Category Archives: Newsletter – The British Marque

Restore or Let It Die a Peaceful Death? Part 2

By Mike Shuck

When I retired from a career in manufacturing management (three different companies), it was time to choose a spot to retire.  It would be our 13th move, and I asked my wife –  “Where do you want to go?”  as jobs had always dictated our new location. Our two kids had both graduated from ISU and stayed in the community after graduation.  Soon our grandchildren arrived, and my wife said she wanted to be “GrandMa” for those two kids.    She picked Bloomington/Normal.  I commented that they had an airport and a Harley dealer, so it met all my requirements.  Harley would shut down 6 years later.  After settling into a new home in Normal, I set off to find out what car club activities there were and soon found the Flat Landers British Car Club. I eventually figured out why the Champaign Car Festival was held in Bloomington, IL. 

I was soon attending Natter N’ Noggin and various other activities.  I always said the MGB  looked good at 100 feet.  At 10 feet, the rust on every fender, cracked paint, and door cracks at the mirrors were typical for a 50-year-old British classic.  The dilemma was, to restore or let it die a peaceful death, and I was retired with no winter project.  For some unknown reason, I decided to start the restoration myself, knowing I was only a rattle can painter and maybe MAACO could paint it after I completed the bodywork, which I did have some limited experience with. 

While in the Navy, I bought a 305 Honda Scrambler and soon wanted to convert the gas tank into an Easy Rider peanut style tank.  A neighbor introduced me to Bondo, and away I went.  After three days of sanding, he introduced me to the cheese grater and said you don’t have to do all that sanding.  I can also install drywall, but I soon learned I am not a drywall finisher.  I actually found out that O’Reilly’s in Decatur, IL would put any color you wanted in a spray can.  That was my plan D… 12 rattle cans would get’er done.  One way or another, this car was going to get painted. So away I went, stripped the car completely, and started the bodywork.  Thinking a front fender was ready to paint, I had some friends from Flat Landers critique my work, and they politely said I was nowhere close to painting, as the panels were “a lil rough.” 

They did have a suggestion as to who might assist me, and this is where Sam Latimer, of Sam’s Auto Body in Shirley, IL, enters the scene.  His 40 years of experience and recent retirement matched my quest.  I invited him over and felt like I was trying to get my kids into college, convincing him the car and I were worthy.  Someone said if Sam does your car, his name will be on it and he’ll care more about it than you do, and he’ll treat you fair.  I’d soon find out. I invited him over for a look see and begged him to help me, as my MGB was an ideal candidate for restoration…. we’ll sort of.  He looked it over and pointed out things I had never considered in a restoration, and I was immediately impressed with his knowledge, yet he was not degrading the car. . . just pointing out the facts.  We agreed that I would put in some sweat equity, I would pull the engine, and he would paint the car and the engine bay with me assisting anywhere he would allow me.  We shook hands and started at Sam’s on November 13th, knowing that someday I would drive it home.  

I worked every day with Sam, logging in my sweat equity credits.  Each day, we would start with a goal and what tasks each of us had.  His patience and expertise took us forward every day as I learned how to “properly” sand, grind, and prep with every tool that Sam had available, and he has them all.  As Sam was helping me pull the motor, it was just about free but a little something was holding it back.  I had forgotten to unhook the throttle and choke cables.  What a rookie mistake.  

Some rust spots needed brushing, and Sam would turn me loose with an electric wire wheel. He always thought I went too far, as I would leave him a giant hole to weld up.  So, from then on, he was very cautious when he gave me assignments involving any type of abrasive tool.  It became a common joke that I wanted to take a wire wheel to it. 

Donor doors and hinges were acquired, and four days later they were perfectly fitted. We took them on and off at least a dozen times.  Clearly, Sam cared more about the fit than I did.   I was happy with them after day two.  

The hood was twisted and had numerous surface paint cracks, and I decided it was more productive to find a new/used hood.  We purchased one in Decatur but closer examination revealed that after removing the underside insulation, the adhesive would be a major effort to remove, and I wanted an underside painted without insulation.  Another hood was obtained, and it was a new / aftermarket product from Tiwan.  Some small dings, which is typical after shipping but otherwise perfect. . . hoping it would fit.  We put it on just to see how it fit and after a couple of adjustments by Sam, we both gave it a thumbs up.  Sam had forewarned me about after-market versus OEM.  Sometimes that stuff just doesn’t fit.  

My rattle can experience graduated to spray gun epoxy primer.  Why did we have to put on gray primer AND red primer?  I would soon find out.  I would look at a panel I had just completed, feeling pretty proud of myself, and then Sam would take a look at it, and I knew I was going to be applying more Bondo.  Wax on, wax off, had a whole new meaning.  

