Smoke in the Wires Oct 2015


October 2015 Smoke in the Wires
Smoke in the Wires is a publication of the Panhandle British Car Association
Contact Marc Cherry for questions or submissions

October 2015 Volume 3 #7

Front Cover: Austin Healey 100 by Marc Cherry

Flyleaf: 2015 SABCC Show by Marc Cherry

Back Cover: Triumph GT6 by Marc Cherry

Smoke in the Wires is a publication of the Panhandle British Car Association

Contact Marc Cherry for questions or submissions


From the Editor 3

SABCC Fairhope Show 7

Upcoming Events 9

Upcoming Picnic and Rally 10

Missing the Marque 11

Pensacola Historic Rally 13

Roadside Emergency Revisited 14

Drive-In Movie 15

Brits on the Bay Show News 16

Emerald Coast Show 17

Lucas Distributors 18

Feature Car 20

Tool of the Month 22

Brits on the Bay Sponsorship Form 24

PBCA Facebook 25

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 2

Letting the Smoke out

Marc Cherry


October has been great so far! There have actually been too many events to choose from. After sitting out

much of the last three fall driving seasons due to my engine rebuild, it is great to get out and do some events.

Our weather has been superb for all of the regional events.

As we continue to shape the direction of Smoke in the Wires, I’m going to change my column a little bit to avoid

overlapping Richard’s column by giving less focus to details of past events and instead highlighting more diverse

topics within our hobby and the needs for upcoming events. That is not to say that I will not pause to give thanks

and recognition where needed for past events. Our club is powered by the voluntary efforts of our members

and that can never have

enough attention.

On that note, Tom

Matsoukas put together a

looong drive for the Dog

Days Rally and raised an

incredible 801.5 pounds of

dog food for the Pensacola

Humane Society’s shelter.

Thanks to Tom’s work, this

is our club’s most successful

charity event.

One of the topics I visit

frequently is bringing up the

next generation of

enthusiasts. There are few

Here's what 801.5 pounds of donated dog food looks like!

really solid efforts among

classic car clubs to do this. Car shows of static machinery sometimes have the opposite effect when trying to

entice active younger enthusiasts. When I came up short of a navigator for the Dog Days Rally, I took the

unorthodox step of advertising for a navigator on the internet. Not quite true, I listed the opportunity on a local

closed Facebook group for car enthusiasts I belong to. This group is mostly a younger crowd into much newer

machinery. I saw the Dog Days Rally as a perfect opportunity to show off the dynamic side of our hobby. My

solution was to open the navigator’s seat to a crowd of 20-somethings who are mostly trying to build or run

their first enthusiast car—often on a shoestring. We’ve all been there. My 23 year-old navigator was in the

midst of trying to trick out a 2005 Dodge Neon as a rolling project due to work requirements and a shortage of

funds. Like I said, we’ve been in that position before. Even though we didn’t have to do much navigation, it still

turned into an adventure as I had to contend with Bill Moseley unexpectedly stopping in an intersection in front

of me and later getting out of his car to chat with me at a red light—causing me (and everyone behind us) to

miss the green light! I don’t know how you did it in the Navy Bill, but in the Air Force we launch on green! Only

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 3

the Army jumps out of a perfectly good vehicle when they get a green light. It was still a fun day out driving

British classics and a great way to introduce our corner of the hobby.

I was going to miss out on Bill

Weeks’ Pensacola Historic Rally

due to the lack of Jaguar and

lack of navigator when Werner

Kettelhack called (actually

texted), looking for a navigator.

He, like many others, assumed

that a professionally-trained Air

Force navigator would make a

competent ground navigator.

My wife, and the wives of

thousands of air navigators,

will tell you that this is not so.

Nevertheless, Werner and I

navigated ourselves to a

perfect score despite the

traditional (and promised)

major error on the route

directions. Booze and candy

were our reward for our

attention to details. I don’t

know who will collect the

Broken Compass award this

year, but Werner and I know

we can rest easy. Thanks, Bill for a great Rally.

