The Grand Strand British Car Club is ready to roll with its own festival on Saturday, and some Union Jacks blowing in the breeze might be in fashion that day among such makes as Austin Healeys, Jaguars, Lotuses, MGs, Morgans and Triumphs from the 1950s-‘80s.
The club will have its inaugural car show 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdayat Jackson and Hackler streets in The Market Common in Myrtle Beach, near the south end of the city’s Valor Memorial Garden.
Rod Smith, the club’s car show committee chairman, said he and colleagues see the potential for this gathering to grow into a tradition as “one of the premier British car events in the Southeast.”
He said he and his wife enjoy visiting other British car shows in the region, such as a winery’s annual affair.
“It’s really great seeing all these Easter-egg-colored cars parked on the rolling hills,” Smith said, “with the vineyards and everything.”
Smith spoke of one of their favorite shows situated in a place with gift shops, eateries and other amenities “so it’s a package deal” for everyone – men and women – to each enjoy, especially for a husband who wants “to sit there and talk shop and talk cars all day along” and wife who might like to walk around the downtown stores and browse.
Question | How was the site selected for the Grand Strand British Car Club’s Britfest?
Answer | We have something unique here with Myrtle Beach, and The Market Common really combines a great meeting spot with the shops and restaurants. ... It appeals to ... families with kids who might come, and you have Oktoberfest that weekend. You have all these sensory perceptions coming at you. You have the beach, restaurants, walking and shopping. ...
We have been working on this for months, and we have more than 50 cars registered, and we have promises of another 15 or so.
Q. | How has the Myrtle Beach club grown?
A. | We started it in February 2010. It was a small group, maybe six of us, but it was amazing the people we started uncovering in the area. Everyone was just like me; they were members of the Charleston or Wilmington British car clubs, and some of us were members of both. We’ve been going to both clubs’ shows, but there was nothing the rest of the year. .. We quickly came up to about 60-some members, and we’ve been hovering in the mid-50s since then.
Shows like this will give you inspiration. ... We meet .. on the second Tuesday of the month at TBonz Gill & Grill in Myrtle Beach. We also have some drives and tech sessions. Tech sessions, for anyone from the outside in, to us are, “Let’s go over to someone’s house and change out his fuel pump.” That becomes a social session and get-together to have fun.
Q. | What’s the best time for you and other club members to cruise?
A. | Spring and fall are our peak times of year, because the weather is great. Some of these British cars have no air conditioning and little heat.
Q. | What makes British cars such a draw, besides their distinct, regal style?
A. | For everybody, it may be a different thing. For me, it was the first car I ever owned in high school. A lot of people in the club had British cars in high school or in their time in the military. A lot of our people are in their 50s, 60s and 70s, but one of our members is a Socastee High School senior. I think it’s just different strokes for different folks. ...
In recent years, the value of these cars has really started inching upward, and the collectible value of them has become a factor as well. It’s something we all enjoy, and it’s just fun to have as a hobby.
Q. | Is there a dominant color among models?
A. | There’s a lot of British racing green ... but it’s every color in the rainbow .. such as white, black, and different shades of blue and of bright yellow and dark yellow.
Q. | How has the James Bond movie series, with the special agent’s Aston Martin in such prominence, resonated with British car fans?
A. | I can remember as a kid, seeing the James Bond car at a big event I went to. It showed the license plate that would rotate, and the spinners that would come out and cut tires, and the ejection seat. That was such a cool thing. I saw one of those cars at the British Car Club of Charleston show a year or two ago. Those cars have gone up astronomically in value.
Q. | In the latest 007 movie, “Skyfall,” with Daniel Craig in his third adventure as Bond, how much did you cringe at the explosion of his lovely, historic car stored in his family estate?
A. | I can’t let my mind accept they really blew up that car. It has to be a trick, right?
Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.