A Little Trip to Pensacola
April 2002

GTA members Ashford Little and Joe Earnest attended the 10th Annual All British Car Show on Saturday April 20 in Pensacola hosted by the Panhandle British Car Association. Also attending were Victor Rohner who trailered his RHD TR3 (small mouth) to Atlanta from Michigan and Atlantan Glenn Bell who has the Triumph bug in a bad way. We met at Joe's house and headed South around noon. The trip through LA (lower Alabama) was uneventful until we dined at Bates House of Turkey in Greenville, Alabama. 

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This is a home-style restaurant that you should plan on visiting. Food this good is hard to find on the interstate.

We arrived at the hotel just as the host club was beginning their Red Beans and Rice social. We were fed very well as the host members introduced themselves and thanked us for making the trip down. The Panhandle club went above and beyond in the hospitality department. The rest of the evening was spent tire-kicking and story-swapping. 

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The normal marques were in attendance (MG, Austin Healey, Jaguar) as well as a few Rolls-Royces and Bentleys. We spent most of our time with the New Orleans British Car Club members. They were a lot of fun and brought at least eight cars to the show. They host a show annually on a small college campus in late March that sounds like a real good time as well.

During the night an XJ6 was stolen (don't leave your keys in the car people) and a TR6 was moved by some drunken frat boys. The Jaguar showed up the next morning but stayed in police compound until after the show.  Security has since been updated.

The actual show was held in a parking lot next to the beach less than a mile from the hotel. There were over 130 cars in attendance. This is the first time that either of us had been to a show with no TR4/4A/250's. The oldest Triumph was a 1912 motorcycle with a wicker sidecar and a special rack for golf clubs. A beautiful local 1949

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 2000 Roadster was on display as well. Joe's 2000 Saloon was between a new and old Mini. One gentlemen in a MGC-GT was demonstrating the smoothness of his engine by placing a wine glass with water on the valve cover and revving the engine. It only fell once all day. Terry from Mississippi had an Austin Healer that had been a fraternity brother's car back in their college days at Kentucky. His friend was the last of seven fraternity brothers to own his car and was killed in a farming accident. Terry bought the car and restored it as a tribute to his friend. I will forward the photos to Jeremy for the website.

The social aspect of the show was great as people were very friendly. The only problem with this show is that it was held from 9-5 in a parking lot in Pensacola in the Spring. The organizers said that this was the first year it had been really hot and were looking at renting a circus big top for the 2003 show. We suggested that they find a park more inland with grass and shade but many of the attendees like the fact that the show is held literally next to the beach and use it as a family vacation.

The trip back was hot but we had no problems. We invite the membership to join us next year for this show. The 320 miles really go fast when Ashford sets the pace. The only change for next year is that we plan on being in the Calypso Lounge and Restaurant adjacent to the show and overlooking the beach from 11 until 3 o'clock!