This Saturday will again see the annual All-British Field Meet take to the lawns of VanDusen Botanical Garden in the heart of Vancouver.
One of the best car shows of the season, it’s a grand day out for all ages, even those who don’t actually remember the golden age of the British sportscar. I mean, you only have to look at the front end of something like a Triumph TR3 to get the appeal. It looks like Wallace off of Wallace and Gromit.
This year the show is paying tribute to the 100-year anniversary of the MG marque. You’ll find all manner of more upper-crust machinery at the show – from Bentley to Rolls – but an MG embodies the everyman motoring spirit best.
And, with a full century to draw from, nearly everyone can pick out a favourite. MG has been around so long it even has its own beer: Old Speckled Hen, named after an experimental 1927 model with distinctively dappled sides.
The pre-war cars were delicate and tiny things, like a pint-sized version of Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang. They carry a whiff of leather helmet and white scarf about them, relics from a time when motoring and aviation seemed inextricably linked. The 1933 J2 pictured with this story, owned by a West Vancouver doctor, can be seen at this year’s ABFM, and it is an exceptionally appealing little car.
The T-series cars continued the eau de biplane theme right through until the 1950s, and are wonderfully anachronistic to drive. Imported by the thousand, they were everywhere during the post-war sportscar boom.
The MGA and MGB brought a certain modernity to the breed, though still encouraged a hands-on approach. And by hands-on, I mean hitting them repeatedly with a large hammer until the engine started again. Reliability was a bit questionable from the factory, though owners and specialists are often able to get things sorted.
MG as a brand left Canada in the early 1980s, but persisted overseas, and you might be lucky enough at this year’s ABFM to spot a grey-market import or two. The MGF, for instance, answers the question, “What if there was a Toyota MR2 except with a British accent?”
More than 100 MGs will be present (even if needing pushed there), along with 60-plus classes of other British machinery. Whether you’re into Morgans or motorcycles, it’s an event not to be missed.
The show runs from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 20, with tickets available online or at the gate. There is also a run out to Harrison on Sunday, so if you’re out and about on this holiday weekend, keep your eyes peeled for a parade of the best of British.
Brendan McAleer is a freelance writer and automotive enthusiast. If you have a suggestion for a column, or would be interested in having your car club featured, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Brendan on Twitter: @brendan_mcaleer.