Werner and I won the wine and candy over the whine and unhandy navigation of the


I hosted our first drive-in movie in a while but cannot claim I did the bulk of the work. Bob Manske did the Lion’s

share. He helped me design the complex (and huge) erector-set screen based on my crazy notion that the

Bagdad Historical Society’s tents could serve a higher purpose. Bob also hauled everything to and from the

event. Therese Hemmert arranged the availability of an on-site toilet. Thank you also to the crew of guys that

showed up early to help build the viewing site and the club members who stuck around to clean up. While not

everyone loved The Italian Job, it did deliver some outstanding and horrifying British car content for the 38

people who attended in 20 cars. We will definitely do it again.

The very next morning my wife and I headed up to the Knoxville, Tennessee, area where we took in the fall

colors along some of America’s greatest roads. The Tail of the Dragon is famous for its 318 curves in 11 miles. It

is also famous for being slow and packed during the peak fall colors. By going on a Tuesday afternoon, we

enjoyed moderate traffic and tire/brake wear. The tight and frequent turns of the Dragon are great for

motorcycles and Minis, but some of the other regional roads like the Cherohala Skyway and the Moonshiner 28

offer fast sweepers and breathtaking vistas that actually make them much more-suitable for our cars. We

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 4

enjoyed these roads,

completing a great day

of driving in the

Smokey Mountains. If

you haven’t run these

great roads in eastern

Tennessee, you need

to add a trip to your

bucket list.

Driving events are not

the only things that

have kept me busy. I

have expanded my

classic car auction

writing to include


upcoming Austin,

Texas, sale held in

conjunction with the

Slow motorcycles hinder movement on the Tail of the Dragon

SVRA’s historic races

at Circuit of the

Americas. They entrusted me to write on some incredible cars, too. Each car sends you on a path to becoming a

fast expert on a given model’s history and capabilities. From tracking down the designer to doing a complete

decode of the VIN or chassis number, there is actually an incredible amount of work involved in getting the

318 Turns in 11 miles. What's not to love, especially when the leaves turn?

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 5

details right. For this sale I wrote on a Spyker

Aileron, Lamborghini Mucielago, Porsche 356C,

DeTomaso Longchamp, Intermeccanica Italia and

about twenty other fascinating cars, trucks and


Participation by our members has been great at

recent events. Please keep it up. As you get out

and begin your holiday shopping, please keep in

mind sponsorship for our upcoming show. It only

takes a few moments to speak with the merchants

you are patronizing about sponsoring a class. See

you out there.

The Tree of Shame commemorates bad decisions and inattentiveness

on the Tail of the Dragon

Beautiful visas await along the Cherohala Skyway between North Carolina and Tennessee

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 6

South Alabama British Car Club Show

Congratulations to our sister club on a great 25 th Anniversary


28 PBCA cars supported their show and came away with 26 trophies including Werner Kettelhack’s Best of Show

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 7

PBCA Attendance and Award Results at

SABCC British Car Show

Franz Bachmann TR-3 1st

Marc Cherry E Type 1st

Jerry Crompton XK 2nd

Richard Cunningham E Type 2nd

Brian Daly MGA 2nd

Mike Darby


Mike Darby Jag 240 1st

Al DeWeese MG 3rd

Al DeWeese

Jag X-type

Al DeWeese Jag XK8 3rd

John Grossi

AH Replica

Jerry Hall Lotus Elan 3 rd

Robert Herman Jag E-type 3rd

Mark Huber MGB 2nd

Mickey Kay New Mini 1st

Werner Kettelhack XK 120 1st & Best of Show

Cameron Leonard TR6 2nd

Mike Lindley Jaguar 3rd

John Mahone MGB 2nd

Bob Manske Triumph Bike 1st

Tim Maynard MGA 1st

Bill Moseley TR8 1st

Tom Schmitz Morgan 1st & Heritage Award

Tom Schmitz MGTF 1st

Bill Silhan AC Ace 1st

Taber Tompkins Caterham 7 1st

Fred Veenschoten

Morgan Replica

Rich Willows AH 100-6 2 nd

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 8


November and December

All PBCA Monthly Meetings will be 6:00 pm Dinner/7:00 pm Meeting at Sonny’s Bar-B-Que, Navy

Blvd at US Hwy 98, Pensacola and will feature a Program, Door Prizes, 50/50 drawing until further

notice by email, website and Telephone Tree.

