It’s safe to say that British cars get the short end of the stick – at least here in the United States.
There are plenty of German and Japanese car meets, even brand specific events, but you’re much less likely to come across something like the All British Field meet, as held at Portland International Raceway last weekend.
Maybe it’s just because Trevor and I are a bit younger than your typical British car fan? For example, my grandpa switched from being a Porsche enthusiast in his youth to retiring in an MG Midget. Either way, we felt a gap, so we headed out to see the Queen’s carriages.
If I am being completely honest, I attended the event almost entirely to gawk at the Minis. However, I changed my focus a bit after being greeted by a stunning patchwork of old British beauties.
The organizers stitched the lawn layout together based on make and model, which is much preferred over the surprising number of events that are laid out like a free-for-all mess of a parking lot.
My first stop was the patch of Jaguar E-Types. Always a favorite, there’s something so seductive about the lines of these cars. Taken piece by piece, they actually have some very odd features – a fishy face, a long body, and bulbous cabin – but when you put it all together it just works so well.
I’ll be honest, in the past E-Types were the only British car I really cared about — well, besides Minis, of course — but the All British Field Meet helped open my mind a little.
At first, I passed by a rather large cluster of small British roadsters several times to access the bathrooms, and they hardly slowed my pace. These cars are fairly commonplace in the US so I’ve never really taken a good look at them, but I spotted Trevor giving some attention to the smiley little cars and, realizing I was becoming a bit jaded, figured I should reassess my stance.
Triumphs, MGs, Sunbeams, and Austin-Healeys are all fairly similar looking, at least to me. I am sure people who don’t especially care about German or Japanese cars also see monotony where I see huge discrepancies between brands.
Come to think of it, my earlier-referenced grandpa with the MG has indeed announced how odd and identical Japanese cars look to him.
Anyway, these British brands might be abundant and affordable, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t unique or exciting little cars. Fun, lightweight, and nimble, they seem to be the British Miata of my grandpa’s era.
So, mental note to self: Just because something is common and doesn’t break the bank (or is owned by a grandpa), doesn’t mean it can’t be cool.
It wasn’t all Midgets, TR6s and other topless cars at the event, though.
A sporty Ford Escort Mk2 cozied up next to a Mini, both appearing rally ready. And I have to say, these Escorts we never got here in the US are undeniably rad; their boxy, highly-functional body lines just look right.
Then, toward the rear of the field was a cluster of vintage Land Rovers, a cult favorite.
If vintage cars aren’t your thing there were a few newer Jaguars hanging around, but let’s be honest – no one was really here for them.
On the topic of honesty, I didn’t head into this meet thinking I would leave with the Speedhunting high that comes along with discovering new and interesting cars. I was just there for the Minis, at least at first.
However, surprise is a powerful thing and I left feeling expanded and excellent (and English), with the afterglow of any good event.
Photos by Trevor Yale Ryan