The April 8, 1999 Meeting

by Al Bradley

Twenty of us showed up for the meeting tonight. That's really good for us, guys. I even counted four ladies among our number, which must be a record. Keep up the good work! Also present was a new member, Joe Bowman of Johnson City. Joe has a Spitfire that occupies his extra time. Joe has written an article elsewhere in this issue.

President Richard Williams opened the meeting by saying they had a wonderful trip to Shady Valley, under Backbone Rock and into Damascus. There were even those unnamed souls present who insisted that it was all so great because there weren't any Healeys or Triumphs along. There were six LBCs along for the ride this time; MGs and Jaguars all. Apparently the Damascus ice cream shop was really good!

The most immediate calendar event items to discuss included:
Townsend on May 1.
Bluegrass Bash in Lexington April 30 through May 1.
The Wings and Wheels Fly-in and Car Show in Morristown on May 8th.
Please don't forget the May West [Knoxville] Driving Challenge on May 15. Details and contacts for most of these events are on p. 2.

The program on this night was ably handled by Ben Bailey who had slides of his trip to Daytona, Florida. Ben was particularly interested in this race because it was reportedly the last one at which the 12 cylinder Jaguars would be run.

Ben had plenty of slides and they were all worthwhile. The Daytona 24 Hour Endurance Race was won by Dyson Racing's Riley-Scott car. The slides that Ben showed began with a MOMO Ferrari, red and quick. Also shown was a Riley-Scott Viper. Ben explained that while the Ferrari screamed, the Viper really ROARED!

Other slides Ben showed us included photos of the Brumos racing Porsches. There were 15 to 20 of them there. Everyone was thrilled with the Red Lobster Porsche with the lobster tail in back and the claws in front.

There were photos of lots of vintage racers, too, including more Porsches, MacLarens and even a Nissan sports car that had been raced by P. L. Newman (Paul Newman).

Thank you once again for a great job, Ben!

Good news, bad news
Latest Ups & Downs at BMW

Both Berndt Pischetsrieder and Wolfgang Rietzle are gone at BMW. Why, you may ask, is this important? Pischetsrieder, while the main man with BMW, was an Anglophile with big hopes for expanding Rover, and Rietzle an opponent who wanted to cut Rover back.

Actually, Rover IS in bad shape, losing its market share for its domestic products in England. Also, Rover's production methods and facilities are nowhere near modern. The one ray of hope in this bleak mess is - TADA - the MGF! The MGF has been a hit in England, Japan and other countries where it has been sold. The US is not one of those countries, nor was the MGF intended for sale here.

The net results of all of these ups and downs is that Rover may be forced to use VW platforms for some of its domestic vehicles, the Mini will likely continue as planned, and an MG product of some sort may be forthcoming for sale in the US.

Production of the Land Rover series will likely be assumed by BMW in the future and at least some production of these models moved to South Carolina.