Getting Sam’s approval was tantamount, and I felt like I had really accomplished something when it was a thumbs up.  Sam even let me spray on a good portion of the Red primer, which was applied over the grey primer.  As I was sanding the red primer, it was very important not to go too far, as you didn’t want to get down to metal.  Ah . . . good thing we put on that grey AND red primer.  Once the base coat had been applied, three coats of clear were applied, and I thought it looked pretty good after that, but I knew Sam would wet sand the clear and polish it, making it even better.  

The next morning, I entered the shop, and Sam had already started to wet sand the clear coat, and I was just devastated as it looked so good yesterday and now it was all scratched up.  I joined in on the wet sanding, after Sam told me the “proper” way to do it, and I’m glad he did.  The next morning, he had it buffed and polished, and it was amazing with a gloss to knock your eyes out.  

Most days were steps forward, but there were days when there were steps backwards.  Alan Kleinschmidt and Dick Brown came over to help us sort out electrical issues.  I had marked all the wires with painter’s tape and code, but when you primer over them, they are impossible to read.  Nigel Keen showed me his laminated electrical schematic, and creating that for my car would be a good place to start.  Alan and Dick spoke in a language that was foreign to me, and little by little, lights and indicators would start to work.  The only problem was that once you accidentally moved some wires, things didn’t work. It was time to replace all the connectors and clean the bullet tips.  

The battery would not last very long, and I agreed to replace it.  I took a picture of it outside the compartment, as that gave an indication of how it went back in.  The mind does funny things.  When you look at a red battery cable, you automatically think positive, and black means negative.  We would all agree on that.  That’s how I hooked it up and luckily Alan was at the front of the vehicle, as after my connection, smoke was rolling out of the alternator, and “that smell” was very evident.  My negative ground car had a red cable going to the negative battery post.  Why the PO did that, I don’t know.  Thinking this could be a major setback, as in, a new wiring harness, we said the logical thing was to replace the alternator, and overnight O’Reilly’s had one there the next morning.  After checking everything out, the battery was not charging.  I noticed a wire had come out of the connector at the alternator.  This had happened before.  Gotta fix that thing.  Everything was checking out, and I had dogged a massive bullet.  The wiring continued as Alan was figuring things out, and pretty soon he had everything except right turn signals and four-way flashers, which was probably more than what I came in with.


At last, we were ready to start putting things back on the car.  I was amazed at how careful you had to be, as just the handling of tools and parts, you could be bumping things up against fresh paint, if you were not truly aware of what you were doing and how you were moving around the new piece of art.  Slowly, it all went back together.  Many days we spent time looking for a tool we just used and put down “somewhere.”  Luckily, most parts were in plastic bags and could be obtained easily.  

The best part of the day was lunch.  Sam has a gas grill outside, and we heated things up and had picnics every day inside the shop, where conversation would solve issues like world hunger and such.  The weather was starting to turn slightly, and the hopes were that I would be able to drive it home on a warm day, and Valentine’s Day it was.  14 weeks, and it was finally finished.  

Sam and I agreed early on that this was a MGB to enjoy and drive.  Local car shows were anxiously waiting to see the transformation, but I was not going to be taking it to any concourse events. however, it would stand its own ground in any setting.  

Thank you, Sam and family, for letting me pursue this dream.  Someone advised me early on when I was considering a restoration.  You’ll never get your money back out of it, that’s not the point. The point is that you’ll enjoy it soooooooo much more.

Restore or Let It Die a Peaceful Death? Part 1

By Mike Shuck


Thirty years ago, I purchased a 1973 MGB with 85,000 miles on it, in Chicago.  My heart was seeking an MGA, but after months of searching, decided to get something in the garage that I could always upgrade.  A couple months later, I moved to Birmingham, AL and joined the Birmingham British Car Club.  My first trip with the club was a 145-mile excursion to Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, TN and I convinced my wife it was a couple of hours up and back.  

Leaving at 7 AM, we returned promptly at 8 PM, an exhausting day full of lunch, tours, and sampling.  Fearful I had given my wife a bad taste of car club excursions, she was a good sport about it and we enjoyed many events with the club.  A few years later, a new job took us to Hopkinsville, KY (hop town) where the closest club activities were in Nashville, and I was content to just drive it around on weekends.  Another new job in Plainfield, IL  saw me changing the plugs every 100 miles, and after pulling the head, I discovered the cylinders were scored.  

Over the years, most major components were replaced, but now a complete engine rebuild is in order.  I had once pulled an engine on a Toyota Celica with a friend, a 2 X 4 and a chain, but decided to purchase the engine hoist and stand.  I took it to the machine shop and said to bore it out and do a valve job.  I put it back together, and I had no compression.  I took it all back to the machine shop and said, I’m not sure what’s going on, but please fix it.  I put it back in, and now I had compression.  I started it up and had no oil pressure. 

