2004 VARA/Moss British Extravaganza

Number 9 was mighty fine
By Tom Morr
Photos By Tom Morr

Few things are as annoying as a song that sticks in the back of your mind. Personally speaking, the underscore for this year’s VARA/Moss British Extravaganza was number nine, number nine from the Beatles White Album. (The fact that this was the ninth annual Extravaganza caused the number nine loop to play in the background of the brain.)

The British Extravaganza continues the Moss Motors tradition of hosting family-oriented customer get-togethers with an emphasis on driving activities. These shindigs date back to 1993, when Moss jacks-of-all-trades Harry Haigh and Ken Smith organized the first British Festival at Flags Up Farms in Solvang, California. Skill events included rallies and car-balancing on a teeter-totter. (Unbeknownst to competitors, Moss judges secretly subtracted show points for on-site maneuvers such as car-dusting and detailing.)

The relationship between Moss and Vintage Auto Racing Association (VARA) was forged in 1995. This year, British Extravaganza No. 9 was about as good as it gets. Sure, we’re paid to say that, but the temperate weather at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in the central California dustbowl west of Bakersfield attracted 260 vintage-race entrants and scores more British car fans. For many, the highlight was 16 pre-war cars, ranging from five Morgan three-wheelers to Peter Giddings’ famous ’32 Alfa to an Allard, an Essex, an Elva, and some historic MGs. British fans flocked to the track when these cars did their laps. Other racing highlights included Saturday’s MG/Triumph challenge and Sunday’s Mini/Sprite battle. Driving being the event’s bottom line, all registered participants had the option of taking exhibition laps each day.

No. 9 (number nine, number nine) will be a tough act to follow. However, rumor has it that Moss will do something special for the event’s tenth anniversary next May. Those of us who were on our feet all weekend suggest Moss masseuses (Mosseuses?) under the big blue tent. We can barely wait for next year’s Extravaganza—and the emergence of its theme song.

2004 VARA/Moss British Extravaganza Results
Car Show
Early MG (Pre–1974): 1) Ed Reynolds, 1953 MGTD; 2) Mack Askari, 1952 MGTD
Late MG (1974–On): 1) Jack Baker, 1975 MGB; 2) Bill Phelan, 1979 MGB
Early Triumph (Pre-1974): 1) Jim & Maureen Mills, 1958 TR3A; 2) Bonnie Pascale, 1972 GT6
Late Triumph (1974-On): 1) Al Thompson, 1974 TR6; 2) Dave Carroll, 1974 TR6
Sprites & Midgets: 1) Mike McLean,1960 Sprite; 2) Phil Anderson, 1961 Sprite
Jaguar: 1) Linda Freeman, 1972 E-Type; 2) Frank Oakley, 1986 XJ SC
Austin-Healey: 1) Al Adams, 1963 BJ7; 2) Ron & Sandy Davis, 1956 100 Modified
Mini: 1) Rick Williams, 1973 Mini; 2) Troy Wicker, 1967 Morris Mini
Other British Open: 1) Jerry & Marlene Vanderpool, 1966 Sunbeam Tiger; 2) Gerald Allen, 1950 Morris Minor
Best Miata M1: David Woolery
Best Miata M2: Robert Franson
Moss Choice: Gerald Allen, 1950 Morris Minor
Slalom: David Woolery, Miata
VARA Race Winners
MG/Triumph Challenge: John Wilkins, Triumph Spitfire
Mini/Sprite Challenge: Efrain Olivares Jr., Sprite
Group 1: Fred Plotkin, Kangaroo MkI
Group 2: Rod O’Connor, Ralt RT-5
Group 3: Edward Carden, Turner
Group 4: Peter Giddings, Alfa Romeo
Group 5: Todd Strong, Titan Mk6
Group 6: Frank Beck, Porsche 914-6
Group 7: Cory Krasel, Zink Z-12


Ron and Sandy Davis put a Blue Oval V-8 into their “Ford-ified” ’56 Healey 100.


After a year of planning, the Victoria MG Club toured to the Extravaganza from British Columbia. Right to left: Jim Mills (TR3A), Jack Baker (MGB), Len Smith (MGA), Roger Burgess (MGB), Chris Grant (MGB-GT), Dave Whitworth (MGB), Bill Phelan (MGB), Al Thompson (TR6), and Bill Hoyt (MGB).


Gerald Allen and his ’67 Spitfire lead Terry Baker’s ’57 MGA.


Jerry and Marlene Vanderpool brought their stunning 1966 Sunbeam Tiger, complete with Shelby-autographed cowl.


Local hosts, the Bakersfield British Car Club, underscored the area’s blue-collar roots by leaving the luxury motorhomes with multiple pop-outs at home.


It takes a serious pot to cook beans for 800 people.


Phil Anderson’s “lily pad” display showcased his ’61 Bugeye.


Thankfully, the VARA Tabernacle Choir waited till after dinner to take the stage.


Troy Wickers’ Mini Woodie seems perfect for a cameo appearance in an Austin Powers movie.

Bakersfield British Car Club, http://home.att.net/~bbcc
Buttonwillow Raceway Park, (661) 764-5333, www.buttonwillowraceway.com
Moss Motors, (805) 681-3400, www.mossmotors.com
VARA, (800) 280-8272, www.vararacing.com

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