A Letter from Long Time Member, Past President, and Friend David Ford

A note to friends and colleagues re.: Why I’m still happy to live in Belize, two years after arriving:


It’s been a beautiful day, as most days are here in one way or another. It’s 84 degrees, a bit windy and there are some clouds, but lots of sun. Went swimming in the Caribbean Sea with my dogs, as I do most days. Water a bit choppy but I can do “laps” a couple of hundred feet offshore. Use snorkeling equipment so I don’t have to turn my head to breathe. When it’s calm, one swims over quite a bit of coral just off-shore and sees lots of fish , mostly small but some almost a foot long.

Four days ago, 6 of us (expat friends plus one friend from Belize) drove about 35 minutes on paved roads and then drove up a 5 mile dirt road to the headquarters of the Cockscomb Jaguar Reservation, a park of many thousands of acres. There’s a river flowing through the park, and one can rent a tire tube for $2.50 and float for an hour or two through the rainforest and jungle. I’ve done it at least 10 times and enjoy it to my core. Tubing on the Delaware River is fun , but. .. !

Two days ago, 5 of us kayaked about 10 miles down the Sittee River, putting in about 45 minutes from my house. Yesterday, 3 of us took a strenuous hike up a small “mountain” (within sight of Victoria Peak, the tallest mountain in Belize) and then swam in a beautiful river. Weeks can go by without doing great things like this, but sometimes several get packed into a week.

With a friend , spent a week in Cuba just a month ago. 6 days in Havana plus a day (driving in a ’54 Chevy with the owner/driver and a guide) going about 250 miles into the country and back (tobacco farms and sharp hills and the Caribbean in the distance). The whole trip was fascinating. Old Havana is as lovely as one expects. Lots of walking, and riding in bicycle taxis plus the ever-present American cars from the 50’s. Almost everyone is thin ! Quite startling, really. Even us “alders” are almost all thin. We went to a wonderful beach one day, marred by the four or five dead lambs and chickens to be found near the water’s edge (Santeria is said to be “big” there). And I’ll admit I found the government’s intrusion in life, well, intrusive. “Normal” people can’t use the internet, for example; I could, for a fee in the hotel, but when I tried to use the word “embargo” in an e-mail to a US friend about how I couldn’t download a book on to my kindle, it wouldn’t “send” until I took the offending word out. Now our NSA is looking for words they find offensive in e-mails too, but my interest in sending e-mails in Cuba was chilled, which I suppose is part of the intent. By the way, we took buses from where I live Belize to Cancun (many, many hours in buses and waiting in terminals) and flew from Cancun to Havana and back. Cuban Immigration doesn’t enter a stamp in American passports so there’s no hassle to enter as an American from that route.

When my Toyota truck was stolen about a year and a half ago, rolled in a ditch and quite completely wrecked (yes, there can be dark days here as well as anywhere), the truck was taken to a body shop (one man) in the capital city and, ten weeks later, returned to me in like-new condition, for $3500. That’s the price of a mediocre paint job in the States.

I’m doing a volunteer assignment that has been fun thus far and, hopefully, will prove useful. The Peninsula International School is a six month old private school located in Placencia, the Village of 1300 people (about 1/3 expats) about 13 miles from where I live in Maya Beach. My niece, 43 year old Selena Lucas, mother of two boys, 3 and 7 years old , has lived in Placencia for six years and founded and runs the school. The school is springing forth as an extraordinary one. The idea occurred that there are other private schools in Belize (so far I’ve identified six) and they all might profit from an association of private, independent schools. They could support each other in curriculum development, common student/parent issues and challenges, fundraising, etc. So far, I’ve identified the schools and have spoken to each of the principals, all of whom are interested in the association concept. I’ll visit all or most of the schools to further develop the idea, with a first meeting of the group to be perhaps held this coming summer. We’ll see.

My rented house is quite lovely, sitting on a canal adjoining a 25 mile long Lagoon, and a 3 minute walk from the Sea. It’s just three rooms, but they’re great rooms and there’s a walkway through the air to a veranda on top of a wonderful boat house. I’ve had 35 guests for dinner Uust twice in the 8 months I’ve lived here). I feel as if I live in an aviary. Birds all around (from herons to frigate birds to toucans to parrots to about 40 white herons in a group, viewed just today). Bird calls all the time. There’s a two-foot long iguana who lives in a large hole in an oak tree about 40 feet from my back porch. And there’s a 4+ foot crocodile who lives in my canal. If I still lived in Maine, I’d be in a one bedroom apartment for a similar price. There are times sitting on a hammock on the veranda that I feel profound peace.

