Driver: Melody Laurel, Co-Driver: Larry Laurel Car: 1980 Triumph TR8
This my first foray into owning a classic British car, and the ABRR!
My husband is an innocent bystander who is just along for the ride. Smart man though; happy wife, happy life.
Bruklyn our bulldog is under the impression that the Spitfire is hers and Larry is her chaffer.
I have been under the mystic of British cars for years. As a young girl, my father tried to purchase a GT6, as the dealership was going out of business. Every time we, as a family, would walk into the dealership, the salesman would put my sister and me in the front seats of what ever model was on the floor. Alas, we never got to take a GT6 home, but the memory and feeling stuck.
As to why the name Because We Can, it is our higher calling as citizens of this earth to help when we can. A little fellowship with like minded enthusiasts, as well as doing something positive for others, makes for great memories.
My 1980 Spitfire is currently undergoing a complete body and paint renovation. A new photo will be uploaded as soon as this process is completed.
Update Due to circumstances beyond our control, our beloved Spitfire is in a bit of limbo. No, this has nothing to do with Lucas electrical gremlins. As a result, team "Because We Can" will be sporting a 1980 not-quite-stock TR8.
Our chances of not driving the Miata "Car of Shame" have just gone up exponentially.
Driver: Steve Olmsted, Co-Driver: Kathy Olmsted Car: 1976 Jensen Healey
Steve and Kathy Olmsted make up Team Jolly Jensen. This is Steve's second ABRR and Kathy's first. Steve began his car "hobby" at the age of 15 when his dad bought him and his brothers a 1960 Bugeye. He thought restoring a car would be a good way to keep his boys out of trouble. Little did he know! 40 years later and with more than 50 cars in his collection, this is not a hobby that always keeps Steve out of trouble! Fortunately, he married his college sweetheart - a very kind, understanding, compassionate and supportive woman (who also volunteered to write this bio)!
Steve's future plan is to have a British car museum in northern Michigan so others can enjoy his collection.
Driver: Vikram Dighe, Co-Driver: Heather Hannon Car: 2000 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante
Vik and Heather are looking forward to a lot of "firsts" this year - first dance, first night in their new home and their first British Reliability Run! Recently engaged in July 2016, the couple just purchased a new home in Lititz and are busy wedding planning for the May 2017 celebration in Lancaster, PA.
Vik and Heather share a passion for travel and adventure. They ventured more than 500 miles round-trip to Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen in Vik's 2000 Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante. It was that weekend, on the edge of Keuka Lake in Hammondsport, NY, where Vik "popped" the question and Heather happily accepted.
Vik has been a car enthusiast most all of his life and in the last year finally found the car he was looking for. Vik takes pride in his (and Heather's) vehicles and also has a 1999 Mercury Mystique LS and a 2002 VW Passat W8 Wagon that he keeps in pristine condition. He makes Heather watch YouTube videos on proper car washing techniques before they spend sunny Saturday's washing their 4 cars.
Their team name, "Something Punny" originated from their love of local bar trivia nights and Heather asked "What should our team name be?" Vik replied "I don't know - something punny..." And Heather said "That's a great name!" She's been taking everything literal ever since.
Vik is working as a software engineer for a health tech startup in New York City, as well as helping out with Merck Pharmaceuticals and some local businesses. Heather works full-time as a fundraiser for Lancaster Rec. While she's not an avid gear head, is happy to be a part of the race that is raising money for a great cause. She's grateful to be Vik's co-pilot in the race and in life.
I Coulda Had A V8
Driver: Ray Waugh, Co-Driver: Caroline Waugh Car: 1967 MGB GT
Team "I Coulda Had a V8" is a husband and wife team of Ray & Caroline Waugh, a couple of born again gear heads. We both had some interesting cars in our youth (1967 VW Bug, 1974 V6 Capri, 1987 Alfa Romeo Milano), but moved into the land of station wagons and mini vans while raising a family. However, the car bug must have been in the genes as our son dragged us back into the car scene as a teen (he is currently planning on swapping a V8 into his Miata). It started with his rebuilding and modifying a 2000 VW Golf. Caroline ended up helping him quite a bit, and caught the bug herself. After his project was done, she took the plunge and bought a 1992 Miata in need of some freshening. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was hooked as well and up to my elbows in Miata modifications. Next, I found myself haunting car web sites and came across MG's with V6's and V8's stuffed under their hoods.
