ABCS Insignia

The December 2001 Newsletter

November 8 Meeting Highlights

Jane Ogle

President Carl Floyd led the November meeting. Eighteen members attended. Ben Bailey introduced his guest, Hartley Hyder, who expressed appreciation to the club for their hospitality.

Gerry Mitchell reported that he attended the JCNA Euro Show in Greer, SC at the BMW plant. He said there were over 200 cars displayed with Jaguar the honored marque this year. He took third place with his E-type Coupe.

Carl thanked his officers for their support this year. He announced the Nominating Committee has developed the following slate of officers for 2002:

President, Robert Hall

Vice-President, Gael Bright

Secretary, Clarence Goodson

Treasurer, Al Bradley

Newsletter, Jane G. Ogle

Drive Chairman, Randall Thomas The election will be held at the December regular meeting. This will be our Christmas party. All members are encouraged to attend and bring a $10 gift for the always-exciting gift exchange event.

Robert and Apryl Hall invite the club to their house Tuesday, December 18 at 7:00. More information and directions will be in the December newsletter. Welcome New Members Our membership is growing.

Please welcome Hartley & Cherylyn Hyder and Lee & Melissa Seats as our newest members. We are glad to have you and look forward to seeing you at our Christmas social and all future meetings.

December EventsThe ABCS December meeting will be held Thursday, December 13 at 7:00 PM at the Rush Street Grill in Kingsport. We will elect our new officers and celebrate the season by exchanging gifts. Bring a wrapped gift (does not have to be British car related) and join in the fun as we eagerly choose the gift we want to take home. Everyone gets to pick either a gift from under the tree or one that has already been selected and opened. This will continue for only 2 rounds or until a fight breaks out! (Just kidding). Remember, your gift should cost about $10. You are guaranteed to have a lot more than $10 worth of fun.

Robert and Apryl Hall are hosting the club in their home Tuesday, December 18 at 7:00 PM. You may bring either a dessert or snack. They will provide the beverages. Their address is 3311 Bondwood Circle in Johnson City. Here are the directions: 181 South to Exit 36 (State of Franklin); right at end of ramp; right onto Oakland at first traffic light; travel about 1 mile; turn right on Bondwood Circle in Briarwood Subdivision; 4th house on left. WARNING - the driveway bites British cars, so unless you are in a SUV, you should park on the street. Please e-mail Robert and Apryl at  HYPERLINK or call them at 262-0402 to let them know if you plan to attend so an accurate amount of beverages will be available.

Editor's Note:

I enjoyed publishing the ABCS newsletter this year and thank Al Bradley, Herren Floyd, Ben Bailey, Allen and Margaret Calcote, Mark Whitt, Bob Ritchie, Randall Thomas, David Gage, Eddie Penland and Sam Chandler for their interesting articles and contributions.

Your input makes the newsletter successful. Please do your part by sending any suggestions, pictures, articles, etc. to me by the 15th of each month.

Behind the Smile

Al Bradley


Think back to 1985. There, that wasn't so hard, was it? Among other things, 1985 was the year that the Austin-Healey Club of America held its annual, all-out Conclave event in Charlotte, North Carolina. I determined early on that I would go and my Healey was actually running very well at the time, so thought I would enjoy the break from work.

Somehow, the very week before the big Conclave event, the Healey developed a cracked windshield. The details of what actually transpired escape me, but please recall that those cars had fairly fragile windshields, anyway. The windshield on that 1960 Healey was 25 years old. How long were they intended to last, anyway?

Even in those dark days of the mid-80s, windshields were available, but the price wasn't cheap. Not only that, but the windshield had to be crated and then shipped truck freight. The shipping and freight cost was almost as much as the silly windshield! And no other options for shipping existed that would get it to me in one piece. I already had one broken windshield, after all. What use would I possibly have for two of them?

With all these things in mind, I placed the order for a new windshield. "Delivery in 2 weeks tops, buddy". TWO WEEKS? "Yep, best we can do for you - of course you are free to order your windshield from our competitor". We both knew that his competitor, as he so carefully referred to them, was located in California. Shipping from there would take twice as long and cost twice as much. There just didn't seem to be any other option except to follow through with the order and proceed to Conclave with a broken windshield.

Cursing my luck, I tried my hardest to come up with alternatives to the broken windshield. There I would be, in Charlotte, NC, hobnobbing it with the big guys who actually knew about Healeys, but I would be driving "the cursed gray BT-7 with the busted windshield". Neither my car nor I deserved that stigma to have to live under.

Then at work one day, I thought of a possible temporary solution. An acquaintance across town, Bob Ferrell, had an Austin-Healey 100-6 with a windshield that would fit my car. I called Bob and, while he questioned my sanity [thankfully, to himself], he readily agreed to the loan of his windshield. No sweat! I removed the windshield from my car, drove across town and removed the windshield from his car, carefully replacing the cover that he kept it under.

