2018 Drive-to Lunch at the Nav-A-Gator Grill

The Nav-A-Gator Grill is a destination restaurant and its website advertises the following: “Visiting the Nav-A-Gator is a great way to entertain friends, family and visitors. From dining in the restaurant to strolling through the old museum with Peace River fossils dating back hundreds of thousands of years, picking up a real gator souvenir in the gift shop or having a snack of real gator meat, this will all be a true Florida experience.”

The Grill is located at the Desoto Marina on the Peace River. The club last enjoyed a visit there some 7 or 8 years ago so it certainly seemed like it was time for another. On Saturday, February 3, we met at the Fruitville Texaco station for a late morning caravan to the restaurant. From there, President Jim Wilson led us on a 75 minute route over country roads curving under canopied live oaks alternating with pastoral straightaways through citrus orchards, tomato farms and cattle ranches. Jim’s excellent route planning had us arrive at our destination at 11:57 am, three minutes before our reservation!

The Nav-A-Gator had live music outside and, as the weather was very agreeable, it was a very popular destination for an outing that day. Including for lots of bikers. The blackboard at the entrance listed the day’s activities and added the greeting: “Welcome Suncoast Card Club!!” Well, close enough. Deal me in!

Photos by the author and Jack Knuese.

2018 Highland Games & Celtic Festival

The 24th annual Sarasota Highland Games & Celtic Festival was held on Saturday, January 27, at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds. The day started out chilly with a brisk wind, but by late morning had evolved into another very pleasant occasion on the Suncoast. As in previous years there was much to see: Scottish athletic competition, Scottish and Irish dancing, pipe bands, border collie sheep herding demonstrations and bands in the beer tent. And also a wide variety of “ethnic” food choices for lunch.
Including a late arriving MINI, we had another excellent turnout with 22 cars this year. The display presented a great cross section of British motor cars spanning nine decades of manufacturing, from Bob Faria’s 1932 Austin 7 Boat Tail to Kathleen Cook’s 2010 MINI Cooper S convertible. Notable among the group was Ron McLeod’s 1970 Marcos Mantis, one of only 32 made! We were a part of the entertainment and our British car display was sited in a great location. It gave us maximum exposure to the Festival visitors and lots of them dropped by to take photos and for “car talk.”
The Games judges awarded club members the following ribbons:
Blue ribbon: Bruce Skaggs – 1980 Triumph TR-7
Red ribbon: Lionel Hill – 1962 MGA (from the British Car Club
of Southwest Florida)
White ribbon: Ron McLeod – 1970 Marcos Mantis

There was a large and appreciative crowd at the festival and everyone had a great time.

Photos by the author.

2018 Venice Rotary Art Festival & Car Show

The Venice Rotary Art Festival took place on Sunday, January 21, 2018. For many years now the Rotarians have invited the SBCC to show their cars at their annual Fest, and this has been a popular event on the club’s January calendar. This year we were positioned up by the entrance, which garnered more exposure than in previous years. The Festival is held in an open field adjacent to the Venice Airport and the weather can frequently be a factor. However, on this occasion we experienced sunny and mild conditions with low humidity. At 2 pm, the members adjourned to the British Open Pub in Venice for a late lunch (early dinner?). There were 28 cars at the show while 30 members also made it to the Pub.

Photos by Joe Malaney and Jack Knuese.

2018 White Elephant Gift Exchange and Potluck Lunch


A recent cold front brought chilly temperatures and the threat of rain on the first day of the New Year. However, that did not deter 48 hardy club members from attending our annual White Elephant gift exchange and potluck lunch at Turtle Beach. Attendance was only slightly less than prior, “balmier” years. This traditional event is always a great way for the SBCC to start the New Year. Thankfully, the wind abated and the rain stayed away. The club provided ham and turkey and the members brought plenty of food, as usual.

Also, as usual, some gifts from previous years made a return appearance. Choice among new gifts was a Donald Trump talking toilet paper holder with a roll of toilet paper featuring Vladimir Putin’s face. (This family-oriented website is unable to post any of the witticisms revolving around this gift.) Gene Cohen won a prize for this themed present. Betsy and Gene McOmber also won a theme prize for their stuffed carrot thingy. Also notable was Gene Cohen’s landing of an unusual “candle holder.” And, in a surprise development, President Jim Wilson had the “winning” number for the Treasure Chest this year. All said, everyone had a great time before departing in warm, mostly American cars.   

Information from Jim Wilson and photos by Jack Knuese.


2017 New Members Luncheon

     The Suncoast British Car Club held their annual New Members Luncheon Dec. 11 at Jacaranda Trace, a full-service, elegant, gated retirement community in Venice, Florida.
     Sunny skies and the opportunity to formally welcome the club’s new members brought out 55 members who lined up their 30 vehicles in a grassy area behind the main condominium building. In a separate dining room upstairs, the group was treated to a flavorful three-course meal of lobster chowder, chicken Marsala, and topped by chocolate cake. The event doubled as a car show for appreciative Jacaranda Trace residents who browsed among the variety of British cars. It was cool in the morning, but by noon, coats were being shed.

     President Jim Wilson welcomed the following new members to the club:
• Peter and T.J. Magnuson
• Bob McAdoo and Susan Ward
• Marty Paloff and Sandy Sheppard
• Thomas and Susan West
• Tom and Carol Latta
• John and Joan Magine

     The event was made possible by resident club members Tom & Shirley Gooding, with assistance from Debbie Wilson and Betsy McOmber.

drafted by Joan Magine