We bought our 1967 MGB GT back in January of 2014 from a gentlemen down in Georgia. I've always loved the lines of the GT, and was thinking of buying a project one with which to do a V6 swap, when I found one with a GM 2.8L V6 for less than I could build it for. It needed some loving when we got it, and we've been slowly working on improving it. It got a new paint job and a Rover V8 style hood, but sadly that was also about the time that we diagnosed a growing engine knock as a failing connecting rod bearing. But, when one door closes, another opens. I looked at this as a chance to build it bigger, stronger, faster, and low and behold, I found a used 3.4L V6 from a '94 Camaro at a bone yard just down the road. Break in miles on the 3.4 were done on last year's ABRR and we lived in fear that something was going to go wrong. Well, it wasn't the engine that was the weak point. The old suspension bushings were the weak link. But thats what this run is all about--Adventures on the road less traveled for a good cause!
This will be our second ABRR. We have also taken it up to Watkins Glen for the Grand Prix Festival weekend, and SVRA races. That year MG was the feature marque, and we participated in the Tour de Marque along with about 120 other assorted MG's. We even got to take our GT out on the Watkins Glen track, albeit behind a pace car, but still a lot of fun. So here we are, looking for a another adventure in a fun car.
Driver: Ben Roth, Co-Driver: Angie Roth Car: 1985 TVR Tasmin
We are returning for our second ABBR despite the lack of heat last year, an exhaust so loud that we didn't run with the top up and flurries flying. We had so much fun last year we even talked a friend into bringing some class to the ride with his gorgeous DB7. Our TVR (a car that was abandoned in the southern Colorado desert for 10 years prior to our buying) has proven more than reliable in the past for numerous long trips so the only thing we plan to do is fill it up with gas (and some lead additive) and check the fluids. What could go wrong, TVRs are well know as the most reliable of all the British marques since they took only the best bits from all the others (or at least the bits that they could get with advantageous credit terms). We can't wait to spend another fall weekend with good people at a great run event raising money for a great cause.
This is our first multi-day drive in an organized event. (The “trigger to try” was the account in the Hemmings Sports & Exotic on Road Trips. It’s nice to see David LaChance will be back for another run this year.) We did a test run of 1,150 miles in April when we drove the Skyline Drive and 200+ miles of the Blue-ridge Parkway both South & North for The Gathering car show in NC. We’ve owned the Daimler since 1969, and have logged most of it’s 125,000 +/- miles. The car was treated to a 4 yr. frame-off resto starting in 2005, and in the process we made a number of safety and comfort upgrades. As a sidelight, we frequent The Manor Tavern, have had a tube patched at White Post, and BRRTA has a number of members in the Chambersburg area.
Driver: Gerry Kunkle, Co-Driver: Bob Vanover Car: 1966 Jaguar XKE Coupe
Our first British car was a red 1965 TR4A which we bought for $800. It had a shelf in the back of the car where our daughter could sit along with a bag of groceries. I picked it up outside of Quakertown. From what I could determine it was owned by a sailor stationed in New York State. It was titled in my wife EJ’s name as it was not in my best interest to own a foreign car being an employee working at Bethlehem Steel. By 1972 I ran out of bondo and in addition the frame fractured while my wife was driving the car to Lehigh graduate school. To fix the frame I had Dave and Wayne garage splice the frame with a piece of steel plate. Shortly thereafter we purchased the Sienna painted 1972 TR6 off the show room at Brown Daub in Easton (36 months at $101.95 each month) which I took on the 2013 ABRR. EJ drove that car to the British Car Club of the Lehigh Valley Autumn Leaf car show at the Moravian Academy last week.
