SPEEDVISION – Fifth Annual Hunt Country Classic – Part II
by Walt Pietrowicz (photos by the author and Louisanne Pietrowicz)
Middleburg, Va., Oct 26 — For the fifth annual Hunt Country Classic, 209 cars in 23 different classes--including an invitational "Prince of Wales Class" for rare and unusual British automobiles produced before 1965--decorated the lawn of Svea Farm, the home of gracious hosts Barbara and Bill Scott.
While a popular vote would determine first-, second- and third-place winners in each class, the eight Prince of Wales class participants were exempt from the formal voting, with each owner receiving a handsome plaque and complimentary bottle of wine for attending. This exquisite group was made up of a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and 20/25 Limo, Jag XK150, Morgan Plus 4 Drophead, MG TC, the rare MG VA, Triumph 1800 with rumble seat and Riley RMD.
And if you think these Prince of Wales cars were just static objects on a pedestal to be gawked at, Ed and Judy Herman recently enjoyed a trip across the big pond, where they rediscovered the art of "motoring" as they cruised the English countryside in their '58 Morgan Drophead. A visit to the Morgan factory was a must said Ed Herman, "and meeting one of the original craftsmen who actually worked on this particular car's interior was a special highlight."
The Morgan automobile is currently produced today using many of the anachronistic methods that car manufacturers left for dead on the side of the road decades ago. Their sports cars are still hand-built, custom automobiles framed in wood (ash) and wear a traditional style and design dating back over 60 years. "It's obvious that changes don't happen very quickly at Morgan." noted one Morgan owner. Manufacturing approximately 500 units a year, Morgan's appeal is validated by its waiting list of four to five years.
John C. Bay's RR Limo 20/25 is still on active duty, operating as a hired limo. After zooming in to photograph the Flying Lady hood ornament, a.k.a. "The Spirit of Ecstasy," John noticed my interest in the RR detail. He quickly produced a less eye-catching hood ornament known as a "lunch cap," a screw-on replacement to prevent the possible unwanted disappearance of the Flying Lady. The Rolls' proud owner also pointed out neat appointments like the drawer under the front seat, twin Claxon horns and the monocle headlamps--probably the first high beams. Also explained was the mystery behind the two different colors (either red or black) used by Rolls Royce for the "RR" lettering predominately displayed on the face of the radiator cowling. I thought the different colors distinguished the RR's assembly in Springfield, Mass., versus those constructed in England. John corrected my misinformation, pointing out that red was the official color until Henry Royce's death in 1933, after which the lettering was changed to black.
As I perused the MGBs, TR4s, E-Types and a clutch of petite wood-trimmed Morris Minor Travelers, every owner was more than willing to spend hours revealing any and all secrets about his or her "baby." The many hours spent restoring their mechanical love, how the car was found hidden from view and rescued from a rusty death, and of course, hordes of before and after photos. This is the way you find out that Jaguars manufactured for sale in England are devoid of the "big cat" decoration on the hood (or as the English call it, the bonnet), due to safety concerns.
The arrival of a 7400-pound Rover Armored Patrol Vehicle's painted in camouflage colors turned heads, and definitely offered a contrast to the shiny metallic skins that were constantly being dusted off in hopes of garnering one more popular vote.
The awards ceremony completed the day with 51 first-, second-, and third-place awards given out to the popular winners each class. There were also two special awards. The "Mayor's Choice" was delivered by Tim Demos, the mayor of Middleburg, and presented to Greg Weldy for his immaculate '67 Jaguar XKE. The "Ambassador's Choice" was presented by Robert N. Peirce, the counsellor at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., to Tom Maslin for his 1960 Jaguar MkII.
Car shows are about cars, the people who love cars, and the car stories that bring both together. The Hunt Country Classic had an abundance of all the above. I walked away with an appreciation of a special time when a "King Dick Spanner" (British for adjustable wrench) and a good hammer were the only tools you carried, a Shooting Brake was a special bodied Rolls Royce version of a 1920s SUV, and that if it isn't leaking oil, it isn't British. With the MG Car Club Washington, D.C. Centre celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2001, next year's party should be just smashing!
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