December 2016
January 2017

SHOP TALK

Welcome new ShopTalk subscribers! 
We wish you Good Compression,
Smooth Shifting, Twisty Roads 
That Never End, and a Warm Heater!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

--From The Staff at Ragtops & Roadsters
Some boys get to have their big toys under the tree!
This message came in from Karl Darby this morning...

 "I just wanted to thank you for all the fine work that the Ragtops & Roadsters and Pollock Auto Restoration staff did on the Lotus Seven. The results speak for themselves as the car is beautiful.  Merry Christmas to you and your family.  
All the best, Karl Darby"  

Club Holiday Parties

It’s that time of the year when we put away our vintage British Cars and spend time with our families. For some of us, it is also time to celebrate with our ‘car families’. If you haven’t done so, I encourage you to look up your favorite car marque (maybe it’s the one in your garage?) and join with the many Holiday Car Club Parties that run through December and well into January. It can be an interesting time to meet others with the same passion; cars, and who knows “friends” could happen! Local chapters of the AACA as well as marque specific clubs from AC through TVR have been known to have get togethers this time of year, so why not join in the fun? Check out our calendar or Google your car and holiday party. They are out there!

2017 Philadelphia Auto Show

Soon the 2017 International Philadelphia Auto Show will be upon us and it will be held once again at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. We here at Ragtops & Roadsters plan to be there to support the AACA / Elegance at Hershey Exhibit on the red carpet near the Broad Street Entrance. The show kicks off with the Black Tie Gala on Friday night Jan 27th and runs through Sunday February 5th. Weekdays are the least crowded, so plan to come to the show and make sure you stop to see the collector cars! And yes, a couple of cars will be British! Click HERE for more information.

Simeone Museum "AC Retrospective"

Opening on February 18th and running through March 12th the Best of Britain, now in it’s sixth year, will feature an “AC Retrospective” at the Simeone Museum in Philadelphia. If you haven’t been to the museum and you are a fan of British cars, you should mark your calendar to attend this once-in-a-lifetime exhibition of AC Cars. We plan to have what could be the most complete collection of the “Thames Ditton” ACs from 1910 through 1983 in the museum for three weeks. Cars are coming in from all over the states to be part of this exhibition, so maybe you should join us this year!  Come out to see who put the AC in the AC Cobra! Click HERE for more info.

British Car Calendar of Events

Saturdays   Katie's Cars and Coffee, Great Falls, VA
12/1–4/22   “Amore della Strada” Italian Cars, AACA Museum, Hershey, PA
1/2   Cars & Coffee, Bucks County Exotics, Doylestown, PA
1/10   MG Club of Philly Monthly Meeting, North Whales, PA
1/14–1/22   46th Annual Barrett Jackson Auction, Scottsdale, AZ
1/15   Arizona Concours, Scottsdale, AZ
1/16   Austin Healey Sport & Touring Club Monthly Meeting, North Wales, PA
1/14   DeLorean Club Holiday Party, Branchburg, NJ
1/21   Delaware Valley Triumph Club 40th Holiday Party, Lansdale, PA
1/22   Delaware Valley Jaguar Holiday Luncheon Gwynedd, PA
1/28–1/29   Rolex “24 Hours of Daytona”, Daytona, FL
1/28–2/5   Philadelphia International Auto Show, Philadelpahia, PA

A Quick Look Ahead Through June

2/18–3/12   Best of Britain “AC Retrospective”, Simeone Museum Phila, PA
2/10–2/12   Boca Raton Concours, Boca Raton, FL
2/10–2/12   Atlantic City Car Show & Auction,  Atlantic City, NJ
3/10–3/12   Amelia Island Concours, Amelia Island, FL
3/17–3/19   JCNA Jaguar’s “AGM “, Vancover, BC
4/6–4/8   Barrett-Jackson Auction, Palm Beach, FL
4/21–4/23   Classic Motorsports “The Mitty”, Braselton, GA
4/23   Cars & Coffee Lehigh Valley, Bethlehem, PA
5/4   Pinehurst Concours de Elegance, Pinehurst, NC
5/6   22nd Annual Ragtops & Roadsters Spring Open House, Perkasie, PA
5/19–5/21   Import and Kit Car National, Carlisle, PA
5/19–5/22   LOG 37 Lotus Owners Gathering. Birmingham, AL
5/26–5/27   AACA Eastern Spring Meet, Huntington, WV
6/3   Cars and Motorcycles of England, Westtown, PA
6/3–6/4   Greenwich Concours, Greenwich, CT
6/9–6/11   “Elegance at Hershey”, Hershey, PA
6/18–6-24   Rolls Royce Annual Meet, French Lick, IN
6/24–7/2   Hemmings “The Great Race”, Jacksonville, FL

In the Shop Now

by: Mike Sinback, Shop Manager

This 1930 Austin Seven Special recently came into Ragtops & Roadsters. This Special is based on the Austin Seven and is powered by a 750cc engine with a four-speed gearbox. We have performed a full evaluation to look after some work our client will have us complete this winter. Along with a thorough safety check, on our list to repair is a leaking cooling system, find and sort out vibrations, and to modify the steering wheel with a quick release mechanism or hub to provide easier access.
I am told it is fun to drive!

