By Sharon Tanihara
Garden Grove, California

The time was 10:00 AM on Sunday, May 20 (the second day of British Car Week). I was on my way up the San Diego freeway to the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles (home of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronald Reagan, among others) for the 6th annual Pacific Palisades Auto Show, doing my part to document little British cars on the road. Earlier that morning, around the city of Carson, a tanker had overturned and caught on fire next to the freeway. The incident was serious enough that traffic was being diverted off the freeway at two separate locations. To avoid the congestion, I got off the freeway before the first location, but, leave it to me, somehow got back on again a couple of miles before the second off ramp where traffic was being diverted.

Driving those two miles at top speed with little traffic in sight gave me an eerie feeling. Then suddenly, off in the distance, I could see traffic piling up where the second roadblock was set up for everyone to exit the freeway. Before I got to that point, however, I saw a car pulled over to the side of the road. As I got closer, I recognized it as an MG TF. There was a woman standing next to it by herself. Images of Rod Serling�s "Twilight Zone" flashed through my mind, but since I didn�t see anyone else with her or a call box nearby, I pulled over to see if she needed a phone. She said she had been on her way home from San Diego to the San Fernando Valley when the engine started to heat up, so she pulled over to let it cool down. If it wouldn�t start, she would appreciate the use of my phone. She also needed a map to get her bearings and find an alternative route home without going through South Central Los Angeles, a neighborhood to be avoided. Luckily, the car started, so we mapped out a safe surface-street route around the roadblocks and back to the San Diego freeway.

Before we went our separate ways, I mentioned to her that I had been on the road to a car show that morning because of my endeavor to find little British cars on the road during British Car Week, but I never expected to find one under these circumstances. I asked if I could take a picture of her with her car to document the incident, and in spite of her misfortune, she graciously agreed. I took the picture and wished her well on the rest of her journey. As we went our separate ways, it occurred to me that our paths never would have crossed had it not been for our mutual love of British cars and the directive of British Car Week to get those British cars on the road!



I had first heard about British Car Week in March of 1999, around the time I was having a lot of major mechanical repairs done on my Austin-Healey in order to get her back on the road. I wasn�t sure of the exact dates, but that wasn�t a problem, because by the time May rolled around, the event completely slipped my mind. Last year I made a point of finding out the dates and being on the lookout for little British cars, but only recall seeing a TR-4 and MG TD on the road the whole week.

This year, after joining or re-joining three Healey clubs and receiving their newsletters, I made it my personal mission to document any and all LBC�s I might happen to see during British Car Week, resulting in the accompanying photos from the north San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles county areas. (Although most were not technically "on the road" when photographed, I figure they had to have been at some point in time in order to get to their respective events, which, in my book, qualifies them as sightings for Drive Your British Car Week!)



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