Welcome to TE/AE’s Tenth Anniversary United Newsletter! In these pages, you will find a complete record of the once-in-a-lifetime events which made up United X and which transformed the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and its Motor Hotel into “Sunbeam Heaven” for four memorable days in October!
First of all, it seems appropriate to say that we’ve once again broken all United attendance records. Nearly 250 people converged on Indy from October 9th through 12th, and the very special Tenth-anniversary Awards Banquet was attended by an over-capacity crowd of about 225 people! (We couldn’t quite count the folks in the very back rows!)
Thursday afternoon as the first hardy travelers arrived in Speedway, Indiana, a record number of vendors eagerly divided the parts swap room pausing to look out the windows at the adjacent golfers on the Hotel’s 18-hole course. Later that evening we all fired up the Alpines and Tigers for a unique Progressive Supper that began with dessert at “Bill’s Fabulous 50’s”, served by real roller skating carhops, and ended with ‘Beamers breaking up into smaller groups to sample their choice of fine cuisine at any of more than a dozen Indy restaurants.
Thursday evening was our first chance to sample the TE/AE Hospitality ambience of Mrs. Tony Hulman’s private suite overlooking Turn Two of the
speedway. With a variety of racing videos and Sunbeam slides on view and refreshment for ‘Beamers who might still be hungry or thirsty, the Tower Suite was just the right way to end
Day One of United X ….
Friday morning saw newcomers continuing to fill the Stutz Room, checking into the United, picking up their goodie bags, and flagging a huge map of the U.S. that showed everyone’s hometown. This was certainly graphic proof that we were indeed attracting Tiger and Alpine enthusiasts from all over–28 states plus Canada as it turned out! Some people made one last Banzai run through the Parts Swap room before Concours d’Elegance preparation that morning …while those of a more athletic persuasion were able to join a walking tour of the track–all two and one half miles of it!
If the sight of nearly 100 Sunbeam owners engaging in the familiar pre-Concours Simoniz and ArmorAll rituals was not enough, the assemblage of pristine Tigers and Alpines lined up on famed Pit Lane (under a bright October sun) was certainly an unforgettable spectacle. Added to this was the opportunity for a personalized photo of car and owner on the track-with Pit Lane and the timing tower in the background (a unique addition to everyone’s Sunbeam photo album).
But the real highlight of Friday (and possibly the entire event, according to many) was not one, but two parade laps around the Indy 500 Motor Speedway itself! Words cannot really do justice to the sights–and sounds–of Tigers and Alpines, three abreast, circling those 2.5 miles in what seemed like only seconds! Then it was down Pit Lane for a driver swap so that the first lap passengers could also experience this once-in-a-lifetime thrill. It really seemed as if the Speedway was meant for the sounds of this Sunbeam symphony echoing off its walls!
All too soon, it was time to reassemble for an informative tech session highlighting Sunbeams in competition–with expert commentary and tips from successful Rootes campaigners of the past and present. After a full–and enjoyable–day at the track, it was on to dinner followed by a group tour of the Hall of Fame Museum adjacent to the track. Here we marveled at the surprising evolution of Indy racecars over the last 75 years, a visit made all the more meaningful by our on-track experience!
Saturday morning brought a choice of Indy-area tours: a selection of race shops for those who had not had their fill of competition and an Indy city tour, highlighted by a visit to the Children’s (and Adult’s) Museum, as well as the Hoosier Dome and restored Union Station ….
And United X will also be remembered for the First Annual TE/AE Golf Tournament held on Saturday afternoon and ably coordinated by Mike Mooney (more details, including names, handicaps and alibis, are inside). The second of two Standing Room Only Tech Sessions was held later on Saturday afternoon; and once everyone’s restoration problems had been solved, we adjourned to the pre-banquet cocktail hour with a slide show featuring previous United action.
The United X Awards Banquet was a notable success in spite of your President’s podium efforts. Bill Miller shared his reminiscences and thoughts about the late Ian Garrad, who was to have been our keynote speaker. Bill’s heartfelt words were a moving tribute to a man who meant so much to us–and we all raised our glasses in sympathy and tribute.
Along with the Contours trophies, special awards were bestowed upon the sizable California contingent from CAT and S.T.O.A. who added so much to United X. And in addition to Lord Rootes Trophy winners Tom and Kathy Calvert, Wally Swift presented a special memento to Dave and Elnore Lawler on the occasion of their 25th Anniversary.
Again this year, several generous corporate donations made the door prize awards successful, and Messrs. M. Smith and M. Mooney provided light moments with their own presentations: the first a tongue-in-cheek “tribute” to Wally Swift, and the second a hilarious recap of the earlier action on the links with its own unique awards!
A last-chance parts swap ended Saturday evening, and Sunbeamers retreated to the Hospitality Suite once more (or turned in early to prepare for Sunday’s autocross), However, the fine weather with which we’d all been blessed turned cold and WET for the autocross held at a nearby Chrysler facility. But the precipitation could not put a damper on the atmosphere of good fellowship that always accompanies a United! We all headed back home reflecting on this United X–in many ways a fitting close to the first ten years of Tigers East/Alpines East–a tribute to those stalwart few who began this club in 1976 never dreaming that one day there would be hundreds of us gathering to celebrate Sunbeam ownership–and a reflection on those who have put so much of themselves into Tigers East/ Alpines East during the past decade. It was a landmark weekend!
Thanks to United X Event Coordinator Barry Schonberger and all of his Committee Chairpersons who organized such a fine event to mark our first ten years. Well over one year of planning went into four unforgettable days–and it showed!
And thanks to our Officers, Board Members, Membership Chairpeople, Newsletter Editor–everyone–for making these past two years as rewarding as they have been for me. I’m sure our new officers will enjoy the same support as we move into 1987-and that will mean our second decade will be off to a flying start!