October 2023

[1-Oct_23_Mini_Line.jpg] The Mini line in Mansfield, with (left to right) Iain Barker’s Morris Cooper S, Wendy Birchmire’s Mini Mayfair, and Steve Aoyama’s VTEC Mini Van.
Photo by David Schwartz

NEMO Wins at Mansfield Show
by David Schwartz

MANSFIELD, Mass., Aug. 12 — I last attended the Mansfield Rotary Club’s Classic Motorcycle & British Car Show in 2018. The show is held annually at the Mansfield Municipal Airport. The 2023 edition was not well publicized and I only learned about it a few days prior to the event when several British Motorcars of New England (BMCNE) members mentioned it on Facebook.

High heat and humidity or rain caused me to skip a lot of shows this season. The weather forecast for Mansfield was sunny and low 80s, so my wife Betty and I decided to attend.

It was a perfect day for a top-down drive on back roads, so we took my 1950 Morris Minor Tourer instead of the Mini. For those living in MetroWest, I highly recommend exploring Rt. 115, which can be accessed from Rt. 126 or Rt. 27. All are scenic, twisty, tree-lined roads.

The show was sponsored by the Rotary Club with an assist from BMCNE on the car classes and judging. Cars were parked by class on the lawn. I estimate British car turnout at about 40. Spectator admission was free.

There were a handful of vintage Volkswagens parked in a separate section, and a decent classic motorcycle turnout on the tarmac. The VWs included several Beetles and a camper van. We especially liked the bright purple paint job on a souped-up Beetle.

The Mini class consisted of Wendy Birchmire’s 1993 Rover JDM model, Iain and Nuala Barker’s 1967 Morris Cooper S, and Steve Aoyama’s Honda VTEC Mini Van. To quote the movie Casablanca, “Round up the usual suspects!”

My Morris Minor Tourer was placed in the Other British class, along with Larry Brenner’s pristine 1993 Land Rover Defender and a nicely restored Sunbeam Alpine. Stiff competition, indeed. The Tourer designation is due to the lack of windows in the back seat. Instead, there are removable canvas and plastic side curtains.

The lawn was very sunny so it was good we brought a pop-up tent canopy. We shared our shade with other car owners, as well as several dogs. (One dog abandoned its owners twice to hang out with us in the shade.)

Many of the British cars were owned by members of BMCNE or the Boston Area MG Club. Of course, some people belong to both clubs. Many of the cars were also present at this year’s British Motorcars in Bristol.

There were four cars in the Spridget (Sprite and Midget) class, including Terry Levasseur’s very original 1960 Bugeye Sprite. There was a beautiful MG TF that was also at Bristol.

October 2023

[2-Oct_23_Morris_Minor_Wins.jpg] People’s Choice! David Schwartz hoists his two trophies.
Photo by Iain Barker

My Morris Minor attracted a lot of attention, and I invited people to have a seat. A group of four children took turns “driving.” People were especially curious about the “trafficators,” semaphore arms that protrude horizontally from the side of a car to indicate the driver’s intention to make a right or left turn. Morris Minor trafficators are eight inches long, are finished in chrome, are located in the B pillars, and illuminate when activated. Many people saw the recessed chrome arms and tried to guess their purpose. Nobody guessed correctly, so I gave many demos.

Betty was the Director of the Creative Arts Camp at the Newton JCC for the last 15 years. Coincidently, one of her camp counselors rode down to the show on the back of her father’s motorcycle. Lacking the usual context, it took a few minutes before Betty and her staff member recognized each other. The staff member’s dad grew up in South Africa and was quite taken with the Morris Minor and the MOYSHE vanity plate. He said that when he was growing up, “every mom drove one.”

Mansfield Airport features the Hangar 12 Restaurant, which has outdoor seating adjacent to the runway. Hangar 12 serves breakfast all day and offers a variety of salads and sandwiches for lunch. We had a nice, though unremarkable lunch at an outdoor table.

