British Marque Articles - 2022








LANCO MG CLUB (01/10/22)

The View from Behind the Wheel - By Ralph Spayd

Happy New Year to all and welcome to 2022. We concluded a very successful 2021 with new activities, club growth, meeting new friends and then finished the year with a wonderful Holiday banquet. Tough to top that, but I’m certain we can do it. I want to personally thank our Board of Directors and officers for their great support and counsel, their willingness to serve and be involved in keeping the club vibrant. Also, Dennis B, Steve D, Tony S, Larry C, Rob and Jim and a cast of hundreds. Any success we’ve enjoyed is only orchestrated by our team effort. Thanks to all. I also want to thank the CPTC and Rich R for their support this year. I’m looking forward to more “cross pollination” of the clubs. Pam P has taken the reins of the AH club and we’re looking to a good year coordinating and sharing combined events.

As you can tell, I’m excited about the coming year and new activities we have planned. January did start with a split decision. We held our 1st CCC on the 8th at the Burger King in Columbia. We met at 9 AM - no 10 AM – well, sorta at 9:30, but all future CCC’s do start at 10 AM regardless of the venue. No classic British cars were present, but three new MINIs did show up. 10 hardy souls did show.

The CC&C Crew

Only MINIs Today

As typical, we solved the world’s problems and left the planet in better shape. The high lite of the morning was Steve R. trying to describe/defend his pick of door prizes at the Banquet. He and Lucy had different ideas, but Dennis B did save the day. I’m guessing Dennis is now on Steve’s Christmas Card list!!! The January club meeting was cancelled due to an icing event. As I write this it may or may not have been necessary, but better safe than sorry. For the coming year we’ll certainly keep some of the old “gems” running but plan some new activities. We have two road trips scheduled. The first is MG 2022 to Ontario and in October we’ll caravan to Virginia to the Hunt Country Classic with a side trip to Winchester. We’re planning a service project with the Schreiber Center for Pediatric Development on June 25th. In February, we’ll greet a very special guest, but that’s all I’ll say about that right now! Keep your camera and car tuned up for a special contest. I guess I’ve dated myself with the camera reference as we’ll all use our phones, but nuff said about that, so stay tuned! Save the date for the Das Awkscht Fescht and August 7th. Cliff M. is coordinating a big British car showing on the last day of the Fescht (geeze Louise, that is hard to spell), so let’s dust off all our cars and help Cliff to make it a huge oil dripping success. The coming year will be chocked full of food, ice cream, coffee, oil, gas, camaraderie, friendship and Lordy who knows what else! So, it’s gonna be a big year with boundless opportunities for Cliff and Diane to pass on the ‘Brown Wire” award!! All that considered, remember to never, ever miss an event because of your car, it’s the people we’re interested in (yikes, hate to end a sentence in a preposition, but I’m stuck).

 “Brown Wire Award” Prominently Displayed!

As always, it’s time for the soap box and my cathartic ramblings. I need to relate something that happened recently. One of our members, Ben R, who is a TVR guy and knows I had a TVR turned me on to a 1986 280i located in the area. Ben knew about the car as both he and Bob the owner had 280i’s and swapped fixes. Bob was quite the car guy and did great work on his eclectic collection. Sadly, Bob passed away recently. I went to look at the car last week and met his wife, Mary. I reviewed the car, but spent time talking about cars, life and things in general. I may or may not get the car, but that’s not what mattered. I was given a brief glimpse into the lives of some very interesting people and their shared memories and passion for cars. I probably never would have met Bob and Mary if it weren’t for my connection with LANCO and Ben R. What a wonderful coincidence to receive that experience. Cars, people, shared experience just spinning around us constantly. I encourage you to go grab some of the experience spinning around you. Go grab 2022 by the collar and make the year full of new experiences.

Pay attention to the intricate patterns of your existence that you take for granted.
― Doug Dillon

Stay safe and positive and remember to check out our web site at and follow us on Meetup and Facebook. Mark your calendars for the upcoming events.


Annual Banquet – December 2021- By Steve Dellinger, Photos by Steve Dellinger

The annual LANCO MG Club Holiday Banquet was held at the Fireside Tavern, Strasburg, PA on Saturday, December 4th with approximately 57 members in attendance.