I have owned the 1966 Jaguar E Type coupe that I am taking on this year’s ABRR for over fifteen years. I swapped a 1964 roadster for the coupe which is another story. In 2003 I drove the car to the Jaguar Clubs of North America Championship Challenge in Scottsdale, AZ over 5,000 miles. As I recall either two or four years later I drove the car to the JCNA Championship Challenge at the Chateau Elan, which is north of Atlanta. I traveled with the Jaguar Touring Club and we did the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway. I recommend this trip to anyone who likes spirited driving with beautiful scenery.
Best wishes to everyone in this year’s ABRR. Gerry Kunkle
Driver: Mike Kearns, Co-Driver: Karen Kearns Car: 1977 MGB
This is our third ABRR. We are looking forward to country roads and beautiful scenery. The last two were quite spectacular. MYB stayed in the garage this past year as we were doing major modifications to our house. It was hard to walk by her and hear her ask if we were going for a ride and have to say no. Yesterday I told her that in just over a week we would be going for a nice three day trip. Her headlights seemed just a little brighter and her grill a little shiner at the news. We are all looking forward to the 14th.
Driver: David LaChance, Co-Driver: Dirk Burrowes Car: 1949 Rover 75
Not satisfied with finishing last year’s America’s British Reliability Run with the oldest vehicle in the event, Dirk Burrowes and Dave LaChance have returned with something even older: a 1949 Rover 75 six-light saloon. Rover’s first post-war model, the P3, as it was known, was something of an interim design, filling the gap until the all-new P4 of 1950 was ready. Though the 75 bears a strong resemblance to the pre-war Rover 16, it has the same 2,103cc, inlet-over-exhaust, straight-six engine and independent front suspension as its successor, though it still made do with hydro-mechanical brakes. Having recently completed some secret modifications, Dirk is confident that the 75 will make it up most, if not all, of the hills en route without resorting to first gear.
When he’s not stripping the bolts on his derelict project cars, Dave spends his time editing Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car magazine. He and Mark McCourt, a friend and colleague, entered the ABRR in 2007 with Dave’s 1978 Triumph Spitfire, which obligingly suffered a rear wheel bearing failure, providing him with enough material to fill six pages of the magazine. Dirk has been a Rover enthusiast for decades, having learned to drive in a Rover 2000 TC, a car he still owns. (His collection also includes a freshly-restored Austin-Healey “Bugeye” Sprite, which gives him at least one car that he doesn’t have to explain.) Dirk and Dave met several years ago when Dave bought a 2000 TC, and attended Dirk’s annual gathering for Rover fans, Rover America. Hence the team name.
Driver: Steve Klein, Co-Driver: Ron Denzel Car: 1976 Triumph TR6
Eighteen years ago, Steve decided to return to his passion of British sports cars, after dabbling in an assortment of American iron, by buying his current Triumph. After several months of recommissioning the TR6, and then joining DVT, Steve attended a local car show. There was another TR6 at that show, which were the only British cars on display. The other Triumph was owned by Ron, recovering from open heart surgery, who promptly had his arm twisted to join the club. So, for the ABRR, Ron again had his arm twisted and we are looking forward to the run!
Driver: Andy Moutenot, Co-Driver: Wayne Simpson Car: 1994 Morgan +8
Team Morgan Mules consists of owner/driver Andy Moutenot, co-driver Wayne Simpson and Andy's 1994 Morgan Plus 8.
Andy is a retired executive from the financial industry, but he is also a car guy, and in his life a great many cars have come and gone. Cars from Lotus, Porsche, MG and others; even a classic pickup truck have occupied his garage at one time or another. But the one constant in his automotive life has been his Morgan Plus 8. From the long hood and sweeping wings to its spartan interior and bone rattling ride, the Morgan is everything Andy loves in a classic car.
For Andy, this ABRR (his first) will be the 600 mile icing on a 6000 mile cake. In late August, he embarked on a 6 week road trip across America to visit friends and relatives, and to honor the memory of his beloved wife Karen, who lost a battle with breast cancer earlier this year. The trip will take him across the Great Plains and desert Southwest all the way to the Pacific, then north to Oregon and into Canada on the return leg home to New Jersey. You can follow his journey on Facebook under "My Morgan and Me".
