April 2017


Welcome new ShopTalk subscribers! 

Through the Windscreen

The Battle for the "Lucas Cup" 

On April 29th at 10 AM the engines tick over and the long standing battle between two great British car companies will continue decades after they stopped making cars! Since the eighties, twice a year the MG Club of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley Triumph Ltd. do battle against each other for the coveted "Lucas Cup" The Spring Rallye is organized by the MG Club and the TR guys put together the Fall Rallye. This years' Spring Rallye will start  9:30 AM with a drivers/navigator meeting with first car off at 10:00 AM. Not to worry, no experience is required and we always end up at a pub to tip a few pints and get some lunch! Starting point is in Valley Forge, For more information go to www.dvtr.org.

Ragtops & Roadsters 23rd Annual Spring Open House

On Saturday May 6th plan to stop by our shop between 9 AM and 4 PM to see our latest restoration projects. Once again, we will have those delicious scones, teas, coffee and and refreshments throughout the day. No need to register, just fire up your favorite collectible and stop by for a visit. Our staff and  technicians will be on hand to answer any restoration questions you may have. We also plan to have some of our clients cars looking for new garages on display! This year we have a fair number of Jaguars, many MGs, lots of Lotus, two Triumphs and hopefully a our favorite 1958 Ferrari 250 GT!

Cars & Motorcycles of England

Calling all British Cars! The Delaware Valley Jaguar Club brings in about 75 Jaguars and the Delaware Valley Triumph Club "Cars and Motorcycles of England" usually draws about 150 multi-marque British cars which includes AC, Austin-Healey, Morgan, Lotus, MG, Jaguar, Elva, Daimler, TVR, Aston Martin, Riley, Sunbeam, Bentley and Rolls-Royce and more! The DVJ and DVT clubs join together to present two shows in one day to present the largest British car show in the Philadelphia area. The show is located on the beautiful lawns of the Oakborne Mansion in Westtown, PA. For more information visit www.dvtr.org. Pre-register now!

Technicians Needed

Ragtops & Roadsters, specialists in the restoration and repair of classic British vehicles, is accepting applications for skilled technicians. We have recently celebrated 26 years in business, with a growing client base of repeat and new customers (and their cars!). The work we perform is constantly varied, and provides interesting projects and challenges year-round. Our reputation for top-quality work is built on the talent of our team, and we are seeking that same high level of excellence and work ethic in the candidates for this position.
Our ideal candidates will have recent experience in mechanical assembly, fitting, repair and tuning. Must have very good mechanical ability and knowledge of engines, suspension, steering and carburetors. Fabrication and interior fitting skills are desired but NOT REQUIRED. We offer both full-time and part-time opportunities for skilled technicians who possess:
  • Strong Mechanical Aptitude
  • Great Attitude
  • Well-stocked Toolbox
  • 5+ Years Professional Experience
Please contact the Shop Manager or any of our management staff here at Ragtops & Roadsters – by email at shopmanager@ragtops.com, by phone at 215-257-1202, or stop by and see us!

British Car Calendar of Events

2nd Tue   MG Club of Philadelphia Mtg., Blue Bell, PA
3rd Mon   Austin Healey Sport & Touring Club Mthly Mtg., North Wales, PA
3rd Tue   DVT Club GTR Mthly Mtg., North Wales, PA
3rd  Sun   DVJ Breakfast Social, Conshohocken, PA
Every Sat   Katie's Cars and Coffee, Great Falls, VA
4/6 — 4/8   Barrett-Jackson Auction, Palm Beach, FL
4/8   Simeone Museum “Brute Force & Determination”, Philadelphia, PA
4/18   Bertil Roos Racing School, Long Pond, PA
4/21 — 4/23   Classic Motorsports “The Mitty”, Braselton, GA
4/21 — 4/23   The Gathering, Shelton Vineyards, Dobson, NC
4/22   18th Annual British & European Car Show, Williamsburg, VA
4/23   Cars and Coffee Steel Stacks, Bethlehem, PA
4/23   SCCA Philadelphia Regional Solo, Warminster, PA
4/29   Spring Rallye MG vs Triumph Rally, Villanova, PA
4/30   Brits on the Green, Lorton, VA

Complete 2017 calendar PDF now available HERE!


We make our best attempt to provide a thorough and accurate listing of relevant events; however, changes in the details may not always be reflected in time. Please always double check the organizers website as you make your plans. 