I called John Twist at his noon technical hour, and he said it could be one of three things.  When he got to the second one, I knew my problem.  Gasket kits are for two main AND three main bearing engines.  There are two different oil pump gaskets, and of course I installed the wrong one.  Switch gaskets, and I had 50 pounds of pressure.  

Several years were spent in Plainfield, and the Chicagoland MG Club was just up the road.  A very active club with events throughout the driving months.  They had tech sessions where they would go out on a Saturday and perform various maintenance tasks at members request.  Leaning over a bunch of guys who knew what they were doing, one could learn a lot.  

When my windshield broke, it was time to put in a request.  Barney Gaylord (The MGA Guru) led the team, and sandwiches and drinks for all, got my installation complete.  To my heartbreak, when I went into the garage the next morning, it had cracked in the corner for some reason.  It was time to call the insurance company, who assured me their installer knew all about MG’s.  They did it in my garage, and after returning from an appointment, they were pumping black caulk around the windshield.  They were embarrassed, as I had caught them in the act and sent them off to the specialist in Naperville, IL who did it right and sent the invoice to the insurance company.  That is the windshield I have to this day.

I took my wife to see the movie Wild Hogs and suggested I could bond with my two brothers, who had motorcycles.  She verbally signed the permission slip and I already knew I wanted a Fatboy Harley, so I took the 3-day riding course within weeks.  Now, time had to be divided between the “B” and the “BIKE.”  Me and my two brothers did get together for a ride one summer, and soon the Three Brothers Ride was an annual summer event that lasted 7 days through the twisty roads of various southern states.  We went on to enjoy 7 Three Brothers Rides until cardiac issues took both of them from me.  I think of them every time the top is down with four or two wheels.

Click here so continue reading the rest of Mike’s MGB adventure

DRIVING THE NATCHEZ TRACE – in a Miata – British Marque August 2023


By David Hauman

Many people, myself among them, consider the Miata to be the contemporary iteration of the classic British sports car. Small, front engine (some say a little under powered), rear wheel drive, manual transmission and a top that for the most part is water-proof. The Miata checks all of those boxes and was the car of choice for this trip.

Our trip began in Bloomington, IL. We were at first a bit wary of being able to pack for two people for eight days and get everything to fit in the trunk of a Miata.  Fortunately, we had two carry-on bags that just fit with a few cubic inches to spare.

Since we were going east, we decided to make our first stop in Cincinnati to visit friends and overnight. Then it was off to Nashville and the Natchez Trace.

The Natchez Trace began as a way for wildlife, including bison, which were plentiful in the area at the time, to reach the salt licks located around the area which would later be known as Nashborough and later yet, Nashville, Tennessee. The Choctaw and Chickasaw found it a convenient route for inter-tribal trading.  As the Cumberland River Valley became more settled and pioneers/farmers flat boated their produce and trade goods down the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers to a trading center as were Natchez and New Orleans at the time. The Trace provided a path for the long walk north and home.

Ironically, just as the volume of traffic on the Trace was near its peak, the Trace suddenly became irrelevant. The advent of steamboats provided a faster, more convenient and far safer way home.

Today the Natchez Trace Parkway is 444 miles of smooth, uninterrupted, two-lane blacktop without a single stop sign or traffic signal.  All intersecting roads use either an underpass or an overpass. Speed is limited to 50 mph and sometimes 40 mph. Traffic, at least when we were there, was extremely light. So, we set the cruise at 50 mph and watched the trees go by, some of which were tall enough and straight enough to warrant being made into sailing ship masts and spars. The Parkway has dozens of historic sites (more of this later), picnic areas, overlooks, and restrooms. There are also spots where the original Trace intersects the modern Parkway where people might hike a portion of the original path. The Parkway transverses three ecological zones, containing no fewer than 100 species of trees, 215 species of birds, 57 species of mammals, and 89 species of reptiles and amphibians. We only saw three wild turkeys and one turtle that I missed while he was crossing the road.  But there are NO franchise eateries or gas stations.

We had hoped to again visit the Lane Museum. Unfortunately, it was closed the day of our visit. The good news, however, is the National Corvette Museum was open. It is a must stop for anyone with even a mild interest in automobiles. It contains the definitive history of the birth, life, and near death of the Corvette. All of it attractively displayed, including the 2014 30 foot deep and 40-foot-wide sink hole that swallowed 8 cars, some of irreplaceable value.

We entered the Parkway on the north end in Franklin, TN with a posted speed of 50 mph.  Quite frankly, the road twists and turns, with many blind corners, I’m not sure how much faster any prudent person would want to travel on a public roadway.  So, if you’re looking for a “tail of the dragon adrenaline rush,” this isn’t it. But the overhanging trees and the split rail fences along the sides make for a very pleasant drive.

