White Elephant Gift Exchange & Picnic

The gift table was ladened with interesting treasures yet to be discovered.

Back on schedule this year, the club’s ever-popular White Elephant Gift Exchange was held on January 1 at the Turtle Beach Park pavilion on Siesta Key, Sarasota. Over 50 members and more than 20 LBC’s were in attendance. The club provided pizza. Members were also treated to sharing in the yummy dessert of some 8 dozen Fairy Cakes, hand-crafted by Debbie and Jim Wilson. According to the mechanically-inclined Jim, his role was to affix the two wings into each of the almost 100 mini-cupcakes.

The gift exchange is a popular holiday event where people vie to walk away with the best present available. The two swap/claim/steal maximum rule from last year remained in effect. That is, ownership can only change twice for each item, with the last owner earning the right to take it home. The more sought after gifts this year could be divided into two types – the logical and the unusual. The first group included the traditionally popular types of items for our car club – two books on the Rolls Royce marque, a jumbo pack of microfiber towels and random bottles of wine. The best example of the latter was the Fanny Bank, which breaks wind every time you insert a coin into (guess where).

The weather was perfect, everyone enjoyed themselves and the event was a great success. Many thanks to Jim and Debbie for their organizational efforts.

Photos by the author and Jim Wilson.

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.

Safety Harbor Car Show 2022

Main Street in Safety Harbor is turned into a car show enthusiast’s heaven for this annual event.

On October 22, seven members of the SBCC motored north to Safety Harbor, FL for the 35th (almost) Annual Tampa Bay Austin Healey Club All British Field Meet & Auto Jumble. Most travelled to the venue with a Jim & Debbie Wilson-led caravan from the usual Stottlemyer’s Smokehouse meeting point in Sarasota. To minimize travel time, the route required using I-75 & I-275 for a large part of the journey. Bruce Skaggs reported that joining one’s LBC in the flow of interstate traffic (seemingly predominantly 18-wheelers) was an early morning adventure in itself. On the plus side, the day afforded beautiful weather.

This is traditionally a very popular regional car show. The little town closes off Main Street for several blocks in order to park upwards of 200 cars in all British classes. This year’s featured marque was the MG. Our club’s cars are always competitive in the judging and this year was no exception. At the mid-afternoon awards ceremony, the modest SBCC contingent garnered five trophies! They were:

  • Bill Isenstein, First Place for his 1973 Triumph TR 6
  • Walt Mainberger, First Place for his 1956 Austin Healey 100 M
  • Jim Miller, First Place for his 1978 MG MGB Modified
  • John Magine, Second Place for his 1966 Austin Healey BJ8 Two Light
  • Cliff Koehler, 3rd Place for his 2005 Lotus Elise

The Best of Show was a lavender modified 1959 Morris Minor 1000 (photo included in the gallery below).  

Thanks to Bruce Skaggs and Walt Mainberger for contributing to this report.

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.