I say, guv, these judges are getting younger …

Neil McLagan has just completed his second year of mechanical engineering studies at the University of Victoria and is particularly looking forward to tomorrow’s All-British Field Meet at Vancouver’s VanDusen Botanical Garden.

This is the premier British car event of the year and attracts more than 500 vehicles that originated across the pond.

Neil will be showing his race prepared 1974½ MGB GT alongside his father’s restored 1967 Jaguar XKE fixed head coupe at Western Canada’s largest British car show. Neil’s hot MG GT features many performance modifications, including a Moss supercharger, a five-speed transmission and upgraded front and rear suspension.

Neil inherited a passion for British sports cars from his parents Jim and Sue McLagan, who have an award-winning vintage 1980 MGB, the 1967 Jag and a 1974 Jaguar XKE V12 roadster garaged at their South Surrey home. At 21 years old, Neil will be one of approximately a dozen student judges helping to score the British cars at Saturday’s All-British Field Meet. The cars will be organized into 61 separate classes.

Displayed in the spectacular setting will be dozens of examples of vintage and classic vehicles from British manufacturers, including Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Morgan, Lotus, MG, Triumph, Rover, Vauxhall, Humber, Metropolitan Austin, Morris and Alvis.

For special interest, the 80th anniversary of Jensen Motors will be featured with 17 vehicles expected, including a 1976 Jensen Interceptor — the very last car produced before the receiver locked the factory doors. Show co-chairman Patrick Stewart says the ABFM is known for its wide variety of cars.

This year’s theme is British design and American muscle and celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Sunbeam Tiger.

The two-seat sports car powered by a hot Ford V8 engine coupled to a four-speed transmission was first introduced in April 1964 at the New York Motor Show. Twenty-five examples are expected to be displayed at the ABFM.

For motorcycle enthusiasts, the show celebrates 110 years since the introduction of the Volocette motorcycle.

The All-British Field Meet began as a parking lot show ’n’ shine with 27 cars in 1985. The show moved to VanDusen the following year.

“The increasing popularity of collector cars has seen the show grow every year,” Stewart reports.

Entrants come from as far away as Saskatchewan, Alberta, Washington, Oregon, California and all parts of the B.C.

Father and son Jim and Neil McLagan with their MGB sports cars. Neil will be a student judge at tomorrows All British Field Meet at VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver.

Father and son Jim and Neil McLagan with their MGB sports cars. Neil will be a student judge at tomorrows All British Field Meet at VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver.
Alyn Edwards,

For engineering student Neil McLagan, it will be the first opportunity to show the MGB GT he purchased last year and to learn about vintage and classic cars by being a student judge.

To encourage the involvement of young people in the classic car hobby, cars will be selected and judged by a team of students and young adults aged 17 to 21.

The youth judging program was introduced three years ago as part of the show’s education mandate.

“It’s an effort to do something about the aging state of our classic car hobby and raise interest levels of the fun in owning a classic car among young people,” explains Stewart.

The mentoring and instruction of student judges is run by the Automotive Collision Repair programs at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

“We typically request 12 student volunteers from our Motive Power programs,” says chief instructor Randy Sandhu. “We spend a considerable amount of time prepping our students to understand the judging criteria and what to look for on the vehicles such as panel fitting, paint finish and overall condition and cleanliness of the show cars,” he says. “Students get the opportunity to speak to the owners and love to hear the stories of how these owners have managed to get the cars to a show quality presentation.”

BCIT has been running a vehicle restoration program through part-time studies. It is the only post secondary institute in the province to offer these types of courses to hobbyists and automotive enthusiasts.

That program will have the biggest display at the All-British Field Meet, which will include a student project 1980 Triumph Spitfire that has been freshly painted and a 1969 Jaguar XKE coupe that is a restoration in progress.

The All-British Field Meet is a must-attend event that draws up to 6,000 visitors. It is open to the public at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 17, at VanDusen Botanical Garden, 37th Avenue and Oak Street in Vancouver.

Alyn Edwards is a classic car enthusiast and partner in Peak Communicators, a Vancouver-based public relations company. [email protected]

About Driving