2012 Rallye Glenwood Springs

Top of Monarch PassWe had an awesome time this past weekend at the Rallye Glenwood Springs. This is the longest running Rallye in the country and this year marked the 60th Anniversary. It is hosted by the Rocky Mountain MG Club but all drivers are welcome.

We had been planning to go since we really enjoyed the event last year. We took the Jag on a shakedown cruise a few weeks prior with the British Motoring Club of Northern Colorado to Rocky Mountain National Park. We made it almost all the way to the top of Trail Ridge but the Jag was once again having trouble with the engine overheating and we ended up having to turn around. I knew there was no way we could successfully complete the Rallye with the cooling system not functioning properly. So, I bit the bullet and pulled the radiator out. I took it to a radiator shop and had them clean it out. Got everything put back together just a few days before the rally and did it ever make a difference.

The first Rallye Glenwood Springs began with a hardy group of MG sports car owners who discovered the joys of top-down motoring in Colorado when MGs still had running boards and the new TR2 and powerful XK-120 were just beginning to be sold by Colorado car dealers. Imagine what Colorado mountain roads were like during that 1953 Rallye—gravel (some pavement!), no guardrails, single-lane bridges, hairpin curves, sheer cliffs, and thin air.

The Rocky Mountains of central Colorado, with some of the most breathtaking scenery in America, have formed the backdrop for the Rallye Glenwood Springs through fifty-nine previous years. Vintage and classic cars from as far away as California and Illinois have shared the twisting mountain roads with their newer counterparts for octane-related festivities. Enthusiasts have come from as far away as England to drive borrowed MGCC-RMC cars through such fabled Colorado mining towns as Leadville and Aspen on their way to Glenwood Springs.

This year the event started off with the Tour Rallye. We picked up our registration packet Friday morning at the Start line in Arvada (Denver suburb) and found that we were car #88. Yes, I was a delinquent and didn’t register until the week before. This meant we had time for coffee before it was our turn to cross the Start line. We got stumped almost immediately by the first tour question…something like “You wouldn’t want to go here if you had zemmiphobia” but after that we started getting most of the questions figured out as we headed west out of Arvada and up into the foothills. We found a number of scenic highways and back roads as we worked our way through Black Hawk, Idaho Springs, Frisco, Vail, and eventually down the spectacular Glenwood Canyon into town and a well deserved dinner with friends.

Saturday was the Time Speed Distance (TSD) rallye and we headed out under another beautiful sunny Colorado day with the top down on the XJ-S. We were actually doing remarkably well on this event, at least for us…one or two legs completed just under a minute off from the perfect time. The day passed swiftly as we worked the course but alas, we totally blew the last leg. Missed a turn altogether and subsequently missed the last checkpoint. Bummer.

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The Conclave – the premier British Car event in Colorado

The timing finally worked out to attend the premier British Car event in Colorado. The Colorado English Motoring Conclave is the largest and best-known British motoring event in the Rocky Mountains. This year was the 28th annual event and it started out with the Ride Through the Rockies on Saturday. A regular event, the tour takes you on an enjoyable drive along some of the less traveled and twisty roads in the foothills. The tour route is kept secret until the directions are handed out Saturday morning. We met up with our friends Randy and Mimi that morning and joined a very long line of cars departing for the mountains.

Ready to RollWho is having more fun

The route did not disappoint as we found ourselves on some very interesting roads in parts of the foothills I didn’t even know existed. The tour ended at a nice restaurant back in the Western Suburbs where we enjoyed a nice lunch as the rain clouds began moving in from the west. The drive home was through a pounding rainstorm and the Jag got all filthy. It never totally stop raining that day and consequently, we did not get the car cleaned up for the show on Sunday.

