Planning for CHW 2018 began last September. On the way back from last year’s Monterey Healey gathering, a few of us stopped by in Santa Barbara to look at the Fess Parker Hotel. We liked what we saw, and decided that the we should focus on the Santa Barbara/Santa Ynez general area for CHW 2018...it was a good location between Northern and Southern California.
A few weeks later, Peter Roses, Ed Neumeyer and I made a weekend trip to the area and checked out several hotels. During this week, we evaluated the various hotels and potential drives and other events. We also toured Mendenhall’s and the Vintage Motorcycle Museum as potential events during Healey Week. Ultimately, we selected Solvang and the Hotel Corque as our event headquarters.
It’s a good thing we started a year early, as Solvang is a popular fall tourist location and things book up early. Both the Santa Ynez Tourist Bureau and the Hotel Corque were essential to our planning and provided helpful assistance, especially with the location of the car show. Once we began taking registrations in early January, it was evident that we had chosen a good location, as Healey owners from all over California enthusiastically began committing. We almost doubled our initial projections of attendance. About 100 parties registered, and after several cancellations due to health issues, we expected about 95 cars to arrive. Almost 180 people attended the banquet on Saturday.
We experienced warmer than normal weather, in the high 80’s during the day, but the nights were much cooler, in the high 40’s to low 50’s. Moss Motors was a key partner again this year and helped with providing the Trunk Organizers and they had a presence at Registration, the Tech Session and Car Show. The Hotel Corque was an excellent choice, as the accommodations and staff were wonderful. All in all, it was an enjoyable and successful California Healey Week.
California Healey Week Opening Reception 10/17.
The first official event of California Healey Week Solvang was the Wednesday evening reception on the Fountain Courtyard. Since the host club is from Southern California the theme was to come in your best surfer apparel. For many, this meant a Hawaiian shirt but for Irene Medzyk and Harry Harami it took on a hole new meaning! CHW Poker Rally 10/18 By Pete Roses.
Our Day 1 driving event was the traditional Poker Rally starting from the Hotel Corque and driving nearly 60 miles to our ultimate destination of Jalama Beach and the Jalama Beach Store; known for their renowned hamburgers and cheeseburgers. Our route took us to the La Purisima Mission, the Amtrak Surf Station Stop at the beach, the Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary turn off and finally Jalama Beach.
At each stop the car occupants drew a poker card. Many of the roads and destinations had never been driven on or seen by our CHW attendees. The weather was perfect, the cars were running well and all enjoyed a morning of Healey driving.
The final three cards selection was held at the evening cocktail hour where 4 of a Kind was the winning hand with a $100 payout and the remaining $120 distributed to the next five top hands.
Congratulations to all the winners and participants in the Rally.
CHW Foxen Canyon Tour
by Steve Kirby.
Our Friday Tour at CHW was dubbed the Foxen Canyon Tour, but could have easily been the Wine Tour, as the route passed by over a dozen wineries. Using the “tulip” directional format, which is quite common in the rest of the world, but a bit novel over here, a large contingent of over eighty cars rumbled out of the parking lot and headed for the Old West town of Orcutt.
There, many stopped for coffee while others discovered the delights of a local antique shop.
Corky Holt had been out earlier that morning to set up a voter information booth (Vote for Corky). Hope we have a picture.
After a bit of a rest, it was on to Foxen Canyon Road and Santa Ynez wine country. Twenty or so miles of some of the best driving road in Central California, and perfect for Healeys. We wound through endless vineyards and around a few hairpin turns before eventually arriving for the optional stop at the Fess Parker Winery. It was a good thing that they had a large parking lot and four tasting bars operating, as it seems for most this stop was anything but optional! Having enjoyed a sip or two (promise, I didn’t swallow!), it was off to the wine village of Los Olivos for lunch at one of the many local spots and a bit of shopping at the specialty stores.
Finally, a half dozen more miles through the back country and we were back in Solvang, ready for a Tech Session, or maybe a nap!
CHW Rocker Cover Racing
by Jeff Boysen.
With seventeen official entries this year’s Rocker Cover Races was a very competitive event. Thanks to Ed Neumeyer and his team for supplying a world class track for all the participants to enjoy.
The Thursday Night prelims were exciting and provided many close races. Thanks to Dennis Williams for providing electronic timing through most of the preliminary races. Unfortunately, one of the more “experimental” race cars flipped and took out the timing mechanism, so Dennis and his team went analog and were able to “keep it fair.” By the end of the evening there were only eight cars that advanced to the Friday Night Finals.
The final race came down to Russ Thompson (mechanic extraordinaire) and Cathy and John Turney and their aahhhhh, Pink Poodle.
After several close races the Turneys and their Pink Poodle were the clear winner. Not only that, but for the first time in the history of CHW Rocker Cover Racing one team won both the race and Best Presentation.
Congratulations to Cathy and John.
