August 2016

SHOP TALK

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Through the Windscreen

LOG 36 Lotus National Meet

August 5 – 7

Ragtops & Roadsters is proud to be a Silver Sponsor of this national Lotus Owners Gathering. In just a couple of days, from August 5th through the 7th over 200 Lotus cars and their owners will gather in Princeton, NJ. to celebrate and enjoy everything LOTUS! Laura and Karl Darby will debut their 1962 Lotus Super Seven fresh off a full frame up restoration by Ragtops & Roadsters. This is a multi-day event that will include rallies, tours, tech sessions and a show at Washington's Crossing PA. on Saturday and at the Grounds for Sculpture on Sunday. Onsite registration is available and this is expected to be a very well attended event. If you are a Lotus Owner or fan, this is one not to be missed!

New Hope Auto Show

August 13th & 14th

In June of 1966 the Ford GT40 took the top three places in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this remarkable achievement!  We are once again a proud sponsor of this show so stop by and visit our display on the show field. Domestic cars are featured on Saturday and European cars take the field on Sunday. Register your antique or classic car for just $40. Our judges will look it over and award a first, second, third, or honorable mention. Don’t wait too long, our field can only accommodate 250 vehicles each day – so register now.

Radnor Concours d' Elegance

September 9 – 11

The Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance encompasses three days of activities beginning with the Friday evening Barbecue, followed by the always popular Road Rally through the scenic countryside of Chester County on Saturday morning, culminating in a catered lunch. The Saturday evening Black Tie Gala, Silent Auction and Art Show Preview is the prelude to the main event, the Concours d' Elegance on Sunday. Each year, the Concours event, an invitation-only show, has a featured marque, a vehicle type or coachbuilder and a motorcycle make. The 2016 event will showcase over 20 of the most interesting and significant Lancia automobiles. To celebrate our 20th anniversary, over 20 previous Concours and First Class Winners will again grace the lawns of the Radnor Hunt Club along with the iconic 300 SL from Mercedes Benz. In addition to the wonderful four wheeled vehicles Radnor Concours also features motorcycles this year from the Land of the Rising Sun and Fast from the Past.

The event also includes Motorsport Park, providing local marque car clubs the opportunity to gather in an exclusive parking area close to the show field entrance on Sunday, as well as a Cars & Coffee gathering on Saturday concurrent with the road rally. The Marketplace area features a variety of both automotive and non-automotive merchants, and offering specialized shopping for concours attendees. Advance discount tickets for all activities are available online at www.radnorconcours.org and include the popular VIP Luncheon and the elite Chairman’s VIP reserved seating area overlooking the show field.

Technicians Needed

Ragtops & Roadsters, specialists in the restoration and repair of classic British vehicles, is accepting applications for skilled technicians. We have recently celebrated 26 years in business, with a growing client base of repeat and new customers (and their cars!). The work we perform is constantly varied, and provides interesting projects and challenges year-round. Our reputation for top-quality work is built on the talent of our team, and we are seeking that same high level of excellence and work ethic in the candidates for this position.

Our ideal candidates will have recent experience in mechanical assembly, fitting, repair and tuning. Must have very good mechanical ability and knowledge of engines, suspension, steering and carburetors. Fabrication and interior fitting skills are desired but NOT REQUIRED. We offer both full-time and part-time opportunities for skilled technicians who possess:
  • Strong Mechanical Aptitude
  • Great Attitude
  • Well-stocked Toolbox
  • 5+ Years Professional Experience
Please contact the Shop Manager or any of our management staff here at Ragtops & Roadsters – by email at shopmanager@ragtops.com, by phone at 215-257-1202, or stop by and see us!

British Car Calendar of Events

8/5–8/7   36th Annual Lotus Owners Group Meet “LOG 36”, Princeton, NJ
8/6   11th Annual Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car Show, Saratoga, NY
8/6   12th Annual PennyPacker Mills British Car Day, Schwenksville, PA
8/2–8/6   29th Annual Z Car Convention, Toronto¸ CN
8/4–8/6   Roadster Factory Summer Party, Armagh, PA
8/5–8/7   52nd Annual Das Awkscht Fescht, Macungie, PA
8/6 & 8/20   Cars & Coffee, Bucks County Exotics, Doylestown, PA
Saturdays   Katie's Cars and Coffee, Great Falls, VA
8/7   8th UK Car Day, Rochester, NY
8/9   Monthly Meeting MG Club of Philadelphia, Blue Bell, PA
8/10–8/13   Austin Healey “Encounter”, Wilmington, DE
8/13–8/14   New Hope Auto Show, New Hope, PA
8/15   Austin Healey Sports & Touring Club Monthly Meeting, Lansdale, PA
8/16   Delaware Valley Triumphs GTR, North Wales, PA
8/19–8/21   Pebble Beach Concours, Pebble Beach, CA
8/20   Perkasie Under the Stars, Perkasie, PA
8/21   DVJ Breakfast Social, Spring House, PA
8/21   DVR AACA Summer Picnic, Bluebell, PA
8/27   Ford Racing Total Performance! Simeone Museum, Philadelphia, PA
8/28   Cars and Coffee Steel Stacks, Bethlehem, PA
8/28   27th Annual “A Taste of Britain” Polo Match, Rothsville, PA

Complete 2016 calendar PDF now available HERE!

