British By The Sea Gathering Is A Day At The Beach (with Video)

WATERFORD, CT – The brand names are well-known to British car enthusiasts. Mention a marque and a model image (or images) will instantly come to mind whether it be Austin-Healey, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lotus, MG, Morgan, Rolls-Royce, Sunbeam or Triumph.

A few of these brands remain in business today, but many are defunct. Chatting at the British By The Sea Gathering on Sunday with Al Nosenzo, president of the Connecticut MG Club, brought the realization just how long some British sports car makers have been gone, such as MG. 

A line of MGAs at the British By The Sea Gathering
Al Nosenzo’s 1957 MGA 1500

“They haven’t been manufactured or sold in the United States since 1980, so a lot of people don’t even know what the word MG means. I’ve been stopped at gas stations and somebody’ll ask me if those are my initials, cause they’ve never heard of an MG before,” he said as he stood next to his 1957 MGA 1500. 

“A lot of younger people are now being a little bit more exposed to ‘em. MGAs were helped out by ‘Ford v Ferrari’ because Ken Miles had a garage that worked on MGAs in the beginning of the movie.” (Miles was an English sports car engineer and driver who developed the Ford GT40.)

Watch RIDE-CT’s YouTube video of show…

Seeing so many British sports cars together in once place – on the show ground at Harkness Memorial State Park and within footsteps of the beach on Long Island Sound – was truly a marvelous experience. And there were unprecedented numbers of some models.

“TR6s. Probably more this year than there have been in the past; probably three years combined,” said Nosenzo, who lives in Southington, CT.

There were rarities, too, in the form of TVR and Riley models. A faded black 1953 Triumph Mayflower belonging to Karl Hansen of Norwich, CT stood out.

Karl Hansen of Norwich, CT and his 1953 Triumph Mayflower

“It was like a Volkswagen. It was a low priced car to get people back into the market after the war. They tried to make it look like an expensive car with the razor-edged styling,” said Hansen. 

“It drives like a little, light, underpowered car. It’s 38 horsepower. It can just about make a hill in high gear. They made 35,000. They sold an estimated 510 in the U.S.”

A sunny day on Sunday produced an “amazing turnout” for the British By The Sea Gathering, Nosenzo said. Seeing some driving on I-95 before the show, such as the Riley, revealed just how enthused British cars owners are about their rides.

“The vast majority of these cars are driven here and they’re driven home. They are made to be driven,” he said.

Triumph TR6s at the British By The Sea Gathering

About Bud Wilkinson

Bud Wilkinson writes the "RIDE-CT" motorcycle column and the "My Ride" classic car feature in the "Republican-American" newspaper in Waterbury, CT. A graduate of Vermont Academy prep school, he holds a B.A. degree journalism from Ohio Wesleyan University. He is the recipient of a Scripps Howard Foundation National Journalism Award in 1992 and a 1991-92 regional Emmy Award for commentary. He currently rides a 1987 BMW R 80 RT and a 2014 Triumph Bonneville and drives a 2010 Mazda MX-5 Miata.

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