*All Executive and Show Committee Lunch Meetings are always open to the entire membership and

participation is encouraged. For new members it is a good way to meet active members and get

involved in either a small or larger way. Be a part of the club. You will be enthusiastically welcomed.

Event details will be emailed and posted on the PBCA Website:

(PBCA Sponsored Events, Club Activities and Meetings in Bold type)


Tuesday 3

Sunday 8

Sunday 15

Monday 16

Saturday 21

Saturday 28

-“First Tuesday” Breakfast, 1000 Pensacola Grand, then Show Committee Meeting

-Rally & Annual Picnic 1200pm, Welcome Center at 3-Mile Bridge and Fishing Pier

-Exec Comm 2016 Planning Meeting 2-6pm at the Lewis residence in Bagdad

-PBCA Monthly Meeting—Sonny’s on Navy Blvd. at 7 pm. Election of 2016 Officers

-Gulf Shores Zoo, Lunch at Doc’s—details will be via email

-Pensacruise in Pensacola—Additional details at November Monthly Meeting.


Saturday 5

Saturday 5

Saturday 12

Saturday 19

-Diabetes Run Car Show at the Crown Plaza Hotel—Time and TBA

-Christmas Party at the Crown Plaza Hotel—Installation of 2016 Officers—Details TBA

-Lillian Christmas Parade, 12:00 Noon—Lillian, AL

-Holiday Cookie and Bake Contest and Bagdad Tour #2, Bagdad, FL—Details TBA

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 9

PBCA Rally for November 8th, 2015

You Do Not Want To Miss


12:00 PM, November 8, 2015: Cars depart at 12:15 PM from the Welcome

Center Park at the Pensacola side of the 3 mile bridge and Pensacola Fishing

Pier. The rally will end back at the starting point by the Welcome

Center. Further details by email.

Click the map for details:


The short (but irritating) rally will take approximately 30 minutes to complete.

The Rally Picnic will begin when all cars have returned and the rally questionnaire is turned in.

4 Extra points will be awarded to entrants driving a British car made in or before 1980.

2 Extra Points will be awarded to cars with no navigator. You may not leave a navigator behind

at the starting point to get the extra 2 points!

*10 Extra points will be awarded to cars with no driver and no navigator.

*Cars left at the Welcome Center Park after 10:00 PM may be towed to the city impound lot.

Hamburgers, Hot Dogs and Baked Beans, cokes and ginger ale (left over from the Drive-in

Movie Night) will be provided. Please bring your own beverages if you don’t want/like coke or

ginger ale.


Additional side dishes, salads, and deserts would be much appreciated by all.

Please call or email Bob Manske to RSVP and coordinate any food items you are willing to


850 393-5301 OR

Popcorn will not be served at this event.

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 10

This Month’s The British Line submission for The Marque by Richard Lewis

Fall in northwest Florida is perhaps

its best time of the year. Normally, it is

when the air takes on a sharper edge, the

few trees that have leaves that will turn are

roused enough to get about their work, the

sun shines briskly, and the anticipation of

the multiple holidays just around the

corner makes its happy presence known.

Not so much thus far in our little

slice of paradise. Thus far, gloomy days,

intermittent rain, and scudding clouds have

wrestled their way, with their sharp elbows,

to the forefront for all too many days. It

won’t be that way forever, but the weather

might be a little more vigorous in doing its

proper job, before it’s too late to enjoy the

glorious driving weather we normally have

about now.

However, inclement weather does

cause one to be more introspective

sometimes, and since Your Loyal

Correspondent (YLC) is possessed with a

morose, inward-turning nature on a par

with E. A. Poe and Bram Stoker, he has

been reflecting on a question that might

have crossed your mind, to wit, what

should a sports car club have as its

ultimate goals? Ruminate with him as we

probe this question.