The awards ceremony started around 2 p.m. The motorcycle awards were presented first, and it took quite a while to get to the cars. The Barkers’ Mini Cooper won Best in Class for the second time since 2018. Iain posted 2018 and 2023 photos of Nuala holding the trophy in front of “Mini KK.” Wow, she grew up fast!

Betty was wilting from the heat, so we packed up the tent just before the awards reached the Other British class. I was pleasantly surprised when they announced my car was the winner (though in a field of three that didn’t feel like a big accomplishment).

I was starting to walk away after picking up the trophy when the presenter told me to wait around. My Morris Minor was also awarded People’s Choice for Best in Show! I really appreciated the recognition, especially given all the really nice cars present. Personally, I think it was the trafficator demos and letting people sit in the car.

The Mansfield Rotary show is well worth attending. Just be sure to bring your own shade. Vehicle owners and the public were extremely friendly and appreciative. Next year I will be sure to publicize the event in the NEMO calendar.

October 2023

Holiday Party — Save the Date!

The NEMO Holiday Party will once again be held at Black Dog Bar & Grille in Putnam, Conn. The date is Saturday, December 9th, at 12 noon.

For you folks with a GPS, the address is Black Dog Bar & Grille, 146 Park Rd., Putnam, CT 06260. Their phone is (860) 928-0501, website https://www.blackdogbarandgrille.com.

Take Exit 45 (Kennedy Drive) off I-395. Kennedy Drive becomes Park Road. Black Dog is about a mile from the exit. This restaurant was formerly called J. D. Cooper’s and we have gone there a number of times for our Holiday Party in past years.

We need a head count, so RSVP by e-mailing faithlamprey@gmail.com or calling me at (401) 766-6519. Let me know how many are attending (and ages of any kids). We will be ordering off the menu.

To the delight of many, we will be holding the Yankee Swap once again, so plan to bring a wrapped gift (try to keep the cost below $25). A Yankee Swap means that someone else may “take” your gift when it is their turn to pick. (Warn your kids so they don’t get upset if this happens!) You get to pick a gift for every gift you bring (so please, no more than one per person or the party will never end).

Our Holiday Party is one of our more popular events every year and this central location in Connecticut is convenient for the majority of our members. Hope to see you there! —Faith Lamprey

September 2023

[1-Sept_23_Newman_Mini.jpg] Dave and Barbara Newman’s Mini at MME.
Photo by Bruce Vild

Mini Meet East 2023
by Dave Newman

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Mini Meet East 2023 was held in Rochester from July 1st to July 3rd. It was organized by Dan and Deanne Viola, their family and members of ROC MINI Club, sponsored by MINI of Rochester. They had to contend with rain showers on and off at random times of the day, but they did a great job fitting in everything planned except a Poker Run.

The Rochester DoubleTree by Hilton was a fantastic event hotel — a good description, as most of the event was held there, including the banquet. There was plenty of trailer parking and for the outdoor events they had a giant parking lot surrounding the hotel.

A hundred and ten people attended and 57 cars were entered in the event. Not as many as some previous Mini Meet Easts perhaps, but respectable, and all of us had a great time, especially the dozen or so people who made this their first Mini Meet.

My wife Barbara and I started off from eastern Mass onto Rt. 90 Friday morning, June 30th, towing our 1992 British Open Classic Mini that we had loaded the night before. We figured a seven-to-eight-hour drive, with breaks and lunch.

About noontime, we stopped in a New York rest area, and while Barb went in to buy lunch, I checked the trailer straps. Then I noticed the GPS said we were in Florida, N.Y. I found that funny and took a picture and texted it to Lorine Karabec, who I knew was with Derick, towing their trailer. She received it and said they were also in a rest area, but miles ahead of us.

Turned out that Barbara found them on the gas pumps side of the same rest area, and we were on the auto side. We hooked up with them, and with Tim and Sherry Bossie, who had been tow-dollying their Mini to the Meet after a visit with Lorine and Derick. The Karabecs’ friends Brandon Cordero and Jamie Matias were also there, towing their 1978 Mini on a borrowed tow-dolly. We joined their caravan and headed towards Rochester.

