British Car Week is an annual tradition of promoting the British car hobby. It began as a response to columnist Peter Egan's wake-up call titled "Seldom Seen Cars" published in the March 1997 issue of Road & Track Magazine. The later part of May was chosen since it is a time of year when many British car owners begin thinking about preparing their cars for the upcoming driving season. The idea was to promote the British car hobby using the vast resources of the Internet to contact British car enthusiasts wherever possible (email, clubs, blogs, list groups...), and hope they would join forces to help promote all of the many wonderful facets of the hobby. By getting cars onto the roads of communities everywhere possible during the week, it would help increase awareness of these once very popular vehicles, and in turn help keep the hobby and businesses that support our cars flourishing.
Current owners of classic fun-filled British transportation of the past have proudly kept them maintained to be driven reliably anywhere. Some owners drive them to work, others for pleasure, and some partake on long journeys that result in an exciting never to be forgotten seat-of-your-pants experience that results in life-long cherrished memories. But these cars are becoming scarce on the roads today, and as a result, they will eventually become long forgotten by the average person if not promoted outside of their relatively small circle of enthusiasts in some way.
During the late 1940's British cars became a popular means of fun transportation in the United States of America after catching the eye's and hearts of American servicemen who spent time in Europe during the war. Those who were fortunate enough to return home, wanted one parked in their very own driveway. As a result, British cars became a common sight to see driving on the roads of North America during the late 1940's through the late 1970's, but then began to dwindle during the early 1980's when British car companies ran into hard times. Any person who was aware of their surroundings during those years has some kind of special memory of these cars. Whether it was a family member, neighbor, or watching one pass by on the road, those memories bring a special kind of smile to the face of anyone reminiscing about these unforgettable, charming pieces of British machinery.
The years have passed, and we're now well into the 21st Century. Many of these cars continue to be very well maintained by second and third generation owners who enjoy them very much the same way the original owners did. Current owners are realizing how this antiquated machinery is becoming older and more scarce, and know how important it is to keep the Lucas lights burning brightly! They know how important it is to continue supporting the clubs, parts suppliers, services, book and magazine publishers, an other venues that support the hobby.
This annual week is as close as we'll ever come to recreating those wonderful motoring days of the past. It is our way of reminding the world these cars are still performing their job very well, and in many cases better than ever. Who knows....maybe....just maybe....you and your favorite British car may spark the interest of someone new to the hobby who just might decide to get involved. As a result, they will help continue the tradition of fine British motoring for many years to come. Think of all of the curious eyes that watch your car while driving down the road, and you may have just touched the imagination of a budding British car enthusiast who will help carry-on the fulfilling British car hobby.
So grab your goggles and driving gloves, and top off your dashpots! It's time to have some fun!!
See you on the road.....
Scott Helms - BCW Curator
Triumph TR4's along the Oregon Coastline