Ever since YLC returned to his home

town a few years ago, he has been active in

the British car club arena. He has seen the

Panhandle British Car Club grow in

membership and activity, making several

changes, mainly for its improvement. Still,

he wonders if the members have examined

the question of where they are going and

what do they want the club to be. Therefore,

we boldly leap into space and examine some

things YLC believes any car club might

want to accomplish. You might have an

entirely different view. That’s what makes

horse races.

First among them might be the

recognition that we are preservationists, a

noble calling. We are happy to see the

marques that manufacture British cars

continue to manufacture British cars, but

perhaps we have a keener interest in those

marques that have gone on to the big board

room in the sky. We should, and we do, try

to see that they are cherished, maintained,

and refurbished. This sense of preservation

comes from a notion that they represent in

some cases simply history, and in some

cases, art. While a marque like the Mini

may fail in the aesthetic sense, it succeeds

admirably in the sense of a car that

changed motoring history in the British

Isles, carving out its niche as both fun and

practical. A car like the Austin Healey

succeeds admirably in the fun category, not

so much in the practical, but wonderfully

well in the aesthetic dimension. These, and

many others, occupy a warm place in public

history, cultural history, and memory for

countless people on all sides of the Atlantic.

They merit our tender care.

Another goal for any, including our

own, car club might be to help owners and

enthusiasts find new ways to enjoy their

cars. Although a case can be made for

simply garaging a beautiful car just for the

purpose of admiring it, in the way one

might admire another piece of sculpture by

Rodin or Giacometti, actively engaging with

it by driving it in competitive or noncompetitive

events, sharing with others

one’s feelings and knowledge about the car,

or simply being with others who share one’s

enthusiasm adds dimensions absent in the

passive admiration alone.

Another goal might be to provide a

wide enough array of club events that some,

if not all, of them will capture the

imagination of most of the members. Not

everyone is satisfied to simply go to car

show after car show, viewing mainly the

same marques over again, perhaps rarely

discovering one unseen before. Certainly for

those for whom the accumulation of

trophies is their main interest, this is not

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 11

the case, but for many, this is not enough.

Driving events, safe and spirited competitive

events, clinics where one gains additional

technical knowledge, making connection

with other car club enthusiast, and simply

social outings draw on the myriad interests

that are likely to exist within any large

group. No one can attend all the events of a

vigorous club like PBCA, but the wide array

of events will touch almost everyone in

some way.

Still another goal might be to engage

as many members as possible in all aspects

of the club, including encouraging members

to accept leadership positions, attend club

meetings, attend and assist with club

functions like the driving and social events,

and be engaged in the multiple activities

any vigorous club will present. It goes

without saying that making these various

events interesting and engaging is a

prerequisite for strong attendance. It is the

nature of many social organizations that,

unless steps are taken to actively prevent it,

the club will soon find itself with a small

leadership group that takes all

responsibilities and a large membership

that take little interest in it, beyond duespaying.

To prevent this, the club must make

sure members feel welcome into all the

club’s functions, including the leadership

function, and that they feel their

contributions will be valued and

appreciated. It is perhaps appropriate to

note that PBCA has increased membership

participation in its “Brits on the Bay”

annual show by the simple expedience of

clarifying the tasks to be performed and

encouraging members to select and sign up

for the multiple jobs, while impressing on

all how their help will enhance everything.

The participation rate went up dramatically

when this practice was adopted.

However, we will likely agree that the

most important thing is that attendance at

meetings and events must be fun! A wise

person once told YLC that if you do not look

forward to the events, reconsider your

options. Maybe this just isn’t for you. Good

advice. Then, above all, fun.

Therefore, preservation, finding ways

to utilize and enjoy one’s car, expanding the

range of activities, and promoting

participation are at least four goals that any

vigorous car club might pursue, but most of

all, fun. You can no doubt add to this list,

or perhaps replace some of them with

clearer and more important goals.

Admirable if you do so. Through such

examination can we build an even better


Now, let’s discuss some of the events

that have occurred recently, and some that

the future promises.


September 18-19 Brits on the River in

Natchez, Ms. Six cars showed up for a

beautiful day in beautiful Natchez, winning

eight awards, including Bill Silhan’s “Best

in Show” for his 1956 Morgan +4.

Congratulations to all.