Our stops included Grinder’s Stand (“stand” meaning a place where a traveler might spend the night) now a reconstructed log cabin. Merriweather Lewis, of Lewis and Clark fame, stopped here to overnight. On the morning of October 11, 1809, he was found dead of a suspicious gunshot wound. Many suspect it to be suicide. A monument marks his burial site.

Our next stop, Tupelo, is as everyone above the age of 60 knows, the birthplace of Elvis Presley. And the good citizens of Tupelo are not about to let the world forget it. The restaurants all feature Presley themed sandwiches, including peanut butter and banana. The city fathers named two of their streets Elvis Presley Drive and two others Presley Drive and Presley Circle. Our visit coincided with Elvis Presley weekend. We were warned that unless we were big Elvis fans to avoid downtown.  We did.

The next day brought us to Jackson, Mississippi, the state capital.  We decided to retire early. The following day was a detour off the Parkway to Vicksburg, the siege of which was a turning point in the Civil War.

Both the Union and the Confederacy understood the importance of Vicksburg. Jefferson Davis called it “the nail head that holds the South’s two halves together.” Abe Lincoln said that Vicksburg was “the key! The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket.”

Vicksburg sits on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River and thus controlled the flow of traffic on the river. If the Union could capture Vicksburg, it would cut off the supply of cotton from Louisiana and beef from Texas, thereby limiting the Confederacy’s ability to feed and clothe their troops. It would also allow the Union to control the Mississippi from the port of New Orleans north. After some clever maneuvering of Grant’s troops and a 47-day bombardment from both the artillery of Grant’s troops from the east and from Union gun boats from the west on the river, General Pemberton surrendered the town on July 4, 1863.

The National Park Service operates the large National Battleground Memorial that forms a crescent (essentially the positions of both sides during the siege) around the town of Vicksburg.  Every state that had troops participating in the battle has a monument honoring its soldiers.  Some states had monuments for each military unit.  Illinois has constructed the largest rotunda with 47 steps leading up to the dome, one step for each day of the siege.

From Vicksburg, we got off the Parkway and took the more direct route to Natchez, thinking that we could travel the last few miles of the Parkway going north.

Natchez proved to be a fascinating town. During the “boatman” era, the “under the hill” area of Natchez housed all sorts of allures to separate the newly cash rich boatmen from their money. Taverns, gambling houses and brothels were plentiful. And if the pioneers escaped the temptations of Natchez, they still had to travel 450 miles of dangerous pathway lined with bandits and highwaymen.

With an eye toward safety, the boatmen frequently met at King’s Tavern to form larger traveling parties. Today, King’s Tavern is one of the oldest surviving structures in Natchez.  

In addition to the bandits, there were the native Americans who were none too happy about the settlers moving across their hunting grounds. And they were particularly clever in ways to put their captives to a slow and agonizing death. Constant vigilance was a necessity for travelers. And frequently the path was several feet below the surrounding countryside, making it difficult to spot both bandits and Indians.

Evidence of early habitation and the Mississippian mound culture can still be seen along the Parkway, including Bear Creek Mound, the Chickasaw Village Site, Owl Creek Mounds, and Bynum Mounds. The Park Service distributes a free detailed accordion-folded map highlighting these and the many other significant points along the current Parkway, including where gas is available on the intersecting highways.

Today’s Natchez is a welcoming throwback to the antebellum era.  We were told that Natchez has more restored and untouched antebellum mansions than any place in the south. And from what we saw, I wouldn’t doubt it. Our guide said it is because when Natchez was surrendered to Flag Officer David Farragut, and in sharp contrast to what happened in nearly every other Union capture of a Southern city, he ordered his men NOT to ransack the town. They were to leave everything as it was. Hence the claim.

I subsequently learned that this was not just a benevolence.  The Union quickly appropriated the mansions for both personal and military uses.  Ulysses S. Grant, after his victory in Vicksburg, moved his temporary headquarters into one of the mansions in Natchez. Sometimes benevolence can be self-serving.

We shared a seafood platter for dinner.  I tried once again to acquire a taste for catfish. It didn’t work. Unfortunately for me, fried catfish is a nearly ubiquitous item in local restaurants.  

The next day we drove the Parkway north (the portion that we had not yet driven) to Jackson, MS where we picked up Interstate 55 and headed back to Bloomington.  Along the way we encountered two hellacious, but short lived, thunderstorms. Fortunately, while not completely water tight, the Miata was still infinitely dryer than one of our other toys.

I had hoped to reach St. Louis, thus making a short 3-plus hour trip to Bloomington.  But such was not to be. When nearing Cape Girardeau, MO, we decided we had had enough fun for one day and stopped for the night. After a hotel supplied breakfast, and a large go cup of coffee, we pointed northeast and arrived home around noon.

