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MGs take centre stage at this year's All-British Field Meet

MG is celebrating 100 years of motoring, with the everyman sports cars featured prominently in this Saturday’s meet at VanDusen Garden

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 Follow Brendan on Twitter: @brendan_mcaleer.