Ember and Betty are my dear dogs. I adopted them both while in Maine (they were brought up from Georgia by the wonderful “Underhound Railroad!) and the dogs rode down the 5400 miles from Maine to Bel ize with me. Whitney Houston had just died and I sang along with Whitney for many of those mi les. Dogs sang occasionally. They are surely spoiled dogs. They run without leashes back and forth for a mile along the beach almost every day and frolic in the sand and sea, with each other and other dog buddies, and me. Betty will swim out with me a couple of hundred yards. Ember sometimes visits for brief moments, to show she’s loyal. Lucky dogs and I’m lucky to be their “dad.”

The ulcers I developed a year and a half ago have gone away, after treatment and lifestyle changes, and I’m back to eating pickles. I feel great, and get more regular exercise than I ever have (not saying too much; I never exercised much – but I do weigh 170 lbs., down from 240 about 7 years ago!). Also completely stopped drinking four months and a week ago (who’s counting?). Drinking too much – or too long in each day – is an expat peri l, in addition to genetic makeup. I’m not saying I’ll never drink again, but I’m very glad I’m taking a substantial “vacation.”

I read incessantly. A few of us are just starting a book group. First book is “The Gift of Rain ,” by Tan Twan Eng. Stunning book. About sixty years in the life of Mr. Philip Arminius Khoo-Hutton and the people with whom he was intertwined. World War II didn’t make life simpler for anyone in Malaysia. One of the best books I can remember reading, and the 5 people who are reading it with me are thoroughly enjoying it too.

Have made a few good friends here. At my current age, new friends aren’t likely to become truly “old” friends, but they can still be good friends.

The happiness of introducing visitors from my US life to this wonderful land is still in prospect. I’ve had a couple of old friends who stopped in more or less by accident. The joy of visits by my beloved, and loving, children, and other dear “old” friends, is still in the future, and I can’t wait.


novelI’ve spent many hours trying to integrate pictures into the text above. The only one I got in was the book cover (and I hope you read the book). I’ve gone to places with faster internet speeds, and had several advisors, to no avail. Oh well. If you’re interested, look me up on Facebook (David Ford , Belize) , where there are a fair number of photos .. You might have to “friend” me, but we’re friends so that’s ok.

So enough about me! How about you? Would love to hear a bit or a lot.

All the best to you,
David

Letter from the President – V34#4

Hello Friends,

I hope this message finds you all well. After such a long and nasty winter, a little playtime with our Daimlers and Lanchesters is a great introduction to springtime weather!

Rally 2014 is now in the final planning stages. The Rally will be held in conjunction with the New Hope Auto Show. The show is just north of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and will be held on August 8-10, 2014. This show is also a significant milestone for our club – the first Rally for the DLOCNA was held in Oakville, Ontario in August 1979… This August is the 35th Rally and anniversary! A fine testament to the founding members and their strong bond to these great automobiles. Ten Daimlers attended Rally #1.

I recently recieved a message from Dennis Maynard, a member of DLOC-UK (and the club Conquest registry historian). He informed me that he will soon go to print with a book titled “Daimler Roadster and New Drophead Coupe”. He is reserving the first run for club members. If you are interested in a copy, contact Dennis directly via his email – Mynard.Revarg @ tiscali.co.uk. I have reserved my copy, as Dennis was kind enough to include my 1953 Roadster in this book.

I hope to see our friends both old and new at the Rally, so please save the date, reserve your rooms, and register your Daimlers for the Sunday show! I think Rally #35 deserves some special activities… George and Linda Bennett have been working tirelessly on assuring we all have a great time. I thank them for their dedication to the DLOC-NA – they are truly the heartbeat of this fine organization.

Best Regards,president

Bob Santoro
President, DLOCNA

 

Chatter from the Driven Member – Your Editor

Hi folks,

Great news, we have finally settled on a venue for this years’ rally. After polling several of our regular attendees it was a tough decision because most everyone had a different first choice. Some sites were overwhelmingly complex to plan and had many points of possible disaster. I think the selection will be a great event as we plan to attend the New Hope Auto Show the week-end of 8-10 August 2014. This show is just off of Highway 202 north of Philadelphia PA going east just before the Delaware River. Our hotel will be the newly renovated Holiday Inn in Clinton NJ.

