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British Invasion at Stowe!

For a British Car enthusiast, you couldn’t help but be awestruck with over 500 British Cars nestled into the Green Mountains splendor in Vermont. Now in it’s 32nd year, the mid-September British Invasion was once again, a smashing success. What made it even more special, was that this year Jaguar was one of the featured marques, along with Land Rover and Morgan. And the Jags came out in droves. This was a multi-day event which culminated in the Saturday event, which had both a Concours and Class Winners selected by other participants.

For those of us making the trek from Florida (not that many frankly), getting to the Invasion involves flying or a 24-hour drive. After a last-minute flight cancellation due to weather (allegedly) in New York, our revised adventure started in Albany, NY. The 3.5-hour drive from Albany to Stowe was like a bonus driving day! Heading through the some of the prettiest roads in New York State, including Lake George, was a suitable consolation for the messed-up flight. Wednesday was a little rainy but didn’t daunt our trip down Old 100 which is a must if you have never done it. From Stowe to Weston is roughly 2.5 hours, but provides the best scenery in the State. Thursday’s venture was to New Hampshire, where Route 112 is mandatory for this area. NH 112 begins in the town of Bath and runs southeast along the Wild Ammonoosuc River, then climbs through Kinsman Notch. NH 112 crosses into the town limits of Woodstock and descends along the Lost River, meeting the northern terminus of NH 118 before continuing east to the village of North Woodstock. Gorgeous.

The Invasion itself officially starts Friday afternoon, with a cocktail reception on the show field for participants. It was great catching up with Marcia and Jerry LaBant from Liverpool Motorworks and Faith and Bruce, Editors “Extraordinaire” for this fabulous publication. A street party in downtown Stowe followed which brought out young and old to dance on Main Street to a great live Band.

Saturday was overcast and a little chilly (by Florida standards), but was typical for New England. With an 7:30 a.m. arrival, it felt a bit like Dawn Patrol at Pebble Beach! We were able to watch every car enter the field and take their place in their allotted classes. Now came the daunting task of choosing a favorite in each class. As a feature marque, Jaguars were positioned front and center on the field. Included in the large field of Jaguars were Series I, II and III E-types, large saloons such as Mark VII and Mark IX, a couple of Mark II’s, XK8’s and XJ’s. The Jaguar Association of New England (JANE) was well represented with Tom and John Brady and their spectacular XK120’s. A big congratulations to Tom Brady, whose exquisitely restored XK120 FHC won best of show, outshining even the Concours participants. After the show, it’s always fun to find a good viewing area on Mountain Road and watch the cars exit the field on their way to their hotels.

Sunday’s Competition of Colors brings back the participant cars, arranged by color rather than class. It includes the tailgate picnic competition and a rolling review of the Saturday’s first place winner with commentary and ribbon presentation. Before heading to the airport, we were able to take one more look at the vendors for any goodies and one last farewell to the participants for another year. Congratulations to organizer Mike Gaetano and team for another fabulous event. Bye bye Stowe, we’ll see you next year!

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