MGA Mid-Atlantic Chapter

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Original British Car Day

June 7, 2009

Submitted by Jim Mackin

This year’s Original British Car Day, sponsored by the Chesapeake Chapter of the New England MG T-Series Register, had everything: Big Band music, bagpipers, picturesque lily ponds, unparalleled sunny skies, Boardwalk Fries, and fender bender drama. (There were plenty of cars, too.)

Bill Marshall, Tran Vi, Keith Kallapos and family, and Jim Mackin met in Centerville to caravan up to the show, and set out with Bill in the lead, the rest of the “A’s” in trail, and Kathy and Kelsey Kallapos protecting the flank with the combined punch of truck and trailer. While the trailer might have come in handy in the event of an untimely breakdown, the real purpose for it was to haul home Kelsey’s ‘new’ MGB – an interim ‘driver’ until her MGA project is complete.

The caravan stopped in Leesburg for a potential rendezvous with other club members, and a chance to avail themselves of the local Home Depot’s facilities. Seeing no latecomers, the group continued down the road, running through several handy pockets of fog along the way – handy in the sense that it gave MG drivers the opportunity to check lights and even heater operation. Say what you will – those heaters CAN actually provide a modicum of comfort, if only for a slight chill! Driving across the bridge over the Potomac River at Point of Rocks, traffic was snarled to a standstill going the opposite direction, making it appear as if the opposite lane was silently deferring to and saluting the Mid-Atlantic “A’s” as they headed north.

At the show all British marques were well represented, and there were a few rare breeds, including a distant relative of the Mini: a rip-snorting Cooper F-1 open-wheeler, which no doubt woke up the late sleepers in the surrounding counties as it arrived, and initially drowned out the “Star Spangled Big Band” that was beginning the beguine in the background.

The Mid-Atlantic A’ers were well represented, as well. Showing cars were Bill Marshall, Keith, Kathy and Kelsey Kallapos, Tran Vi, Jim Mackin, Liz Ten Eyck, Tom Ford, Ruth Arnold (with her MGB), Laurie Lawson (what shade of green IS that Twin Cam, Laurie?), Jack and Sheila Stern, Larry and Diane Newman, and John and Kelly Burns. While Liz graciously took her perennial winner out of competition this year, the club was still recognized in the winner’s circle with Larry and Jim taking home some well-earned pewter hardware.

Also in attendance providing strength in numbers and moral support were Warren Arthur, Mike Eaton (with sons, Jonathan and Robert), John Padgett, Bruce and Jane Zivic, and Martha Ludtke, who volunteered as a registration table technician extraordinaire. Conspicuously absent (with good reason) were Dick & Cheryl Farwell as they celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in Williamsburg. Congratulations to you both!

The only jarring note in an otherwise sunny afternoon went practically unnoticed. During the voting, a rumor of tragic proportions began to float around the lily ponds. Unfortunately, it proved to be true: an early departing ’54 Jaguar XK120SE was hit as it headed out of the show grounds, suffering a serious crease to the passenger’s side. Since it had returned to the grounds to lick its wounds, Bill Marshall and Jim Mackin went to assess the damage. They swear they heard echoes of Marlon Brando’s Colonel Kurtz whispering, “the horror….the horror…” It was definitely a sobering, wince-producing sight.

Luckily there was no repeat accident as the last of the club members departed for home, and cool shady roads on either side of the Potomac offered a brief respite from the heat of the day.

Totals for the day: Breakdowns: 0. Chapter Attendees: 20-plus. Winners: 2. Weekend: Priceless!

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