Home » Here’s Some Great And Mostly British Old Cars I Saw This Weekend: Cold Start

Here’s Some Great And Mostly British Old Cars I Saw This Weekend: Cold Start

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I was tipped off that there’s an interesting little car show that happens in Hillsborough, NC, at the Leland Little auction house, so I climbed in the Pao and trundled over, down some absurdly verdant roads. The show was indeed charming, mostly populated with old British iron, but there were a good number of other nationalities represented as well. Since I didn’t see most of you there, let me be your eyes and show you some of what rolled in there. Or was already in there? Anyway, let’s just look at some great cars.

That little MG TD up top there was especially nice; I always liked those tiny little rectangular-grilled MGs and it’s interesting to think about how that car defined what a “sports car” was for a lot of Americans at the time. This particular one was also great because of the hood ornament:

Vidframe Min Top
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A mosquito! Normally one of my most hated insects (seriously, what good do they do for anyone? Can’t we just swap them for more fireflies?) I have to admit, I like this plucky rendition of a mosquito here, all chromed and majestic. Speaking of tiny buzzing things, here’s my Pao, desperately in need of a bath, next to the first Singer-re-imagined Porsche I’ve seen in North Carolina:

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Singers really are incredible cars. The attention to detail on them is just staggering, like how the turn signal and taillight lenses were re-designed to not require visible screws, to pretty much everything going on in this interior:

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I mean, holy crap, just look at that. The basketweave on the dash! That little pocket for the seat belt socket! Just all of it, all of it.

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There were a ton of Austin-Healeys there, too, I think they were the best-represented marque at the gathering. I get it; they’re really appealing cars, and they feel like they represent a whole era and way of thinking of a certain kind of classic sportscar.

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Cs Ll Mga Racer

I tend to think of MGAs in a similar category to the Austin-Healeys, and this race-prepped MGA at the auction house was really incredible. What a great-looking car.

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There were Austin-relatives from the other side of the spectrum, too, like this fantastic little Mini. This one gets driven a lot, which is something I love knowing.

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Some good unexpected things showed up, too, like this Buick Reatta. When was the last time you saw a Reatta? I forgot how odd and pretty these things were. Also, they have one of the nicest under-bumper grilles of almost any car I can think of; it’s almost treated as well as an above-bumper grille!

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Look! There were Autopian Members present! We’re everywhere, people. Everywhere.

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Sometimes you forget just how powerful the right decal can be. This huge black firebird is a good reminder. Look at that thing! It’s perfect, especially in black over red. I don’t understand why more majestic animal decals aren’t on more car hoods. Wasted opportunity if you ask me. This is great.

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Cs Ll Ferrari

There was one Ferrari that showed up, a 348TS. These were cool because the V8 engine in the middle there was mounted longitudinally, but the transmission was transverse! You can sort of see it here:

Fascinating! I’m sure it’s easy to work on, too.

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Aside from my Pao, one of the only other Japanese cars that showed up was this lovely Datsun Fairlady or 2000 or whatever you prefer to call them. These always seemed like such fun little roadsters, almost out-Britishing the British cars of the era.

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The oldest car there was this 1913 Buick Model 30. It was restored back in 1968 and really hasn’t been touched since. There is one thing it needs, if you happen to have one in your junk drawer:

Cs Ll Buick Magneto

The coupling from the Magneto to the shaft that spins it is missing. Anyone have a magneto coupling handy? I doubt its specific to these Buicks, I think lots of cars of that era used very similar magnetos. If you find one, let me know.

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Anonymous Person
Anonymous Person
9 days ago

I’m headed to Wisconsin’s largest all British vehicle show this weekend in Sussex. (suburb of Milwaukee)

https://britishcarfieldday.org/home/

Perfect timing for this article.

BeemerBob
BeemerBob
10 days ago

Ah, that Fairlady looks soo much better than mine. It’s been on a car lift for 20 years with the back axles out.

