British Car Week is an annual awareness event intended for owners of British Cars to get them out of the garage and on the road to be seen. The purpose is to help create awareness of the classic British car-collecting hobby in local communities, particularly where there are groups of like-minded individuals, such as the Suncoast British Car Club. And, like other clubs, we also include newer models of the legendary marques of the British motor car industry in the club. The official start date of the week world-wide is May 27, but we upped it a day in order to include a few of our snowbird members who were heading north that weekend.
Our club’s celebratory activity for this occasion was to meet at TJ Carney’s Restaurant, located in the heart of downtown Venice Island. Those for whom it was convenient, met at a central location and caravanned to Carney’s. Others drove their LBC’s directly to the restaurant.
It was a great day to be out and about showing off your British car.
Held at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds (as last year) on April 30, 2023. The show had allotted 300 registrations, and all were used. A weather front with heavy rain passed through the area the night before, but fortunately by opening time, the rain had moved on to the east. As a result, we had a beautiful, partly sunny day in the high 70’s, although very windy. Rallying at a nearby landmark prior, the Suncoast British Car Club was able to enter and park as a group. We had 10-12 cars present.
This was somewhere around the 52nd edition of this long-running and very popular event. The first show was held in 1970, in the front yard of Maurice Devereaux. There were seven classic cars present. After the event became so popular, it was held in a variety of venues around the Sarasota area. Participation in some years was reportedly in excess of 2000 cars, with thousands of spectators. The event is for cars 25 years or older and there is no registration fee. Nor judging or awards, for that matter. The founders’ original motto remains, Show up and Show off!!
It is currently organized by the Sunshine Region AACA, with spectator entry fees donated to the Sarasota Fire Fighters Benevolent Fund.
On April 23, a half dozen members participated in the Kimal Lumber Classic Car Show at the Venice (Florida) Community Center. This annual event also serves as a fundraiser for Kimal Cares for “All Kids.” This year, over $25,000 was raised, benefitting both Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House.
Jim Wilson provided the photos. He also reported, “it was a beautiful day with a huge turnout of all types of cars. The Mustang is Sinda Daughty’s, and Walt Mainberger has a new red interior in his Healey 100.”
March 26 saw the annual Gator Boys Picnic and Car Show. Like last year, the event was held at the activity center of the Bethel Mennonite Church, just east of Sarasota. Our LBC’s were joined by some larger examples of automotive collectibles brought by our frequent collaborators, the local Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA). Second term SBCC President Bruce Skaggs reported 22 cars, 38 members and 32 Gator Boys and school staff in attendance. `
The day’s schedule included a car show, in which the boys pick their top 2 favorites, a picnic lunch provided by the school, an auto design contest for the boys, musical entertainment by the school, and then the awards ceremony.
The Gator Wilderness Camp in a faith-based year around educational program established in 2009 for boys 11-15. Some of the boys come from a difficult home life and some have run afoul of the law. The isolated camp school is located on 250 acres in Charlotte County, in southwest Florida. It’s seen as an alternative to placement in a government social services program, to include the juvenile detention system. Counselors lead the campers in learning to form healthy relationships, structure, problem solving, planning, and evaluating. They seek to instill positive changes that last for a lifetime. The costs are covered by donations; there is no cost to the Florida taxpayer.
Back to the event. Following a thorough inspection of the cars on display, the boys submitted their votes for tallying. Then the camp counselors laid out a great picnic serving table featuring pulled pork sandwiches, which they had prepared using the turbocharged grill they towed with them. (Photos below.)
After lunch, each boy was given the opportunity to design their own car. Judges selected the winning drawings and the club awarded trophies, by age group, to the designers. As can be seen from the several photos below, the winners were very proud of their accomplishments.
This year’s winners of the Boys’ Choice trophies were: First Place, Bob Zuhone and his 1954/56? Chrysler Imperial. Second was awarded to Bernie Evans for his 1991 Lotus Elan.
A shout out to Walt Mainberger for organizing this extremely successful event!
On March 19, 2023, the club held its second annual SBCC Car Show, again graciously hosted by Woody and Diane Schaub in the parking lot of their Rattan, Wicker & Cane Furniture Store in Venice, Florida. Enhancements over last year’s great event included expanded classes (with more awards), a generous supply of coffee and donuts and a Goody Bag for all participants to take home! Thirty-two member cars were entered in the competition. Trophies were awarded based on peer voting.
Despite being a club-only event, its prominent location encouraged passersby to drop in and admire the display, two of whom joined the club on the spot! After the show, most of the group motored down to the Tarpon Point Grill and Marina on the Myakka River in South Venice for a late lunch.
Many thanks to Woody and Diane for the sponsorship and location to hold the show. And thanks also, of course, to Bruce and Carolyn Skaggs along with Jim & Debbie Wilson for their considerable time and organizational skills which were instrumental to the success of this outstanding event.
1950’s and Older: 1st – Woody Schaub, 1954 Sunbeam Roadster, 2nd – Ray Daughtery; 1960’s: 1st – John Magine, 1966 Austin Healy BJ8, 2nd – Brad Rosenbarten; 1970’s: 1st – Jerry Jurgensen, 1973 Lotus Europa, 2nd – Jim Miller, 3rd – Mike Browne; 1980’s: Bruce Skaggs, 1980 Triumph TR8; 1990’s and Newer: Len Claudias, 1995 Morgan, 2nd – Bernie Evans, 1991 Lotus Elan; Sponsor’s Special Award: Vince Missonak, 2022 Aston Martin.
Photos of the recipients of the extra classy awards for each class are in the gallery below, with the exception of the First Place winner for Class C, 1970’s – Jerry Jurgensen. (I must have been changing the cartridge in my Kodak Instamatic at the time.) However, you can see him and his Lotus collecting another award in the previous article from the Nokomis Car Show.
Additional comment about the photos. I apologize for the unintentional setting on my camera which has produced a “softening effect” on each of them, suggesting they might possibly have been taken through the bottom of a beer glass. Empty or full? Your call.