Sunday dawned clear, sunny, and warm. We went on over to the car show anyway which is held at Oak Park in Arvada, CO. The number of cars and marques represented at the show is simply amazing. I don’t know the exact numbers for this year but was told that typically there are over 500 cars. We wandered about looking at the Triumphs, which I have a special fondness for, and ended up having a nice chat with Lavonne Peterson about her 1962 TR4. Lavonne told us that she and her husband Dale had purchased the car new while they were living in Minnesota and have kept it all these years. The car is in immaculate condition and I couldn’t leave without dropping the hint that I sure would like to purchase it if they ever decided to sell it 😉

1962 TR4TR4 Interior

We saw many fine examples of Lotus, MG, Austin Healey, Sunbeam, Morgan, Rolls Royce, and of course Jaguars. I was particularly fascinated by a Jaguar MkII Saloon that looked like it would be a lot of fun. The Lotus Caterham Seven has always looked like it would be blast to drive as well.

Jaguar MkII SaloonLotus Caterham Seven.jpg

Rallye Glenwood Springs

RallyeMark one off the Bucket List. I’ve always wanted to participate in a road rally and last Friday we were car #52 and crossed the Start Line at 8:52am. The 59th Annual Rallye Glenwood Springs was underway. This was Time Speed Distance (TSD) Rally and Rhonda was the designated driver…I was the navigator. A little background may be in order.

A TSD rally consists of a set of instructions specifying a route to travel, and a speed at which to travel. A team, consisting of a driver and a navigator, attempt to travel the specified route at exactly the specified speeds. A TSD rally is not a race. Traveling too fast results in penalties as does traveling too slowly and no rally will ever require you to drive in a reckless or illegal fashion. Arriving too early at a checkpoint hurts your score, as does arriving too late. You are scored on how closely to the correct time you arrive. The rally route generally takes you over lightly traveled rural roads in the scenic countryside.

The weekend was a great experience and we had a really terrific time. The people were wonderful and the event was very well organized. The Rallye traversed a Westerly route out of Arvada, CO into the foothills and eventually connected to US-40 which took us up over Berthoud Pass (11,307 ft) and through Winter Park. It wasn’t too difficult to follow the route instructions but there were some tricky spots that messed us up and we lost time getting back on course. Somehow it just didn’t seem all that important given how much were enjoying the drive through the mountains with the top down on a beautiful Colorado morning.

Top Down Colorado MotoringWe continued on US-40 till we made Kremmling where we stopped for lunch. We then headed South on Hwy-9 for a short ways before diverting Southwest onto the back roads eventually coming out and ending the event at I-70 and Dotsero. The latter part of the route tended to have slower speeds and made the drive a tad bit tedious but the scenery made up for it. We had varying scores…too early…too late…almost spot on, and in fact I’m not sure what our final tally was. They haven’t posted the results yet. If you want to read some more about the basics of Rallying look at this article: Rallying for Beginners…and others

The Tour on Saturday was actually more fun than the Rallye or at least I thought so. It is not a timed event but has a similar flavor to Rallye in that you have to follow a prescribed course (more or less) and find answers to the Tour “questions” along the way. For example; one question was “British Car owners would like this Ranch _____”. So when we drove by the “Spare Parts Ranch” we knew we had nailed that one and went on to the next Instruction…”Turn Left onto Surface Way Rd”. Typically, there were three or four questions to be answered in each of the small towns we went through. This created some amusing scenes of British Cars roaming back and forth through the town at very slow speeds while driver and navigator craned their necks looking for signs. This route went on a southern loop down around the Grand Mesa National Forest and back north along the west side of the Maroon Bells which were absolutely stunning.

Sunday was the Car Show in Two Rivers Park and the cars were parked right along the Colorado River on a beautiful, sunny Colorado morning. There were plenty of interesting cars including a 1936 Triumph Gloria Southern Cross which I had never seen before.

Next year will be the 60th Annual Glenwood Springs Rallye and the plans are underway to make it a very special event. Do mark your calendars for the second weekend in June 2012 and come out and join the fun. Here are some photos of the events:

The Slideshow thingy is not working …just click on the first picture then arrow through them.

Parts Car or Fixer-Upper?

Jaguar V-12Back in late January I saw an ad roll across Craigslist for a 1979 Jaguar XJ-S Coupe. It was a cold, snowy night and the thought of going to look at it didn’t really trip my trigger. The price did though so I mustered up some resolved, called the guy, and went over to look at it in the dark. I did all the things you are NOT supposed to do when evaluating a car to purchase. But I ended up buying it anyway. I was thinking parts car…

So, I had a tow truck bring it home the next day and spent some time going over it trying to decide whether I should just part it out or maybe try and get it running again and put it back on the road. There were an awful lot of things wrong with it. It would start and run but just barely. The brakes were almost non-existent, the interior pretty ratty, and it leaked oil like a sieve. But, on the plus side, the body was straight and it had been repainted sometime ago. It looked nice and had potential.