We make our best attempt to provide a thorough and accurate listing of relevant events; however, changes in the details may not always be reflected in time. Please always double check the organizers website as you make your plans. 

In the Shop Now

TVR  Vixen 2500

by: Dave Jago, Shop Manager

In 1947 TVR started production just after the war. TreVoR Wilkinson produced some exciting sports cars with an emphasis on handling and performance. Over the years, different established British and American power-plants and gearboxes were fitted to their tube chassis while TVR kept a large part of their suspension design in-house. In 1970, to comply with emissions regulations, the Triumph TR 6 engine with stock Stombergs was chosen for the Vixen. This performance built, Weber powered tri-carb Vixen with a modern 5-speed came into the shop for a safety inspection where we found a badly worn rear upright.  More power can result in extra suspension wear! Unfortunately no replacements are available so our metal shop repaired this cast aluminum part to better than original specification. Soon this modified Vixen pocket-rocket will fly again!

In the Rearview

USA 7s Track Day

by: Dave Hutchison

Our "Track Day" on the Lightning Circuit at the New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, NJ proved to be a fantastic weekend and a good learning experience. This event was very well organized by USA7s.org members, Tom Gavel and Michael Johnson. They also hold memberships at the New Jersey Motorsports Park so we were their guests for the weekend. 20 Sevens filled the grid once again to kick off this two day event.  All drivers must have a 2010 Snell certified helmet and arm restraints. Cars can have stock three point belts, or a full racing five point harness and all cars must pass a tech safety inspection. What is nice about this track day is we have our own run group of just Lotus based Sevens, so we have similar track performance. (No big block Vettes breathing down your neck) My son Ryan, a technician here at Ragtops & Roadsters carefully checked over our Birkin Super Seven to make sure we had done everything to have a good weekend.  After a mandatory drivers meeting where we were reminded that all drivers must obey the point-by passing rule and keep an eye on the flag stands and corner workers (more about that later), we finished preparing the car for the track. We removed anything loose in the cockpit, unbolted the spare tire, double checked that the bonnet latches were tight, set up our cameras and we were off!  Ryan and I alternating the four session throughout each day. Our USA 7s Group consisted mostly of injected Caterhams, many with highly tuned engines, full roll cages and racing slicks. Our street stock carbureted car was a bit slower but still fun!
There was a quick WCM Ultralite powered by Honda S2000, a Westfield powered by Mazda and 3 Ford powered Birkins our being an original narrow track car and yes no original Lotus Sevens?  When I first took to the track, I did ask myself "What am I doing out here on street tires, as I felt a little unsure of braking zones and my choice of racing lines.  After a bit, it started to come back as both Ryan and I began to feel more comfortable with the car at speed.  By monitoring tire temperatures and experimenting with different jetting in the Webers we both found more speed (about 4 seconds per lap) compared to last year!  Now, I did run out of track in turn 1 on Saturday afternoon and had an unplanned off track excursion where I cracked the aluminum oil pan, that resulted in a oil drip every 39 seconds or as we calculated a little less than 2 drips per lap. So, Ryan fabricated a Birkin diaper and we watched the oil level.  Our lap times steadily got better and I had my best session midday on Sunday. as found that I was out all alone running on black flags! I was concentrating so hard on my driving line, I soon asked, "Where did everybody go?" then I realized the session had ended and was the only one out!  I was later told that they were called "victory laps" as everyone has done it! Both Ryan I were feeling more comfortable in the car late Sunday afternoon as he entered into turn 7 with a bit too much speed and spined into the grass on the inside ending up pointed in the right direction! No damage done however he did earn the Golden Skid Marks award at the dinner on Sunday night and all I got was an oily rag! I did say it was learning experience, so for next year we NEED a sump guard, 13 inch wheels with racing slicks, five point belts, and better outside mirrors. We both remembered that are just racing against ourselves and we both had blast, made new friends, and maybe in 2017 we can find a couple more seconds!

If you have a Lotus Seven come out and join us at NJMP on the 4th of July weekend!

Comedians in Car Getting Coffee

Click here to see the pearl white TRIUMPH TR3A In the Season 8 finale of "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee", as Jerry Seinfeld and John Oliver (The Daily Show, Last Week Tonight) go for a coffee and comedy run in a 1959 Triumph TR3A restored at Ragtops & Roadsters. Many thanks to friends Bill and Dotti Neidhardt.

Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix

By: Pete Rohrbacher
A small contingent of Ragtops & Roadsters enthusiasts ventured westward for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix and associated car shows on July 15th through July 17th. We were accompanied on our sojourn by a Jaguar Series 1 Coupe and an AC Ace Roadster that have recently undergone restoration at the shop. Upon arrival on Friday the 15th the Ragtops tent was erected and the E-Type housed, while the trailers found appropriate parking in an auxiliary lot at our hotel.
Saturday dawned bright and sunny and the Ace found its way through the Pittsburgh streets to Schenley Park and the field for the British car show. We were classified as “Mixed British” and took our place on the field between the MGBs and big Healeys just two rows in front of the Ragtops & Roadsters  tent with a BRG E-Type Coupe on display. A quick look around confirmed the immense size of the show with British cars of every marque as far as the eye could see; and the British show was just one of six simultaneous  shows that day covering a full square mile, more than any one person could take in!
Spectators at the shows had the added entertainment of race practice for the various classes being conducted all day long on the circuit overlooked by the show fields. The crowds of spectators came through the tent and down the show field aisles in steady streams throughout the day. By evening everyone was pretty hoarse from answering questions and making new acquaintances. At the day’s end, the tent was buttoned up and the AC Ace was driven back through Carnegie Mellon and Pittsburgh University to its trailer garage amid many stares from curious onlookers. A quick shower and an excellent dinner in downtown Pittsburgh’s Market Square provided a relaxing and fitting end to Saturday’s events.

Sunday was another beautiful day which started early for us with another quick blast through Pittsburgh to install the Ace in the R&R tent with the E-type for race day. We took turns manning the tent and wandering off to the hilltop to watch the races. The race course is unusual for modern times in being composed of streets in the park which are blocked off to normal traffic for race week. The overall effect is like a time warp back to racing in the early 1950’s when this was a common (although dangerous) practice. The popularity of the approach is undeniable as the event has grown each year since its inception in 1983 and now encompasses a full week of activities and celebrations. On race day a party like atmosphere prevails in the spectator areas and it seems as if all of Pittsburgh has turned out for the fun. The protocol runs from air conditioned catered tents for lavish private parties to an ice filled cooler parked under a tree for a party of one (or two).
Racing consisted of eight classes; from pre-war vehicles to those classed by displacement from under 1 liter to a maximum of 4 liter machines. Classes are included for sports cars as well as full racing chassis such as formula Ford cars; in other words, something for everyone. The racing is fairly competitive but everyone seems to keep the rarity of the machines in mind and refrains from getting overly aggressive. The size limits on displacement keep the lap speeds in a range that is appropriate for the course with the fastest average speeds just about 60 mph. The numerous tight turns provide great observation spots for the more avid spectators and the assault on the ears from all over the course is a constant reminder of what’s going on. All too soon the event wound down late Sunday and it was time to disassemble the display, load the cars, and head back east for the start of another week.

DVT Picnic

by: Bob DeLucia

Forty five members of Delaware Valley Triumph Club braved the hot elements on Sunday to attend the annual DVT summer picnic hosted by Dave and Charlene Hutchison, in Quakertown, PA. Although many wimped and drove modern (AC!), twelve DVT members sweltered and drive their classics in close to 100 degree temperatures.
As mentioned, this was the hottest DVT summer picnic in a long time. Fortunately the pool was open at ClubHutch, and many members took advantage of that, or just put their feet in. Whew! There was lots and lots of food, and Dave also grilled chicken, hamburgers, and hot dogs provided by DVT. Desserts were plentiful (though there was a disturbing lack of chocolate present). Many interesting pints of BYOB were seen and disposed of, as well as a Martini station provided by one young (well, actually old) actor. There was good 60's and 70's music in the background, and the appropriate car racing on the TV's. There was even an appearance by the youngest DVT member, Reed Hutchison, 14 months old, in his red Triumph Italia replica..
Parked in the cul de sac were the following cars.  Four TR6s, an E-type, a Sunbeam Tiger, Spitfire, TR250, TR 250 (Supercharged!) TR8, Fiat Spider, Nissan 300 Z and a Tesla Model S and yes, an assortment of other German air-conditioned cars! In the garage/picnic area was a Triumph Italia 2000, and a Birkin Super 7. Once again, a wonderful job setting up and hosting by our gracious hostess and host, Char and Dave
Ragtops & Roadsters is here to help out during the summer driving season. Maybe it's time to take care of those maintenance, restoration, preservation, and upgrade needs on your car's wish list? Click here to send an e-mail to dave@ragtops.com or call us 215-257-1202 to schedule an appointment. We are now scheduling appointments in July and August.  Click to see our Works In Progress page on our website. Also, we have recently listed more of our client's British cars looking for new homes, see current listings on our For Sale page.

Happy Motoring!
Dave & the Staff at Ragtops & Roadsters.
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