GT-38 Wrap Up Report

Photo for GT-38 Wrap Up Report

In Dayton, at GT-37, it was announced that GT-38 was to be held in Asheville, NC. With no North Carolina NAMGAR affiliated club within 250 miles of Asheville, a small group of volunteers from the western side of North Carolina and northern South Carolina was determined to make the GT in Asheville work despite the fact that none of us lived closer than an hour’s drive from Asheville.

Based on our experience, and relying on the NAMGAR staff for support, we put together a schedule and set about making the event happen. With so many things to see and do, the committee felt that it would be best to offer NAMGAR members options to choose from. We hoped a first class website and program booklet would provide information to help everyone plan their activities for the week.

On June 9 our team assembled for the first time together in Asheville loaded with material for GT-38. Bob Shoeplein, who had recently moved to Asheville, had joined our group and thankfully handled some pre-event and onsite preparations. Early registration opened Sunday afternoon and hit full stride on Monday. We had arranged an Early Bird drive to the Pisgah Inn for Monday lunch and reserved seating for about 45 with about 90 people showing up to enjoy a challenging drive up the mountain and a delicious lunch with a wonderful view near the top of Mt. Pisgah.

GT-38 was off and running.

The first Tech Session was held by Alan Hendrix of Hendrix Wire Wheels on Monday afternoon. The First Timer’s Car Display was rained out, but the First Timer’s Reception, hosted by NAMGAR, drew 50 new GT attendees to the Overlook Ballroom to meet the Board and Staff, and share conversations with their NAMGAR brethren. A BBQ dinner was served afterward with Bluegrass music from Charlie McDaniels and the West End String Band. Later the Hospitality Suite was open with the Michigan Rowdies serving local Highland Brewery beer and ale, North Carolina wines, punch, and snacks.

GT38 at BiltmoreEarly Tuesday morning we gathered for the drive to the Biltmore House for a group picture and tour. Following a beautiful drive through the grounds, the cars were parked in front of the house for the picture, and after the picture staging we enjoyed a fabulous breakfast in the "Stable" dining room. The rest of the day was spent touring the Biltmore house and gardens, and later some people went on to do one of the short driving tours that were offered. The second Tech Session was held Tuesday afternoon, led by Hap Waldrop of Acme Speed Shop, focusing on cylinder head rebuilding. The room was packed with extra seating added so the overflow crowd could hear Hap’s practical tips on getting the most from old MG engines.

Late Tuesday, tours of Highland Brewery and Troy & Sons Distillery were arranged with participants enjoying the tour and tasting of local craft beer and premium moonshine. If you didn't get a hot dog or brat at the Brewery, you were on your own to enjoy the many great restaurants in Asheville. Tuesday evening the hospitality room and tent were decorated with parrots, Conch Republic flags, palm trees, beads, and streamers, all reminders of the Key West experience each April as the Key West British Car Club hosted the Hospitality Suite featuring Highland Brewery beer and ale along with local winery offerings.

Wednesday was car show day and the field beside the hotel was filled with MGs and a few other British Cars. Thanks to the Catawba Valley British Car Club and the British Car Club of Western North Carolina for their help with parking cars and the Funkhana. With 130 beautiful MGAs and Magnettes on the field, photo opportunities were overwhelming, but perhaps the best seat for pictures belonged to zipline adventurers that flew over our heads and around the resort complex. NAMGAR Chairman, Bruce Woodson, hosted an impromptu information session around Fred and Cindy Skomp's beautiful 100,000th MGA.


GT38 MagnettesThe Magnette group had their 60th anniversary Luncheon Celebration as the car show closed. In addition to the Magnette luncheon an off-schedule lunch meeting of "MG Experience Forum" members was held at a nearby Denny's. This group of regular online friends had achance to put a face on the name they had known for so long. The members of the Forum were self-identified by a red dot on their name tag and car placard.

The Funkhana was held in the Expo Center parking lot with a new and special twist. Although the lot was off limits for Wednesday, there were many cars and trucks still parked in the lot. The organizers of the Funkhana took this “lemon” and made lemonade by rearranging the course to fit the obstacles. The participants were treated to some hunting, fishing, and a moonshine carry during their run. We ended with a photo op with our guest celebrity who stood under a tree during the runs. Yes, you had to be there to get the joke!

Gary Robertson of Farécla demonstrated car polishing and waxing techniques for the Wednesday Tech Session. He chose several cars from the show field to demonstrate his company’s products. His enthusiasm and heavy Scottish brogue attracted a lot of attention and he really put a "bright shine" on a very hot afternoon. Everyone learned useful tips on getting the most out of the finish on our cars plus some exposure to high speed Scottish accents making for a very entertaining demonstration.

During the afternoon many people set out on one of the local scenic drives while others explored downtown Asheville, participated in the painting session, cooking demo, or just relaxed around the pool at the Crowne Plaza. Dinner on-your-own gave GT-38 attendees a chance to discover another great Asheville area restaurant or return to enjoy a previous find once again. Later, the good cheer and camaraderie continued at the Hospitality Suite hosted by the Magnette Group to wrap up the day’s activities.

Thursday was a day for the Rally, drives, tours, Tech Sessions, vendors, and other adventures before the GT-38 Banquet that evening. The Rally started at 8:30 a.m. for a 34 mile scenic tour around Asheville with twenty questions to answer along the route. I think everyone enjoyed the drive with only one car getting lost. George Kress even encountered a black bear on top of Elk Mountain. No one got all the questions right and there was a tie for best score, so a tie breaker determined the winner. Ed Sass and Colleen Quinn had counted all twenty speed bumps to win the rally.