Hear it run...WHooHoooI decided to see if the engine could be fixed without too much effort and that would be my deciding factor. Thus began a three month journey in Jag restoration. The laundry list of repairs is too extensive to really get into but in the end I had it running again and a large number of the deficiencies corrected. It was definitely a learning experience but I am grateful for the opportunity as I got to learn and experiment on another car so now am much better prepared to work on my own as the need arises.

I sold it this past weekend to a fellow that wanted a project Jag and was willing to continue the restoration.

Grandbabies in the Garage

Say what? Well..yeah, a couple of new developments. Josh and Selenda called the other day with some interesting news. We are going to be Grandparents this year! Selenda is expecting with a due date in early August. This is pretty cool and we are very excited for them. Thus begins a whole new chapter in life for us all. So, one day in the not too far distant future we could have little feet padding around the garage wanting to help Grandpa fix the Jaguar.

The Jaguar? If you read the Hobby Swap post you know I picked up a Jaguar project last month. I’ve been puttering about with it some and decided that I would chronicle my current project as well as my history of British Car adventures on a subsection of the MistyCastle site which I have dubbed the Garage. These pages can be reached using the menu bar in the header or using the Pages links in the sidebar.

It was fun hunting for the pictures, going back down memory lane and documenting the history on my other cars. I still have a couple left to write about. One of them, an early 70’s MGB, was a short term fix-up and re-sell project and I have realized that I do not have a single picture of the car. The other was a ’67 Spitfire, a major restoration project that never got anywhere. Well…that’s not entirely true come to think of it, I did get the motor running again.

I’ve joined the Jaguar Club of Southern Colorado and am looking forward to meeting some of the other local enthusiasts.The meeting next month is at local restoration shop (ReinCARnation Auto) that has done some phenomenal work. I’ve only looked at their website but what I saw was quite inspiring and I can’t wait to see some of the actual works in progress.

Hobby Swap – New Project

The Dream Road TripHobbies come and go and I am currently in transition. Sometime back around the 1st of October I ran across a startling opportunity to fulfill one of those once in a lifetime events that I’ve had in the back of my mind for some time now. You see, even though I live in close proximity to a 14,000 ft mountain, I’ve never lost my desire to make an extended road trip up through Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks continuing on to Banff in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

I guess this comes from a certain fascination with Vintage Rallies. We Americans don’t have much appreciation for this sport but the Brits do a marvelous job of planning these events.

Many years ago I got on the mailing list of a couple of British rally coordinators and from time to time I still get a brochure in the mail that sets the imagination running wild. Peking to Paris…..or how about… Continue reading “Hobby Swap – New Project”

The Little Blue Triumph

I rescued my 1967 Triumph TR4-A from a dilapidated one-car detached garage in Waukee, IA during the fall of 1977. It was not running and had some minor damage to the left rear wheel. I towed it back to Indianola behing my 1969 Grand Prix using a sturdy rope. We were living in a two bedroom apartment above a guitar shop on the town square at the time. The only parking space available to us was a block away in a small lot across the street from the police station. That had to suffice as my “garage”.

I don’t recall precisely what was wrong with the motor but it must have been minor because I began driving it shortly thereafter. The damage to the wheel was a little more problematic, the trailing arm on the independent rear suspension was bent and as a result the car travelled down the road slightly askew. This did not really affect the handling of the car but it did have a significant effect on tire wear and looked a little peculiar. I eventually replaced the trailing arm.

I got a tremendous amount of enjoyment from driving the little blue beastie and had a lot of memorable exeriences with it. I was attending college in Ankeny at the time and had a 50 mile round trip to make on a daily basis. On a typical fall morning I would unzip the tonneau cover on the drivers side, pop open the air vent and enjoy the warmed air that was forced through the heater and trapped underneath the cover while I drove through the crisp autumn air to class.
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