This venue is near Sandy Marcus’ home in Flemington, NJ. Sandy says he knows some interesting side trips and places to eat. The auto show is Saturday and Sunday but the Saturday show is for US made cars so we will participate in the Sunday show which is foreign vehicles. Sandy said this is a spectacular event and we will probably want to attend the show on Saturday to see the really fine examples of US iron.

Registration for the Auto Show on Sunday is $25 and you will have to register online at www.newhopeautoshow.com. There is a button on the left to register. I have reserved a block of rooms at the Holiday Inn with a special group rate of $129.00 which includes two breakfast vouchers each day. I’m told the breakfast is excellent. The Hotel prefers on line registration by going to www.hisclinton.com You will need to click register and type in “CAR” in the code block. If you want to register by phone call 908-735-5111 and mention the DLOCNA and/or CAR for our special room rate. There is plenty of parking and I was promised a roped off area for our cars. Please send in the enclosed registration form if you plan to attend. There is no cost for the DLOCNA rally.

As the winter weather starts to ease up a little, it was a perfect day for the Williamsburg British Car Club car show this past Saturday April 12th. I met a very interesting English gentleman pictured below standing by my DB-18. The Daimler drew him over for a nice chat and some great Daimler stories. He said his father owned a 30’s Daimler prior to and during World War II. They were getting bombed constantly during the Blitz. One day his dad looked in the garage where the Daimler was parked and said you know if a bomb hits our garage it will destroy the car and I will loose 20 pounds. Guess 20 pounds went a long way in those days.

Another guy listening to the conversation asked if he knew what kind of car the Scotland Yard police drove in the 30’s and 40’s. He said they drove the Woolsley. He said the Woolsley business was originally established to sell hardware items then got into the car manufacturing business. Later as the many auto companies began to disappear, Woolsley followed suit and went back to, would you believe, bathroom fixtures. Woolsley now owns Ferguson Enterprise which is a major supplier.

I hope you enjoy the several stories in the newsletter about two of our members. They aren’t necessarily Daimler stories but are interesting from a member standpoint. I hope you will all consider joining us for rally. It should be located conveniently for a large number of our members and our planning to attend another larger car event has been and will continue to be a fun way to get together and see old friends.

georgebennettPlease remember to send in your renewal forms if you haven’t yet done so. You will know this if you see a renewal form in your newsletter. Also WE NEED STORIES ABOUT YOUR DAIMLERS AND/OR YOU. PLEASE HELP.

Until next time-Happy Daimlering,

George Bennett
Editor

Duane Grady’s 1951 Daimler DB-18 Special Sport

duanegrady

Owner: Duane Grady
Engine: 2.5 litre in-line six
Carbs: Twin SU’s
Transmission: Fluid Flywheel Pre-Selector
Color: Dark Blue over Silver

New member Duane Grady is president of the Toronto Jaguar Club but flaunts his Daimler at their gatherings whenever he can to remind them of the Daimler/Jag relationship. We hope to have a very interesting history of his Daimler in the next newsletter!

 

2013 Q1 Newsletter – Vol. 33 #4

Letter from our President

Dear Members,

Winter’s nasty grip is finally easing, and soon we will again dust off our toys for another year of rallies and fun. Our favorite marque continues to make news with Jay Leno’s SP250 restoration and the magazine articles it has spawned. As I view his Youtube videos showing the progress of his car, I fondly flashback to the beginnings of my most recent restoration and what a long and satisfying road it is.

I find a great deal of satisfaction rescuing basket cases and giving them a new and better life than the previous owners who treated them poorly and finally abandoned them! Please send me your restoration story and pictures. Let me tell you why! The website is almost ready to launch. I have had a few setbacks but the long journey will soon pay off. Members will be able to share photos and stories with the membership and interested worldwide Daimlerphiles. Older newsletters and archives will be available for all to view and to enjoy. Our past , present and future will honor the dedication of our members in their efforts to preserve, maintain and enjoy these wonderful automobiles. You will also be able to renew or become a member online via a credit card link through Paypal.

This has been a difficult process for me as I have been on a long learning curve of what is possible and what is painful to do with a website! I thank my son Daniel for his work and for him putting up with my internet ignorance! Please send me anything you would like to share with us including pictures of your cars and yourselves. The banner on the website will display member cars in a slideshow.