In the Rearview

Before We Put 'em Away Run

Once again, on the last Sunday before Thanksgiving, we held the very popular “Before We Put em Away Run”. Drivers of all types of cars converged on Ragtops & Roadsters around 9 AM for a Shop Tour. Our technicians were there to speak about the 15 restoration projects we had in the building on what turned out to be the first cold morning of the season.

Several ABRR Teams also came out to support the check presentation to Tim Joyce representing the Synergy Project. Congratulations to all the ABRR participants for shattering past records as the ABRR Team collectively raised $35,538! Now that is 'driving for the kids'! After coffee and scones some 35 cars set out for a spirited drive to our sister shop, Pollock Auto Restoration.

We just learned that the founder of the Before We Put 'em Away Run has passed earlier this week. Our friend Robert Franz was a member of the Bentley Drivers Group when I first met him and his wife Ann many years ago. I joined the run and tagged along with a British car or two and he always welcomed our participation. As time went on and organizing the run became a burden, I offered to carry on and every year we run just before the snow flies. We knew Robert as a "Gentleman Driver" but I know he was much more than that; a friend, an uncle, a teacher, a historian, and a loving husband of 56 years. He will be missed!

Simeone Spirit of Competition

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of attending the fundraiser for the Simeone Museum known as the Spirit of Competition. Dr. Simeone has brought in David Hobbs, Brian Redman and Mario Andretti to name a few. This year’s honoree was again one of the greats from motorsports, Mr. Peter Brock. Racer, designer, author, pilot are also among this gentleman’s accomplishments. Standing next to CSX 2287, the first Cobra coupe that Mr. Brock is best known for, Dr. Simeone awarded him the ‘Spirit of Competition’ award on what turned out to be his 80th birthday! After a rousing round of Happy Birthday, directed by Fred Simeone, Mr. Brock blew out his candles by cleverly using an aerodynamic device, then sat down to be interviewed by his wife who asked all the right questions! As it turns out that like most of his contemporaries, his passion was ignited by a 1949 MGTC that he painted white so the car's livery would match the U.S. international racing colors! He went on to explain how, despite his young age, through persistence, he became a design student. When asked for his portfolio, he didn’t have any drawings with him, so he returned to his car, made some drawings in a notebook and presented this portfolio to gain admission to Art Center School in LA. In 1957 he became be the youngest designer at GM and had the good fortune to have his drawings picked by Bill Mitchel. Those drawings developed into the next generation Corvette! His talk was so riveting you could hear a pin drop! What a wonderful night!

"Amore della Strada"

On November 18th, I loaded up my Italia 2000 GT and headed west to Hershey. We had been invited to be part of an exhibit of Italian Cars and I was running late! With minutes to spare the back doors of the museum swung open and we slipped the last Anglo-Italian entrant into the 21 car and 7 motorcycles collection known as" Amore della Strada"(Love of the Road). I was honored to be part of this group of special cars and surprised to see that the photograph that was taken by Michael Furman was used by the museum to promote this exhibition that runs through April 22nd. Thank you Michael! Later that evening we attended the opening reception where Hank Hallowell announced the new Executive Director of the Museum, Jeff Bliemeister.  Jeff was the original curator back on 2003 when the AACA Museum first opened its doors and is returning from the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum. We wish Jeff much success in his new position at the museum! For more information about the Italian cars and bikes that make up "Amore della Strada" click here.

