Watch Now: British Car Enthusiasts Meet in Bloomington | Local News
BLOOMINGTON – When David Davis and Abraham Lincoln rode the circuit together, their route featured a horse-drawn buggy, traversing muddy and rough roads at around 4 mph.
If only the judge and lawyer had access to a British roadster.
A glimpse of this reality was presented on Saturday afternoon, with around 80 vintage and modern English-made vehicles from brands like Aston Martin, Jaguar, Rolls Royce and Triumph on display on the lawn of the David Davis Mansion in Bloomington.
This year, the all-British Champagne British Car Festival motor show marked the 30th anniversary of the show and the 11th time it has been held at the mansion site.
The 2021 show was also its return after it was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Typically, the Illinois Flatland British Car Club has a three-day festival, including dinner parties, McLean County caravan rides, and award ceremonies.
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“To keep the thing alive we decided to have a one day event and see what happens. Come with your car and talk about British cars,” said IFBCC co-chair Alan Kleinschmidt . “Tell you what – we had a really good turnout. ”
As a result of this assignment, Kleinschmidt brought his 1960 MG MGA roadster to the show. MG was founded before World War I and is best known for its open two-seater sports cars. The MGA was built between 1955 and 1962.
Kleinschmidt bought his in 2008, but said he first became interested in British car brands after hiring an MG Midget while on leave after serving in the Vietnam War.
The Midget is a two-door roadster that developed less than 60 horsepower and was produced to compete with the Austin-Healey Sprite, another small but nimble roadster.
“I kind of fell in love with the cars at that point,” Kleinschmidt said. “And then when I came back, I bought one.”
He also owns a 1968 MGB that “traveled coast to coast” and Canada three times. Kleinschmidt met the original owner of this car at the 2018 show.
“I just ran into the guy and we started talking and found out it was his car,” Kleinschmidt said, adding that the owner gave him the original paperwork from when he bought the car in Springfield. “It was pretty cool.”
Kleinschmidt said what fuels his interest in vintage British cars is their history. His enthusiasm, he said, is also “an addiction.”
“There’s something about these little cars, I don’t know what it is, they kind of put you in the blood,” Kleinschmidt said. “I’ve had American cars too, but I’ve never had the same attachment I had with British cars.”
Kleinschmidt added that “unfortunately” many UK engine collectors and drivers “age as cars”.
To stimulate the interest of young car enthusiasts, the IFBCC invited sections of Boys and Girls Clubs to judge cars, and the North American MG Registry launched a program called “The Next Generation”.
Another way to get interested in vintage cars at a young age is by being close to someone who owns and drives them.
This is the case with Marc White, Danvers, and his son, Carter. Marc owns a vintage Porsche 911 and a vintage Porsche 928 – Porsche is a German car brand – but wanted to visit the show because “there are cars you just can’t see”.
Nonetheless, he said he bought his cars because “I wasn’t really a car guy growing up, but I kind of wanted to teach my kids how to work on things and use their hands.”
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Contact Timothy Eggert at (309) 820-3276. Follow him on Twitter: @TimothyMEggert