On October 26, six members of the SBCC caravanned north to Safety Harbor, FL for the 33rd Annual Tampa Bay Austin Healey Club All British Field Meet & Auto Jumble. This is always a very popular regional car show. The little town closes off Main Street for several blocks in order to park upwards of 150-200 cars in all British classes. In spite of the threat of rain, this year’s show had a huge turnout, with over 40 Jaguars alone.
Our club’s vehicles usually stand up very well against the competition in this event and this year was no exception. The rain finally arrived during the mid-afternoon awards ceremony but our modest contingent garnered three trophies. Pat Kelly collected First Place for his 1961 Bugeye Sprite; Bob and Ruth Faria a First Place for their 1932 Austin Boat Tail; and Bruce Skaggs picked up a Second Place trophy for his 2006 Jaguar XK8.
Bruce Skaggs contributed to this report and both he and Jim Wilson provided the photos
We were invited by the Sun Coast Jaguar Club to join them on October 12 in showing our cars at their 34th Annual Concours d’ Elegance in Sarasota. This is one of the best Concours d’Elegance in Florida. The cars were displayed on the lawn in the center of St. Armands Circle, the premiere historic shopping and dining district adjacent to Lido and Longboat Keys. This was a high-end technical judging concours for them while our car owners got a great opportunity to show their LBC’s at a very popular venue, and with no entry fee. Some of the SBCC members also belong to the SCJC. Our club displayed twelve cars, including four Jaguars. The towering palms and leafy oak trees in the park provided welcome shade under sunny skies. Also, a nice breeze off the Gulf of Mexico kept the temperature pleasurable. Everyone enjoyed the day. And we were invited back for next year!
Historic footnote: St. Armands (no apostrophe) Circle was not named for the 6th century monk, but rather a transplanted Frenchman, Charles St. Armand, who bought the key in 1893 for just under $22. His last name was incorrectly spelled on the original deed as “Armands,” and the misspelled name is still used today. The key was resold multiple times before falling to John Ringling in 1917 who, according to local legend, won it in a poker game! As most Sarasotans know, the circus magnate was also a leading real estate developer in the area during the 1920’s Florida land boom. He envisioned St. Armands Circle as an exclusive shopping center surrounded by high-income homes. Ringling went bankrupt with the subsequent real estate bust in the 1930’s, but his dream has been realized today.
On September 24, about 20 members of the club met for dinner at the Linger Lodge in Bradenton, FL. Due to the uncertain weather (the more than usual number of thunder storms) this month, most everyone left their LBC sheltered at home. It has been over a year since our last visit to this iconic restaurant, but the “Old Florida” atmosphere and good food remain unchanged. Nestled amongst massive, live oaks dripping with Spanish moss on the bank of the Braden River, it’s easy to imagine that the large, stuffed alligator on the wall of the main dining room came from their own back yard.
Until new owners arrived on the scene a few years ago, the Linger Lodge advertised its status as “untouched by time.” Unfortunately, many of the stuffed animal specimens, apparently preserved by someone taking up taxidermy as a hobby, were also untouched by dusters. Most of the better examples have now been rounded up and relegated to glass cases.
Following dinner we were invited to Bill Stelcher’s garage and work shop, located only minutes from the Lodge. His 1965 Morgan plus 4 and 1929 Model A Speedster are kept ready in this roomy and impressively organized building.
For all participants, it was a very pleasant late afternoon with rain showers conveniently only while we were in the restaurant. Photos by the author.
On July 13, twenty club members and guests assembled for a Mexican dinner at the Mr. Tequila Cantina in Sarasota. The threat of late afternoon & evening thundershowers led everyone to leave the LBC’s at home this time.
The restaurant is located in a nondescript storefront in a shopping plaza just off I-75. But upon entering, we were confronted with a burst of vibrant colors. The chairs, booths and tables are all colorfully painted in a festive Mexican style. The online food and service reviews are all over the map, but averaging a solid 3.5 stars. The food is authentic and the servings ample. The staff pushed several tables together to accommodate our group. We all had a great time there with everyone (hopefully) getting home before the rain came.
Thanks to Jim and Debbie Wilson for organizing this event.
We’re in the hot and humid summer months here in Florida and an estimated one-third of the membership has scarpered to presumably cooler locales up north. For those of us who remain, club activities involving our LBC’s are generally scheduled to avoid the afternoons with their searing temperatures and scattered thunderstorms. Enter the increased frequency of weekend Breakfast Runs on the club calendar.
On June 30, the destination restaurant was the Silver Star East in Myakka City, inland and away from the coastal population centers with stop and go traffic. Making the ‘run’ were four Triumphs – 2-TR3’s, a TR6 and a TR8, along with a Lotus Elan Plus 2, a Jaguar XK8 and a Maserati (?) Spider. The direct route to the restaurant would normally take about 20 minutes from our usual jumping-off point, the Fruitville Texaco. But, of course, President and caravan honcho Jim Wilson’s scenic route over rural roads and country curves was anything but direct.
For seven years, the family-run Silver Star was in downtown Sarasota. But, when a restaurant on State Road 70 came on the market, the family opted to move their “down home cooking” 25 miles east. Completely refurbished, the Silver Star East (“where friends meet friends”) has been open only a few months now. Trip Advisor gave their former location a 4.5 rating and club members reported that they saw no reason why they should not retain that level. Other feedback was “great food at reasonable prices” and “worth the trip.”