March 29, 2008 - New Orleans Car Show

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Memphis contingent said *"/Laissez les bons temps rouler!/" at the British Motoring Club of New Orleans' 18th annual car show.

BSCC members Tim Hayes, Jack & Janey Reynolds, along with Jim & Sharon Duke all took class honors at the BMCNO annual British Car Show March 29th. Tim Hayes' Austin A30 won 1st in the small sedan class, Jack Reynolds' 1967 MGB took 3rd in the chrome bumper MGs, and Jim Duke's 1977 MGB also went home with 3rd in the late rubber bumper class of MGs.

Although interrupted by a couple of rain showers, the 2008 edition of the New Orleans show drew more than 100 British cars of many stripe, from late model Jaguar sedans and roadsters to hot rod Minis and a hotrod Sunbeam Tiger (Ford 427 shoe-horned into that beast). Some unusual cars made an appearance - a delightful 1967 Marcos, a pair of MGTD race cars, a 1949 Triumph rumble seated roadster, a Woolsey, and a Riley Elf.

The highlight, for me, was a 1980/68/78 MGB. The odd model year is easily explained - the owner a 17 year-old girl from New Orleans (she wasn't present; she was in Oklahoma visiting a college). Her dad explained that he had all of his three children restore their driver cars, and his youngest daughter was about halfway through doing her 1980 MGB when Katrina arrived.

They had a great photographic 'story board' that depicted the car before Katrina and a couple of shots after the flood waters subsided. A pole was erected alongside the car with a 'high-water' mark illustrating that the car was under about 5 feet of flood water. The 'after' photos showed a car that I think should have been taken out back and put out of its misery; what a mess!

The young lady, however, wanted to redo the car. A friend donated a 1978 body onto which she transferred the salvageable parts from her 1980 MGB. She mounted the body on a rotisserie, did the bottom, top, and sides. Then installed suspension and front cross-member from a 1968 parts car; painted the car a nice BRG herself, installed high performance engine parts a boombox stereo, cruise control, and air conditioning.

The photos on the 'story boards' were convincing and heart warming. After putting her energy and money into the 1980, she wasn't defeated by Katrina. Instead, she took a sow's ear and created a prize-winning car that her dad says she really loves to drive. And, she is just 17 years old (and pretty if her photos are to be believed)!

The Reynolds and Duke cars joined two MGBs from St. Louis en route to N.O. A leisurely drive down the Natchez Trace led to a late afternoon picnic following a visit to Tony's seafood in Baton Rouge, then into the Big Easy. We had elected to not stay at the host hotel, we wanted something closer to the French Quarter. The Intercontinental Hotel was more than accommodating to our classic British iron - rather than being subjected to the perils of valet parking, we were allowed to park out front under the hotel's marque; well under the protective eye of the hotel's valet staff. Our cars were not only kept protected, but served as a visual focal point for hotel guests and passersby who often gathered to admire the four pieces of British rolling art.

We were reassured to confirm that Katrina hasn't diminished New Orleans' reputation as a wonderful city to visit. The often noisy but always colorful French Quarter and flavorful restaurants were as notable they have always been. So, next year let's all head down river to proclaim, **"Laissez les bons temps rouler!/" - Jim Duke

 3/08 New Orleans Car Show

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