ABOVE: Match.com pitch to practical gals!

For 20+ years, Vermont has hosted two concurrent blockbuster car shows each mid-September weekend and the contrast couldn't be more striking. I've dragged my kids along for a good portion of the annual calendar and watched their automotive tastes evolve from "when's lunch?" to "look, an Aston Martin like ours." This year's uncharacteristically hot Fall weather surely helped attendance if not sales of Pendleton sweaters.

The British Invasion is set in the scenic resort town of Stowe VT (Trapp Family, anyone?) where a range of models of MG, Triumph, Austin Healey, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Lotus, Land Rover along with a smattering of odd stuff all courtesy of Old Blighty dot the green soccer field. This year marked BI's 27th consecutive year and the turnout was bigger than ever. I can report that Joseph Lucas made few appearances as virtually every noble steed moved under its own power. A show favorite: a 1954 Riley RME up for grabs in the car corral for a cool $20K and lovely 3-litre Bentley VDP Tourer on the show field.

At midday we head south to Burlington VT for the 24th annual NSRA Northeast Nationals, hosted by the National Street Rod Association. Frankly, this is my fav of the pair. As a hot rodder at heart, the sprawling landscape of thundering V8s brings back model kit memories and school book drawings of souped up Deuce coupes and '40 Fords. Every imaginable build style and quality is present from as far as the mid Atlantic states and Canada. Recent years has shown an increasing number of Rat Rods ranging from ridiculous to incredibly ridiculous. A constant among these blacksmith's revenge efforts is a fastidious attention to build quality and fabrication excellence. Paint, chrome and leather trim do not figure into the builds and they are all the better for it. My favorite this year? A diesel powered cab truck lowered to the weeds with aircraft quality welds and creativity that would make Bid Daddy Ed Roth proud.

So, if you camp one foot in the UK and another in the USA, I suggest that you mark next September for a memorable journey into a bipolar motoring experience not to miss!

#Riley #AustinHealey #Humber #Bentley

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