For those of you who didn’t go, it will be difficult to recount in this article the atmosphere of a bunch of British car enthusiasts getting together! The idea was handed down from on high, so to speak, from our Chairman Howard Goldman, in fact! Why not have a festival for British sports car enthusiasts, the prime element of which would be fun? Different from other similar meetings, in that it would be a fairly loosely structured and a total non-pressure event, in a setting that would enhance the cars. Thus was born the first Moss Motors British Car Festival held, in the beautiful Santa Ynez valley 120 miles north of Los Angeles.
The September sun shone on a superb event, with over 200 cars attending during the three days of laid-back activity, which included a scenic rally through the wine country of Santa Barbara county, or if your tastes were of a more competitive kind, a TSD rally, where stopwatch techniques were required and developed by the drivers and navigators. The highlight of the hard driving events had to be the slalom held in the main street of Buellton, which attracted a large audience.
Shopping trips to the Danish-oriented town of Solvang proved very popular, as did the daily tours over the scenic San Marcos pass to the Moss facility in Goleta, where drivers were welcomed by the Moss Crew and given tours of the complex of the world’s oldest sports car specialist.
However, it was at the event headquarters, the majestic Flag is Up Farm, that the majority of the action took place. Many people brought their RVs, tents, trailers, and sleeping bags to enable them to stay on the site and enjoy all the fun! And what a variety of fun they could enjoy. Hay rides around the ranch, watching a master of horsemanship, Monty Roberts, break in a thoroughbred from scratch, or walking tours through superb scenery with deer and peacocks. The kids loved it! In the evening under a giant marquee, western meals were served and many people learned to line dance for the very first time under the direction of Donna Cooper, our Moss Customer Services Manager. This proved so popular that for the final two days we had to enlarge the dance floor which had been installed!
Technical help was available throughout the Festival for drivers with problems from qualified Moss staffers, and the installation of a lift from Parking Solutions Ltd. to raise the cars proved popular and timely! Meanwhile at the fully computerized Moss Sales marquee, advice was given and orders were taken, with delivery of items to the festival. The spark plug and wheel change contests proved popular, and the Pinewood Derby saw the kids take all the prizes! Meanwhile in the paddock, the funkhana attracted a large entry despite the 90° temperature, and the self-judged car display saw a wide variety of British sports machinery on show.
During the Festival we were pleased to welcome Charles Runyan from the Roadster Factory. Charles sampled some of the delights the surrounding countryside (a bit different from Pennsylvania!) had to offer, driving in the TR250 of Jan Dawson. Several local British Car Clubs had their own display and recruitment areas, and many reported good membership gains. We even had a visit from the motoring correspondent of the Los Angeles Times, who brought along the latest Ford Mustang for us to view before even the dealers had seen it!
The final evening saw awards of a modest nature handed out, and the event concluded with more festive activity and dancing before participants retired in the early hours. All in all a great event, even though we say it ourselves, and a lot of the credit for its success must go to Moss Marketing Coordinator, W. Harry Haigh, who masterminded the whole show.
By the way, many people asked, “Where was the hot air balloon?” Well, we wanted a normal balloon, but living in Southern California, we were treated to a “Stealth” hot air balloon, which unfortunately no one was able to see!
And now for the good news: We’re going to do it again!
Yes! From June 16-19, 1994, we will again be at the Flag is Up Farm with warm sunny days and shorter nights, and even more for you all to see and do at modest cost. So mark your calendar and make sure you come to the Second Moss Motors British Car Festival. Bring your RV, tent, trailer, or whatever; bring your spouse, your date, or your mother-in-law, and don’t forget the kids! Or stay in one of the many superb hotels in the immediate vicinity. Above all, DRIVE your British car to the festival. Last year, we had Berkeleys and Bentleys, Lotus and Minis in addition to the cars we normally cater to. If it’s British, bring it! We assure you a warm welcome and a real good time! (And there will be a hot air balloon you can see and ride in!)
(We’d like to take time out to thank all those people who made the Moss British Car Festival such a wonderful success! We must single out Monty & Pat Roberts, owners of the Flag is Up Farm, and their son Marty who catered the food; Stan (“I wanna be in movies!”), the security chief who ensured there was not the slightest hint of trouble; the Buellton Chamber of Commerce and the Solvang Chamber of Trade; the owners of the wineries we visited, Armorall, Castrol; and last but not least, the many hard workers from the Moss Crew. Thank you all. —Ed.)