Jaguar Festival d’Elegance 2022

Another beautiful day on the Suncoast finds scores of Jaguars and other vehicle nestled underneath the shady live oaks and whispering palms of St. Armands Circle.

Following a four-week rescheduling necessitated by the devastating impact of Hurricane Ian, the 36thJaguar Festival d’Elegance took place October 29 at the prestigious venue at St. Armands Circle, Sarasota. As in previous years, the SBCC was invited as guests of the Sun Coast Jaguar Club to show our cars (including non-Jaguars). In fact, with 14 cars the SBCC had a substantial presence amongst the Jags.

The annual festival attracts many of the finest Jaguar automobiles, including antiques, current classics and modified prototypes. Awards were made to automobiles in a variety of classes. The sponsor, Jaguar Sarasota, also presented a display of the latest Jaguar models.

St Armands Circle is linked to the mainland by the John Ringling Causeway. In addition to car show enthusiasts, the show offers a spectator bonus for the hundreds of visitors already patronizing the many wonderful restaurants and varied shopping found in this district.

Photos from Jim Wilson and courtesy of the Sun Coast Jaguar website.

Lotuses at St. Armands

St. Armands Circle, Sarasota. Lotuses and other British cars are on display next to the markers honoring inductees into the Circus Hall of Fame.

On Saturday, July 16, there was a showing of some 17 Lotuses (or plural slang, Loti, if you prefer) in the park at St. Armands Circle on Lido Key, Sarasota.  St. Armands is a renowned shopping and dining district established in 1926 by circus and real estate magnate, John Ringling. The event sponsor, Lynches Pub & Grub, invited other British car owners to participate. There were several LBC’s from out of town. And, according to SBCC President, Bruce Skaggs, thirteen members of our Club joined the show, including three who brought their Lotuses. It was a nice event in a highly-trafficked locale.

Thanks to Bruce and also Cliff Koehler for input. Cliff also provided the excellent photos, except for the two noted.

And finally, Don’t expect me to stop if you’re broken down by the side of the road. You were offered an extended warranty several times.

June Salute

A phalanx of TD’s were among the cars in our parade on the occasion of June Wilson’s 99th birthday. Drivers and other admirers can be seen in the background congratulating June.

June Wilson, that is. Two years ago, Jim & Debbie Wilson organized a Father’s Day drive that included an intermediate drive-by of Jim’s mother (June)’s house to salute her on her 97th birthday. It was an enjoyable event that, regrettably, had to be skipped last year due to the pandemic. But, with June’s cooperation again this year, we saluted her on the occasion of her 99th birthday! For this June 25 event, the SBCC was joined by our partnering club, the AACA.

June’s home is in the Isles of Chestnut Creek development in Venice, FL. The association’s clubhouse was secured to accommodate the large turnout of family and friends who came for the celebration. Northern club members met in a local Publix parking lot in order to caravan to the location. Members from the south lined up on the entrance boulevard for the Isles. Both groups linked up around noon and then proceeded to weave a raucous celebratory parade through June’s neighborhood. We ended at the clubhouse where personal birthday wishes were given to June along with all of the signs from the 13 cars in the parade. Leaving the family to party, members made the short drive to Snook Haven on the scenic Myakka River for lunch.

It was a great turnout for a special lady. Anticipation is already building for next year! 

Photos by Bruce Skaggs and Kathleen Cook.

And, finally: I checked Kelley Blue Book for my car’s value, and it asked how many gallons of gas were in the tank.

Drivers in Search of Breakfast

Suncoast British Car Club members discussing the salient points of routine auto maintenance over breakfast at Paul’s Kitchen in Wauchula, Florida on May 15.

Vice-President & Event Coordinator for Life, Jim Wilson, is keeping the club rolling during the dog days of summer. With the target of a restaurant serving breakfast, Jim is leading forays into the interior along myriad country roads with nice S-turns and quiet straightaways. Members may either drive their top-down LBC to experience having their bouffant buffeted by bucolic breezes, or a later model automobile with AC to feel more refreshed upon arrival. The following are just a sampling of recent trips. 

May 15. This was considered by Jim to be a catch-up event because, somehow, he must have missed a weekend or two. Bruce Skaggs reported, “(Today), our leader, ol’ lead foot Jim took us on one of his ‘world famous’ back road boogies to Paul’s Kitchen (in Wauchula, FL). Paul’s is one of our favorites since it is an old Florida dive with great food and cheap prices.” And Joe Malaney recorded the following, “Great tour today. My miles door to door were 122. Gas cost $30. I got 19 MPG which isn’t bad considering the spirited speeds we were traveling. I only got to (classified) MPH three or four times. 

May 22. The group hit the trail for a fun drive over the great backroads, this time to Wheeler’s Restaurant in Arcadia, FL. Note: Some members also attended the previous day’s monthly breakfast for exotic car owners (including LBC’s) at the Paris Bistrot on Main Street Lakewood Ranch Saturday, May 21.

June 5. A new venue & menu was picked for this Sunday’s breakfast drive – Nicholas’ Family Restaurant in Wauchula. This appeared to be a good choice because Trip Advisor rates the restaurant as #3 out of the 31 eateries in town. Bruce reported that Peter McCann and his wife’s MGB, to get technical, “gave up the ghost about midway.” Thus, it had to be flat-bedded home. Regretfully, it took AAA three hours to rescue him.

June 12. This Sunday’s tour took the intrepid group on back roads around the Myakka area for about 40 minutes ending at the Silver Star East Restaurant in Myakka City. Joe Malaney was with the group once again and reported the day’s cars included a 2005 Lotus, 1973 TR-6, 2007 Mini Cooper S and a 1999 Jaguar XK8.

If you include lunch at the Hob Nob after the May 30 Memorial Day Parade (see previous story) and the May 21 event, that’s six different restaurants in five weeks. Phew! Burp.

Thanks to Bruce Skaggs and Joe Malaney for report input. Joe also sent the photos.

Memorial Day Parade

The Mayor of Sarasota and City Commissioners opted to walk the parade route, perhaps emboldened by the presence of an axe-wielding escort.

Members of the Suncoast British Car Club joined in honoring our nation’s fallen heroes by participating in the traditional Memorial Day Parade in downtown Sarasota. It was a beautiful sunny morning on May 30th and we again teamed up with the AACA to take part in the well-attended event. Following the drive down Main Street, we adjourned to the Hob Nob Restaurant for a lunch of old-style Florida food.

Photos by the author and Bruce Skaggs.