2023 Ironstone Tour
First, and foremost, Green Goblin is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a show car. The 47 year old paint job is blistered, dinged, and ravaged by Central Valley California sunshine. At the time of painting, Morris committed the cardinal sin and painted over the fender piping. The seats are semi-imitation leather and the interior side panels are misaligned in a number of places. However, Morris has been impressed with the reliability of Goblin on the latest runs of the VBAC. When Bro Jay suggested that we, with his ’58 MGA, be entered in the 2023 Ironstone Concours de Elegance at Murphys, CA, I had to decline the show, but at the same time realized it would be a fantastic road trip to partake.
Peter (’73 MGB), Jay, & Morris drove to Prather to meet with Richard (’67 Sunbeam Alpine) & friend Tom. Jay had laid out an excellent route through the back roads heading to Oakhurst, by-passing the more heavily traveled CA 41. After a quick breakfast at the golden arches, we pressed on traveling the old gold route of the 49ers to Mariposa, Bear Valley, and Coulterville. Continuing north we turned onto CA 4 and headed into Murphys. A stop at the Pour House in Murphys resulted in some lunch and some craft brews as well as hooking up with Dean & Sandie, Jay’s sis in law and hubby, as well as old friends Scott & Cathy with Tinkerbell (Old English White Twin Cam MGA) met during NAMGAR-42 in Solvang.
The following day was showtime. Jay & Richard had their LBCs entered in their respective classes. This year Richard was finally able to get some other Sunbeams entered along with Miss Kitty, however only one other, a Tiger, showed. At least Richard was in the company of British iron, not like past years when he had been flanked by a Volvo and a Peugeot! And later in the afternoon, Kitty picked up an Honorable Mention ribbon!!
As the day progressed, we noticed the arrival of fellow VBACers, Dennis (Double D) (MGB) and Paul with ‘Wonderfully Wicked Wanda’ (Old English White ‘54 XK 120) & friend Derrick. Another friend of Paul’s, Ned, arrived in a twin to Wanda, a nearly identical ’52 XK 120.
The rest of the day involved wandering the grounds and enjoying the 300+ vehicles exhibited. At lunch time, Morris was invited to share a table occupied by about 10 Keiser-Frazier enthusiasts from the El Dorado Region of the Keiser-Frazier Owners Club International. These kind folk educated Morris on the workings of their vehicles; everything from their supercharged flat head six engines to their spacious interiors. They were direct competition to the Pontiac, Mercury, and Desoto autos of that time. There was also an economy vehicle – the Henry J. I vaguely remember my pop having one of these cars in the 50s. One model, the Allstate, was distributed by Sears, Roebuck & Co. in 1952 & ’53.
On prior visits, Morris had missed the oval race involving pre-WW 1 vintage autos. This year he was able to be on hand for the start and the subsequent race. Great fun!
Afterward, more greetings took place when VBAC ex Pres Warren dropped by to see the MG entrees. FrankenJag is doing well and is looking forward to exploring the back roads of northern California. Another member of the MG family was able to attend Ironstone: Stuart Mast, owner & operator of Brice Station Winery. Scott, Cathy, and Morris met Stu when we all attended NAMGAR-47 in Colorado Springs. Stuart had helped Barney Gaylord, the MGA Guru, when Barney was having engine issues on his last swing to the west coast. Stu wanted to show us around his place and we made the commitment to visit him after the awards presentation.
It was about this time when it was noticed the judges were spending a lot of time in the MG section between Jay’s ’58 Black Beauty and Scott/Cathy’s Twin Cam. After a few more moments of discussion, the Best of Class Ribbon was placed on Tinkerbell’s windscreen. That was one of those decisions that could have gone either way. Double D’s MGB also showed very well in the competition.
After the winning vehicles were driven past the grandstand, it was time to drive a few miles toward Ebbett’s Pass to visit Brice Station. Stuart showed us around his winery which included a pottery shop, wood shop, and gift shop as well as a complete garage with all the amenities to completely rebuild an MGA (or anything else). Stu’s daily driver ’61 was parked outside, but another MGA was in the restoration cycle on Stu’s lift. Now I understand why Barney was in California for the length of time he was! (For those interested check out Barney’s website: mgaguru.com, the timeline from Jun. 25 to Aug. 31, 2022.)
The following morning was time to get back on the road. We bid a fond farewell to our NorCal friends and Peter who had to catch an early morning flight, and we were on our way. A very good trip back to Richard’s place at which time Jay spotted black ooze coating the spokes of Goblin’s left rear wheel. Looks like a leaky axle seal. Not a major catastrophe, but I just got through bragging about the Goblin!!