Jeff S

Detroit to Toronto for British Car Day

One day while I was surfing the net about all things car related, I came across a very interesting item: The largest all British Car Show in North America was NOT southeast Michigan's own "Battle of the Brits", but rather "British Car Day" up near Toronto.

At Battle of the Brits, we had always had well over 300 cars and at least 100 motorbikes each year, for a long time. Some people even claimed it was more like 400+ cars and closer to 200 bikes. And vendors of all sorts......quite a great show.......and well worth your attendance! Google it!

I read on the internet back around 2008, that British Car Day up near Toronto had upwards of 1,200 cars each year, and was the "largest British Car event in North America". I read this to mean that it must also be the largest British car event in the world, wouldn't it? The Brits exported most of the cars they built didn't they? And didn't most come to the U.S.?

I knew I had to get there one day.

Luckily, Toronto, Ontario, Canada is only about a 4-5 hour ride from my Detroit (northern suburbs) area. I called a few friends, and it didn''t take long for me to find a good buddy to make the trip with me. My best, old friend, Gordie, who actually turned me on to TR6's back in 1974, said he would make the trip with me.......he in his MINT 1967 BRG BJ8, and me in my 1975 TR6.

The ride was uneventful for the most part. I met Gordie downtown Detroit around noon on a Saturday. His BJ8 had never looked better. I knew the car well, and I had been to many car shows with him as entrants. But that day, his Healey was extra special. Immaculate as always.

At the show, we were blown away! There were DOZENS of any and every marque you could imagine. Imagine 30-40 XK E types......20-30 XJS's......hundreds of MG's......a few dozen Spitfires......and my first ever Ford Zodiac! Maybe 50-60 TR6's. There had to be 25-30 TR6's just in my class. There were about 20-25 Healeys total, and I think they were all in one class, if I remember correctly. Some of our Canadian friends told us we would have little chance of winning a trophy with our American license plates, and I found that hard to believe. As it turned out, my car, as good as I thought it looked, had a lot of very qualified competition. But Gordie's looked like trophy material all day in his class. There was NO WAY he wouldn't place....even if it was 3rd place!

The day wound down and the names were announced. I was slightly disappointed that my name was not called, but I respected my stiff competition, and hoped it was for no other reason than that.....not an American VS Canadian thing. When Gordie's name was NOT called, I suspected something was VERY wrong!

It turned out that some computer glich had caused inaccurate voting count, and although it did not help me and my car, Gordie was later notified that he had indeed won 1st place and a trophy was going to be shipped to him in Michigan. I was happy for 2 reasons: Gordie definitely had a superior car there, trophy worthy, and it renewed my faith in fairness & good, further cementing my good will with all things Canadian.....they are good people......no doubt. WE got drunk, had a nice dinner, and drove home the next day, Sunday. Every British car owner must make this trip. Septembers every year.

The photo is of my 1975 TR6, the 3rd TR6 I have owned. I owned this car over 19 years before I sent it to it's next caretaker in the fall of 2012.

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