British car enthusiasts gather at river

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 14, 2003

VIDALIA, La. &045; No one drove on the left side of the road or called their friends &uot;old chap.&uot;

But it was a jolly good show Saturday when the English Motoring Club of Mississippi gathered for its seventh annual visit to the Miss-Lou.

Also known as &uot;Brits on the River,&uot; the event drew British car enthusiasts from as far as St. Louis and Nashville.

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Parked in rows along the riverfront, there were Triumph roadsters, Leland Mini-Cooper sedans and &045; of course &045; the indomitable Rolls-Royce.

Natchez resident Rich Branyan proudly displayed his 1949 Silver Wraith, which he inherited from his father last year.

The car won the 1975 British Rolls-Royce show.

&uot;It’s driven more lately.

My Rolls mechanic, Fred Fabre of Baton Rouge, is glad to see it out and about,&uot; Branyan said.

However, many of the vintage car owners preferred to do the remodeling and maintenance work themselves.

Dave Hayden of Abbeville has spent 2,800 man-hours rebuilding his 1967 Triumph TR-48.

He has also restored three other Triumph models.

&uot;I’ve been driving Triumphs for over 30 years.

The shop manuals were written for people to work on them.

They’re dirt-simple, and I like the car’s performance.

It’s just fun,&uot; said Hayden.

Car owners mingled at the event, exchanging tips and information while judging the best of show in several categories.

Judges consider original stock parts, cleanliness and whether a car is driven, rather than trailered to an event.

The shows also

provide a chance to socialize and make new acquaintances

Richard and Giggo Crichton made the trip from Nashville in their Mini-Cooper.

The two were married at last year’s show.

&uot;We’re celebrating our first wedding anniversary,&uot; Giggo said.

Club president Al Adams of Brandon said the club sponsors shows throughout the southeastern United States almost every week during the spring and fall.