After I got the "loaner" windshield home, I realized it was covered with stickers from college parking days and an old Virginia State Inspection sticker that was no good anymore. Then I realized the one fallacy in my grand plan. I would be driving my car with Virginia license plates, but without the requisite Virginia Inspection Device. Well, most of the trip would take place through Tennessee and North Carolina, anyway, and those states would not care about Virginia's inspection laws.

I completed the windshield transplant and was even very careful that the windshield to body seals were pliant and capable of repelling rain - at least as well as any Healey would ever do so. I drove off on the day before the start of the big event, headed for Charlotte and a week of nothing but British Car fun. What could be better?

I was careful on the drive between Abingdon and Damascus. I placed an old blue sweatshirt on top of the dash where the sticker belonged to try to hide the lack of a sticker. When I got to Tennessee, I threw the sweatshirt in the back seat of the car. The drive to Charlotte was uneventful, even pleasant.

I arrived just ahead of some very ominous clouds that were building in the East. When I switched on the TV in my motel room, I discovered that those ominous clouds were the remnants of Hurricane Bob that had hit the coast and become a mere storm, but its remnants were heading straight for Charlotte. I had brought along a big piece of plastic to cover the Healey in the event of rain, so I went out and fastened up the tonneau cover and placed the plastic sheet over top, anchoring the plastic down as best I could. Well, did it rain! The storm stalled and hung there over Charlotte dumping buckets of water down on that poor city almost without cease during the entire time Conclave lasted.

On departure day, I caught a brief respite from the showers, threw my packed clothes in the back seat and drove like crazy to get away so I wouldn't have to erect the top on the car! Sure enough I stayed mostly dry and when I was far enough away from Charlotte, I could see the weather front still hanging on in the distance. I learned later that it would continue to rain on that poor city for another four days after I left.

As I approached Damascus on the way home, rounding a curve in the highway, there were two Virginia State Troopers stopping traffic. I couldn't fish the sweatshirt out from under the clothes in time and sure enough, even after I produced driver's license and registration in record time, came the ominous question; "Do you not have an inspection sticker, Mr. Bradley?" The only answer I could summons was a weak; "It's on my other windshield, officer." The State Trooper motioned me to the side of the road and I waited while he checked a few other cars. He then looked over my dirty, rain slicked car and asked about the details of my inspection story. I explained the story to him then just as I have explained it to you.

The officer consulted his partner, who asked if I might perhaps still have the receipt from my last inspection. I hadn't thought about that! The inspection station gives a tiny 2" x 3" pink receipt with your payment and satisfactory results of the test. Now my Austin-Healey had no glove compartment - just a tray underneath the dash that is as open to the elements as anything else when the top is down. Such things as papers, sunglasses and sunscreen lotion fly out of there all the time. With a sinking feeling, I reached down in the tray and - Lo and Behold - there it was! The actual, valid receipt was still in there!! I was simply shocked and couldn't say anything at all as I handed it over to the officer.

Now, Virginia State Troopers are not known for their jocularity while on duty. They maintain a stoic countenance at all times, although how they do that with those hats on is beyond me. I could see the frank amazement come over his face as he came to the same realization. He even smiled. Well, almost. Handing me the now invaluable receipt, he told me to be sure and keep that with me and waved me on. I think I even still have the lucky receipt. I couldn't believe my luck!

For Sale

1979 MGB. British Racing Green. 70k miles. Excellent condition. New top, new tires, new just about everything. Asking $8,500. Will consider lower offer. Contact John Vestal at 988-0236

1976 XJ6C. Gorgeous bare metal repaint including roof. Never any rust. TN car since new. All new weather strips. Original interior. $5,900. Contact Robert Hall at, or by phone at (423) 262-0402, (931) 252-9787 (M).

To place an ad in the newsletter, e-mail text as you wish it to appear to or telephone Jane Ogle at (423) 975-2715.

ABCS Officers & Committee Chairs

President: Carl Floyd, 423-477-7757,

Vice-President: Mitchell Byerley, 423-247-4730,

Secretary: Margaret Calcote, 423-288-2297,

Treasurer: Al Bradley, 540-628-4763,

Newsletter: Jane Ogle, 423-282-5687,

Driving Events: Dick Williams, 865-993-2710

Programs: Richard Williams, 423-990-6994,

Webpage: Herren Floyd, 423-239-5455,

Past Newsletters

November 2001

September 2001

August 2001

July 2001

Jun 2001

May 2001

April 2001

March 2001

February 2001

January 2001

December 2000

November 2000

October 2000

September 2000

August 2000

July 2000

June 2000

May 2000

April 2000

March 2000

February 2000

January 2000

Past Meetings

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April 2000

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January 2000

December '99

November '99

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February '99

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December '98

November '98

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