March 2023

[1-Mar_23_Brownell.jpg] Bob Brownell’s 1963 Mini.
Photo by David Schwartz

Father’s Day in October
by David Schwartz

HOLLISTON, Mass., Oct. 16, 2022 — The annual Holliston Historical Society Car Show & Pancake Breakfast was postponed again last year, due to bad weather on its original date, Father’s Day. Fortunately, the October rain date was sunny with comfortable fall temperatures.

(I would be happy if all the major events were moved to early or late in the season to avoid the extreme heat and humidity of summer!)

One of the show organizers is former NEMO member Paul Saulnier. Paul sold all his Minis but owns other British cars. The Holliston event always attracts a good variety of British and other marques spanning Brass Era cars to current models.

I listed the show in this newspaper and on several different British car club Facebook pages. NEMO members Iain Barker and Bob Brownell attended with their classic Minis, as did many members of British Motorcars of New England (BMCNE) with MGs and Triumphs. It was a perfect top-down day, so I drove my 1950 Morris Minor Tourer.

Cars were parked on the Holliston Historical Society front and side lawns, along the driveway, and in the parking lot. Although the turnout was high, cars were not packed in too tightly. In addition to the Minis and my Morris Minor, British cars included MGs, Triumphs, Jaguars, Austin-Healeys, and Land Rovers. Iain, Bob and I invited kids to sit in our cars.

March 2023

[5-Mar_23_Saulnier.jpg] Paul Saulnier, creator of Mini Mouse, has a new hot rod -- with Jaguar V12 power.
Photo by David Schwartz

A 1969 Jaguar XKE had a large placard out front that told an amazing story. On April 8, 1969, the car was stolen from Corcoran Motors on Rt. 9 in Wellesley, Mass. It was recovered in New York in March 2015 and returned to the dealer’s heirs. I imagine there is much more to the story than would fit on the placard, but I was unable to locate the owner.

Several years ago, Paul Saulnier sold “Mini Mouse,” his classic 1964 Mini van hot rod that was powered by a rear-mounted 427hp Chevy V8 engine. Perhaps to cure seller’s remorse, Paul bought a new hot rod and brought it to this year’s show. From a distance, it looked like a slightly oversized classic Model A hot rod. On closer inspection, a Jaguar V12 engine jumped out at you, as there is no bonnet to hide the engine. This was a purpose-built car with no Model A DNA to be found. And I thought big Healey “Nasty Boys” were unusual!

My favorite American car was a 1958 Cadillac with tail fins and huge chrome bumpers, known as “Dagmars.” There was also a beautiful 1930 Chrysler Model 99. It sported enormous headlights, suicide doors, and wheels with wooden spokes.

March 2023

[4-Mar_23_Ferrari.jpg] 1950 Ferrari 195 Coupé was the Best in Show.
Photo by David Schwartz

The rarest car at the show was an impeccably restored 1950 Ferrari 195 Inter Ghia Coupé. This car was shown at the 2021 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and is not a vehicle one normally sees at a breakfast cruise. The owners live in Sherborn, so maybe they figured, why not drive it locally? Cars at this show were judged by people who work in the automotive industry, and it was no surprise that the Ferrari won Best in Show.

The Holliston show runs from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. There is no admission fee for cars or spectators. Historical Society members serve a full breakfast in the barn, including pancakes, eggs, cake and coffee. Proceeds from the breakfast are used to support the programs of the Society.

The 2023 show is back on the schedule for Father’s Day, and that will be June 18th. I hope to see you there.

January 2023

[2-Jan_Feb_23_Blanket.jpg] Yankee Swap! Dave Newman unwrapped a Mini-themed blanket. He didn’t get to keep it.
Photo by Chris Izzo

NEMO Holiday Party a Real Hit!
by Faith Lamprey

PUTNAM, Conn. — The NEMO Holiday Party was held at Black Dog Bar & Grille in Putnam on Saturday, December 3rd. If the place looked familiar, it’s because the restaurant was formerly called J. D. Cooper’s and we had gone there a number of times for our Holiday Party in past years.

Eighteen people gathered together in a private room and big smiles were everywhere as we greeted each other. Attending the event were Dave Black, Greg Mazza, Dave and Barbara Newman, Bob and Kathy Brownell, Lorine and Derick Karabec, Faith Lamprey and Bruce Vild, Nuala and Iain Barker, Chris Izzo, Thom Pickett, Dave and Jean Icaza, Phil Darrell, and new member John Disano.

The Holiday Party is one of the club’s favorite events and usually a raucous time ensues during the customary Yankee Swap. Last year we got together in a restaurant in December, but no private room and no Yankee Swap — so, while it was wonderful to see everyone, the Party was a bit more subdued. This year the Yankee Swap was back!

After a few cocktails we managed to get everyone to sit down for lunch before the start of the Swap. Lively conversations were overheard as many had not seen each other in a while. Once the Swap started everyone enjoyed seeing the gifts being opened, especially when one was “taken” from someone. Many gifts changed hands, some multiple times.

Everyone had a fun time and enjoyed seeing each other. We carried our gifts to the cars and continued our conversations in the parking lot. We really are a convivial group!

December 2022

[4-Dec_22_Blake.jpg] At the September C&C. Adam and Annica Blake brought their Lotus Elise and Austin Cooper S.
Photo by David Schwartz

LAAM Cars & Coffee Wrap-up
by David Schwartz

BROOKLINE, Mass. — The Larz Anderson Auto Museum (LAAM) held six free “Cars & Coffee” lawn events from May through October. I attended the May, August and September events, and wrote about the May event in the June newsletter. All were well attended, with cars filling both lawns and the parking area near the Museum entrance. I wish I had been able to attend all six.

