British motoring enthusiasts will roll into Ladysmith Sunday, July 14, as hundreds of British cars and motorcycles converge on Transfer Beach Park for Brits on the Beach.
The “all-British car and motorcycle event,” hosted by the Central Island branch of the Old English Car Club of British Columbia (OECC), returns to Ladysmith for its 14th year with a bigger-than-ever selection of exotic roadsters and classic cruisers.
OECC member Steve Wareing said the show attracts, on average, 200 vehicles every year, but with the OECC’s annual general meeting scheduled to take place in Nanaimo July 12-13, event organizers are anticipating their biggest turnout to date.
Car clubs from across Vancouver Island are regular participants in the festival, Wareing said, drawing significant numbers of Jaguars, Minis, Austin-Healeys, MGs and Triumphs to the event every year.
Alongside Britain’s most popular automotive brands, festivalgoers are likely to encounter more rare and exotic cars from the likes of Rolls Royce and Bentley, Wareing added, and a selection of bikes from Triumph, Royal Enfield, BSA, Norton and Vincent, but organizers won’t know what the final lineup will look like until the day of the festival.
“Sometimes you’ll get someone who brings a car I haven’t seen in decades,” Wareing said. “It’s always interesting to see what turns up.”
Wareing owns a 1972 MGB GT that he acquired in 2007. He’s since welded new sills onto his car before having it repainted. That experience offered him an appreciation for how much time and energy owners invest in maintaining and restoring cars in their collections.
Some of the cars on display at Brits on the Beach will be complete restorations in near-mint condition, Wareing said, while a select few will bear the telltale signs of long yet careful use.
“A couple of years ago, out of the blue, we saw a 1926 Bentley Roadster,” Wareing said. “A huge, huge roadster. The owner drove it up from Victoria. It had been in his family since 1936. It was his grandfather’s car, then his father’s car and then his. I couldn’t even guess at the value of the thing, but it was so neat that it had been in the family for so many years. And the other thing was: it hadn’t been restored as such. It was used, so there were some dents on it and some scratches on it and the paint wasn’t that shiny, but the beautiful thing about it was that it was used. In other words, it wasn’t just made to look nice and then put in a museum somewhere. It’s actually on the road.”
Wareing encourages anyone who owns a made-in-the-U.K. car, truck or motorcycle to bring it down to Transfer Beach Park for the show regardless of the car’s make or current state of repair. And car owners in search of rare parts or memorabilia are invited to explore the event’s buy, sell and trade market.
Entrance to Brits on the Beach is free for both the general public and for collectors hoping to show off their vintage British coupes and roadsters. The event runs from 10 a.m. until “3 or 3:30 p.m.” Wareing said, with the Ladysmith Lions Club offering food and refreshments onsite.
For more on the OECC and Brits on the Beach, visit OECC’s website at http://oecc.ca/cib/brits_on_the_beach.htm.