Four days after driving his 1938 MG TA in the second annual Lake Garnett Grand Prix Revival on Oct. 10-11, Jon Green drove his stylish European sports car from his work office to his home in Shawnee and talked about the experience.
At first glance, Green’s shiny red MG TA looks like a showpiece car that only comes out for car shows.
“I’m not a car show guy, but fully respectful of people who are,” Green said. “The great thing about Lake Garnett is you actually get to drive your car. For me, cars are about driving them.
“This car is almost 80 years old and it should be driven. My philosophy is if it breaks, fix it and make it better.”
Green made sure his car would be ready for Lake Garnett. He had last-minute maintenance done a day before taking his car on a trailer to the two-day event.
His good friend, Russ Sifers, wasn’t as fortunate. Sifers decided to drive his MG TC to the event, but it broke down and didn’t make it.
“I said to Russ, ride with me and you could be my mechanic,” Green said. “We were compatriots this year, but hopefully, next year we will be rivals.”
As Green described the two-day event, a few of his phrases had British origin to them, and for good reason. Before moving his family to Kansas 14 years ago, he lived in the Cotswolds, which is in southwest England.
“I came originally for 18 months for work and never left,” said Green, who is 47 years old. “It (United States) is very good.”
And that’s how he described the Lake Garnett Revival. On Saturday, there was a car show in downtown Lake Garnett. Part of the car show was a celebration of 50 years of Carroll Shelby Cobras.
“There was a large contingent of Shelby Cobras,” Green said. “There was also a wide range of cars, from my car to Austin-Healy to American muscle cars.”
Green thought the afternoon part of the event on Saturday was just as nice.
“We had a parade down to the track,” he said. “Once we got to the track, we had a parade lap.”
Certain cars were selected for a charity event. People who paid $10 could ride around the track in one of the selected cars.
Sunday was the track event in which cars in five different groups went around the track, ranging from an up-to-60 mph category to an unlimited class.
“I entered this car in the up-to-60 miles per hour class,” Green said. “Trust me, 60 mph in this is pretty exciting in a terrifying way. What was cool, I was easily the slowest car out there.”
Green didn’t buy his MG TA for speed. He always liked them.
“I’ve seen them in England and had friends with similar cars,” Green said.
Two years ago on a business trip to Seattle, Green heard about one for sale from a friend in Seattle. He had to take a look at it.
“As soon as I saw it, I had to have it,” he said.
Green bought it.
“And then I had to explain it to my wife,” he said. “I had to beg for forgiveness. She is pretty cool. She liked it a lot. I had it shipped down from Seattle.”
When he drives it around the city, people will look at it. For one, the steering wheel is on the right side.
“People are a little worried the steering wheel is on the wrong side, but it is no problem at all,” Green said. “Growing up in England and driving that way, it hasn’t been a problem at all. Occasionally, I will get in on the wrong side.”
One comment that Green sometimes hears about the car amuses him.
“People will say it’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” Green said, referring to the 1968 movie. “Most people wave, and it brings a smile.”
Green is already looking forward to the Lake Garnett Revival next year.
“It was fantastic,” Green said. “I have never known an event that you had the opportunity to go on a race track. Even though it wasn’t competitive racing and they don’t refer to it as racing, you are out there with a bunch of cars.
“There was just a terrific variety of cars. It’s a cliché, but there was camaraderie with people interested in one thing. People were helping each other if a car broke down. It was a very cool event.”
Do you have a car cruise or a car show you would like to see featured in At The Show? If you do, email your idea to David Boyce at Drive@kcstar.com