1982 BMW 323i Baur

1982 BMW 323i Baur
Memorial Day 2010 First Drive 1982 323i BMW Baur Lapisblau M20 5 speed #4154 of 4595 made. The car was imported to California by Dietel Enterprises. I have since changed the wheels, installed the clear turn signal lenses, and I am in the process of installing a new cabriolet roof. I have to do something about those bumpers, too. :) I love this car! To see one of the reasons why, check my post "Score One For the Good Guys" on 6/26/2011.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

British By The Sea 2016: Harkness Memorial State Park Waterford Connecticut

Today was the 29th Annual British By The Sea (BBTS) Gathering* at Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, Connecticut.  It is one of my favorite local events, occurring at the start of the season on the first Sunday in June. Each year a different Marque is featured, and this year it is Rolls Royce and Bentley!

BBTS has grown into one of the premier British car events on the East Coast, and one of the largest.  Last year they had 378 cars on the show field, which by the way, is a gorgeous State park situated on Long Island Sound.  In addition to glorious gardens and expansive lawns, the park features a Newport-style 'cottage', otherwise known as the Harkness Mansion, built in 1907.  The 'cottage' is actually a 42-room Renaissance Revival mansion.  Edward Harkness was the heir to the oil fortune of his father who had invested in John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil.  It is available for weddings and special events, and it is generally booked solid every year! 

This year, as an added feature in the "These Guys Think of Everything Department", we were treated to some authentic British weather, as you can readily see in the photos below.  Unfortunately, that tends to have a decidedly negative impact on the turnout, since lots of folks are reluctant to bring out their rust-prone British makes in 'rust-friendly' weather like we were blessed with today!  Not to mention the fact that the venue is only a few hundred yards from the Atlantic Ocean, with an abundance of salt-air breezes!  

Since I had a midday conflict with a family birthday party, I arrived early, just before the scheduled start.  And this is what I found:

London Fog Arrives for the British By The Sea Gathering!

This is the beautiful, expansive lawn that is the site of the 'Gathering'.  Pic was taken about 10 minutes before the officially scheduled start.   As you can see, there are plenty of parking spaces still available.  In the distance and to the right of the pic, beyond the specially-imported-for the-occasion London Fog, lies Long Island Sound. 

Always one of my favorites of the show every year.  

MG Saloon, not something you run into on  the streets over here very often.  

Ok, it is always nice to see an Aston-Martin.  Note the white signs in the background.  Each of those signs designates a different class or category of expected participants.  Largely empty at 10am.  Again, parking space is abundant, so come on down!  

The featured Marque of the event this year is Rolls Royce and Bentley.  This was the first example to arrive, shortly after 10am.  A Roller.  Body panels could use a little.... massaging, perhaps.  But still, it is a Rolls Royce.  This one evidently didn't make the cut for today's Greenwich Concours down state, so this event may have been its 'safety school', so to speak.  

Hopefully, these spaces will get filled in as the day goes on, although the weather is predicted to deteriorate through the day.  

This is not to say that there were not some early, diehard arrivals, fog, heavy mist and light drizzle notwithstanding.  

 The event is sponsored by the MG Registry (and Triumphs too, I believe).  Normally this space would be chock-a-block with MGs.
The silence in the Austin Healey area was deafening.  But keep in mind that it is still early.  More cars are starting to filter into the lawn.

The first Land Rovers have arrived!  Yea!  

Lotus!  And Minis in the rear! 

This Lotus Europa was my highlight of the day, so far!  Notice the owner is about to drop the lid to cover up the engine, so I had to hustle around to the back to catch him before it dropped!  

Which I did.  Just made it!  :) 

But I mainly wanted to shoot these pics for my friend Rob 'The Hack Mechanic' Siegel, who has a project Lotus Europa in his garage, on blocks.  He takes a lot of ribbing for it, but I hope that this may serve as an inspiration or motivation.  It can be done!  

But as I walked around the car, I noticed one unusual feature that I thought Rob would especially  appreciate:  A 'hack' solution, with some... unintended consequences!  Please note the peculiar little cutout in the center of the 'bonnet".  (Wait.  Since this is a rear engine car, I guess that is technically the 'boot'.)  

Yeah.  your eyes aren't fooling you.  That is a softball inserted in that little channel.  Hmm.  So, you might ask, what is that softball doing in that channel?  My first thought, honest to God, was the Seinfeldian "a hole in one', from Kramer's seaside golf range!  So I asked the owner and his lady friend about it.  He said that the previous owner had that custom channel built in to provide additional ventilation to the cabin.  

So why is there a softball in there?  

Well, in this British-style weather, and in accordance with the Law of Unforeseen Consequences, this 'ventilation channel' turns into what I christened a combination 'ventilation-irrigation channel', soaking the cabin with road-generated precipitation!  So the softball serves as a kind of sink-stopper, plugging the hole to reduce the 'interior irrigation' effect!  ;)  He is looking for something 'more mashable' that might better fit the channel, since there is still some leakage around the softball.    

Here are some other early arrivals of interest:

Webasto roof.  Who doesn't love these Minis! 

The 'new ' Minis were assigned a slot behind the original Minis.  As they should be.  


Gotta love this.  I caught this pic as he arrived on the field. 

 "No job too small."  ;)
This Jaguar XJ-S was for sale, but the owner was taking it out for a test drive with a prospective buyer as I approached, so I didn't get to see the asking price.  It is not the legendary E-Type, of course, and it never will be.  But top down, it is a gorgeous car in its own right.

They drove away.  I think the seller believed he had a 'live one'.  I was preparing to leave at that point and, sure enough, I passed them going the other way about 10 minutes later out in Waterford.  I wonder if it sold.    

 Here are a couple of parting shots, around 11am, still showing vast expanses of open space on the show field.  On a sunny day, this lawn would be near to full by this time.

Here is one late arrival worth noting:  if I am reading the windshield card correctly, it looks like a 1969 Triumph Herald convertible.   I haven't seen one since James May drove an earlier model in the famous "Build and Race an Amphibious Car Challenge" on Top Gear (RIP) a few years ago.  'Captain Slow' installed a mast to the amusement of ----and unrelenting sarcasm and disdain from---  Carlson and Hammond.  If you recall, the challenge was a combination land/water race.  James immediately had a problem when the highway presented an overpass which required him to 'step' the mast, and incur a significant delay.  He was ultimately vindicated, although far behind, when both Hammond and Carlson sunk their vehicles, and he sailed his Triumph Herald to shore, and drove away!  He won!  :)  

For what it is worth, I left the show about 11am to attend my sister's birthday party.  As I exited, I passed numerous British vehicles on the road, headed for the BBTS, including a caravan of 5 vintage Land Rovers, another XJS, and numerous MGs and Triumphs.  So I trust that the turnout was greatly improved as the day wore on, and my pics may not give an accurate picture of the actual attendance.  I regret that I was unable to stay longer, but, c'est la vie.  Family comes first.

This is, year in year out, a great show!  I highly recommend it, without reservation.  If you are in the area, and you have an appreciation for British cars. put this show on your calendar for next year!  It is always held on the first Sunday in June.  Great show, great cars, great people and a great, great venue.    Bring your spouse, even those spouses who are not 'into' cars!  They will absolutely love Harkness Memorial Park:  the mansion, the grounds, the gardens and the beach!  Trust me on that! 

See you next year!  I will be there for sure!  ;)  


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