The First Annual British Car Clubs Spring Drive & Picnic


The four North East Florida Car Clubs are the MG Classics of Jacksonville; the Jaguar Car Club of North Florida; the Triumph Club of North Florida, and the St. John's Austin-Healey Club. Together they organized the First Annual Spring Drive & Picnic, held on Saturday, April 7, 2018. The Event Organizing Team was headed by MG Classics member Richard Gross, ably supported by Lance Brazil, Penny and Alex Levy (Triumph Club), Toni Martini and Paul Sandefer (Austin-Healey Club), and Ian Massey (Jaguar Club).


The destination was The Ribault Club and Kingsley Plantation on Fort George Island. The Event attracted thirty-five British cars, representing the following Marques: MG, Triumph, Jaguar, Austin-Healey, Rolls Royce, Allard, Aston Martin, and two British Built Ford Cortinas. Interestingly there was a wedding scheduled at the Ribault in the evening, and JCCNF Club member Richard Gray had a booking for his Rolls Royce to chauffer the Bride & Groom, so he was early for his evening assignment!


Four assembly locations were designated to gather the cars so they could caravan to the Ribault Club. Others traveled independently. The larger than expected number of cars caused a few problems arranging the Photo-Shoot, but Richard Gross quickly got things under control.


Dan Scanlan from the Florida Times-Union, in his official capacity, was an early arrival. It his the timely advertisement in the Florida Times-Union that attracted the two Ford Cortinas. a Britsh Ford Model, built in Dagenham, England. These were Race configured and sported Lotus suspensions. So we also had a Lotus presence!


Almost every one was amazed at the number of Marque's represented, particularly the two rare Allard race cars, what a treat! More than seventy British car enthusiasts attended the event, with an additional number of the Ribault wedding guests also walking the display, 'ogling' the cars.


The Double Header was an excellent approach, giving the attendees who had other commitments in the afternoon an opportunity to leave as the parade of cars set off for the Kingsley Plantation. We had good attendance for the Picnic, although there was no official headcount. There was a threat of rain in the air, but the majority decided to brave the wet potential weather.


After most of us completed our picnic meal, Ranger Tim of Kingsley Plantation gave an informative talk about the history of the Plantation. Near the ended of the Ranger's presentation a few drops of rain began to fall. The rain caused everyone to hurry to their cars to depart. The light rain stopped as everyone headed home.


Being a British Car event there was one casualty on the way home. A Healey stopped due to a broken linkage in the engine compartment. Immediately a group of 'first responders' administered First Aid.


Later, five miles from home, a torrential cloud-burst hit us. We would have been home had we not stopped to look at the disabled Healey. We came to a quick-stop, put up the TF top, and off we went. After a mile, the rain stopped. Thus most attendees would have made it home before the heavy rain intervened.


The Kinsley History is very interesting. Indigo was the original cash crop of the Plantation, used as a bright blue dye for fabrics. In the 1790's Sea Island Cotton took over until the American Civil War in 1860-1865. The Plantation had many owners during its history. It featured in the war between the British and Spanish for control of Florida. During 1804-1814 Plantation owner John Houston McIntosh became a leader in the Patriot's Rebellion. In 1821 Florida became a United States Territory, and is now a Florida State Park.


The Bottom Line: Everyone had a good time, and there were many comments requesting more similar events.


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