Someone asked: “What was it like spending eight days and traveling nearly 2,000 miles with the same person in the cozy confines of a Miata?” My response was that we’re still married.  And to the best of my knowledge, neither one of us has called an attorney.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR : Dave Hauman was the Champaigne British Car Festival’s Organizing Committee Chairman for seven years, attracting over 140 cars annually from throughout Illinois and the adjoining states.  He’s also served as a concours judge at Road America for several years.  In addition to Road America, he and his wife Diana attend races at Black Hawk Farms, Sebring, Watkins Glen, and Talladega.

Celebrating 100 Years of MG at The Mansion

Celebrating 100 Years of MG at The Mansion

By Angie Davis

The 2023 Champagne British Car Festival (CBCF) held June 2nd – 4th is now one for the books!  Sponsoring club, the Illinois Flat Land British Car Club (IFLBCC), hosted a fun-filled and action-packed weekend complete with  Friday evening Welcome Reception, Saturday drive and cruise-in on historic Route 66, Saturday evening banquet and a Sunday Car Show that attracted nearly 150 beautiful British vehicles to the remarkable David Davis Mansion in Bloomington, Illinois.

Dozens and dozens of pre-registered drivers and guests kicked off their Festival weekend Friday evening at a Welcome Reception held at the Chateau Hotel and Conference Center. Everyone had a chance to pick up their name badges and registration packets, get reacquainted and catch  up with old friends and meet new LBC enthusiasts over tasty food and beverages.

After a drivers’ meeting Saturday morning, motorists took off – driving instructions in-hand – on a rally style drive and cruise-in around Lake Bloomington and up Historic Route 66 to Pontiac, Illinois. Drivers and passengers of the 40 cars that participated in the adventure were met by members of the Pontiac tourism bureau and treated to welcome bags with VIP buttons, information about the city of Pontiac, access to museums, walking tours, discounts to local shops and restaurants and terrific photo opportunities at wall murals around town.

Several folks took advantage of two “Behind the Scenes” tours conducted by Tim Dye, owner of the Pontiac-Oakland Museum.  The automobile museum offers rotating exhibits to ensure a new and exciting experience.  The only Pontiac-Oakland Museum in the world, they display hundreds of pieces of memorabilia alongside the ever-changing selection of cars. 

But the day was far from over! The Saturday evening banquet afforded an opportunity to socialize during a great dinner and delicious desserts decorated with the CBCF rondel and logos celebrating 100 years of MG Motors, this year’s featured marque. Guest speaker, John Twist, regaled the 100 banquet guests with his entertaining presentation “MG Was my Destiny.” He left attendees looking forward to viewing his famous “Rolling Tech Sessions” scheduled during the Sunday car show.  

Dave Fitch’s MG TD takes its turn at John Twist’s “Rolling Tech Session” under the watchful eye of Gerald Lofthouse of the Chicagoland’s British Car Union.

Registered participants and hundreds of spectators were treated to a brilliant, sunny and warm Sunday for the Car Show at David Davis Mansion. The Midwest was well-represented with British car owners traveling from seven states – Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Wisconsin – to participate in the Festival.

The shady, welcoming David Davis Mansion grounds were resplendent with a spectacular Union Jack as a backdrop and flags of the various British marques gently fluttering in the afternoon breeze. Food vendors and music added to the lively atmosphere throughout the day as car owners shared stories about their beloved cars and curious spectators posed questions to learn as much as they could about the vehicles on display.

This year’s MG Featured Marque included the pictured MGBs and MG Midgets

Registered participants voted for their peers to name 1st, 2nd and 3rd place  winners in 21 designated classes and Car of Show. Spectators who attended the Show cast their votes for the People’s Choice Award.   

Congratulations to Simon Griffin of Edwardsville, Illinois who took top honors this year in a clean sweep!  Simon, who at past CBCFs has shown his lovely Austin-Healey 100, left his Healey in the garage and drove to the Show in his recently-acquired 1930 MG 18/80 MKII. His stunning pre-war automobile took 1st in the MG Other class, was awarded Car of Show and claimed the People’s Choice Award. If you are fortunate to see this beauty at a future show, be certain to check out its rich history.

First in Class, Car of Show and People’s Choice Winner – Simon Griffin’s 1930 MG 18/80 MKII

First place winners in the five remaining MG Classes – MG T-Series, MGA, MGB Chrome, MGB Rubber and Midget / Sprite – are Steven Runyan, Alan Kleinschmidt, Doug Eppich, Nigel Keen, and Stephen Sparks.  

A list of all CBCF winners can be found at under Recent Posts – Congratulations to ALL 2023 Champagne British Car Festival Car Show Winners!

As with most car shows, it’s the local car club volunteer’s time and efforts that make the CBCF Weekend possible.  The IFLBCC Team is already planning next year’s event with special attention to participant’s Post-Weekend Survey comments and suggestions.