Wayne Simpson is a veteran of 3 previous ABRR events and has served as one of the run's organizers since 2008. He would normally be seen in his Triumph TR7, but this time he'll be co-driving for his friend Andy. In a previous life, Wayne was a research scientist wrangling photons at Bell Labs. Now he wrestles with old British cars.
The Morgan Plus 8 was introduced in 1968 and is still built today, although no longer imported to the US. Andy's car is a 1994 model, and features a fuel injected 3.9 liter all aluminum V8 engine mated to a 5 speed transmission. The body panels are fastened to a wood (yes, wood) frame over a steel chassis. There is no radio, and there are no roll up windows. A folding soft top and removable side curtains serve to keep the weather out, sort of, when necessary. Can these two men occupy a little British sports car that has no trunk without running out of space, or oxygen? We'll find out in October!
Driver: Charles Frick, Co-Driver: Jeff Armstrong Car: 1963 Triumph Vitesse
Lightning can indeed strike twice as Team Patina returns to the ABRR. We have some beautiful roads to travel this year and having driven Summit Point race track as part of a Triumph Motor Club event back in 1978 I'm looking forward to revisiting it in the Vitesse (this time I won't be sleeping in it however). I hope this year's event will be even more successful than our previous runs! Sending a giant thank you to past sponsors and if you'd like to contribute to year's drive please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's get driving!
Driver: Chas Frick III, Co-Driver: Elizabeth Tomko Car: 1965 Austin Mini Moke
Team Tomko makes a triumphant return to the ABBR this year. After success last year, despite the limitations/”fun factors” of a Austin Mini Moke, Team Tomko is back again to prove that a Mini Moke can be a Mighty Moke. The team consists of Chas “The Wheelman” Frick and Elizabeth “Sacagawea” Tomko. Fresh out of college and starting full time jobs, the duo has opted to bring their engineering skills to old-fashioned driving directions and the open road. While they may be young, they are battle-hardened from last year after facing freezing temperatures, rain and all manner of other weather with only an 1/8th inch of fabric side curtains protecting the cabin.
The team has been eagerly awaiting this event since the completion of last year’s ABBR. With the help from fellow ABBR’r Charles “Team Patina” Frick, Team Tomko will roll on a new faster Mini Moke with an upgraded subframe. Hills will no longer be the daunting challenge they used to be! Finally, Team Tomko wishes to express gratitude to all the organizers of the ABBR and cannot wait to be on the road driving with all other participants!
Return of the Wedge
Driver: Art Becker, Co-Driver: Pete Dow Car: 1980 Triumph TR8
“Team Wedge” ran the 2015 ABRR and had an absolutely fantastic time and was the First Place Team for donations, thanks to a lot of family and friends who willingly donated to the charity. We thank everyone for their support in 2015. Pete and I had such a good time we have to do it again in 2016 hence “Return of the Wedge”.
Art Becker and Pete Dow have known each other since high school. They both were independently drawn to British sports cars in their high school years when most young drivers were purchasing muscle cars. Art’s first car was a 1960 Austin Healy Sprite and Pete’s was a 1957 MGA. While attending college in NJ Pete delivered newspapers from his MGA year round and it didn’t have a top!! Fast forward 50 years and Pete has a 1955 MG TF which he has owned for 40+ years and Art has a 1980 Triumph TR8 purchased in May of 2014. The Triumph TR7 and TR8 appearance caused it to be referred to as “The Wedge” by British car lovers as it has that distinctive form when looked at from a distance. The TR8 was Triumph’s last stand in the auto world as they tried to stay alive after years of labor and management issues compounded by product quality issues (can you say “Lucas electrics”). As we all know this was the last “TR” as the brand folded in 1982. The reality is the TR8 with its’ American General Motors heritage in the form of a Rover 3.5 liter (215 Cu. In.) aluminum V8 and its ergonomic comforts for the driver and passenger had the basis of a decent sports performance vehicle. It even has factory installed creature comforts like air conditioning manufactured by AC Delco in the USA. Some 35 plus years after being released the TR8 is very comfortable cruising at 75 MPH on modern highways with the driver and passenger having a reasonable level of comfort. Art looks at the TR8 as the ultimate LBC - Little British Car. Art and Pete are looking forward to participating in the 2016 ABRR and encourage everyone to donate to this worthy charitable cause.
