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
Not a single full photo of that yellow Lola T70? Disappointing.
Sure, gloss over the Lola T-70 and focus on the Daimler Dart... Are you mad?
Oh man... Love looking at these photos. Makes me wish we had slightly bigger shows of this nature back in Virginia. Last one I remember fondly was Classics on the Green held up at New Kent Winery, but sadly that show is no longer happening. As stated before, Triumphs are a cheaper way to get into British cars, and the green Spitfire looks almost identical to mine, except with smaller wheels. Fantastic pictures as always!
The PNW providing a proper English summer only adds to the ambiance.
I really, really like classic British cars, especially the Jaguar E-Type, Sunbeam Tiger, Jensen Interceptor, Morris Mini, and pretty much any old Aston Martin. My overall favorite, though, is probably either the Jaguar XJ220 or the Sunbeam Tiger. I have actually worked on a Sunbeam Tiger prject car, and yes, they are complicated, but not overly so, and I enjoyed myself thouroghly. And hey, who doesn't like a '70 Ford Escort?
I really like classic British cars. My favorites are probably either the Jaguar XJ220 or the Sunbeam Tiger, the latter more for its appearance on the Get Smart movies rather than the fact that I had a project one I worked on. And I can now truthfully say that I even like tinkering with classic British cars.
Came here for vintage Lotus', left very disappointed. I may be biased because I grew up in a classic British household, specifically Lotus', and I have a '74 Europa myself, but I'm 24 years old and have loved the quirkiness of small, lightweight British cars for as long as I can remember
As a "younger" guy, I would absolutely love an old British car. Namely a Jag XK120, e-type, or Auston Healy 3000, 100-6, or even a hot rod Bentley. However, at this time my disposable income ceiling hasn't quite reached the height that these cars still command. I suspect a lot of young enthusiasts feel the same. They have an irritating feeling of being just a bit out of reach.