Finding Community Through Cars | Charleston’s Choice

On any sunny Charleston day, you might see a vintage car you might not recognize on Charleston’s beautiful live oak streets. Chances are good it’s a Little British Car (LBC) and its owner is a member of the British Car Club of Charleston.

The British Car Club of Charleston (BCCC) started in 1983 with Michael Carnell and a handful of friends who enjoyed hanging out in his garage and tinkering with British cars. Thirty-nine years later, we have 192 members with cars ranging in age from a 1909 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost to a 2020 Caterham.

Many of the member cars are two-seater convertibles of a variety of different models, including MG, Triumph, Morgan, Austin-Healey, Lotus, Sunbeam and Jaguar. There’s nothing like taking in the sites of Charleston in a vintage convertible, and BCCC often does just that.

BCCC sponsors monthly group drives for our members to enjoy their classic cars, spend time with other British car enthusiasts, and most importantly, introduce the Charleston community to these beautifully restored cars.

As we visit the many historic sites around town as a group, we are excited to talk to everyone about our love for these LBCs. We went to Sheldon Church, Edisto Beach, Charleston Tea Garden, Hobcaw Barony, Cypress Gardens, McClellanville, Breach Inlet, Mepkin Abbey, Birds of Prey, Hunley and Magnolia Cemetery, just to name a few. We’ve even taken our casual cars on a multi-day trip to drive the famous “Tail of the Dragon” on the North Carolina-Tennessee border. In addition, some annual social events include the oyster roast (March), drive-in movie (July), and holiday dinner (December).

Speaking of frivolous, no one will ever accuse an LBC of being a reliable, everyday driver. In fact, a common saying is “A British car doesn’t leak oil, it just marks its territory!” As a result, BCCC has a very active technical support team, with garage repair sessions. No matter the model, these enthusiastic LBC owners combine their technical knowledge and tackle problems such as faulty brakes, clutch slippage, transmission grinding and faulty wiring or poor engine performance. Incredibly, the definition of fun for these members is rebuilding an engine from scratch.

Lest you think this is an all-male hobby, some of the coolest cars in the club are owned by women and include Bentley, Morgan, MGA, MGBGT, MGB, TR4A and Austin-Healey. These female car enthusiasts are often present at our general tech sessions and have even made a video we affectionately call “All Girls Garage!” Check out some of the tech sessions on our website, britishcarclubcharleston.com.

The signature event of The British Car Club of Charleston is our Annual British Car Day. This year’s event will take place on Saturday 29 October and will be our 37th year. After a day of historic tours and a traditional British tea and welcome reception at MacLeod Plantation on Friday, 150 British beauties from across the East Coast will gather at Palmetto Islands County Park on Saturday. The show at this beautiful venue is free, open to the public and a great way to see over twenty five classes of British Cars and their owners who love to talk about their vehicles’ history and restorations.

The men and women of BCCC take pride in their classic cars but also take pride in supporting the Charleston community. Historically, the club has donated funds and tools to students in Garret Academy’s auto body class, donated to the Marine Corps Toys for-Tots giveaway as part of our holiday celebration, and most recently made monetary and in-kind donations to the Hallie Hill Animal Sanctuary in Hollywood.

The British Automobile Club of Charleston is diverse in its membership, but we are united through the love of these beautiful, classy British beauties.

Dave Rosato, who did a frame-off restoration on the 1958 MGA, is the current president of The British Car Club of Charleston and hosts most of the technical sessions in his home garage.

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