September 26 Dog Days Rally to benefit the

Pensacola Humane Society. Some ten cars

and twenty contestants competed in a

challenging rally organized by Tom

Matsoukas, with winners Werner

Kettelhack and Alicia Bergeron in their

Jaguar 120 carrying away the laurel crown,

but not before members had exceeded last

year’s contribution with over 801 pounds of

pet food and $150 in donations. The day

ended with lunch and the distribution of

“Dog Bone” wrenches shared by Tom as

consolation prizes. A great day for the club

and the pups, both of whom thank Tom for

his fine work.

October 3 South Alabama British Car Club

Ice Cream Social, held as always at the

Cunningham’s Garagemahal in Daphne.

Welcoming PBCA and MGMG members as

well, the SABCC again prepared an ice

cream extravaganza of desserts and food.

The large crowd enjoyed the drive over and

the great camaraderie. Thanks to the

Cunningham’s for their generosity.

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 12

October 6 PBCA Breakfast at the Grand.

This ever popular event attracted about

twenty members and friends and provided

everyone a chance to catch up in a relaxed

atmosphere of good food and fun.

October 10 Pensacola Historic Rally-

Organizer Bill Weeks always prepares a

great rally through historic Pensacola, with

some challenging treasure hunt locations

and a great lunch. Werner Kettelhack and

Marc Cherry came away winners in

Werner’s Austin Healey 100.

October 17 Drive-In Movie at the “Brits on

the Bay” show site. Marc Cherry and Bob

Manske organized this event to begin with a

showing of the original version of the film

“The Italian Job.” 20 cars and around 38

members—it was nigh impossible to count

accurately in the dark. We will teach Bob

Manske how to make popcorn for next year.

October 23-24 SABCC British Car Show-

One of our favorite events by some of our

favorite friends. We had 28 cars from PBCA

out to support the SABCC’s 25 th

anniversary. It was an outstanding show

with PBCA members winning 28 trophies.

Werner Kettelhack took Best of Show with

his beautiful Jaguar XK120.

Until next time, yes, that was a red light.

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 13

By Marc Cherry

After last month’s article on roadside emergency preparedness, I had a few more thoughts, as well as

received some constructive suggestions from the hard-won experiences of other club members. Here are

some additional pointers.

Jumper cables were not in evidence during the video but, as most of us know, jumper cables are the item

most likely to be needed out of everything you can carry. Just make sure you know how to properly jump a

car, being especially mindful of the fact that your car or the car you assist may be positive earth.

Rule number one of owning a positive earth car is: No one talks about Positive Earth Car Club.

Rule number two of owning a positive earth car is: Don’t let anyone else “help” you jump start the


Rule number three of owning a positive earth car is: Carry a spare voltage regulator in case

someone “helps” you jump your car.

Our cars, especially the older ones, are not known for bright headlights or taillights. Consequently, the loss

of one headlight or taillight can place you in a very unsafe position. Spare bulbs of all major types for your

car are a sensible addition to your emergency kit.

Many of the maladies that befall our cars are electrical in nature with the quality of contacts being often

more significant than the quality of components. In addition to the temporary measure of jumper leads that I

mentioned in the video, I also carry brushes, sandpaper, a battery brush, dielectric grease, crimp-style male

connectors and spare female bullet connectors.

Even if you only drive during the day, the nether regions of the engine bay, dash, and underside of the car

may warrant additional lighting. Bob Manske pointed out that I didn’t show a flashlight. I do carry two lights

and spare batteries. I keep a really good flashlight, like a Mag-Lite, as well as a Harbor Freight freebie

stashed away. I keep the extra batteries stored in a separate sealed bag.

The final suggestion is for warning triangles or flashers. I don’t carry one of these—yet. I can’t credit

anyone in particular for this idea since it came up during an executive committee meeting. This idea was a

rare gem so I wasn’t ready for it. None of the antique cars came with reflector triangles and most of the old

classic era cars do not have hazard lights. A super bright LED warning flasher isn’t terribly expensive and

just makes sense.

