A British Car Day Adventure
By Sharon Tanihara (photos by Sharon Tanihara, Louis Galper, and Rick Snover)

On Sunday evening, as I recuperate from attending the October 1 British Car Day Show in Bonsall, I sit, marveling at how a little 47-year old sports car from another time and place could make attending a car show such great fun, and why I didnÝt start doing this years ago, since IÝve had the car going on 25 years now.

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(photos by Sharon Tanihara)

I know for most everyone else exhibiting their cars today, this show is just one of the many events they attend during the year. For me and my Healey, it was a big deal ˝ both the physical preparation of the car all week long and the mental psyching up it took to get in this car and go more than 10 miles away from home, on the freeway, no less!

I guess the passage of time and recent life events have made me realize itÝs time to start using and enjoying my beloved Healey before the DMV retires my license because too many birthdays have come and gone, or I just canÝt scrunch down to get in and out of the car any more.

This recent realization has motivated me to 1) have major mechanical repair work done on the car, with it being away from home for 5 months, 2) join the San Diego Austin Healey Club, 3) re-join the Austin Healey Association and 4) buy a complete set of back issues of the AHCUSA Healey Highlights/Austin Healey Magazine.

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(photos by Sharon Tanihara)

Reading some of the articles in the back issues about various club membersÝ adventures in preparing for cross country trips or journeys to major meets in far away locations has been enlightening and encouraging ˝ even those with major mechanical ability and near-perfect 100-point cars have problems of one sort or another that crop up both before and during their trips. ThatÝs why I donÝt feel so bad that while going to buy gas the night before Bonsall, I was stuck in a left turn lane on a major street with no engine or fuel pump sound, no lights and what turned out to be a disconnected battery cable. That cable had been carefully tightened down earlier in the day when the entire trunk was dismantled, cleaned out and lined with a new trunk liner kit I bought a year ago and re-stocked with every spare part, catalog, manual and took kit I own. It seems such occurrences are a way of life with an Austin Healey, but for once, luck was with me. A fellow car enthusiast, the owner of the local pet store, was on his way home, saw me sitting there in the dark with no power, whipped a U, pushed me out of traffic and diagnosed the problem! Thanks, Dennis!! He, of course, had the one thing I didnÝt have in my trunk ˝ a flashlight. Perhaps such strokes of luck and coincidence are also a part of the Austin Healey experience.

Back to the car show in Bonsall ˝ it was a really pleasant event ˝ lots of British cars of all makes and models in a beautiful setting, with the daily driver just as welcome as a rare and unusual one-of-a-kind.

It was nice meeting several members of the San Diego Austin Healey Club whose names and pictures I had seen in the sample issues of the newsletter sent to me before I joined. It was the newsletter that made me decide to join the club ˝ lots of interesting personal and technical articles, ads for parts and services, and lots of flyers for upcoming events, many of which are in scenic locations close enough to home to make a pleasant dayÝs outing.

It was great seeing all the other Healeys, too, everything from daily drivers like mine to concours winners, all with proud and happy owners enjoying a day in the sun. One of the benefits of joining the club was seeing other Hundreds and picking up information on everything from nuts, bolts and tools to what can, should and shouldnÝt be done to restore and improve the car. Special thanks to Curt Arndt for much of that information, and his observation that a mostly original, un-restored car can offer a lot of information and sometimes be more interesting than one that is in perfect condition. That, plus the fact that in its current state, dings and scratches are not a concern while driving the car around town made me appreciate my Healey all the more and resolve to use and enjoy it more in the future. 

So, this Sunday evening, as I review the last weekÝs flurry of activity readying the car and look forward to receiving the next issue of the Healey Hearsay with its listing of upcoming events, many thanks to British Car Club Council and the Austin Healey Club of San Diego for making a dayÝs outing in my Austin Healey a great adventure!


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Sue Dunn mans the award-winning AHCSD regalia booth (photo by Louis Galper)
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President Loreen Wilhelmy accepts our Best Club Display award (photo by Rick Snover)
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Bob Humphreys, Co-Best In Class ˝ Big Healey
(photo by Rick Snover)
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Warren Voth, Co-Best In Class ˝ Big Healey
(photo by Rick Snover)
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Sandy and Mark Leon, Best In Class ˝ Sprite
(photo by Rick Snover)
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Barb Humphreys, Best In Class ˝ Jensen
(photo by Rick Snover)

Some 300 cars entered the show, and 461 (paying) walk-ins attended. Both are new records for the event! Congrats to the SDBCCC, the Humphreys, Warren, and Sandy, as well as AHCSD member Fred Casey whose British Ford also won. Watch for Steve Kirbys article in an upcoming issue of British Car Magazine. Ed.