A few hours into the trip, we were “tail-end Charlie” and saw Tim and Sherry parked on the shoulder behind Brandon, who had experienced a tread separation, blown-out tire at about 60mph on the dolly.

The exploding rubber had taken out the left taillight assembly, so duct tape was applied. The tires and the spare for the borrowed tow-dolly were old and on their last legs. The spare was fitted, and we all made it to the hotel just as the sun was going down.

The next day, during the a.m. “car wash” time, Brandon and Jamie took two rims and purchased new tires for the tow-dolly, keeping the “best” of the old for a spare. They also purchased a new taillight assembly and hooked that up. All would be ready for the trip home on July 4th.

September 2023

[2-Sept_23_Custom.jpg] At the Car Show — host Dan Viola’s Moke and a wild V-8-engined Mini custom fire truck.
Photo by Bruce Vild

On Saturday, July 1st, between the rainstorms — the organizers moving the times around — the Car Show was in the morning until a bit after noontime. NEMO members collecting awards were Brandon and Jamie, 2nd, Mini MkIII and IV, 1969-1984, Barbara, 2nd, MkV and newer Mini, 1984-2001, Derick and Lorine, 1st, Wolseley Hornet/Riley Elf, and Bruce Vild and Faith Lamprey, 3rd, MINI 2007-2013.

As the sun was turning to clouds, the announcement went out to leave “Now!” and meet at the boathouse site for the Panoramic Photo, which would be taken by Jay Best. While Jay lined up the cars just right for the photo it started to pour. Some took shelter inside the boathouse or their cars and waited for a break. The sun finally showed up after an hour and Jay had time to take the picture, always the highlight of any Mini Meet.

Upon returning to the hotel, and again waiting for the rain to stop, the Funkhana was held in the hotel lot. NEMO’s Lorine and Derick took 1st in the “Slide Windows” class.

Sunday began with rain, but just before the Scavenger Hunt/Rallye began the rain stopped. The route took us all over the Rochester area, back and forth over bridges over the Erie Canal and into little quaint villages. The “scavenger” part was to answer questions along the route. There was no NEMO winner, but I am glad to report that unlike previous MME Rallyes, Barb and I did well, completed the Rallye, and there was zero stress after the run. The secret this time was Barbara drove and I navigated. I think this is a good thing for future runs. Everyone I spoke to enjoyed the Rallye.

There were other “runs” after the Rallye. Long-time NEMO members Bruce and Faith and new members Bob and Marie Rector did the Lake Run. They reported back that it was enjoyable. (Bob works with Barbara at South Shore MINI and they drove Marie’s new MINI. The couple have been doing many MINI events this year and say they loved the Mini Meet East.)

September 2023

[3-Sept_23_Borges.jpg] Steven Borges (right) poses with dad Tony and the ‘Car of the Show’ trophy.
Photo by Bruce Vild

There were other “runs” after the Rallye. Long-time NEMO members Bruce and Faith and new members Bob and Marie Rector did the Lake Run. They reported back that it was enjoyable. (Bob works with Barbara at South Shore MINI and they drove Marie’s new MINI. The couple have been doing many MINI events this year and say they loved the Mini Meet East.)

That night, six of us dined at an Indian restaurant. It was small, sort of needed updating, had a huge menu, and appeared to be mostly take-out or door dashy. But the food was excellent, even though their phone was disconnected when we called and it appeared to be a real estate office during daytime hours.

The last day of the Meet saw rain to start, and the poor staff that had to set up the Driving Skills event, which was sort of like an autocross but was not — the fastest time would not be the winner, rather a target time that had been set (with no cones knocked over). The rain washed away the chalk-line “boxes” for the cones, but onward it went, just as the rain stopped. In the “Slide Windows” category, Derick and Lorine took 3rd. Each team had many runs on the course until it started to rain in the afternoon.

At 3 p.m. the Banquet started. The Hilton put on an excellent buffet and the service was super also — one of the best meals I’ve experienced at an MME.

Dan and Deanne Viola kept the event lively while announcing the winners in each category and presenting the awards. There was a raffle ticket for each person and more than enough prizes on the table for the raffle, including model cars, Mini books, Mini wine, and Mini accessories.

