Back in September, I volunteered to shoot British Car Day 2019 at Bronte Creek Provincial Park for the Toronto Triumph Club. This annual event hosts the best of the best of British cars throughout Ontario and the surrounding area, naturally peaking my interest. While it will be a couple years before I will be able to attend with my GT6, this event proved to be a fantastic way to enjoy the culture without the presence of my own vehicle.
With coffee on the breath and bags under my eyes, the drizzly day started off with an extraordinary collection of Lotus cars, the Elise and Exige chassis immediately catching my eye. The damp grass supported the tires of Series 1, 2 and 3 Elise’s, as well as one particularly beautiful bright yellow S1 Exige that did not fail to excite. Equipped with a modest Toyota sourced I-4 and a humbling philosophy, this chassis is on the top of my automotive wish list.
Vintage Lotus had a fantastic presence as well this year, with historic models ranging from the Europa to the always fresh Esprit. Being as my brother and dad had not arrived at the event yet, I took this opportunity to talk with some of the owners of these fine British machines. This lead me to find the remarkable Lotus 7 pictured below, which the Engineer that owns the vehicle has swapped a Suzuki Hayabusa engine into the featherweight platform. Finely executed? Yes. Deathtrap? Yes. 10/10 want to own? Yes.
It goes without saying that my favorite of the show was this burgundy Mk.2 GT6 restored to perfection by Chris Tank. It seems that everything this man touches turns to absolute gold, and I am nothing but envious. One notable mention from the Spitfire and GT6 chassis was a custom widebody Spitfire with a big turbo Nissan SR20 engine which, according to the owner, puts out over 400 ponies to the rear wheels. Not to mention the beautiful blue that the owner has decided to paint the car, this was definitely one of the most interesting pieces of Triumph in attendance.
As the day continued, the diversity of manufacturers became more apparent. Lotus, Triumph, MG, TVR, Rolls Royce, Bently Motors, Aston Martin, Austin Healey, Mini, Jaguar, DMC, Land Rover, Morgan, Sunbeam. You name it, there was an example present. Even more impressive was the showroom condition many of these vehicles were in, some of which being recently restored. Inspiring is an understatement.
Likely some of the most iconic and fun cars at the event were the collection of vibrant Mini’s whirring about the campgrounds. Comparing the new John Cooper Works Mini against the vintage Rover Mini’s really gives you a perspective of how large our world has become, similar to how the 911 chassis continues to gain girth over the generations. Still, hard not to love them.
Speaking from a position of pure passion, the DMC group did not disappoint. Several DeLorean’s lined the edge of the event grounds, many of which outfitted with Back to the Future trimmings and accessories. Seen below is an authentic Doc, who was enthusiastically handing out “Save the Clock Tower” fliers to event attendees. Not only did he win the award for best DeLorean in show, he also took home the award for best DeLorean in my nostalgic heart.
I often forget how stunning the E-Type Jaguar’s are until I meet with one face to face again in person, even moreso when they have twelve cylinders firing under the bonnet. Bronte was filled with a fine collection of wild cats, including the elusive F-Type Project 7 which is one of the most visually appealing modern vehicles on the road today in my humble opinion. Jaguar’s have a unique ability to attract spectators of all ages, many happy to rip a selfie or two in front of these fine pieces of rolling art.
The best of show award was unsurprisingly awarded to David and Pauline Smith who attended British Car Day in their jaw dropping 1933 Morgan Super Sports JAP. This couple represents the pure spirit of the automobile, who even in their age would not allow the pockets of rain to cut their day short or stop them from driving their piece of history home together hand in hand. I tip my figurative hat to this awesome couple for being such good sports throughout the day and for keeping the dream alive.
Surrounding the vendors present at Bronte Creek was a collection of Land Rovers and while I am impartial to the manufacturer, I do have a soft spot for the Defender series. If I could buy one tomorrow, I wouldn’t hesitate to pull the trigger.
One of the most surprising vehicles exhibited during the event was the Ford Capri which I didn’t know at the time was manufactured by Ford Europe. Marketed as the European equivalent to the Ford Mustang, these sweet little pony cars had a notable presence in the show, drawing quite the crowds throughout the day. Bobble headed puppers always help too.
This blog post wouldn’t be complete without featuring one of the most rare Jaguar’s in existence, not to mention the car that was plastered on the wall of every kid’s bedroom in the 90’s (step aside, Spice Girls). Continuing the trend of glorious cars painted in yellow, this XJ220 was a breathtaking example. Having the misfortune of knowing who imported the car for the lucky owner was completely washed away by the epicness of the car itself. I was lucky enough to have waited long enough after the show was finished to be able to capture this car with no human traffic to disrupt the composition of my photos, even if I was taking the photos in the pouring rain. The owner is said to have spent quite of bit of money and time upgrading the car not only cosmetically, but also mechanically to make the car more livable on the streets. I support this whole-heartedly.
There are no questions asked that I will be back again next year to experience everything that is the British automobile and I highly encourage anyone reading this post to get involved with the event, you won’t regret it!