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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)

“A place in our garage forever” – British Marque Car Club News – Sept. 2022 ed.

“A place in our garage forever”

By Alan Kleinschmidt

Betty at Monarch Pass

I grew up in a small Midwestern town in Illinois during the Sixties. The typical cars around our town were your average Ford, Chevy or Chrysler, Plymouth, Dodge, with the occasional Rambler thrown into the mix for good measure. There just weren’t any “foreign” cars around other than a VW Bug every now and then.

I was drafted by the US Army in 1970 and eventually found myself in the jungles of South Viet Nam. After serving eight months of my twelve month tour, I left for a week of R&R in Hawaii. I rented a Ford Mustang to provide transportation but after a couple of days I decided I wanted a convertible. I went back to the rental agency and they informed me that the only convertible they had was an MG. I didn’t even know what an MG was!

The car I rented was an MG Midget and, WOW! It sure was small compared to that Mustang! I had so much fun with that car while in Hawaii. I cruised all the way around Oahu and all over Honolulu. This little car was so much more fun to drive than that Mustang! This LBC planted a seed that has grown in me over the years.

Upon arriving back in the States, after my Army tour was over, I found the first of several MG’s that would shape my life and feelings about cars. It was a 1970 MGB.

It wasn’t very fashionable to drive an MGB in those days because the era of “American Muscle” was in full swing. The MG’s little 1.8 litre engine was dwarfed by the Big Block engines from all the domestic manufacturers. Even the American Motors cars had a 390 cubic inch engine!

I had another MGB, MGA, and Nash Metropolitan before my life was forever changed by starting a family. Playing with cars was replaced by raising kids and family responsibilities out ranked everything.

28 years would pass before another MG would enter my life. It was 2008 and my wife called me at work one day and told me there was an MGB for sale in her employer’s newsletter. I called the seller and set up a time to go see the car.

Betty ” As Found”

It was a 1980 MGB LE tourer with 43,000 miles showing and had been sitting in his garage for 17 years. I asked him what the problem was and he said “it’s just not reliable!” He said “it’s almost like it just runs out of gas” and has to be towed home.

I bought the car on the spot and borrowed a trailer to pick it up the next day. After getting it home and changing oil, installing a new battery and airing up the tires I turned on the ignition rapped on the fuel pump with a screwdriver handle and heard a very satisfying ticking sound. “Black Betty” was on the road under her own power for the first time in 17 years.

Since that cool November day in 2008, “Betty” has traveled over 100,000 miles. She has visited 26 of these United States and been to Canada three times.

She has traveled the 105 miles of Skyline Drive through the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and all 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

She has wrestled with Route 129, “The Tail of the Dragon” in Tennessee on two different occasions.

She has run the entire length of Route 66 from Chicago to California.

She has done “hot laps” at Historic Road America and participated in a tour of the old road course into Elkhart Lake.

She has been at sea level in California all the way up to 13210 Ft at Monarch Pass in the Colorado Rockies.

This little car has motored through the Arizona desert at 106 degrees, visited the Grand Canyon and seen Monument Valley in Utah.

She has circumnavigated Lake Michigan, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie and in 2019 made a run around the North shore of Lake Superior before reentering the USA at Sault St Marie.

Betty at Lake Michigan

She sailed across Lake Michigan from Ludington Michigan to Manitowoc Wisconsin on the historic car ferry, SS Badger.

Covid has slowed things down, but our travels in “Betty” are far from over. This little car will have a place in our garage forever and as long as we can fold up and get in and out of her, we’re going to continue traveling in her. There is something very satisfying about driving an MG.

What a GREAT little car!

By Alan Kleinschmidt

Co-Director, Illinois Flat Land British Car Club

Route 66 Cruise-in to Atlanta, IL

We’ve created a Route 66-themed Poker Chip Run and Pop-up ALL British car show destination to showcase the restaurants and attractions on the Mother Road in our area. Over 40 British cars cruised down old Route 66 on Saturday June 4th, 2022 to our ultimate destination . . .Historic Atlanta, IL.

The CBCF is only One Week AWAY! Pre-Registration Ends Midnight May 31st

Pre-registration for the Champagne British Car Festival (CBCF) 2022 ENDS on midnight, May 31st! It’s time to register and get the dates added to your car show bucket list! CBCF-Bloomington.com

This year the CBCF begins Friday June 3rd and concludes with the main attraction car show on the grounds of the David Davis Mansion, Bloomington, IL Sunday June 5th.

We expect another great showing of all marques and years, highlighted by Triumph, our 2022 featured marque. CBCF-Bloomington.com.

#cbcf2022

Pub Night in the Courtyard – June 4th

The Courtyard Critters are getting excited to see the British 🇬🇧 car owners at Pub Night in The Courtyard 🎶🍻.

Saturday’s English Pub Night will be in the DoubleTree’s open-air courtyard on June 4th. Catered hors d’oeuvres will be served throughout the evening as we present the CBCF Poker Run Awards and enjoy live music by Jim & Tommy (of The Bygones).

Cash bar available. Reserved British-Car Parking will be adjacent to the hotel’s Conference Center. #CBCFPubNight

Pre-Registration REQUIRED! – https://iflbcc.club/cbcf-saturday/

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – Come Celebrate with US at CBCF 2022!

The Champagne British Car Festival weekend coincides with the culmination of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee 🎉. Let’s show the Queen 🇬🇧 that WE know how to party!

  • May 28-June 5 – British Car Week
  • June 3 – Welcome at The Station
  • June 4 – Rt 66/Atlanta IL Cruise-in
  • June 4 – Pub Night in the Courtyard
  • June 5 – CBCF at David Davis Mansion
  • CBCF-Bloomington.com
  • Pre-Registration ends midnight May 31st!

From The Queen’s English:

Excitement over the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is mounting with tens of thousands of street parties set to take place across the UK to mark the occasion over the long bank holiday weekend. At least 12 million people will be attending Jubilee parties and events on village greens or in local venues for the Queen’s 70th anniversary on the throne, adding that the figure is a “modest” estimate.

On Thursday, 2 June, the celebrations will kick off with Trooping the Colour, with members of the Royal Family due to appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony for the fly-past.

There will be a traditional service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral the following day.

God Bless the Queen! ♥️#platiumjubilee #70years

In The NEWS! The Illinois Flat Land British Car Club (IFLBCC) is in British Marque

Watch your mailbox or inbox for the June edition of the British Marque Car Club News.

The Illinois Flat Land British Car Club ( www.IFLBCC.club ) is now a Participating Member.

We’ll be doing a follow-up story on the CBCF in the July edition as well as some new stories on our event at the Highland Games and other event successes by our members.

Do YOU have a story to tell? Drop me a line at bjdavis@paddysgarage.com and you may see your name in print!