Brandon and Jamie received the “Diamond in the Rough” award for their 1978 red Mini 1000, now fitted with a 1275. This car was the very Mini that Barb and I brought to Mini Meet East 1998 in Seekonk, Mass., the first ever put on by NEMO. Now 25 years later it is being slowly restored by a loving new owner.

A great Mini Meet East, hosted by dedicated Mini people! Thanks to Dan and Deanne and their team.

September 2023

[4-Sept_23_Ken.jpg] Ken Lemoine’s 1965 Morris Mini Minor Traveller.
Photo by Wendy Birchmire

NEMO at BCNH’s Show of Dreams
by Iain Barker & Wendy Birchmire

HUDSON, N.H. — This can’t be possible! There is a car show on a weekend day and it isn’t raining! In fact, it was a rather nice day to attend the British Cars of New Hampshire (BCNH) Show of Dreams, with temperatures in the lower 80s.

This event has taken place every year since 1996 with the exception of a one-year COVID-19 hiatus. Proceeds from the show are donated to the New Hampshire Food Bank.

The Show of Dreams is usually held on the spacious fields of the Alvirne Hills House. Due to the recent rainy weather, there was a last-minute switch to the parking lot of Alvirne High School on opposite side of the road.

The change of venue did not detract from either the number or quality of cars attending. The show regularly pulls in 200 or more classic cars and this year was no exception. There were 222 cars registered across 26 classes. Spectators were admitted for free.

The show organizers planned for a warm day and set up a “cooling station” tent to provide shade and a free bottle of water. There were vendors selling car-related goods, as well as numerous food vendors. Ice cream was very popular, given the warm weather. Many people chose to eat at tables under the two large tents.

Six classic Minis were present at the show: Wendy and Tom Birchmire in “May,” a rare 1993 Rover Japanese-market automatic Iain and Nuala Barker (and Muffin the dog) in “KK,” their 1967 Morris Cooper S Ken Lemoine in his pristine 1965 Morris Mini Minor Traveller replete with the “ITSOQT” (it’s so cute, get it?) license plate Roger and Crystal Treadwell in “Geraldine,” a 1980 New Zealand Leyland Mini 1000 LE MaeLynn Hill in “Baby Lou,” her 1962 Morris Mini Minor and a very original looking 1964 Austin Cooper S with unknown owners (no show placard posted). NEMO members John and Laurie Gallagher brought their 1964 Winchester London Taxi.

September 2023

[5-Sept_23_NZ_Mini.jpg] 1980 Leyland Mini LE from New Zealand.
Photo by Iain Barker

In addition to the usual mix of Jaguars, MGs and Triumphs, there were some truly esoteric offerings, including a 1958 Allard, an AC 3000ME, a genuine Ford GT40, and even a Lola Formula Ford race car.

Unlike many other shows, there are no separate categories for classic Minis. Instead, they are covered in two general classes of British cars: Class 22 for pre-1980, and Class 23 for 1980-1999.

Class 22 was hotly contested, as there is a lot of British car history in those 80 years! In addition to most of the Minis, it included a very eclectic mix — the previously mentioned Allard, Ford GT40 and Lola race car, plus a pristine Hillman Super Imp, a shining Sunbeam Alpine, an ex-London taxi, an Austin A40 Farina, a Jaguar XK120/140, etc. The Minis competed with many high end, rare, or unusual vehicles.

The New Hampshire Food Bank Award went to Michael Gaetano’s 1947 Bentley MkII. Steve and Nancy Banner’s gorgeous 1966 MGB won Best of Show and 1st place in Class 6, MGB and MGC 1962-1974. Two NEMO members took home prizes. Wendy Birchmire’s Mini Mayfair won 1st in Class 23, and John and Laurie Gallagher’s London Taxi won 2nd in Class 22.