Pre-Dinner Conversations - 1

Pre-Dinner Conversations - 2

Pre-Dinner Conversations - 3

President Ralph

 Service awards for the year included the following:

Years of service in the Club:

35 Years of Service
Roberta and Jeff Shank
Ruth and Ray Emery
Randy Keeney
Louise and Al Little

30 Years of Service
Steve Etters

25 Years of Service
Andrea and Brooks Thompson

20 Years of Service
Kent Williamson

15 Years of Service
Margaret and Bob Arlotto
Ralph Spayd

10 Years of Service
Deb Eckert

Andrea and Brooks Thompson - 25 Years


Deb Eckert – 10 Years

Ralph expressed recognition for last year’s meeting hosts, as well as for the numerous ”A Taste of Britain” Volunteers, and other Event and Club Volunteers.

The annual “Enthusiast of the Year” Award went to Charlie Baldwin. This year’s “Most Active New Member” Award went to Greg Swartley. The “Brown Wire Award” went to Diane and Cliff Maurer – for a failed trip west on US Route 6, along with their subsequent adventures with AAA Emergency Road Service. 

“Enthusiast of the Year” – Charlie Baldwin

 “Most Active New Member” – Greg Swartley

The festivities concluded with the annual presentation by Joan Martin, Including a stand-up / sit-down exercise (for prizes).

Another enjoyable end to a successful year – in spite of COVID-19!

Working for Prizes


Was Ist Die Awkscht Fescht? - By Cliff Maurer

OH NO! Not another German takeover of a British car marque. No, it’s a car show! Those of you who are farther away from the Philadelphia and eastern Pennsylvania area may think of the “Pennsylvania Dutch” as those cute plain people driving buggies in Lancaster Co. In reality 90% of those people who came from the Palatinate region of eastern Germany in the 1700’s were not those plain pious people but rather either Lutheran or German Reformed. They were referred to by their pious countrymen as “the Gay Dutch”. And they didn’t all settle in Lancaster County. In an arc around Philadelphia from the Lehigh Valley in the North to Adams and Franklin Counties in the West the majority of the population were these German immigrants. Indeed, they spread south as far down as the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.

But this is not an article about cultural history. It’s about a car show in a little town in the Lehigh Valley named Macungie. (pronounced ma-KUN-gee). It’s not German it’s Indian. Post-World War II this little town needed a park. The town had no money, so a group of citizens formed a non-profit group and bought a potato field. As improvements were made, they decided to build a swimming pool and to fund it they held a 3-day car show. The show is always held on the first Saturday of August and is a real festival. Hence the name August Festival in Pennsylvania German. It grew to one of the biggest antique car shows in the East. At its peak over 1200 cars and 600 vendors per day. It is managed by the Ontelaunee (more Indians) chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA).

Each year a particular marque is featured. In 2020 it was to be Cadillac and 2021 it was to be British Cars. (now you see the connection). 2021 was the 60th anniversary of the introduction of the Jaguar (pronounced Jag-u-aar) XKE, the most iconic British Car ever.  What a setup for a British car celebration. We all know what happened---- NO 2020 Show. So, 2021 went to Cadillac.  But 2022 goes to the British Marques. This is the first time an entire countries marques are being featured.

Jed Rappaport and I, representing the Keystone British Car Club located in the Lehigh Valley are working with the Ontelaunee group to organize the British cars. We feel this is a great opportunity to put British cars in front of a large group of car enthusiast and we are working hard to make this event BIG and fun for everyone.

The reason for this article in the LANCO car club page is because in mentioning the Awksct Fescht  to the LANCO club many people were not familiar with the event. So, I volunteered to write an article for them about what is the Awkscht Fescht. As plans get firmed up, I will inform all the British car clubs via the Keystone British Car club page about what we are intending to do, it won’t be your normal car show. But put the date on your club calendar NOW. August 5,6,7 2022.

See you in Macungie. We will eat Funnel Kucha. Gut Esse!


Auto Accessories: From Accessory to Necessity - By Cliff Maurer

I was trying to find out why early cars had 6 volt electrical systems. I could not find out why the industry started with 6 volt but did find that the switch to 12 volt was caused by increased use of electrical accessories.  The only thing I could find is that a wet cell produces 2.1 volt per cell, so a 6 volt system has three cells. Two cells may not have been enough, and three cells were adequate, so we defaulted into 6 volt systems. But that’s my speculation. And then there was positive vs negative ground? That’s for another discussion. In trying to answer the 6 volt question I did find a lot of information about early auto accessories. Did you know that electric starters were the result of an accidental death of a friend of the head of Cadillac?

