(After Ken and Barbara Smith logged over 5,000 miles while visiting countless states to attend British sports car events all over the country in their bright yellow ’78 MGB, it seemed that the time had come for Moss Motors to purchase a company RV. Although Ken and Barb proved that an MGB could hold an amazing amount of baggage, it just wasn’t big enough for everything they wanted to bring! What was really needed was a motorhome in which Moss staff members could travel comfortably for long distances while towing a British sports car, and still bring newsletters, catalogs and, of course, countless archive sports car videos and other goodies. Ken Smith, our intrepid Club & Events Coordinator, writes in while on the road in the Moss RV, once again on a cross country mission with his wife Barbara. It’s turning out to be a wildly interesting maiden voyage! —Ed.)
Dateline—somewhere south of Niagara, NY on Interstate 90 en route to MG Fest ’90…
Our continuing and increasing commitment to the British classic car movement in the U.S. made the purchase of a Moss Motors traveling Club & Events vehicle a necessity, and this spring, the decision was made and our new motorhome arrived!
This took the form of a 30 ft R.V. equipped with all mod/cons and powered by a Chevy 454—somewhat of a change from the smaller-engined cars we have usually attended British car events in. Following a successful debut at California Healey Week in Santa Maria, the coach was refurbished in the Moss corporate colors and we embarked upon a major journey across the country to attend some of the festive events taking place this summer.
Leaving our west coast showroom in Goleta in late June, towing the Heritage MGB behind on a trailer, our journey took us eastward through Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. Due to a little difficulty we were unable to present the Moss evening show In Houston. We apologize to those club members awaiting our arrival and promise to make it up to you!
So, via Mobile, we were off to Atlanta for the National Convention of the American MGB Association, where a superb event, organized by Mike Penney and the members of the Peachtree MG Registry, saw over 200 MGBs of all ages congregate at the Chamblee Dunwoody Holiday Inn. Rallys, a full and comprehensive car show and many other activities, all supported by real Southern hospitality made this a weekend to remember.
From Atlanta, via Birmingham, we turned westward once again to Oklahoma City and then north to Kansas City, where the first ever Moss Garden Party was held on a late summer evening in June, with the Moss RV and the MGB providing a fitting centerpiece for a unique occasion. Our thanks to all the British car club members in K.C. for having us at their place—along with “our” place!
Through the flood-ravaged fields of Iowa, and the Quad Cities to Rockford, we ventured to the huge Austin-Healey Conclave ’90. Adding to the thrill of seeing over 300 Healeys of all types in one place at one time was the attraction of the Austin-Healey Challenge. It was Great Britain vs. the United States at Blackhawk Raceway with John Chatham and his team of Big Healeys from the U.K. I will not spoil it by telling you who won, but my Nationalistic tendencies came out at the super presentation on the final evening! Maybe it was the loan of the Moss “tie-downs” to John, which enabled him to secure the massive brute Healey even more firmly on its trailer, that helped a little in the victory for the Brits!
Now some 5,000 miles out from California, we find the Moss RV at MG Fest ’90 at Niagara Falls, where the Buffalo Octagon Association hopes to repeat their successful event of two years ago. Then, we’re back to Chicago and Milwaukee for more events before finally coming home to roost in Goleta. Another 3,000 miles, but everyone packed with incidents…mostly good, but with a few dodgy moments thrown in! For example: Downtown El Paso, and a character with a hand gun sticking out of his belt suggests that I take the MGB off the trailer so he can “drive it around the block” a couple of times. Needless to say, I felt unable to comply with his request, giving him my answer in a broad Yorkshire accent, which totally confused him! He wandered off, muttering something about “durned furriners”!
Texas…Interstate 20…6:45 am and 70 miles west of Abilene, both right side rear tires on the RV blow out together! Now, this is not like your average flat on a Triumph or MGB… No way! The whole rig (including, remember, the Heritage MGBon the trailer), nearly finished in the ditch. This is shaky knee time, folks. Having brought everything to a halt on the shoulder, there is no way that one individual could even get the twin wheels off—never mind change a tire or two! Over to our friends the truckers on the CB (and let me tell you. these guys know a lot more about British sports cars than people give them credit for)! Six hours later, assistance arrived in the form of “Big Bob’s Tires”, a 6-foot-seven-inch Texan, who, with a battery of equipment on his truck, changed the tires at roadside with the help of three jacks and an airbag! He asked about the “B” on the trailer and his only comment in that dry Texan drawl was “ain’t never seen a twenty thousand dollar sports car before”!
I’ve seen some strange things in rear view mirrors in my time, but imagine my astonishment to see not one—but two B52 USAF bombers flying at less than 100 feet down the Interstate behind the motorhome.
The biggest insult? The guy who swore the Heritage MGB was “all fiber glass” until I stuck one of our magnetic Union Jacks on the body!
The greatest thrill? Coming out of the a Post Office in Niagara to find the Moss RV and the “B” surrounded by people taking videos of the car. Turned out they were from Germany and knew all about the Moss road show and the Heritage car, but never thought they’d see it in the flesh. Our passion for British cars knows no frontiers.
Watch out for us on the road—give us a wave, as many already have, and look out in Illinois, Oregon and the western states as we’re headed your way! If we are at a meeting you attend, come on over and say hello, because you’re the reason we’re here—our faithful customers and club people who run these funny little English autos!
Thanks to everyone in the eighteen states covered so far, for your welcome and hospitality. We look forward to meeting even more of you during the rest of the 1990 season.