Thanks to the race track assembly team, the starters, the timers and the people chasing the cars down after crossing the finish line. I have spoken to Russ since his humiliating loss to a Pink Poodle and he has accepted his defeat graciously.
Mendenhall’s Museum & BBQ 10/19
by Mike Scroggie.
Mendenhall’s Museum in Buellton, CA is one of the largest (if not the largest) collection of Petroliana in the country. Mark Mendenhall is the third generation of his family in Buellton, where his father had a Richfield gas station, car repair shop and purchased surrounding land. When he retired, he toured the country collecting all things related to automobiles, garages, tools, gas pumps & globes, dry lake racing history and neon lighting. Mark built the existing Museum buildings on his father’s land to store and display the collection.
The museum is arranged in a u-shaped area, with shops on the outside of a large driveway and the main building in the middle, which serves as the Mendenhall family home and houses a collection of various antiques. When you tour this museum, it feels like you’ve walked back into the 1950’s. You can view their website at www.mendenhallmuseum.com.
When Peter Roses, Ed Neumeyer and I were in the area on our hotel tour last fall, we happened upon the museum after a tip from one of Ed’s Aussie friends. After some searching, we found the secluded museum, which does not have regular hours, and we were fortunate to find the facility open and preparing for a group function. We met briefly with Mark and he gave us a short tour...needless to say, we were blown away.
We immediately became interested in visiting the facility during Healey Week and Mark indicated they did special group events, for both small and large groups.
Once we selected the Hotel Corque to host Healey Week, we booked Mendenhall’s immediately and worked with Mark over the past year planning the event.
Our visit entailed a private viewing for about 150 CHW attendees with a Texas style BBQ dinner in the center driveway area. Around each side of the u-shaped area, we parked about 25-30 Healeys on display. We arrived at 6:30 PM and stayed about 3 hours. We had a wonderful visit, tour and BBQ dinner, surrounded by beautiful neon lights and glowing petroliana. After dinner, Mark (a 200- miler at Bonneville as was his father) fired up a racecar under construction in one of the shops. It will be raced for the first time next year, attempting to exceed the previous class record of about 215 MPH.
CHW Car Show 10/20
by Tim McNiff.
Saturday morning in Solvang and the weather forecast is for sun and temperatures in the low 80’s. This is the reason why everyone has been up early with the polish, instant detailer, Q-tips, toothbrushes, vinyl cleaner, wheel dressing and microfiber towels.
Showing off your car.
The venue for the car show is a City public parking lot at the intersection of Alisal Road and Mission Drive, and only a few blocks from the hotel. As each category of cars leaves the hotel the car and its occupants are photographed for posterity by Steve Gerow and his assistant Jeff Boysen. Then it’s a short drive to the show area where we are parked by classes. A last opportunity to make the final touches to the cars and then the judging commences. Each registered participant is given ballots for the popular choice voting.
While we are reviewing all the entries and making our decisions on which car to vote for the parking lot is full of tourists and Solvang residents who are enjoying our “little British cars”.
By noon all votes have been cast and everyone settles in to enjoy the box lunches provided by the event organizers. After vote counting in the afternoon the results are announced at the Awards Banquet.
CHW Awards Banquet 10/20.
After four days of events, drives, racing, and a car show it was time for the highlight of the week, the Awards Banquet. Following an hour or so of cocktails and visiting the dinner began with opening remarks from Mike Scroggie, Past-President and coordinator of Healey Week Solvang. He then introduced the new Austin-Healey Association President, Steve Kirby, who gave a short “state of the club” and his impressions of the last four days.
Following a fantastic meal, the award presentations began, emceed by Ron Davies and Ed Neumeyer.
The class or group winners were announced in ascending order – 3rd,2nd, and 1st place. By grouping the winners were:
BN1 and BN2:
3rd place – Roger and Donna Hawk, 2nd place – Phil and Sue Foster, 1st place – Bill Hoyt.
BN4 and BT7:
3rd place – Don Fisher, 2nd place – John and Cathy Turney, 1st place – Dex Kaytis.
BN6 and BN7:
3rd place – Ron Fine, 2nd place – Dick and Carol Ames, 1st place – Peter and Alexandra Roses.
BJ7 and BJ8 single light:
3rd place – Irene Medzyk & Harry Harami, 2nd place – Bruce and Leslie Kootstra, 1st place- Rich and Lynn Kah.
BJ8 Double Light:
3rd place – Fred and Leanne Miller, 2nd place – Marty Dispoto & Kris Kouklis, 1st place – Irv and Zenta Kovalak.
3rd place – Ed and Abbe Neumeyer, 2nd place – Howard Macken, 1st place – Allan and Tina Perry.
The winners in this group are mentioned in Bill Wilkman’s Historical article.
Other Healey’s: 1st place – Chuck and Dawn Lakowski in their JensenHealey.
Best in Show: Marty Hovivian in his 100-4.