Who is BMCA?
The British Motoring Club of Arkansas (BMCA) was founded in February 1989 by a small group of people who shared a common love for the British motorcar. The main benefactor, Ron McLeod, had become the parts supplier to know in the Little Rock area in the 1980's Saturday afternoons at McLeod's found several car enthusiasts gathering to buy and /or install parts on their beloved Little British Cars. As time passed and friendships grew, the idea of a car club blossomed and the BMCA was born. Even now, Saturday afternoons at McLeod's continues to garner friendships and knowledge for all those fortunate enough to be “bitten by the British bug”.
BMCA is a very active organization of individuals and families who share a common interest in driving, showing, restoring, maintaining and /or just talking about British automobiles. The members are everyday people that gather for the common cause of knowledge, comfort, experience, occasionally sympathy and a tall tale or two while living with the terminal effects of British Car Fever. The membership comes from all walks of life including doctors, teachers, mechanics, lawyers, secretaries, parents with young children, even grandparents with their grandchildren. There is a place for everyone in the BMCA. The club membership has continued to grow as the years go by with more kindred spirits finding a place to share their “madness”, joining those charter members who are still involved to this day. Most members reside in the central Arkansas area but some, who participate regularly, live either in the far reaches of Arkansas, or nearby in Texas and Tennessee. BMCA is privileged to have members drive for 2 hours or more to regularly participate in the monthly club meetings and again for the monthly event.
BMCA represents a large and diverse group of British cars. There are some really gorgeous prize winning beauties, quite a few really good looking daily drivers, others in the process of being restored, and always those just rescued from the weeds in desperate need of lots of Tender Loving Care. There are vehicles which still belong to their original owners and others that belong to members who “grew up with” British cars and finally have their own to love, honor and repair. Still other antique British cars found owners that appreciate the lifestyle owning a British motorcar invokes.
The BMCA club consists of 4 groups or Marques; Austin-Healey/ Mini, Empire, Triumph, and MG. The cars from other British manufacturers, such as Lotus, Jaguar, Rover, Austin , Rolls Royce, etc. make up the Empire Marque. BMCA's marques were established in early 1989 based on sufficient numbers of cars within each group. Having 4 marques allows division of labor and responsibilities enabling BMCA to be the active club it is.
On the 1st Tuesday of each month, (except December), a general business meeting is held at a local restaurant. The president presides and the entire membership present participates. New or returning members are recognized. After taking care of the common business duties, all new business is presented, including a preview of the coming month's event along with any other information officers or members feel is relevant to the club membership. Discussions often ensue and decisions are made for the benefit of the entire club. November brings election of new officers for the coming year and December is the annual Officer Induction Ceremony and Christmas Party.
A tech talk is another feature of each month's meeting. The presentation usually elaborates on a member's experience of “what went wrong” and “how they fixed it”. Occasionally special guests come to discuss a special product or technique in caring for our British automobiles. The tech talks prove to be invaluable part of the meeting and the knowledge gained is priceless. There is also a “Gots and Goofs” where members can announce a new British purchase or tell a story about something unfortunate that has happened to an existing British car. Someone wins a door prize at each meeting. Once the meeting is adjourned, members often gather in the parking lot to visit, swap stories and “kick the tires”.
Each month one of the four marques sponsors an event, which normally consists of some sort of drive followed up with a gathering filled with family, food, and fun. The monthly marque driving event is always something to remember. The feeling one experiences when being a part of a convoy of “cool looking” cars parading by awe inspired onlookers is sometimes too much for words to describe. Being located in central Arkansas, there are many, many suitable “British” roads to traverse and the marque leaders always seem to find novel routes to get to new places or old favorites.
A few of the events have become annual highlights. In January, The Polar Bear Run involving a dip in a cold creek. In April, BMCA rallies to the Batesville Scottish Festival with some donning their kilts, and the Swap Meet at McLeod's is always a fun event. In addition to the monthly events, BMCA members often spend the day displaying for various local and regional charity or special interest events. Every year for many, many years, BMCA has participated in the annual June MOTAA car show on Petit Jean Mountain and Brits in the Ozarks car show in Fayetteville.
With most British marques having ended production in 1980, the majority of BMCA's cars are now antique. The love for this antique make of motorcar and being a BMCA member provides an avenue to gather, build friendships, celebrate marriages, and births, share laughter and help one another. If you're a British car owner or enthusiast or just someone who enjoys the company of those of us fortunate enough to own them, come join with us and we'll all be richer for the experience.