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.
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.
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 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 CBCF-Bloomington.com 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.