Next Generation Car Guys
Driver: Nick Zabrecky, Co-Driver: Richard Wolf Car: 1995 Lotus Esprit S4S (representative car pictured)
Team Next Generation Car Guys is being headed by Nick Zabrecky who represents LBI Limited (www.lbilimited.com) and is co-driven by Richard Wolf. This is Nick's second ABRR having participated last year in conjunction with MotorCar Studios behind the wheel of a Jaguar XKE Roadster.
Nick currently resides in Philadelphia Pennsylvania where he is lucky enough to work with classic cars on a daily basis. He enjoys all forms of vintage transportation. The Lotus Esprit that team Next Generation Car Guys will be driving was graciously loaned to them by a wonderful friend. Nick is looking forward to heading South this year instead of North to avoid the chilly temperatures and snow of last years awesome ABRR!
Richard currently resides in the Lancaster area and has been car enthusiast for a long time! He has owned everything from Corvettes to classic Mercedes but feels most at home on the two wheels of a classic motorcycle. This is Richards first ABRR but he is excited for the experience especially checking out Summit Point raceway.
Ecurie Great Falls
Driver: Jeff Olson, Co-Driver: Al Hazard Car: 1974 Jaguar E-Type Roadster
Ecurie Great Falls will be running a '74 Series 3 E-type V12 roadster, in its original colors of Dark Blue over French Blue. The car was given a bumperectomy shortly after being acquired by its current (second) owner, so that it looks like a '72.
Jeff Olson, the owner, and co-driver, Al Hazard, both live in Great Falls, VA. This is their first British Reliability Run. They are charter members of an event called Dawn Patrol, a loosely organized group of E-type owners who, every spring and fall for the past 10 years, participate in a 250-mile Sunday morning drive through the back roads of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. In those events, Al drives his RHD Series 1 1/2 roadster, acquired from Eagle E-types.
In addition to 20 Dawn Patrols, Jeff's E has done the Mountain Mille, the Countryside Tour in western PA (preliminary to the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix), several ad hoc events in the Finger Lakes region and many other shorter events in and around the Shenandoah Valley.
Along with multiple Dawn Patrols, Al's E, which he purchased years ago while working in Scotland, has done numerous events throughout England, Scotland and Wales, along with others since his return to the States in the northern Virginia/Shenandoah area.
In addition to the bumperectomy, Jeff's E has benefited from an oversize alloy radiator with upgraded fans, Wilwood calipers, poly bushings all around with upgraded torsion bars and Spax adjustable shocks and coil springs, tubeless Dayton wires and, most importantly, the steering rack from a Kougar (the cycle-fendered, Jag-powered UK hot rod), which eliminated the hideously over-boosted stock steering that the Series 3s suffer from, giving the car an almost Series 1-like road feel and steering response.
Driver: Dan Tinsman, Co-Driver: Sherry Tinsman Car: 1976 Triumph TR6
Sherry and I have been involved in the whole British car thing for a long time. It started for me when I met her. It started for Sherry the day she was born in the south of England. Soon after we were married, being jealous of her brother Kevin’s Spitfire, I traded my ‘55 Chevy Truck for a TR6. Now there’s a TVR and a GT6 in the garage too.
I got involved with the ABRR in 2008 when it came to the east coast. I’ve planned all 6 routes, Sherry and I have scouted 5 of them, and I’ve participated in 4. This will be Sherry’s Second. We are looking forward to a great weekend with old and new friends raising money for a worthy cause.
Driver: Bruce Allen, Co-Driver: Debbie Frenzi Car: 1965 Lotus Elan
This is team Avengers first ABBR. After viewing spectacular videos at Ragtops&Roadsters and hearing exciting tales, we are finally getting to participate. I have owned the Elan S2 for 32 years and it is a restoration in progress.
We intend to make Emma Peel proud!