August 2023

[1-Aug_23_Dellow.jpg] NEMO member Ken Lemoine (right) chats with Jeff Day, owner of a Dellow shown at British Car Day. It is one of 95 produced.
Photo by Bob Brownell

British Car Day at LAAM: Two Views
by Bob Brownell & Penn Wright

British Car Day was held June 25th at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Mass. To avoid forecasted rain, the start time was moved to 8 a.m. I got there in my ’63 Mini about 8:10 and there was a good crowd of cars in place already.

I always look forward to this show with its diversity of British cars, many of which are rarely seen. I was not disappointed this year. In addition to five great (my bias) classic Minis and six modern MINIs, there were the much-loved, higher-production MGs, Triumphs, Austin-Healeys, and Jaguars as well as lower-volume Rolls-Royces, Bentleys and Lotus.

As a bonus our host, the Museum (recognized as “America’s oldest car collection”), has an unmatched, unique collection of early-1900s gas, steam and electric automobiles that is fascinating, plus a rotating exhibit that this year features rally cars.

All of the cars and owners were great to see, but for this article, I chose to focus on new to me or less familiar cars.

Parked under the trees was a 1954 Dellow MkII, an aluminum-bodied sports car targeted to rally/hillclimb/time trials that was in production from 1949 to 1957. It used a side-valve 1172cc Ford engine and many mechanicals from the Ford 100E Anglia/Prefect. This example was a beautiful car, one of 95 produced, and the first Dellow imported to the USA. It had 26,000 original miles.

There was also a 1935 AC 16/60 Saloon Greyhound. The manufacturer, founded in 1901, exists to the present day (though with many, many name and ownership changes). They produced everything from the late ’40s, air-cooled, three-wheel fiberglass-bodied Invacar to the ’60s Cobra muscle car.

The Greyhound was a very rare prewar AC model that used an AC-designed 2-liter OHC inline-six aluminum-block engine produced from 1920 to 1963. It was luxurious and powerful for a 1930s car. This Greyhound was an older restoration in excellent condition and was purchased from a prestigious AC collection in 2021.

August 2023

[3-Aug_23_AC_Ace.jpg] The AC Ace Bristol on display was Bristol-engined, not Ford-powered like the Cobra to come.

I also spotted a 1957 AC Ace Bristol. This car’s aluminum body had a classic, flowing design that attracted Carroll Shelby to work with AC to create the Ford-based Cobra a few years later. This car was one of 466 Aces supplied with a Bristol 100 2-liter OHC D2 engine good for 120hp — a very capable derivative of the BMW 328 engine to which Bristol gained the rights after World War II. I love the lines of this car. —BB

Another perspective

Bob’s comments notwithstanding, the 2023 British Car Day at Larz was poorly run, in my opinion, and I don’t have much positive to say about a show that started at 8 a.m. and ended at noon, even if it was to avoid the anticipated rain. It didn’t rain, and it was advertised as a rain-or-shine show anyway.

The voting was done by phone with a QR code but most people didn’t know that or how to do it. An hour into the show I had to tell the staff running the show that their voting URL did not work. They disagreed with me at first but then found they couldn’t access it either. It took them another hour to get it fixed. The QR code on the envelope that they told people to use went to German Car Day. No one really knew what was going on.

When the awards were announced, they went to 1st place only and were read off rapidly, not waiting for the person to come forward.

I know that voting for one popular-choice car in each class is not that important to most people. Personally, I like shows where the cars are judged so that people with authentic cars should win the class. Unfortunately, people usually vote for the pretty car, the unique car, or the nice paint job. I, too, am often guilty of that.

All that being said, I must mention the positives of the show also. The check-in and parking crew were very welcoming and helpful. The awards were unique and admission to the show gave you access to the Museum and a well-curated and interesting exhibit. —PW

August 2023

[4-Aug_23_May.jpg] The lovely Ms. May.
Photo by Wendy Birchmire

A Day at the Endicott Estate

by ‘May’ Birchmire

What? It is only 7 a.m. and I like to sleep in on Sundays. Why is Wendy waking me at this hour? I do, however, get a kick out of her opening my left-hand door to get in. She must be so sleepy that she has forgotten that I am a right-hand drive.