If you have more tips and suggestions, please keep them coming. It is an important topic and central not

only to a safe hobby but also to an enjoyable one. There is no substitute for the smug satisfaction of

reviving a hopelessly broken car—even more so if you rescue someone else’s maintenance catastrophe

through your own superior preparedness.

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 14

the Drive-In Movie

Photos by Marc Cherry and Bob Manske

Every big event requires cleanup-Risa Manske and granddaughter, Audrey, sort the tent pieces used to construct the screen--Bob Manske Photos

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 15

Brits on the Bay 2016: Feature

Models Announced!

By Marc Cherry

Do you know anyone in the region with a Triumph TR3 or Spitfire? We would like to see it at our show. Please pass

the word around to any of the individuals and clubs to interact with. These are two great series of cars so it would be

an outstanding achievement for our club to promote a great turnout and make these cars and their owners welcome

at our signature event.

I won’t start hitting you up directly to fill volunteer slots until December, but if you have a position you know that you

would like to help with, please let me know and I will be happy to mark your name beside it.

If you attended the SABCC’s 25 th Anniversary show earlier this month, you saw a great club go all out for their 25 th

show. 2016 will be our 24 th show. You may not think that warrants extraordinary effort, but quite the opposite is

true. How we come out financially from our 24 th show decides just how big we can make our own 25 th anniversary

show. We MUST achieve great results from sponsorship in 2016 not only to hold a great show, but to put us in a

strong position for going very big on our 25 th anniversary. Please start asking area businesses to sponsor the show.

We really need the bulk of our members that have not brought sponsors in in the past to get just one or two

sponsorships. The results would be tremendous. As I said before, only about a dozen club members brought in

sponsors last year, with just four members lining up the bulk of sponsors. We all enjoy the events throughout the

year, so please help support the club. You are always welcome to be a sponsor yourself as well. You can find the

sponsor form for the 2016 Brits on the Bay on page 22 of this issue.

Monica Bachmann feigns indifference while a 'judge' inspects their TR-3 during the SABCC show. Look for this

beautiful vehicle and many like it at Brits on the Bay 2016

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 16

Photos by Bob Manske

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 17

Lucas Third Generation Distributors

By Jeff Simpson

What follows is the Second of a series of articles reprinted with permission from The Register, the

newsletter of the Tucson British Car Register. All words and photos copyright Jeff Simpson.

I group Lucas distributors into three major groups, I know there are lots of exceptions, but English

cars of the age we are dealing with tend to fall into one of these groups. The oldest are the “D-”

type, such as “D2”. These have kind of a vase shaped body and the advance/retard knob. The next

generation is the very common “D2-” type, such as the “D25”. The body of these units have flatter

bottoms and still have the

advance/retard adjustment knob. Lucas supplied these units to many different manufactures for

many years. Although there are a maze of different part numbers the components are essentially

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 18

the same. When pressed to improve reliability in order to meet USA EPA regulations they

developed the first version of the third generation, “D4-DE”, such as the “D45DE”.The body of

these units is similar in shape to the second generation but the advance/retard adjustment knob is

gone, along with the points and condenser. Stuck on the side is a big square box which was the

amplifier of the Lucas “Opus” electronic ignition system. If you have a distributor of this type, it is

almost certain that by now the only thing that box is doing is supporting the vacuum unit. The wires

have long since been snipped and the “Opus” function replaced by either a “Lumignition” or

“Pertronics” unit. Not great but improved.

While the electronic components where a disaster, the mechanical design was improved over the

second generation by the complete redesign of the fixed and movable base plates, with its wear

points and spring problems eliminated, and a new mechanical advance mechanism. The body was

also better sealed.

Due to numerous and frequent failures, the “Opus” system was soon replaced. The big square box

on the side of the distributor is gone, replaced by an external module. While the electronics were

improved, the mechanical design and the signal pick-up where really excellent. The solid metal


just spins, the pick-up is well built and mounted on the improved base plate which makes for a first

class unit. Except that it is connected to the Lucas external electronic ignition module, which are all

now well past their design life. Replacement modules are quite expensive, if you can find one. So

the usual fix is to go with a Lumignition or Pertronics unit, but in both cases you are going to lose

the reluctor and pick-up which are quite good.

