Jaguars, Triumphs, Austins and Bentleys are just a handful of the colourful British cars that will be on display next weekend at Transfer Beach.
Plans are well underway for the 12th annual Brits on the Beach car show Sun., July 15 at Transfer Beach.
This year, the Central Island Branch of the Old English Car Club is receiving support from local sponsors Little Valley Restorations, Ladysmith and District Credit Union and 49th Parallel Grocery, which greatly assist the club in maintaining Brits on the Beach as a free event for both the public and the drivers.
“One of the really good things about the show is it’s free,” said Steve Wareing, a member of the Old English Car Club who co-ordinates Brits on the Beach with Adrian Rice. “We don’t charge for the public, and we don’t charge for drivers. The venue is the best of any that I’ve ever seen. We’re lucky to have [the sponsors].”
This year’s Brits on the Beach show celebrates the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the MGB and the Triumph Spitfire.
“MGBs, they made more than half a million of them, and North America was a big market for British car manufacturers in the 1960s and into the 1970s,” said Wareing, who owns a dark green 1972 MGB GT.
Wareing says Transfer Beach is a great venue for a car show because it is so family-friendly. If children aren’t quite as interested in the cars as their parents are, they can always go to the beach or the park, he noted.
Wareing says Brits on the Beach typically attracts about 200 cars and about 20 British motorcycles, and while it is hard to estimate the crowds, a conservative guess would be that 800 people typically view the show at Transfer Beach.
Car owners come from as far as Victoria and as far as Campbell River.
“For our car club, the Old English Car Club, we also have a branch in Victoria and in Comox and also in Vancouver,” said Wareing. “We typically get cars from our own branch, as well as other car clubs.”
Wareing says their car club has just over 100 members, and probably about 70 per cent of them were born in the U.K.
“It’s very typical in a way that when a lot of them are getting to retirement years, they have a bit more money than they used to have, and they buy the car they wish they had in their twenties,” he said. “When my car was built, I was 22, and I wish I had it then — it would have been a lot easier to get into.”
Wareing says there are usually a lot of minis, Rolls Royces, Land Rovers and all sorts of sports cars at Brits on the Beach.
“Last year at this show, the oldest car would have been a 1926 Bentley,” he said. “It was a beautiful car. It had never been restored. It was a huge roadster, an open two-seater, and we were lucky to have it because the owner brought it up from Victoria.”
Brits on the Beach starts at 10 a.m. and runs until about 3 p.m.
During the show, there will be six vendors who sell a variety of British-themed gift items, car parts, memorabilia and English and Scottish baked goods.
Music from the 1960s will also be playing throughout the car show.
There is no judging at this show because the cars are so varied, but there is lots of appreciation for the time the owners have put into their cars.
“I guess some owners can basically take them to restoration shops and $20,000 later have basically a new car, but most of us work in our own garages, and we maintain them as best we can,” said Wareing.
Wareing encourages everyone to come to Brits on the Beach on July 15, whether they know about British cars or not.
“It’s a good day out,” he said. “There are obviously car enthusiasts, but we try to run it so it’s family-friendly.”