Remember to mark your 2024 calendars and plan to join us in Bloomington, Illinois for next year’s Champagne British Car Festival May 31 – June 2, 2024, when the Featured Marques will be Aston Martin and Austin Healey.

How to Subscribe to IFLBCC’s Monthly Newsletter in British Marque.

Did you know that Illinois Flat Land British Car Club (IFLBCC) is a Participating Club with the British Marque Car Club News?

Each month , the British Marque is published eleven times a year in a 40-page, tabloid newspaper format, in both Print and On-line Editions. They have subscribers and correspondents from Ontario to Texas and from Maine to California, plus a number in the United Kingdom.

As a Participating Club, the Illinois Flat Land British Car Club has been contributing articles to be published in the Marque for the past year. Along with our articles, notifications of our events are added to the Marque’s monthly calendar in the paper and on their website. This gives our club national and international publicity, helping build
the events and our club at the same time. In December alone, the Marque website boasted over 26,500 unique visitors!

You can download a free sample copy of the Marque from their website,, if you’re not familiar with the paper. We have been publishing articles in the Marque since June 2022.  Reprints of our articles have been published on Facebook and in the What’s New section of the IFLBCC website.   A copy of their subscription form is available for download below.  

Each member of a Participating Club who resides in the USA is entitled to a reduced subscription rate of $18.00 per year for the Print Edition. A subscription to the On-line Edition for Participating Club members is $12.00. Subscribers to the Print Edition can get the On-line Edition at no additional cost – all they have to do is sign up for it on their website. 

Need a Classified Ad? Subscribers from Participating Clubs have the privilege of one free classified per issue, up to 20 words. At their option, they can continue running their ads in subsequent issues until their items are sold (the “for sale” ads) or purchased (the “wanted” ads). This is a $7.50 value per issue that is offered for non-commercial ads only

How To Subscribe!

British Marque is in the process of redoing their checkout process page –

To checkout, please call them at (401) 766-6920 or e-mail them at [email protected] and Faith Lamprey will send you a link to pay online by credit card. Of course, you can always print out the Subscription Form and mail your check for $18.00 for an annual subscription.

Faith Lamprey
Business Manager
British Marque Car Club News
5 Old Nasonville Road
Harrisville, RI 02830-1905
(401) 766-6920

[email protected]

IFLBCC Newsletter Writers Wanted!

As you may already know, the British Marque is published eleven times a year in a 40-page, tabloid newspaper format, in both Print and On-line Editions. They have subscribers and
correspondents from Ontario to Texas and from Maine to California, plus a number in the United Kingdom.

As a Participating Club, the Illinois Flat Land British Car Club has been contributing articles to be published in the Marque for the past year. Along with our articles, notifications of our events are added to the Marque’s monthly calendar in the paper and on their website. This gives our club national and international publicity, helping build
the events and our club at the same time. In December alone, the Marque website boasted over 26,500 unique visitors!

When we send them articles to print, our club is given a section in the paper highlighted by our club logo and masthead. The person contributing articles is credited in the
Marque as a “Contributing Editor”.

Contributed article are also published in the What’s New section of the IFLBCC website. Click HERE to see some of last year’s articles.

Would YOU like to HELP?

There’s no ongoing commitment necessary!

  • Do you have a favorite event or car show story?
  • Share your project car restoration process/progress?
  • Memories of how you fell in love with British Cars?
  • Tech Tips? How To article?
  • Club related activities?
  • Digital images, illustrating your story, are encouraged

When you’re ready . . . let me know at [email protected]

8th Annual Halloween “Mystery” Cruise – British Marque

8th Annual Halloween “Mystery” Cruise

By Brian Davis

The final IFLBCC driving event of 2022 featured a Fall drive down some of Central Illinois’ scenic back roads to Haynes on Main, Mackinaw Valley winery PLUS a “Surprise” stop at a private collection of cars, neon, trains, toys and MUCH more!

The 8th Annual Halloween “Mystery” cruise began just west of Bloomington, on October 29, where owners of approximately fifteen British vehicles gathered for the day’s Drivers Meeting. Alan Kleinschmidt was the event organizer and led the Drivers Meeting and the drives throughout the day.

Cruise organizer, Alan Kleinschmidt, holds the Cruise Drivers Meeting

Our first destination was a “Mystery” location until that morning.  Alan had arranged for our group to drive to an unidentified location where members were treated to a vast collection of vehicles, man cave memorabilia and a train layout with 1,050 feet of track.=

The owner of the collection had his friend act as the Conductor for the various scaled trains that traveled through many villages and Disney themed vignettes.  The layout included 92 buildings, 232 characters, 6 monorails and 2400 miniature lights. This beautiful facility was spacious and allowed out group to leisurely browse the collection or sit and visit.

