Vintage cars take to the streets for annual show

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 14, 2000

Miss-Lou residents got a taste of nostalgia Saturday with the fourth annual Brits on the Bluff car show. With British flags flying, more than 60 antique British cars paraded through downtown and gathered at Memorial Park for most of the day.

The cars were varied in style and ranged in age from the post-World War II era to the 1980s.

Bill Silhan of Pensacola, Fla., said he views such cars as works of art. &uot;I think of them as kind of rolling sculptures,&uot; he said.

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Silhan entered a 1967 Aston Martin in the show, which is similar to a model driven in some James Bond movies.

Silhan’s car also appeared in the film &uot;Excess Baggage&uot; with Alicia Silverston.

&uot;The movie wasn’t even out when I bought the car,&uot; Silhan said, but it was prominently featured in the first half of the movie.

Robert Henson, also of Pensacola, Fla., has owned his 1967 Jaguar since 1968.

&uot;I drove it back and forth to work everyday for about 20 years,&uot; he said.

Due to wear and tear, he later spent more than three years restoring the car to top condition.

&uot;I don’t know how much (I spent on the car),&uot; he said. &uot;I’m afraid to add it up,&uot; he said.

But the investment earned the car the Mayor’s Choice Award Saturday — making it the car Natchez Mayor F.L. &uot;Hank&uot; Smith would most like to take home.

Tom Schmitz of Lillian, Ala, described his 1967 Austin Mini Copper as a &uot;flying shoebox&uot;

The box-shaped car can drive up to 100 mph and was one of the few cars in Saturday’s show that had right-hand steering.

But Schmitz said the right-hand steering does not make driving difficult.

&uot;The car is so maneuverable it really doesn’t make a difference,&uot; he said, adding with a laugh that his wife rides in the &uot;suicide seat.&uot;

Terry Trovato, a Natchez resident and president of the English Motoring Club of Mississippi, said all the participants enjoyed Saturday’s show.

&uot;They just had a great time,&uot; he said. &uot;They all want to come back.&uot;

During the first Brits on the Bluff car show, only 11 people entered. That number grew to 62 this year, Trovato said.

One benefit to events such as this is the economic impact on the community, Trovato said. Some of the car owners planned to stay in Natchez Saturday evening and to tour antebellum houses Sunday.