A third option is to leave the distributor completely as is and simply replace the electronic ignition

module. Fortunately a very good, very reliable, module is readily available from auto parts stores,

Chrysler dealers, Internet, (look at “ignition control module”) even junk yards, all at very reasonable

prices, ie. from $15 and up for a brand new one. The unit is still made by Standard Motor Products

as part “LX-101”, but you will find it sold under a huge range of names. These where the ignition

systems of most Chrysler products throughout the 70's and 80's, until they were replaced by

completely computerized engine control systems. They were used on everything from “Hemi's” to

trucks and will work on 4,6, or 8 cylinder engines.

Mount the new module on the inner fender in place of the original. Make sure the module is well

grounded. The two wires from the distributor will need to connect to the two pins as shown. One

pin is connected to 12 volts via the ignition key, (usually a white wire). The forth pin connects to the

coil negative terminal (sometimes via a ballast resistor). Use round push-on connectors or a

connector plug from a junk yard, which provides better weather protection. If the engine does not

start or runs rough, switch the two wires from the distributor. For very little money you will have a

very reliable, maintenance free, first rate, electronic ignition. If you have a car using the Lucas

ignition module you may want to have one of these units in your spares box, just in case.

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 19

Featured Car

1937 Lanchester 14 Roadrider

Shea McLean

Words and Photos by Marc Cherry

Shea McLean is the curator of the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park and wanted to collect a

wartime automobile to participate in some of the historical events at the battleship. His search for

the perfect car took him in an unexpected direction, resulting in him picking up a new passion as

the owner of a 1937 Lanchester 14 Roadrider.

Many of you may be unfamiliar with Lanchesters. The

first Lanchester was exhibited in 1903, but the

company reached greatness after World War I.

Lanchesters were elegant and expensive hand-built

cars aimed at the higher end of the market. The Duke

of York was a fan of the marque and owned several.

Hard times saw Lanchester purchased by the BSA

group and then by Daimler. After World War II,

Daimler itself was acquired by Jaguar. With little

innovation over their pre-war cars and few overseas

sales during England’s ‘Export or Die’ period, Jaguar

retired the Lanchester brand with the last Lanchester

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 20

eing built in 1955. The

Lanchester 14 Roadrider was the

marque’s most reasonably-priced

six-cylinder model. Even so, it

was not a volume production car

as only around 2000 were

produced. This was exactly the

sort of pedigreed sporting saloon

that would have appealed to a

rakish fighter pilot.

Shea found his Lanchester

featured on a barn finds website.

After Shea recovered the car from

its Tacoma area home, he

discovered a beautifully patinaed car would have lost much of its character during a complete

restoration. The interior leather and wood especially warranted a preservation approach. The

exterior had been repainted by brush in the far-distant past in the manner of someone trying to

keep a car on the road despite wartime shortages and rationing. Instead of restoring the car, he

entrusted the Lanchester to Mike Darby to handle the initial

mechanical fettling and get the car back on the road after

many years of dormancy.

With the Lanchester purchase, Shea received blackout

headlamp covers and a wartime tax disk. These extra took

Shea and the Lanchester down a whole new path, as Shea

not only set out to fit out the car as it would have been during

the war but also to collect period artifacts and uniforms to go

with the car.

When I caught up with Shea at the Cunningham’s Ice Cream

Social, he was just getting started setting up the car. By this

past weekend at the SABCC Fairhope show, Shea had

installed the blackout lights and added deliberately-crude

white outlines to the wheel arches to meet wartime standards.

He had also added the personal gear any RAF officer would

have used as the likely owner of a dashing Lanchester 14

during the Battle of Britain. Shea’s display even included an

original Lanchester MK-I submachine gun, designed by

George Lanchester, one of the brothers that founded the

Lanchester Motorcar Company. His final touch was the RAF

officer’s uniform he was wearing while showing the car.

If you get a chance to speak with Shea at a future event, please do so. This car and its story are

fascinating. We are fortunate to have a car like this in our region of the Gulf Coast with so few prewar

cars around and even fewer in preservation condition.

