The California Autumn Classic calls it quits

Four blocks of Downtown Morgan Hill were blocked off for nearly 200 British sports cars to be shown.

The California Autumn Classic had its final show of a 19-year run with the 2011 concours and tour. Organizers said a record turnout of cars, beautiful weather, an enjoyable tour plus a delicious Italian Welcoming Dinner, allowed the event to finish on a high note. The Santa Cruz British Motorcar Club has been one of the co-sponsoring clubs of this event from the beginning.

Seventy cars gathered on Oct. 15 for a tour to the restored Casa Grande Mining Museum in New Almaden. The weather provided a fantastic Fall day and the route passed through beautiful country estates and the scenic Calero Reservoir area.

The Saturday tour visited the restored Museum home named Casa Grande which was a historic mining headquarters in New Almaden.

The Oct. 16 show was expanded to cover four blocks with nearly 200 cars with seven area British car clubs represented. The event was first started by Bill Meade to give the average British sports car owner the opportunity to win a nice silver trophy even if their car was a “daily driver” and not a high-end concours car. Twenty-six silver first place class trophies were awarded for every make and model. Trailered cars were not eligible for the show.

Meade, event founder and organizer, said two factors have brought the event to a close. After organizing the event from the start, Meade wanted to step back and let another British car enthusiast take the lead organizing. Meade said he had tried to find a local British car club that was willing to assume the position of organizer but unfortunately, no club felt they could take it on. An effort to get several clubs to join together to produce the show also was unsuccessful.

Grand winner for 2011 was Jim Silva with his 1953 MG Arnolt.

Organizers say the final blow to the event came this year when the Morgan Hill Downtown Association, at the last moment, decided they would no longer put any money into the event, which was required to close the streets. This decision dumped an additional $4,000 expense onto the event, which is not financially possible.

Meade said, “It’s been a long run of many great shows and tours, but the time has come to retire the Autumn Classic event and name. Perhaps someone will start another exclusively British, year-end show in the future but the California Autumn Classic name is now a part of history.”

Club Presidents served as judges for the Winner's Circle class. L to R: Marty Allen, Golden Gate Austin-Healey Club president; Jim Brady, Sorry Safari Touring Society president; grand winner Karyn & Jim Silva; Bill Meade California Autumn Classic founder and Santa Cruz Club president; Bryant Paulson, Triumph Travelers Sports Car Club president


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