British invade Stowe

Obviously, The Cynic’s automotive correspondent loves car shows.It’s like being in a parking lot — except nobody gets weirded out when I ask if I can look under their hood.But what’s even more fun than going to car shows is exhibiting.  On Sept. 19, I got a chance to do exactly that.Sept. 18, 19 and 20 was the 19th annual “British Invasion” auto show/Anglo fest in the nauseatingly quaint little town of Stowe.Despite the steep $55 registration fee, I had such a good time as a spectator in 2008, I was determined to have my Land Rover on the lawn this year.Hundreds of British cars were in attendance, and the Rovers were even so well represented that they were divided into several classes.Although my Discovery might not have been as glamorous as a Jaguar XK120 or an Aston Martin DB5, coming to a car show with a massive SUV has its advantages.The owners of those little coupes were forced to buy $5 beers the size of vodka shots and wait in line for $7 sausages. I was packing lawn chairs, a grill, burgers and enough Foster’s pint cans for a pan-Australian safari.I had a lot of fun talking shop with other Land Rover owners, checking out the British-themed trinkets for sale and, of course, taking in some incredible machines.Highlights were a Jaguar XKE painted in Austin Powers-style union jack livery, a flawless 1983 Lotus Esprit and a very unusual Aston Martin equipped with two superchargers.”Two of these made it to the States,” I was told by the car’s exhibitor, “and the other one’s been wrecked.”  I hid my beer in my sleeve and took a step back.I ended up hanging out at the show a little longer than I had planned because, once the award ceremony started, I had enough of a buzz going to think I actually had a shot at pulling down a trophy.The ritual was tedious.  Each class had a first, second and third prize, and the orator was describing each vehicle at great length before announcing the winner.Did I mention that I was in Class 50?It was like listening to Ben Stein read a sixth grade English paper 15 times in a row.But in the end, my perseverance paid off and I was presented with third place in Discoverys and Range Rovers.  I even landed a nice little plaque that’s looking great on my mantel right now between Magic Hat empties and the DVD player remote my roommate’s been looking for.So chalk it up to a successful Saturday.  Although this is my last year at UVM, I hope it’s not my last at the Invasion.Maybe next year I’ll have an acceptance speech ready.