UK NEC Classic Car Show

Last September, I received a cell phone call from a fellow Italia owner Paul Harvey from the UK. I met Paul earlier this year when I traveled to England with friends from the Delaware Valley Triumph Club. It seems Paul was on a mission to gather together as many Italia owners as possible to come to the NEC in November to be part of the TR Register's Italia 2000 exhibition. The "NEC" as we call it, is the annual Classic Motor Show that is held at the National Exhibition Center and is Britain's largest indoor vintage motor show of car clubs, vendors, autojumble, and much more!  Paul went on to say "All you have to do is buy a bloody airline ticket and I will take care of the rest!" Ok. How can I refuse? Sounds like fun. I connected with another long-time friend and Italia buddy, Harlan Schufeldt who was also invited by Paul, who also bought a bloody ticket! He drove up from Richmond and we flew out together from Newark!. On the flight, I mentioned to Harlan upon advice from a friend "We have to go to Donington Park. It is so close, this is a must do!". Once we landed in Birmingham, and after no sleep, we "hired a car" as they say and we made the quick 40 minute trip up the M42 towards Leicestershire to Donington Park where we found the largest collection of F1 Cars in the world. This incredible collection, located in several connected buildings next to the track, was assembled in former WWII storage buildings by Tom Wheatcroft. This is the Donington Park Grand Prix Collection!
The McLaren room was wonderful, displaying at least 30 cars along with Aryton Senna's go-kart and F1 McLarens. A large number of Ferraris and Williams cars are included in this 130 plus car collection. In another hall there was Alberto Ascari's multiple race winning 1952 Ferrari Tipo 500, and Jack Brabham's Cooper T-51 Climax, the first rear engine car to win a World Championship!
We heard cars running, so we stopped by the track, and found a test day in progress. Everything from LMP2 racecars, vintage Formula cars through present day European touring cars were running at speed to shake out the bugs before next years' race day!  Another quick stop, right next to the track, was a visit to Caterham, where we met a young man who happy to show us us through a big boys play room! Check out bookatrack.com before you make you next UK vacation plans! Bleary-eyed, we got back on the M42 and headed south towards Warwickshire where Paul had made reservations for us at the country estate known as Ardencote. We arrived at dusk, and it was not too shabby, as it was a four star luxury resort located in the rolling English countryside about a 30 minute drive south of Birmingham!  After checking in we went to the pub and met some other Italia guests from Germany, Holland and Italy, drank a pint or two, made a couple deals on spares, then hit the sack for some overdue sleep!
The next morning, we all boarded the Bristol Bus at Ardencote to attend the NEC where Paul and other Italia owners have brought together six world class cars for the first ever Triumph Italia 2000 exhibition at the NEC or anywhere for that matter! Our host bought, yes, I said bought, the this last surviving 1937 Gardener 5 Bristol Bus to transport the gang in style in and out for this three day event! He also has plans to make it into a vintage auto transporter in the future. The bus was a bit cranky in the mornings and never would pass emission inspection here in the states! But, under the careful guidance and at the steady hand of our fearless leader, and a master at double clutching I might add, the olde bucket of bolts got us there and back everyday and once we even hit 30 MPH!
You could cut the anticipation and smoke with a knife. Paul brought us through the back gates and back door and there we were! The Italias were looking their best! He and Italia 2000 Circolo (club) brought cars in from France, Italy and the UK. They did a fantastic job of showing off the marque with three eight foot high displays of the cars history. The whole exhibit was very professionally executed and soon the crowds flooded the halls and I heard many say they had never seen these beautiful rare cars before. I had the pleasure of meeting Leo Ranner who I had corresponded with over the past 40 years of my Italia ownership. Jez Woods was there with his Italia #210 in full vintage race trim. The USA owners that attended pictured above are myself, Adrian Sinnott of Long Island, Harlan Schulfeldt of Richmond, and Bob Slayden of Nashville.
The exhibit was very popular and even Stirling Moss came by to say hello! Noted UK automotive author, Kevin Warrington was there autographing his latest book and Italia artist, Roger Penwill did the same with his Italia illustrations. It was just reported that their efforts raised about $1000.00 which was donated to the Audrey Hepburn Children's fund. Paul also invited a couple of very attractive young ladies (friends of Paul's daughter) and they were there for the entire show as the "Vignale Girls". Paul had pulled out all the stops! Beautiful cars and girls!
The Italia exhibit was right across from the TR Register's exhibit of the newly restored 1953 Triumph TR2 driven by Ken Richardson on the record breaking flying mile at 124.889 MPH near Jabbeke Belgium in 1953. The Autojumble was one very large hall that consisted of hundreds of vendor selling automotive art, literature, books, vintage parts, and services. Throughout the weekend Harlan and I wandered the five large halls filled with everything from Alvis to Z-Cars and always ended up back at the Italia exhibit.  I had the good fortune to meet some members of the AC Owners Club that helped us get in touch with a US owner of an AC 3000 ME that will be coming in from New Orleans to the AC Retrospective in February at the Simeone Museum. It's a small car world!
Overall, it was just fantastic to meet everyone and make new friends! My hats off to you, Paul Harvey, and the army of volunteers, Graham Andrews, Paul Williams, Dave Ferguson, and Graham Proffitt  for hosting this wonderful weekend. You were right.; everything exceeded my expectations! Your lovely wife deserves an award too! I know speaking for the U.S. based Italia owners, we very much appreciated your gracious hospitality and I for one am strongly considering attending the Italia 2000 60th anniversary celebration in Turin, Italy in 2019. Maybe I will bring my Italia! Your mission has been accomplished, as your passion and efforts brought twenty Italia 2000 owners together! Job well done!
Ragtops & Roadsters is here to help out during the winter and upcoming spring driving seasons. Maybe it's time to take care of those maintenance, restoration, preservation, and upgrade needs that are 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 late Febraury and March, so its not too soon to plan for the spring driving. 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. Click on our For Sale page to see current listings. Click here to see more pictures of this 1962 MGA 1600 MK II shown below. 
Happy Motoring!
Dave & the Staff at Ragtops & Roadsters.
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