Austin-Healey Club puts on show in Bancroft Park
Bancroft Park has been used for many events, and for four hours July 4 it was home to 127 Austin-Healeys.
The unique, well-attended car show proved profitable to the nearby Old Colorado City Library. The Austin-Healey Club of America, which is holding its annual “conclave” in Colorado Springs through July 8, gave the library $645 - the money raised by charging spectators $1 each time they voted for a favorite car.
“It really went well,” said Library Manager Jocelyne Sansing. Using the public relations opportunity, she and library volunteers (including several from its teen club, OC3) manned an informational booth in the park during the show.
Sansing also enjoyed the event from a purely aesthetic standpoint. “You see one Austin-Healey on the road, you notice it, but when you see 150, that's really cool,” she said.
She conceded that the only thing missing was an offer to ride in one of the cars herself. “I would have accepted,” she laughed.
During the show, close to half of the cars were on display in the park itself. To handle the remainder, Colbrunn Court and 24th Street were barricaded off between Colorado and Pikes Peak Avenues; so was the westbound right lane of Colorado Avenue going past the park.
Different models of the British-made Austin-Healeys were produced between 1953 and 1974 - mostly two-seaters, built low to the ground, small but fast. Various owners described them as reliable except for occasional vaper-lock issues due to heat or elevation.
Greg Lauser, a club officer, said the feedback from members was positive. “They liked the venue because of the shade, places to sit, places to go shopping and a chance to meet with other owners and talk about cars and renew acquaintances,” he said.
He described the turnout as a “broad cross-section from across the nation.” His registration list showed cars from Connecticutt, California, Georgia, both Carolinas, Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Oklahoma, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Kansas, Colorado, Minnesota and Ontario, Canada.
The car receiving the most votes from the public (as well as in separate club judging) was a 1954 100M Le Mans model, owned by Terry Swonke of Texas, president of the Gulf Coast Austin-Healey Chapter. Swonke said that as far as he knew, his was the only one in the show with the British-style right-hand steering.
He's owned the vehicle three years. The body was mostly in good shape, but he rebuilt the four-cylinder engine. “I've put a ton of hours into it,” he said. “If you get it right, it's a great car to drive.”
Westside Pioneer article