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Some BMCA History
By BMCA charter member Steve Mers - 2004
Parts, tools and workspace - That is where the BMCA started. Not everyone that owned a British car in the Little Rock area in the 1980s had the workspace, tools or parts available for their hobby. Whenever money for parts became available, it was necessary to not only purchase the parts, but also to install them. Acquiring parts for British cars was also becoming more difficult with the reduced importation of new vehicles and the remaining parts suppliers focusing on rice burners to make their profits. However, in 1988, Ron McLeod was becoming the parts supplier to know in the Little Rock area. His inventory of British automobile parts continued to grow and on and Saturday afternoon, there was a very good chance that several car enthusiasts would show up on Corvallis Road to buy parts and/or install some. Advice was inexpensive; tools were borrowed/loaned as well as availability of an extra hand if you needed it.
One of Rons employees, Carroll Dee Bland (singer/harmonica player for the Blues Patrol and actor) suggested that these people needed to put together a club so that after working on their fine English beauties, they could drive them somewhere together. One of the additional suggestions that Carroll had was that by having a club, technical information about these British automobiles could be passed between members easily. Carroll Dee also volunteered to let everyone he knew know that a club was in the organizational process for the Little Rock, area. Well, after a couple of ABs (adult beverages) some money was put in a basket to get Carroll Dee started. Get started he did! Carroll told everyone! Everyone he saw driving a British car, owning a British car, working on a British car or buying or selling parts for a British car was fair game. Everyone!
As work of a possible British car club spread, future members worked diligently to get the club organized. Charles and Lisa Hutchison had moved to Little Rock, from Memphis where they belonged to the British Car Club of Memphis (a multi-Marque club), and their organizational skills led to the first meeting at Shotgun Dans on Markham Street in Little Rock, February 12. 1989. The club was named, Charles was elected the first president, four marques were set for club leadership, annual dues and club colors were determined all at the first meeting. Those Marques, MG, Triumph, Austin Healey and Empire are still in existence today. The Hutchisons also provided a copy of the By-Laws from the Memphis Club, which gave the new British Motoring Club of Arkansas (BMCA) a head start on putting theirs together.
Founding members that have had continuous membership since the first meeting are Charles & Lisa Hutchison, Tom & Judy Hunter, Ron & Vera McLeod, Doug & Gayle Nelson, Chris Casey, and I Steve Mers. The first scheduled outing for the club was a run around Lake Maumelle, a reliability run for some of the members. Nevertheless, everyone made it without any major problems.
The upcoming fifteenth anniversary is an important milestone for the BMCA. Club membership has grown, activities surrounding our hobby have diversified, and the camaraderie of the members has increased. We have truly become what we started out to be. Stay tuned - More to come as our birthday nears.