The official C&C hours are 8:30 to 11:30, though many people show up early and leave before the end. Additional cars arrive throughout the morning, so the variety keeps changing. British cars were well represented at each event, as were unusual vehicles of various marques. The LAAM staff does not hand out windshield tags, so it is not always possible to identify a car’s year and model. I have been known to stake out cars until the owner shows up.

I promoted all the C&C events in the calendar, but NEMO member attendance was low. In September, Wendy Birchmire drove her 1993 Mini Mayfair and Adam Blake drove his 1967 Austin Cooper S. I brought my 1968 Mini Traveller in August and September. September was a full Blake family affair. Annica drove their 1999 Lotus Elise with the three children split between the Mini and Lotus.

My wife, Betty Lehrman, attended the September event and even wore a flowered Hawaiian shirt to match mine. Gary Hampton wore one of his car-themed Hawaiian shirts, so the three of us had to stage a picture.

Other British cars included Robert Fish’s 1968 MGB, Gary Hampton’s 1960 Triumph TR3A, a Lotus Elan, a Lotus Elise Series 2, a “Locost” Lotus 7 kit car, a 1933 Rolls-Royce, a 2016 Rolls-Royce Wraith, a Jaguar E-type, a 1974 Jensen Interceptor, a 1960 Morgan Plus 4, a TR6, and a 1980 Triumph TR8.

Robert’s MGB sported a “Skiers Make Better Lovers” license plate frame that dates to around 1970. He bought several of these frames, and the other ones were appropriated by his adult children. The Lotus Elan’s bonnet was removed, affording a view of the very clean engine. Betty agreed that the early generation Miata has a similar look to the Elan.

December 2022

[2-Dec_22_RR.jpg] David’s ‘season favorite’, a 1933 Rolls-Royce named ALBERT.
Photo by David Schwartz

The 1933 Rolls-Royce was my season favorite. The car is right-hand-drive, has a single sidemount on the driver’s side, black wire wheels, trafficators on the C-pillar, a sunroof, wooden dash and interior trim, and a six-cylinder engine. There were no modern license plates attached to the car, nor any year or model information.

I used a photo editor to enlarge the Massachusetts inspection sticker visible in one of my photos and was able read the license plate number backwards. The car is registered with the vanity plate ALBERT. A plate look-up on the RMV website showed 1933 as the year and “Sport” as the model. According to automotive author Dave LaChance, all Rolls-Royces were coachbuilt until the Silver Dawn of 1949.

I posted some photos and questions about the Rolls-Royce on the Arlington Classic Car Club (ACCC) Facebook page. This is a very knowledgeable group with over 300 members. Mark Diamond immediately responded that this very car attended a LAAM Cars & Coffee back in August, 2021.

To quote Mark, “It completely blew me away. I ended up having a conversation with the owner. This car was the pièce de resistance. I couldn’t stay away from it: a 1933 Rolls-Royce 20/25 with body by Connaught. Restored by its English expat owner and in superb shape. The engine started right up, ran like a clock and was surprisingly quiet for 1933.” Mark owns a Peugeot 504 and is an equal opportunity fan of any great car.

Noteworthy non-British cars included a 1932 Auburn 8-100A custom that has appeared at the Misselwood Concours d’Elegance, a 1937 Oldsmobile F44 sporting an external windshield visor, a massive 1941 Buick Roadmaster four-door convertible, a 1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietta, a 1989 Trabant station wagon, a 1976 Volkswagen Camper Van, a 1972 Citroën SM, a 1985 Merkur XR4Ti (when was the last time you saw one of these?). A Tesla owner with a sense of humor had two Duracell “Z” size batteries mounted under the bonnet.

There was a well-preserved mid-’50s Chevy Corvette. I had never noticed the Space Age styling of the early Corvettes, especially the rocket fins on top of the rear fenders and small chrome bullets on the front and rear bumpers.

December 2022

[3-Dec_22_The_Stig.jpg] The Stig keeps an eye on things.
Photo by David Schwartz

A Mexican-market, Volkswagen Van-based Work Truck was parked near the Museum entrance. The owner was very friendly and spent a while chatting and taking pictures of his companions pretending to clean the windshield of my Mini Traveller.

The September event featured a red 1991 Honda Beat, and a yellow 1993 Honda Beat. The Beat is a kei car manufactured from 1991 through 1996. Kei is short for “light automobile” and must meet Japanese regulations limiting their physical size and engine size. I had never seen a Beat before and don’t believe the owners knew each other. Quite a coincidence to see two of them.

Betty really admired a Citroën 2CV Charleston in a red-and-black paint scheme. I told her this model is on my “short list.” Buying one is fine with her, as long as I sell another car first. She hasn’t driven her Miata much in the last two years, so perhaps a swap is in order.

The Stig put in an appearance at the September C&C. For those not familiar with the British television show Top Gear, the Stig is an anonymous race car driver hiding behind a full-face helmet. The joke is that nobody knows who or what is inside the Stig’s racing suit. The Stig at LAAM never broke character and wouldn’t engage in conversation. I did convince him (her, they, it?) to strike a pose in front of Wendy’s Mini.

Prior to the COVID pandemic I frequently invited people to sit in my Mini Traveller. This was often a challenge to tall people to prove they would fit, and so kids could enjoy a car that was just their size. There were so many enthusiastic Mini fans that I reinstated photo ops (being outdoors and quadruple vaccinated also helped). Some of the kids were so cute that I couldn’t resist taking my own photos, and I have a great picture of two young kids in “the wayback” sitting on my British flag carpet and waving a British flag.

LAAM Cars & Coffee is a free event, including free espresso drinks and Museum admission. I hope to see more NEMO members next season.


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