In the Shop Now

by: Mike Sinback, Shop Manager

This 1954 MGTF came to us as an arrested restoration project after sitting for some time. The paint was done but the entire car needed to be assembled. The engine had been loosely attached in the engine bay. We assembled the car, made some paint repairs, installed the engine properly, fitted a new wiring loom, cooling and fuel systems. We also fitted a brand new interior and top. We just finished sorting out the British bugs and this MGTF is now waiting patiently before she heads home soon to start her new life! Look for this car to appear at local shows this year!

In the Rearview

AC Retrospective at Simeone Museum

The AC Retrospective closed March 12th. If you didn't get the chance to see the exhibit check out the great video produced by Peter Rohrbacher of all the AC Cars that made up the AC Retrospective from 1913 through 1983.
From Feb. 18th through Mar. 12th Simeone Museum hosted the seventh annual Best of Britain with the “AC Cars Retrospective”. Guests flew in from the UK; many of the AC owners also came in from around the States. In all, about 150 people attended the dinner party hosted by Dr. Simeone who spoke about the early days of AC Cars. Later Bill Jackson, a former member of the AC Racing Team when the Bristol engine was first introduced in the mid '50s shared some stories about his early days of racing. The evening ended with Dr. Simeone having a fireside chat with our local racing legend Bill Wonder as he recalled his days of SCCA racing the AC Ace BEX 308, now owned by Pete Rorhbacher and which was at the museum. Pete held many tours of the AC Retrospective throughout the last couple of weeks. Over 300 British car fans attended the 'British Beauty Demo Day' on Feb 25th and we are proud that this exhibition has been recognized as the most complete collection of the “Thames Ditton” AC cars from 1910 through 1983 ever gathered together at one time!

Amelia Island Concours

by: Dave Hutchison

Our eleventh trip to Amelia was, as always, a great experience. This year my job was to transport a 107-year-old Brass Era car for a client of our sister shop, Pollock Auto Restoration, The goal was to get safely down I-95 to the trailer parking and hopefully have the car drive onto the field under it's own power! Upon arriving we checked into our hotel and at 10 AM on Thursday morning, Bill Warner and company moved the show ahead to Saturday, from Sunday due to the prediction of rain. It turned to be the right call (I remember my first Amelia Island Concours in 2003.) Later on Thursday afternoon we met our friend Andy Reid of ClassicCars.com and he gave us a guided tour through the offerings at the RM auction at the Ritz Carlton.
Friday morning we headed off to the Gooding Auction at the Plantation and stayed for about half of the 88 lots that crossed the block. Not a strong start, several lots did not meet reserve and only a couple lots exceeded Gooding's estimates.
Lot 6, a 1974 Lotus Twin Cam Europa that was estimated at 40k - 60K was a good buy at $28,600! Another high dollar car that caught my eye was the 1949 Aston Martin DB Mark II that was David Brown's personal car and the first Aston to have to be equipped with the LB6 engine. This car had loads of provenance and it sold for 1.54 M just above the lower estimated number. Charlie Ross and David Gooding always put on a great show and in my opinion run the best auction company, whether you’re a buyer or seller.
Off to the trailer parking to unload the 1910 Pickard, not Packard, but Pickard, a company in Massachusetts that made about 50 cars between 1908 and 1912. After releasing the tie-downs, David Pickard, yes the car was built by his family, his lovely wife Denise, and our friend Bill Murphy all got in this antique. Under the careful guidance and steady hand of it's master, David did drive the 2 miles, (while setting a new top speed of 30 mph!) onto the Amelia Island Concours show field! Success! After a bit of back and forth we wrapped up this special car for the night.
Saturday morning the sun was shining and I suspect that, due to the day change, the field was not as crowded. The lighter crowds were good as in past years it has sometimes been hard to see the cars! Many people stopped by to see this largely original last surviving example of Pickard Model H Touring Car. I bet David that he had a good chance of meeting someone who might know of another Pickard out there; I was wrong, it appears to be the only one left! We had a great day, the show was, as always, fabulous. Where else can you walk up and shake Al Unser's hand, stand right in front of the Borg Warner Trophy, get next to the Aston Martin DB 5 driven by James Bond in Goldfinger, and see 11 world class D-Type Jaguars?
The skies were grey and rainy on Sunday as we made our way back to the Ritz to see the "Legends of the Leaping Cat Jaguar Racing Seminar". Bill Warner came out and asked if he made the right call by moving the show and the crowd answered with a resounding YES! The seminars are always fantastic and this one was about to live up to that reputation. Hosted by Tommy Kendall, who interviewed the famous now 97 year-old Norman Dewis, David Hobbs, Bob Tullius, Brian Redman Hurley Haywood, Chip Robinson, and Davy Jones just to name few. Their reflection of Jaguar racing, especially by Mr. Dewis, were priceless. Davy Jones did manage to thank Norman for the development of disc brakes in the 50s, and Norman did own up to wrecking the Jaguar XJ 13 on photo shoot day. When Bob Tullius was asked by someone in the audience, "What was your favorite race car? He replied, almost apologetically, to the room full of Jaguar enthusiasts; "Well I have to say it was the Group 44 Triumph TR8. My Triumph buddies in the back of the room stood up cheered! I knew it was time to go home... We will be back next year!

