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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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
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
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
Driving events are not
the only things that
have kept me busy. I
have expanded my
classic car auction
writing to include
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 Jag 240 1st
Al DeWeese MG 3rd
Al DeWeese Jag XK8 3rd
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
Rich Willows AH 100-6 2 nd
Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 8
PBCA UPCOMING EVENTS SCHEDULE
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: www.pbca1.com
(PBCA Sponsored Events, Club Activities and Meetings in Bold type)
-“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.
-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
THE PBCA SHORT & SWEET & THEN WE EAT RALLY
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:
(SEE NOTE BELOW ON FOOD AND RSVP TO BOB MANSKE)
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
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 email@example.com
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
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
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
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
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
1937 Lanchester 14 Roadrider
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. Dictionary.com
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
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
PANHANDLE BRITISH CAR ASSN.
2015 SPONSORS REGISTRATION FORM
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
Contact Name & Phone# ________________________________________
Payment must accompany application. Check # _____________________
Make check payb1e to "PBCA" and give to PBCA representative or mail it with this printed form
9609 Soldiers Creek Drive .
Lillian, AL 36549
Payment due prior to April 8, 2016 to be included on Display Poster at show.
SPONSORSHIP WILL INCLUDE PUBLICITY, PRODUCT OR SERVICE DISPLAY BY SPONSOR(if
requested prior to show) TROPHY PRESENTION,SPONSOR TROPHY AWARD, INVITATION TO
FRIDAY EVENING SOCIAL AND THE SINCERE THANKS OF ALL THE MEMBERS OF PBCA AND
THE CAR SHOW PARTICIPANTS.
PBCA Representative ___________________________________________________________________________________
DATE PAID _______________________________________________________
PBCA is an Affiliate of
The North American
Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 24
Join the Panhandle British Car Association on
Our Facebook Group!
Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 25
Smoke in the Wires October 2015 Page 26