ABCS Insignia

The May 2000 Newsletter

April 13 Meeting Highlights

Al Bradley

Twenty-nine of us assembled at Rush Street Grill and it was a loud, fun time there like we always have.

Ben Bailey reported that the last club tour was a wet one. They had toured to Chucky, TN, then to Hot Springs, NC and back to Trade, TN, around 200 miles altogether! Apparently, they stopped at 2 restaurants during the drive and the first restaurant was bad and the second was worse! Five people and four cars made this wet trip and all had a good time in spite of the weather and the food! See page 2 for the drive schedule this month and try to make it to at least one of them if you can. One special note is that we are all invited to drive our British Cars to Gourmet and Company on Arcadia Drive in Johnson City in celebration of "Drive Your British Car Week" on 24 May.

President Allen Calcote reminded us all that the May 11 meeting will be held at the home of Becky and Gerry Mitchell which is located at 298 Arcadia Drive. A map to this location is enclosed. Please bring a folding chair if you have one. Also, the June meeting will be a parking lot car show, so bring your Britcar with you to Rush Street.

The speaker at this month's meeting was Rick Smith of Tri-City Plating Co. of Elizabethton, Tennessee. Rick went out of his way to explain to us that chrome plating was not only a process of dipping a piece in a tank. The process begins with buffing starting with a #36 grit sandpaper and eventually arriving at a #1400 grit paper. Once that is done, the piece is nickel-plated in a 2,000 gallon tank. The nickel coating is the finish; chroming comes later in a 4,000 gallon tank and this colors and preserves and adds the shine.

Rick said that they used basic plumbing solder to fill rusted pieces before plating and that this solder with a mix of silver and tin seemed to work well for that purpose. Also, Rick told us that they could plate most any basic metal, but that common 'pot metal' parts were the hardest, since pot metal is largely zinc and that element requires lots of preparation to plate well.

Rick stated that 90% of his business was plating car parts and the other 10% was motorcycle parts. Rick and others from his business also travel to car shows and flea markets and sell rechromed bumpers for certain cars. A Chevelle bumper, for instance, sells for $225.

Rick suggested the use of a good non-abrasive wax, such as Turtle Wax, on chrome parts was a good way to keep chrome parts looking good.

Thanks, Rick for a very informative session!

10,000 miles caravan

Caravan Against Cancer

From Road & Track magazine comes the story of Scott Sensing of Murfreesboro, TN, who intends to drive round trip from his home to Prudoe Bay, Alaska. And further, Scott intends to make that drive in a 1952 Chevy truck restored by his Father! Scott's Father died of cancer in 1998. Beginning in July, Scott intends to drive at 45 mph and to carry a lot of spare parts along with him in the tradition of drivers of old cars everywhere!

The trip will benefit the American Cancer Society. Donations can be mailed to Barbara Vincion, Cavalry Banking, 114 W. College St., Murfreesboro, TN 37130. Make checks payable to American Cancer Society and specify "10,000 miles" on the check.

More information is available from Scott's website at or from (800) ACS-2345.

by Al Bradley

Lustworthy Cars

Some cars, you see, inspire us more than others. My Father's 1960 Dodge with the rounded fins was not inspirational. It was transportation. I saw my first Jaguar E-Type in 1961. It came down Valley Street and was driven by Jack Trayer from Bristol. I'll never forget that moment. Standing there in my baseball uniform, I dropped my bicycle to the ground and nearly cried because that was such a beautiful car! That long hood ending in those clear headlight covers; the short pointed and defined rear end treatment and gorgeous interior lead me to think that Jaguar had created the perfect car.

Later, while in college, I discovered the Morgan sports car with its distinctively Thirties appearance and decided that this car, especially the Triumph engined version had to be the coolest thing going. Well, that and the Porsche 911 that had recently been introduced. Those two cars alternated as favorites with the occasional Lotus up until the time when I was well into my already checkered Air Force career. I was stationed ['confined' might be a better word] in Okinawa when the Datsun 240Z was released. That was the Jaguar all over again in some respects for me. Long sweeping hood, but strangely styled or unstyled (as I came to think of it) rear treatment - almost as if the designers used up their supply of good ideas somewhere behind the doors and just ended it. It wasn't the overall perfect design like the Jaguar had been, but it was a remarkable car for its times.

Along about this time I saw a James Bond movie with the Toyota 2000GT in it. This became a favorite car until I discovered that so very few examples of this car had ever been made and I wouldn't stand a Chinaman's chance of ever seeing one, much less owning one. To this day, I haven't seen a real one.

By the mid-1970s, when I finally had a job and a life, fewer of the new cars seemed to inspire me like those previously mentioned. That was when I discovered that older cars seemed to hold my attention more than the latest econoboxes that were coming from Detroit and Japan during the energy crisis.

One day I passed by Ralph Price's gas station and saw his Austin-Healey 3000 there. I was reminded of how much I had always appreciated this car and decided to find my own.

So there you have it. Yes, there have been other cars that I found to be lustworthy. Maybe they will be the subject of a later column. ACB