Inside F1 Racing Who Knew? Sellersville, PA

by: Dave Hutchison

After the hall darkened, the F1 engines roared into life in the sleepy little Pennsylvania theater as images of racing mostly from the other side of the pond flashed across the screen! David Hobbs, Leigh Diffey, and Steve Matchett ran down the aisles with a rock star entrance as the sold out house cheered them on. David opened by saying “Who knew? Sellersville, Pennsylvania?” An image of the recent Ferrari win at the Australian Grand Prix with Vettel jumping in the air captured the energy that everyone felt after the season opener. We are all hoping we may have some real competition this year!
I first heard about the “Inside F1” talk at the Sellersville Theater in late February from our former Shop Manager, Rick Brodeur. He and I have been F1 fans for years, so he planned to buy tickets just as they were released to the general public. He scored front row seats! I thought there might be few folks there as we F1 fans are maybe 2 to 3 out of a hundred NASCAR followers? I have to admit that the thought even crossed my mind: “What if they didn’t sell enough tickets? Would we see these three guys who call the F1 races for NBC?” Wow! Was I surprised as we had to wait to get inside on Tuesday, March 28 as we gathered outside to get a peek behind the curtain of F1. Fans came in from North Carolina, Vermont and New York! Sellersville ...Who knew?
Our very own Pennsylvania racing legend Mario Andretti, drove down from Nazareth to join in the fun as he was introduced to a standing ovation. All the 330 F1 fans in Sellersville Theater were euphoric from the anticipation of a competitive racing season now that Ferrari has shown some real strength. A vintage commercial from the 70s of a dapper looking Mr. Hobbs at Lime Rock in plaid Hagger trousers was shown and after a laugh or two at David’s expense they returned to F1 business at hand.

Mario spoke at length about his son Michael’s venture in F1 and how the outcome might have been different if a little more patience was exercised, the beauty of how a good race car responds to your commands, anticipation of that new race car and sometimes the disappointment that was realized after the first track test day. He also spoke affectionately about his conversations over the years with Michael Schumacher on how Michael felt that “all four corners of a good car talk to you on race day and in the rain they whisper!" Mario was not a fan of the movie Rush and has been disappointed to see the fall of McLaren without Ron Dennis at the helm in recent years.
Leigh Diffey spoke about rules changes for 2017 and how they call a race, and introduced their “Stats-Man”, Sean Kelly, who we all thought was just the bloke selling cups at the theater entrance. Sean walked us through his world of data collection and interpretation while illustrating his talents of race projection with a dynamic track map. Leigh went on to recognize the visionary mystique surrounding the empire built by the benevolent dictator Bernie Ecclestone (who gave Leigh his first job calling F1)  and credit him as he made F1 what it is today! Now that the "Bernie era" has ended everyone agreed that many changes are ahead, not just in race car specifications but that the entire business of F1 might become more open for all to see. Time will tell. Given Steve Matchett’s background at Ferrari he added that he would like to see F1 go back to a “proper” V12 engine configuration that can shoot 3 foot flames! The Tifosi (Ferrari fans) in the front table seats definitely agreed! 
An overall sense of optimism was offered about the changes that lie ahead as more Americans are now backing and participating in F1. Mario spoke highly of the American based Team Hass, as he believes they have all the ingredients in place to meet with success this year. David, Leigh, Steve and Mario spoke for a little over two hours and took questions from the audience. Best of all they promised to return next year and maybe do two shows! It’s only a mile from Ragtops & Roadsters! You can bet that we will be there! 
Ragtops & Roadsters is here to help out this spring and upcoming summer driving seasons. Maybe it's time to take care of that deferred maintenance, restoration, preservation, and upgrade needs that are on your car's wish list? Click here to send an e-mail to dave@ragtops.com or call us 215-257-1202 to schedule an appointment. We are now scheduling appointments in late May and June,s so it's not too soon to plan for the spring driving. Click to see our Works In Progress page on our website. Also, we have recently listed more of our client's British cars looking for new homes. Click on our For Sale page to see current listings. Click here to see more pictures of this 1962 MGA 1600 MK II shown below.
Happy Motoring!
Dave & the Staff at Ragtops & Roadsters.
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