club of St Louis, the event drew about 165 cars this year, under perfect blue skies and reasonable temperatures. This year’s gathering celebrated the 60th anniversary of the introduction of the Triumph Spitfire, MG Midget, MGB and Lotus Elan; save for the latter, we had a good turnout of the other three marques/models. AND, SLTOA’s Patty Williams’ 3.5L V8-powered 1971 TR6 took Best of Show!

Here are a few shots from the gathering.

Photo by John Lore

LBC Sighting!

Figures…spent 2.5 of the last three weeks on the road, two trips (ND/SD/MT/WY/CO, followed by TN) and had a heckuva time tracking down and photographing LBCs. Sooo, naturally, I have to return to St Louis to see one or actually two: Creig H’s F Production Spitfire at today’s Boeing Sports Car Club autocross as well as this MGB, sighted in front of Harbor Freight on Manchester.

The search will continue. In the meantime, if you’d like the details of the travails experienced in the upper Midwest and Rockies, see the August issue of Exhaust Notes, which should be out w/in a couple of days.

The Good, the Bad and…

Day four of the patrol of North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and Colorado and, regret to say, still no LBCs. Shoot, haven’t even seen a Jaguar, let alone an example of some other classic British make. Ah, but there are still four days remaining in this sojourn, including a couple of days IVO Denver, so I might yet get lucky. Hopefully it doesn’t result in my introducing my bride to my standard driving method of a quick 180 and high-speed pursuit in a rather large SUV.

Having said that, did see the following. At one end of the scale, this fourth gen (1975-1979) Chevy Nova, observed in front of the World Famous Blue Moose Bar & Grill, East Grand Forks, MN, on Saturday. I’ve seen rust-through before but this is something else…still, the owner showed up, climbed in, fired it up and drove away.

There’s snow cars and then there are SNOW cars…

At the other end, this immaculate 1969 Chevy Malibu SS w/ a 350 in it, noted at a gas station in Rapid City earlier this evening. Incredible car and I thoroughly enjoyed talking with the father/son ownership “team” about the car and some of the work they’ve done.

Okay, okay, enough of a side-trip into Detroit metal, the search for British metal resumes tomorrow. Stay tuned!

European Auto Show

The annual European Auto Show returned with a bang, with another huge gathering at Mini of St Louis and perfect weather. Lots of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, BMWs, Audis, Minis (new and original), Mercedes plus a good number of standouts. For example, Hyman had a Jaguar C-Type on display (wow!) and over with the Porsches was a 904 Carrera GTS, first one I’d ever seen “live.”

Otherwise, a pretty good turnout by the LBC faithful, including other Jaguars, two big Healeys, one bugeye/frogeye Sprite, a Morgan +8, Lotus Esprit and a couple of MGBs. There was a TR4 in the field, I believe David Layton’s; someone said a TR3 was also part of the show, but I somehow managed to miss it.

Finally, in the truly unique category, lined up in a row: a Yugo GV, Trabant and a Reliant Robin (offering three-wheel, er, excitement…the boys from “Top Gear” would be proud!). I’d seen the Trabant at Cars & Coffee, wasn’t too surprised to see a Yugo pop up but a Reliant? Incredible…

Anyway, kudos to Mini of St Louis for putting on another fine show, complete with food trucks. The crowds certainly had a good time.