Flying Squirrel
Flying Squirrel
7 days ago
Reply to  BeemerBob

I appreciate the compliment! Just swapped out the noisy original diff for a newer donor part. Loving the comparative quiet with the added bonus of hearing other things now, like an ominous clackity-clack from my old speedo.

James Carson
James Carson
10 days ago

One of my high school teachers (later 20’s, tall gorgeous) had a British racing green MGA. Was always conflicted between lusting after her or her car. Got great grades in her literature class. I attained perfect attendance in that class that year. Must have confused the office as I usually cut most of my classes.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
10 days ago

That black over black 348 is proper Adrian spec.

Autonerdery
Autonerdery
10 days ago

I see a few Reattas around; the one I see most frequently here in Oakland is a hot pink coupe on color-matched donk wheels. It’s incredible.

Mike F.
Mike F.
10 days ago

Just saw a beautiful MGA at our local market yesterday. I talked for a couple of minutes to the owner, who told me that it was a ’58 in Glacier Blue, one of the four (five?) colors MG originally offered. It had either been incredibly well kept or perfectly restored, and it was really nice. Styling-wise, the A strikes me as the sweet spot between the TF and B series cars. More modern than the TF and less stubby than the B. This one, in its robins-egg blue, was just gorgeous.

Lincoln Clown CaR
Lincoln Clown CaR
10 days ago

25 years or so ago, when I was still autocrossing, there was a guy who would show up with a lightly modified Datsun 2000 roadster. That thing absolutely flew. Super cool car.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
10 days ago

I compete against a guy in a 1600 that has a 2000 swap. There used to be a guy in a virtually identical one that came out, too, but he’s been absent the last couple years.

Flying Squirrel
Flying Squirrel
8 days ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

Surprised and happy to meet Jason at this event. My roadster is a ‘67 1600, with original 4-speed paired with a converted 2000 cc stroker. My new Autopian “vinyl” membership should pair nicely with the upholstery, without burning my legs and soaking my shirt. At least not yet.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
10 days ago

Back in 1973 I was getting seriously interested in photography and my grandfather gifted me his Argus C3 camera.

On my very first photo sortie, I went to the Fall Festival in my small New England town. The day was sunny and crisp and the foliage was brilliant. Parked in a bright sun patch beneath a halo of scarlet maples and golden birch was a deep red MG TD.

It was my first ever photo subject. One of the photos, which I later enlarged to poster size (a long process for a neophyte in the darkroom), was bought by the local paper to run with their story on the event. So, good memories all around when I saw your top shot of the TD.

Ncbrit
Ncbrit
10 days ago

Looks like a neat show. We have a euro car show here in Hickory every fall. Called the Autolawn. Would be great to see you and your Yugo there. It would certainly stand out among the posh motors.

FrontWillDrive
FrontWillDrive
10 days ago

Looks like a good show, I see a lot of Reattas around where I live at shows and in the wild, I have a Riviera that era (that I S2 SC swapped) and I see a lot less of those than Reattas, I always loved and wanted the Reatta but the Riv came up for a cheap price in the before times.

That Trans-Am is calling my name though…

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
10 days ago

Here’s a little MG mosquito history for you:

https://ttypes.org/a-smidge-of-midge-history/

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
10 days ago

Come to think of it, that car you photographed might be the exact same one at the end of the linked article. Same color body, same color grille.

Flyingstitch
Flyingstitch
10 days ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

Hmm. So, is it a mosquito or a midge? Because I was introduced to midges about a month ago at the beach in Lewes, Delaware. Mosquitoes are annoying, but compared with midges? I would keep mosquitoes as pets.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
10 days ago
Reply to  Flyingstitch

I dunno..Based on this I’d say it’s a mosquito. But I’m no entomologist.

https://i0.wp.com/mmcd.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/midge-v-mosquito-copy.jpg?w=1200&ssl=1

SonOfLP500
SonOfLP500
10 days ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

Jaguar had the “Leaping Leopard”, Rolls the “Kneeling Lady”…

…?

SonOfLP500
SonOfLP500
10 days ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

Yes, but… Spirit of Ecstasy?

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