The Rally this year should be a great one! I am really excited to revisit Canada, and to see our friends on their home turf! George Bennett will have more details on Rally 2013 in his update. Please be certain to book your rooms EARLY as we are competing with many other British car fans for hotel rooms.

Please let us know what you are all up to! Share your stories….make something up if you wish….tell us about a rusty Jaguar!

Be well my friends!

Bob Santoro – DLOCNA President


Chatter from the Driven Member—Your Editor

First let me start with a little frivolity and tell you about my friend Bubba: Bubba was from Mississippi and he needed a loan. So, he walked into a bank in New York City and asked for the loan officer. He told the loan officer that he was going to Paris for an “International Red Neck Festival” for two weeks and needed to borrow $5,000 and that he was not a depositor of the bank. The bank officer told him that the bank would need some form of security for the loan, so the redneck handed over the keys to a new Ferrari. The car was parked in front of the bank. The redneck produced the title and everything checked out. The loan officer agreed to hold the car as collateral for the loan and apologized for having to charge 12 percent interest. Later the bank’s president and its officers all enjoyed a good laugh at the redneck from the South for using a $250,000 Ferrari as collateral for a $5,000 loan. An employee of the bank then drove the Ferrari into the bank’s private underground garage and parked it. Two weeks later, the redneck returned, repaid the $5,000 and the interest of $23.07. The loan officer said , “Sir we are happy to have had your business and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out on Dunn & Bradstreet and found out that you are a distinguished alumni from Ole Miss University, a highly sophisticated investor and multi-millionaire with real estate and financial interest all over the world. Your investments include a large number of wind turbines around Sweetwater, Texas. What puzzles us is, why would you bother to borrow $5,000?” The good ole boy replied, “Where else in New York City can I park my car for two weeks for only $23.07 and expect it to be there when I return?”

Well, it just goes to show that things aren’t always as they seem.

I’m really excited now. Just talked to Brenda Sisnett and she is well along in planning the Rally at Bronte Park on September 15, 2013. Our hotel will be the Holiday Inn at Oakville, Bronte. The hotel is very convenient to the rally and has a large parking lot to accommodate our cars. Too soon to book rooms now but more information to follow. Brenda is looking into some exciting activities for Saturday since the Bronte rally is on Sunday. Possibilities include a wine tour, lunch at a nice venue, and a tour of Toronto proper. She says that there are many interesting things to do in the area of Bronte/Oakville so you can plan to spend an extra day either side of rally and make it a holiday. Also appropriately Oakville was the very site of the start of our club. On page three I’ve included some pictures from the second Bronte rally in 1984, kindly sent to me from Bruce Burnett. This is a very large rally with not only many and varied British cars but many parts and regalia vendors. See you there.

Last time I mentioned the Christmas Market in Yorktown Virginia where my V8-250 met its sister the MK II 2.4 Jag-so similar. Below is the picture from that event.

Its time to close another chapter so I hope everyone is surviving the cold winter okay and ready for some fun in the sun, soon.

Happy Daimlering,

George Bennett – Editor

(PS: Please don’t forget to send in your renewal if you haven’t already done so.)


Jay Leno’s Restoration SP250

Jay Leno's Daimler SP250 Restoration

Although many people know him as the longtime host of NBC’s The Tonight Show, Jay Leno has a not-so-secret love of cars…  specifically, his passion (like many of us!) is to restore classics to their former glory.  One of his most recent projects has been to restore a 1962 Daimler SP250.  The last Daimler car to feature a Daimler engine, the Daimler “Dart” is a light, powerful auto with a peak 150hp, 125mph V8 engine, a luxury design, and a performance that rivaled the much more expensive Jaguar XK150.

Luckily for us, Jay doesn’t keep his love secret – in fact, he maintains the fantastic Jay Leno’s Garage to showcase his creations.  To date he’s posted four video blogs about his progress, which you can view by clicking the links below.

Good choice, Jay – keep those British cars coming!

Part 1 – http://goo.gl/VZhK9
Part 2 – http://goo.gl/Yqp5q
Part 3 – http://goo.gl/F7DrW
Part 4 – http://goo.gl/MrkbG

Newsletter Archive

Here you will find all of the DLOCNA Newsletters dated before 2013.

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