Early cars had no electrical systems other than a magneto and some sort of distributer to control the spark. Nothing else used electricity. No lights, no horn, no windshield wiper, no turn signal, and no cigarette lighter. Even the windshield didn’t exist. All of these were first introduced as an available accessory but soon became a necessity. Let’s look at the history of some of these “Accessories” that we wouldn’t think of buying a car without.

We will start with headlights. Early cars were quite literally horseless carriages. And if you wanted to drive your buggy at night you equipped it with the latest lighting technology. First candles and then kerosene lights and about the time cars were becoming popular carbide or acetylene lights were being used. Some of these lights were detachable and could be used as a work light while repairing the car on the road. The first electric headlight was introduced in 1898 by the Columbia Electric Car Co. Since it was an electric car access to the electricity was easy. These lights were brighter than the carbide lights and were soon adopted by the gas powered car builders. The lights were driven by early dry cell technology but soon were replaced by rechargeable wet cell batteries. The battery had to be removed from the car to be recharged. These lights were bright enough that they would “blind” oncoming vehicles. The problem was solved in 1915 by a third party accessory provider the Guide Lamp Co. They set the lights on vertical swivels. But you had to stop the car and lower or raise them manually. In 1917 Cadillac offered an “Automated” version. The lights were mounted on a bar that could be pivoted from the steering column. In 1925 the Guide Lamp Co introduced the two filament headlight bulb. No, the switch was not on the floor but on the steering column. In 1927 the dimmer switch was moved to the floor to the left of the drivers footwell. The last vehicle I had with a floor dimmer switch was a 1987 Bronco. For some reason every manufacturer went back to the steering wheel. Every once in a while, I find myself pounding the floor with my left foot to dim my lights!

Back to the electric starter. Attempts to start a car using something other than a hand crank were tried but never were reliable. The invention of the electric starter has an interesting story. In the winter of 1910, a woman in Belle Island Michigan (Detroit) stalled her Cadillac on a bridge. She was not strong enough to crank the car herself, so she was stranded until a good Samaritan came along in the person of Byron T. Carter driving his own Cadillac. Carter was a close friend of the head of Cadillac, Henry M. Leland. Curtis proceeded to start the car, but the lady forgot to retard the spark and the engine backfired throwing the crank up into Mr. Carters jaw severally injuring him.  The next people by the bridge was still another Cadillac (This is starting to sound like a story made up by the Cadillac PR Dept) carrying Ernest Sweet and William Foltz. They were two Engineers from Cadillac. They successfully started the car and rushed Mr. Carter to a physician. Mr. Carter died of complications a few weeks later.

Leland was devastated and charged a group of his engineers with finding a way to get rid of the hand crank. “The Cadillac car will kill no more men if we can help it!” he is quoted as saying. The engineers were unable to come up with a good design, so they contacted Charles F. Kettering of DELCO (this was 1910. GM had bought Cadillac the year before but did not acquire DELCO until 1916.)  Kettering had a solution. It was a combination starting motor and generator. It would start the car and then run as a generator to charge the battery. I had a 1974 CASE lawn tractor that had a starter generator. It looked like a generator because it wasn’t geared to the flywheel like a starter. It was belted to a single cylinder Kohler engine and was positioned like a generator. Kettering’s model was geared to the flywheel.

The starter was introduced in the 1912 model Cadillacs BUT the GM executives didn’t trust it, so it also came with a crank. GM enjoyed a sales boom. As the popularity of battery/generator/starters crew they soon replaced the old magneto systems and that allowed all sorts of new electrical accessories to be added. In 1911 only 19 manufacturers offered electric start. By the 1924 New York Auto Show 110 of the 119 vehicles shown were equipped with battery/generator/starter systems. Like the dimmer switch the starter originally was on the dash but somehow it found its way to the floor. Many of us can remember the starter button high and to the right of the gas pedal. It was an operation for a one man band. Right hand on the choke, left foot on either the clutch or the brake and the right heel on the gas while your right toe engaged the starter. Did you ever have to ask your girlfriend to move away from your so you could start the car?

Now that a system was available to provide reliable electric current a flood of electrical accessories became available, But that’s all for next time. In the meantime, if your antique car doesn’t have a crank and you’d like to try one. Come on over, my 1954 MG has one and I have the crank. No, I’ve never tried it, I like the way my thumb and fingers are attached! And now that I know about Byron Carter, NO WAY!

Next month we will continue with more accessories that became necessities.

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