Leonard Lee and Rudy checking the Web as the Elimons, Judy Bess, Mike Shuck and Carol Brown take a break from touring the beautiful private collection.
A small corner of Dr. Kruger’s vast collection of cars, memorabilia and collectables

The next stop on our adventure was Haynes on Main, 108 S. Main St., Mackinaw, IL for lunch.  It was a beautiful Fall Day, so to add to our experience we traveled along Old Peoria Road and a variety of twisty scenic roads.

Haynes is a wonderful smalltown tavern that set aside a private dining area just for our group.  Several members that could not make the start of the drive joined us for lunch.

Mike Shuck, Todd Reid, Rudy Mortimer, Gary Brown and Alan Kleinschmidt making the tough decisions on what to have for lunch.

After lunch, the group continued on to Mackinaw Valley Vineyards for a little taste of the grape. The winery features a large variety of wines for tasting as well as an extensive gift shop and beautiful grounds.  After selecting our beverages, the group retired to the large deck that overlooks the expanse of grape arbors.

Alan Kleinschmidt and Gary Brown wine tasting at the Mackinaw Valley Winery

Late that afternoon we bid goodbye to our friends and IFLBCC group cruises for 2022.  We still had our November and December Natter ‘n Noggin to look forward to and to take a moment to look back on all of the terrific Club activities that 2022 had to offer.

By the time you’re reading this the Illinois Flat Land British Car Club will have begun planning our premier event of 2023, the 3-day Champagne British Car Festival.  The featured marque for 2023 will be All MGs.  We’re delighted to announce that John Twist will be speaking at the Saturday banquet and hosting his popular “Rolling Tech Session” during the Sunday car show at David Davis Mansion.

Flatlander Road Trip to Georgia’s Southeast British Car Festival

By Alan Kleinschmidt

Wednesday September 14th 2022 was a beautiful day for traveling. The Sun was bright and the temps were in the low 70’s.

We met friends, Greg and Chris Oakes, from Roscoe Illinois, at their Hotel in Bloomington and started our journey to the Southeast British Car Festival, sponsored by the Peachtree MG Registry in Dillard Georgia.

We would be driving “Black Betty’ the 1980 MGB LE and Greg and Chris would be in “Buttermilk” the 1972 MGB. Our goal for the day was to overnight in Sevierville Tennessee which lies 562 miles Southeast of Bloomington.

Buttermilk and Black Betty

We got onto Interstate 74 in Bloomington and traveled East through Indianapolis Indiana and on to Cincinnati Ohio where we picked up Interstate 75 and traveled South to Knoxville Tennessee before turning East on Interstate 40 to Sevierville.

Greg and I both prefer secondary roads when traveling in the MG’s, but sometimes you just have to get on the Interstate and go. We both have Overdrive, so cruising at 70 to 75 is not a problem. The cars ran great and about 10 hours later we rolled into the Hotel at Sevierville.

Thursday September 15th was another beautiful day. We headed South through Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg TN before heading up the mountain at Smoky Mountain National Park. The road through the park is very twisty and affords some spectacular views. We came down off the mountain and arrived at Cherokee NC just in time for breakfast at Peters Pancakes. There was a 45 minute wait, but it was well worth it.

We arrived in Dillard Georgia, early afternoon and went to Dillard House to check in and get directions to the house we had rented for our stay. We got the cars unloaded and enjoyed a cold adult beverage on the veranda with Nigel & Jane who had come down separately from Bloomington trailering their MGB.

Friday we were up early and on the road. We traveled to Highland NC for breakfast and then Route 64 to Franklin stopping to view the various falls and rapids along the way

The Peachtree Registry put on a “Low Country Boil” Friday evening at the main banquet hall at Dillard House. The menu included Shrimp, Mussels, Clams, and of course the famous Dillard House desserts.

Saturday was Show Day! There were many gorgeous cars in attendance. The show runs from 9 until 1 affording more time for cruising the back roads around the area.

Georgia’s Southeast British Car Festival

We traveled South this time and made a run around Lake Rabun before heading to Tallulah Gorge and then up Black Rock Mountain. We finished the afternoon at 12 Spies Winery, in Dillard with friends Greg and Chris and Nigel and Jane. The wine was very good and we picked up an extra bottle to bring home.

Another good meal was provided by Dillard House at the Saturday night Banquet and award ceremony. Nigel brought home an award for his modified 1980 MGB.

Sunday found us saying good bye to Georgia and heading home. We traveled to Lawrenceburg Indiana to spend the night. Our Hotel room provided beautiful views of the Ohio River which ran just on the other side of the Levee. There was a floating restaurant a short distance from the Hotel that we walked to for dinner. We were treated to a float equipped plane flying in and tying up for dinner. Pretty cool!