As the Rally was winding down our only guided tour was beginning. Don Wisch had arranged for photographer Blind Kenny to take pictures of cars going through the Diamondback route to Little Switzerland. About twenty cars followed Don on the Parkway past Mt. Mitchell for the challenge of the Diamondback "Sports Car Road." Several people found the route was much better that the Dragon's Tail route near Gatlinburg. Everyone took a break at the Switzerland Inn for lunch then headed back to Asheville with thunderstorms threatening. All arrived from back from this adventure in time for the Banquet.

Also on Thursday, John Twist started his Tech Session a couple of hours early. A line formed immediately and a steady stream of cars were passing by his toolbox all afternoon for his opinions, repairs, and adjustments. John's expertise is appreciated by MG owners everywhere and his sessions are always well attended.

Throughout the GT, a large room next to the Registration area served as the vendor, regalia, and general meeting place for the event. Once again the centerpiece vendors were Jeff and Jan Zorn from Little British Car Company and Cecelia Bruce from Scarborough Faire with her proprietary MGA parts and distinctly unique MGA wisdom. Also joining us in the commercial centerpiece of GT-38 was Tom Ball with his electronically upgraded rebuilt S.U. fuel pumps and Tom Pack from Knoxville with his amazing collection of MG models and memorabilia. Completing the retail operations were Sandy and Mike Hickman from NAMGAR Regalia as well as Kimi Cousins and her volunteers manning the GT-38 raffle tables and an assortment of wonderful items donated by our sponsors and many event supporters.

The Thursday evening banquet was the culmination of GT-38. Tales were told about adventures and misadventures enjoyed or experienced over the previous four days, awards were presented, goodies raffled off, NAMGAR members honored for their efforts and activities, and a good time was had by all. The final night’s Hospitality Suite was sponsored by the Ottawa MG Club as their first official duty in hosting GT-39, serving craft beer and another selection of North Carolina wines. There were more stories swapped about various experiences at GT-38. No one seemed to have done all the same things during the week…just the way we wanted it!

With the fun and frolic of GT-38 essentially over, the hospitality room opened one more time early Friday with coffee, juice, doughnuts, and various snacks for the final farewells as attendees packed up to hit the road.

The Host Committee would like to express our special appreciation to the sponsors whose support of our event made it such a great success. Most notably were Moss Motors, Victoria British as our Gold Level Sponsors; Little British Car Company, Scarborough Faire, Classic MG Magazine as our Silver Level Sponsors; and Hendrix Wire Wheel, Virginia Motorsport Resort, Hagerty Insurance; Optima Batteries, and local Asheville Highland Brewery and Troy & Sons Distillery as our Chrome Level Sponsors. Also donating spectacular items for our raffle were Tom Pack Models, the Casite Company, Glenn’s MG, Kip Motors, KP Creative Stitches, Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards, the British Car Club of NE Pennsylvania, the Florida Suncoast MG Car Club, and several individual donors.

No GT Wrap Up Report would be complete without a huge thank you to all of the people who worked so hard to put this event together. Their efforts paid off because there were smiles everywhere at GT-38, throughout Asheville, and along the highways that led NAMGAR members back home at the conclusion of a fantastic gathering.

See you in Ottawa next July!

GT-38 by the Numbers

Number of attendees: 328
Number of MGs: 137
Number of Car Show entries: 130
Number of cars in Biltmore photo: 73
Number of people at the Biltmore event: 198
Number of Chapters represented: 31

Distance Awards

Longest Distance (MGA): 1057 miles-Ed and Colleen Sass, Balsam Lake, WI, (1957 MGA 1500)*
Longest Distance (Non-MGA): 4120 miles- Jennifer Orum, West Vancouver, BC

Distance Dash Plaques:

1578 miles- Jim Danielson, Lincoln, NE
1173 miles- Hank & Lana Largey, Dallas, TX
1166 miles- Ed & Colleen Sass, Balsam Lake, WI **
1127 miles- Greg & Mary Poffenbarger, Fort Worth, TX
1111 miles- Dave Graham, Ottawa, Canada
1110 miles- Don & Sandy McArthur, Overland Park, KS

Distance Dash Plaques:

1109 miles- Andy Bounsall, Ottawa, Canada
1100 miles- Barry Glass, Plano, TX
1089 miles- Paul Williams & Susan McLeod, Ottawa, CN
1024 miles- Tim & Sue Coyne, London, Ontario
1011 miles- Bruce & Robin Nichols, Three Rivers , MI
1008 miles- Mike True, Fort Scott, KS
1002 miles- Steve & Diane Mazurek, Lake Barrington, IL

Blue Ridge Parkway length: 469 miles
Highest point on the Parkway: 6,053 feet
Asheville elevation: 2,134 feet
Items in Raffle: 40+
Beer consumed: A lot
Wine consumed: Slightly less than beer consumed
Arrests: 0
Injuries: 0
New friends made: Many
Good times had: Countless
Cost to put on GT-38: $46,111.00 and counting
Number of volunteer hours: 1000+ (they lost count after that)
Overall GT-38 experience: Priceless!
People who wished they attended, but didn't: 26
People who planned to attend, but had to cancel: 20
Days between end of GT-38 and start of GT-39: 395
Average June temperature range- Asheville: 61°- 82°
Average July temperature range- Ottowa: 59°- 79°

* straight line distance, ** actual miles driven

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Last updated on October 2, 2013.