Many of the original companies are long gone, but British car enthusiasm is alive and well in Saskatoon.
Dozens of classic British cars were on display at this year’s Rock 102 Show and Shine weekend Sunday, thanks to the Saskatchewan British Car Club.
Many of the club’s 100 plus members were on hand to get people up close and personal with British cars, and joke among each other.
Morris Sulatyski boasts about sharing his name with his 1959 MGA. Though debated, many say the company’s MG stands for Morris’ Garage.
“Anywhere in the whole world there is no other Morris owning a Morris’ Garage,” Sulatyski said, adding he bought the car for $1,900.
Sulatyski said while many people think older cars are fragile, his was the family car and sometimes even a moving vehicle, for 22 years.
“I couldn’t afford anything else, so it was a daily driver, winter or summer,” he said. “A lot of people think, ‘Oh they’re older cars and they’re fragile.’ Mine’s got 300,000 kilometers in 50 some years. No trouble than any other car.”
Another surprising aspect of the classic British cars is their affordability. While classic car collecting is largely left to the older and richer, 23-year-old Chris Collins is one of the youngest members of the club.
After finding his 1971 MG Midget in California – where cars don’t rust as easily – Collins drove it all through university.
“It was little enough for someone like me who has no money to get into a hobby of owning a classic car without a big outlay of cash,” he said.
Parts are also cheap, but Collins said labour is not and British car owners soon learn to fix everything themselves. He remembers fixing the starter and alternator on the coffee table in residence and checking the engine after every long trip.
The need to be more hands on than with other vehicles has bred a close community among the car owners. Collins said whenever he’s had a problem, someone was quick to offer a suggestion of hand to fix it. The reliance on the rest of community also keeps members humble.
“As soon as someone’s ego gets a little bit to high, their car breaks down and knocks it right back down,” Collins said to the laughs of agreement from his colleagues.
The cars also leak gas in legendary proportions. Other members recall visiting rallies where British car owners put canvases under their cars. At the end of the show, the car with the most interesting oil drip design won a prize.
Sulatyski said it takes a certain person to own such a quirky car.
“It used to be called a little bit screw loose, but they don’t use that term anymore. Just a little eccentric kind of thing,” he said.
But their numbers are growing. The club has grown by six people since their last meeting, sits well above 100 members, and shows no signs of slowing down.