Big Fat Grey Cat
Driver: Ryan Hutchison, Co-Driver: Eugene Toner Car: 1952 Jaguar MKVII
Ryan says: I got into British cars by going shows with my dad when I was a kid. I developed some interest in these cars because they were the only cars I knew that had an exhaust note. The rumble of engines and the pure sound is what caught my interest. Seeing the “The Fast and Furious” movie at 17 got me focused on making cars faster and fixing them after I broke them (I broke a lot of cars in my first few years of driving). By age 22, I decided that I needed a career if I wanted to have money to spend on cars so I enrolled at Automotive Training Center and completed the high performance program.
I spent the first 4 years of my career working as a technician at Montgomeryville Acura and then moved on to Keenan Honda for 2 years. One of the attractions at Keenan Honda was that the owner, Jim Peruto, was very involved in racing and had 3 full time mechanics at our building working on his race cars. It's pretty thrilling to be working on a Civic on your lift and there is a NASCAR car driving in and out of the shop. At slow times at the dealer I was able to talk with the race car mechanics and check out the projects they were working on. While at Honda I was also able to participate in two “24 Hours of Le'Mons” races with co-workers. I held the "fastest time of the day" at several events for our team and those Le’Mons weekends are two of my favorite weekends of all time.
Looking for more of a challenge, I decided to pursued a career at Ragtops & Roadsters. I have been at R&R for over a year now and my passion grows day by day. My first big job was the 1952 Jaguar Mk VII that Eugene and I will be driving in the Reliability Run. It was a challenging project because the owner plans to drive it in the 2017 Great American Race next June. We performed a full mechanical restoration to get it ready and the ABRR will be its shake down run. This is my second ABRR, as I co-drove with my brother Chuck the Super Seven as the Birkin Boys. I will bring tools and spares in the chase van.
Eugene says: I'm 25 years old and when I was young man my dad was always working on old British cars. He brought me to Ragtops & Roadsters several times which may have influenced me to choose to attend Pennsylvania College of Technology for the 2 year program in automotive restoration. I was the production manager/public affair manager in the classic cruisers club at the school. I worked as an intern at R&R during the summer of 2015 then finished my last year and received my restoration degree in May of 2016. Between school and work I drove the chase truck and trailer to support the Freedom Rally through Virginia with a classmate from school. We did manage to lend a hand and make a couple of roadside repairs to keep some classics on the tour. I started full time at Ragtops in June and I enjoy the daily challenges that we find working on vintage cars. I just finished a full mechanical rebuild of a right drive MGTD. My daily driver is a Jaguar X Type and this is my first ABRR co-driving the Jaguar MK VII with Ryan and yes, I have brought some tools in the chase van. Hopefully we won't need them!
Driver: Cliff Besett, Co-Driver: Debra Lipp Car: 1974 Triumph TR6
This will be our first ABRR run. We live in Staten Island, New York. I am the Vice President of the New Jersey Triumph Association and Debra is the secretary. My 1974 TR6 is a Junior & Senior AACA National Champion. We enjoy driving the TR6, doing runs and overnights with our club. I also own a 1960 Triumph TR3A. This year the NJTA will have 3 cars in the ABRR run. Looking forward to meeting new people and enjoying a great run for a good cause.
Driver: Bob De Lucia, Co-Driver: Dave Kane Car: 1974 Triumph TR6
"Team DVT" is driven by "Where's Bob?" De Lucia, who will be in his 5th ABRR charity drive. Co-driver is Dave "Monty" Kane, who will be in his 3rd ABRR charity drive. Bob and Dave will be driving Bob's 1974 TR6, which they did last year. Bob and Dave finished 2nd last year in fund-raising for the 2015 ABRR, with over $1,300.
Bob previously drove a 1991 Jaguar XJ6 with his wife Joyce, and twice with a 2000 Jaguar XKR (solo). Dave drove his 1957 TR3 with his wife Ruth in 2013. Bob is the Director of DVT, Dave is the Assistant Director of DVT. Bob and Dave are also both previous DVT Newsletter editors ("TRundlin TRiumphs"). Bob and Dave have traveled several times with other DVT members, on the club's annual UK Motoring Tour.