In fact, I am a very cute and shiny 1973 Mini Mayfair automatic with air conditioning. I was born in Britain for the Japanese market so I am pretty rare in the U.S. today. Most people enjoy looking at me because I am very small and I have a bright red paint job.

Where are we going at this early hour? Look at those rain droplets on my windscreen. Does Wendy really think it is a good day to go out? Oh, I remember now, we are off to the Bay State Antique Auto Club Show. Being 30, my memory isn’t always that keen, but I do remember that the show is in Dedham, Mass., and that is a short drive. This day may turn out to better than I thought. I will get a chance to show off my shapely body in Class J with all the other foreign cars. I wonder if I will be the only Mini there and whether I will be parked by a Bentley or other elegant foreign car.

Who do you think I saw at the show? Steve and Joyce Aoyama had their 1972 Morris Mini, parked just spaces away from me. That car is special because it has a DOHC Honda VTEC engine. Show attendees always flock around that vehicle and ask lots of question because of its uniqueness. It, like me, is a crowd pleaser.

This, however, is not a show judged by peers. Upon arrival, car owners who wanted their cars judged, were asked to fill out a form and were given a number to put on their dash. Then a group of knowledgeable judges inspected each of the cars completely. They were looking for quality, original cars.

How did I do? Not so well. The two judges inspected my interior and even climbed under my belly to look at my undercarriage. I rarely bathe there, so I hope it looked clean. At least I know that I am not rusted underneath.

The judges chatted with Wendy, having a few questions for her. Mainly they appeared to be curious about who had done my restoration. They were looking for original parts and remarked that my USB port and modern radio did not look authentic. I saw them note the locking gas cap and other parts that didn’t make me “original.” I was pleased that they did this, however. This kind of judging should occur at some car shows.

August 2023

[5-Aug_23_Datsun_Ferrari.jpg] A 240Z from Rhode Island made it into the ‘top 3’ in May’s class. And it’s a daily driver! Note Ferrari Dino in the background.
Photo by Wendy Birchmire

When other exhibitors choose the “People’s Choice” awards at shows, they often look at just the shiny cars and pick the one that looks best. At this show, judges knew the cars they were evaluating, and they had a checklist of items they were looking for.

These two judging methods have a place at car shows and I hope Wendy will take me to both kinds of shows. I like it when people admire me and winning an award is not the reason for being there.

Who did win my class? The three prizes went to (not in order) Marc Moreau from Lincoln, R.I., with his 1972 Datsun 240Z, Mark Adams from North Stonington, Conn., and his 1972 Citroën SM with its 5-speed Maserati engine, and Steve Gilbert, from Wayland, Mass., who brought his 1973 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS that had once been shown at the prestigious Misselwood Concours d’Elegance.

Wendy talked to Marc Moreau and thoroughly understood why his car was chosen in the top 3. It wasn’t the shiniest, nor did it really stand out from the crowd, but it was original and deserved the recognition that comes when cars are evaluated by someone who isn’t looking for the “pretty” car. Marc worked on his vehicle for 10 years and did all the restoration except for the paint job. He used over 400 NOS (new old stock) Nissan parts to keep the look authentic. He even kept a record of every piece he added to his vehicle.

Marc uses this numbers-matching Datsun as a daily driver and the mileage was over 269,000 miles today. This is the kind of car that deserves to be recognized at a judged show.

How did the day turn out? It was hot and humid, and my body got very hot, but I didn’t care. At least I was parked on the grass and not on asphalt.

The music blared and the many food vendors fed the hungry crowd. There were many sellers offering their auto related items. There was even a chance to tour the elegant Endicott House, but Wendy chose to stay by me. She appears to get nervous when she can’t see that I am safe. She leaves the doors open so spectators can see my interior, but that also invites small children to climb in. While she did change the “Do Not Touch” sign that each car was given, to “Do Touch,” that didn’t include children with their dripping ice cream cones!

Several spectators asked to sit on my comfortable seats and have their picture taken. Wendy always agrees to that. After all, I am her daily driver and she wants others to appreciate me as much as she does. I hope she brings me back to the picturesque Endicott grounds for next year’s show.


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