Monday morning found us back on the road, heading for home. The most challenging part of the trip was navigating our LBC’s through traffic in Indianapolis. With I-65, I-70 and I-74 converging there, traffic is always heavy.

We arrived home around noon on Monday. We traveled 1561 miles total for the trip and Betty averaged 31 mpg. Not bad for a 42 year old with 150,000 miles on her odometer.

EATS – Easily Amused Touring Society

By Brian Davis – Published in October Ed. British Marque Car Club News

I recently saw a meme that read “You only live once – Don’t leave it covered in the garage”.  That got me thinking about what motivates me and other Illinois Flat Land British Car Club members to get their cars out of the garage on a regular basis?

For me it was connecting with a small group of like-minded enthusiasts with its roots in Monday morning meetings at the local doughnut shop. That was about eight years ago and boy has it evolved!

The original gathering consisted of four retired guys that liked to eat, talk and drive an eclectic group of British cars.  I’m guessing that there are lots of clubs that have a similar group of members?  As our weekly meetings became a regular thing, we referred to the get-together as “Motoring Monday” and it soon became a much-anticipated part of our week.

EATS “Motoring Monday” – Show and Tell

The earliest Motoring Monday conversations included the typical tech. issues, tips and shared experiences.  It didn’t take long before we were planning our mid-week drives to local taverns and destinations.  That’s when EATS was born!

EATS . . .The Easily Amused Touring Society, combined not only our proclivity for eating but also our desire to get behind the wheel of our cars and go for a drive just for the love of it!  We were blessed with a member that was very familiar with many of our Central IL backroads, diners and dives.  We ALL still had “working wives” so we were on our own for lunch.  How fortuitous!

EATS originally had only four members but that changed over the years.  Some members moved away or had work/family conflicts and new folks just naturally took their place.  Each change in makeup added a new twist in the conversation and, of course, a change in the mix of vehicles and experiences.  One key component has remained the same – driving your British car, weather permitting.

Motoring Monday – MG TD Tech Session

In 2020, everything changed.  COVID was on everyone’s mind that March as restaurants and taverns began to shut down and health mandates (masks and social distancing) took hold. That was the end of Motoring Monday, right?  No way!

Where could we go that was open, had enough space for social distancing and served food?  How about our garages?  Motoring Monday evolved once again.  By then our group had grown to a regular group of six or seven and all of us had garages and each of us wanted to get into “Hosting” rotation.

COVID’s cloud had a silver lining!  Each Monday the host would be responsible for providing a garage, coffee and a variety of homemade and store-bought goodies.  

Another bright-spot to these new venues is that we were exposed to everyone’s garage, cars and projects.  Who knew that a pandemic could present us with such wonderful “Car-Themed” venues?   Soon a Motoring Monday Host List was created and everyone was anxious for their turn.

Around half of the EATS members live in suburban subdivisions or small towns in McLean Co. IL.  THAT gives us a two-fer.  We get to drive our cars for +/- 40 miles and visit an interesting car collection (garage). 

Motoring Monday – Diagnostics by our Team of Experts!

Other things have changed too.   We now spontaneously have:

  • “Show & Tell” – New tools, products, and event listings
  • Live Tech Sessions – The EATS Experts can help diagnose issues
  • Give Aways – Almost every host has some parts, tools, stuff to offer
  • Magazine Swap – British Marque News, Organization Magazines, etc.
  • Club Planning – EATS members are also “Active” IFLBCC members.

If you’re looking for a way to stay motivated and connected with the local British car community, consider starting small and see what develops.  I think you’ll be amazed at how much your LBC passion will grow.  

As I said at the beginning “You only live once – Don’t leave it covered in the garage”.

By Brian Davis

Co-Director, Illinois Flat Land British Car Club

A Special Shout Out to Volunteers

By Denny Elimon

My, Oh My, where do those summer driving days go? Just seems like they come and go more quickly each year.

With so many local car shows, monthly club meetings, local drives, and national events – the months seem to just fly past. So, which comes to mind for you this season? There may be more than one.

Many LBC owners have noticed that the backbone of all clubs is events.  Owners participate in events to keep their cars on the road and to meet fellow enthusiasts.

Two events came to mind when reflecting on my past driving season, the GT 47 NAMGAR gathering in Colorado Springs and the IFLBCC annual Champagne British Car Festival (which I missed) due to overlapping dates.

A special shout out to all the volunteers who give of their time to organize and host our events. While events are the backbone of clubs, volunteers provide the “backbones” to host those gatherings.

The IFLBCC welcomes anyone wishing to join them to plan up-coming events.  Feel free to contact them!  Those great driving days for many have passed -but future opportunities are being planned for those waiting for Spring to arrive.

By Denny Elimon

Illinois Flatland British Car Club (IFLBCC)