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 21

Last year for the Halloween issue, I heralded the importance of the blood sacrifice in achieving solid mechanical

results. This year I’m dedicating this column to the lost. I’m not talking about tools destroyed in service. They

don’t count. If you have a carcass, it’s not really gone. Better yet, if it is a Craftsman carcass, Sears will replace it.

No, I’m telling ghost stories--stories about tools that are gone. Or are they?

What about the rattle from the dash that you’ve never resolved? Maybe it’s your 3/8 inch socket that hasn’t been

seen since you last worked on the wiper linkage. It is gone but it still haunts you and your car.

Last weekend I dropped a hex bit while

trying to detach the fiddly tach generator

that resides at the back of the engine and

is secured to the head with impossible to

access allen screws. The metallic bit hit

several things on the way down as

evidenced by the metallic ringing it made

on its journey to the netherworld.

Unfortunately, the last sound was not the

satisfying flat clink of it hitting concrete. I

have looked everywhere without finding

that bit. I even ran an inspection camera inside

the bell housing, under the theory that the bit had

bounced through the inspection port for the

flywheel. The bit has simply vanished into thin air.

Science tells us this cannot be so.

details how matter cannot simply vanish under

ordinary circumstances in its definition of the law

of conservation of mass:

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 22

Conservation of Mass

noun, Physics.

1. The principle that in any closed system subjected to no external

forces, the mass is constant irrespective of its changes in form;

the principle that matter cannot be created or destroyed.

Also called law of conservation of mass, conservation of matter.

However, much farther down the page, a caveat states that:

The principle does not hold under Special Relativity, since mass

and energy can be converted into one another.

I’m certain Einstein has nothing to say about these vanishing tools as the energy released in converting even a small

hex bit into energy would be far in excess of what the stock cooling system on any of our British cars could handle.

The complete conversion of a 2

gram hex bit would likely

release the same energy as a 41

kiloton (kt) detonation. Better

get the Water Wetter. I know

that this type of mass loss has

not occurred in my garage as

this sort of thing is frowned

upon by my homeowners’

association. I’m sure I would

have received a violation letter

for not obtaining a burning

permit for my 41 kt demolition.

That moves us into the realm of

the supernatural, alternate planes of existence where good tools go to hide out from hapless owners. Like all good

hauntings, you will receive ‘visitations’ and other circumstantial evidence of the lost but never any concrete proof

that the lost tools are still out there.

Some time has now passed since I gave up on finding my lost hex bit, after exhausting every means at my disposal

to recover it. I had already forgotten about the lost bit. Yet, on a night like any other, I finally got the Jaguar back

together and decided to take a short test drive around my neighborhood. As I rounded the first corner, a sudden

quiet fell over the car and the lights dimmed. Most likely this was due to something under the dash going open

circuit but chilling nonetheless. Then, without warning, I heard a rattling noise that sounded just like “Hex bit! Hex

bit!” from under the bonnet. I slammed on the brakes and leapt from the car with the heebie jeebies. I searched

the roadway and the engine bay but the phantom hex bit WAS NOT THERE!

Still, I’m convinced it’s around somewhere, waiting to haunt me some more the next time I reach for my hex bit

that I haven’t gotten around to replacing. . . .

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 23


Pensacola, Florida


Pensacola “Brits on the Bay" I 24th Annual AII·British Car Show I April 16, 2016

OTHER AWARDS, TROPHIES OR VENDORS: Contact PBCA Representative or Tom Schmitz, (251 )961-7171


Organization/Company _________________________________________

Address _______________________________________________________

City/State/Zip _________________________________________________

Contact Name & Phone# ________________________________________

Class/(TITLE) _________________________________________________

Payment must accompany application. Check # _____________________

Make check payb1e to "PBCA" and give to PBCA representative or mail it with this printed form


Tom Schmitz

9609 Soldiers Creek Drive .

Lillian, AL 36549

Payment due prior to April 8, 2016 to be included on Display Poster at show.





PBCA Representative ___________________________________________________________________________________

DATE PAID _______________________________________________________

PBCA is an Affiliate of

The North American

MGB Register.

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 24

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Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 25

Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 26

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