Newsletter of the Smoky Mountain Austin-Healey Club

Knoxville, Tennessee

Amy Turner, Editor



Number 10 October 1999


Falling in Love Again

Itís fall! Itís fall! (Anyone ever notice how excited I can get about the seasons?) Cool evenings, glorious days, multicolored leaves skittering in my wake as I wind down the road in my machine. This must be what heaven is like.

Check inside for details of recent happenings and the last big driving event this millenium!


Upcoming Events



Where to Meet

Oct. 11

Pub Night

Sullivanís Restaurant at 7:00 p.m.

Oct. 17

Brits in the Sky

Alcoa Wal-Mart at 10:30 sharp!




In this issueÖ

Falling in Love Again *

Dougís Drivel *

Smoke Editions *

Brits in the Sky *

Your Article Here *


Southeastern Classic *

A Train of Thought *

October Calendar *

Upcoming Events *

Dougís Drivel

Barbara and I have been in the beautiful wilds of Maine, so this drivel may be short and somewhat disjointed. There are some things that need mentioning, however.

First, Iím sorry more of you werenít able to go with us to Chattanooga to see two of our own, Amy and Paul Turner, give a wonderful performance in Fiddler on the Roof. They were so professional I forgot I knew them and thought they were Russian Jews. The weather was great for the drive down and back and Leonard and Betty McKeehan, Frank and Nancy Belcher, and Barbara and I had a very enjoyable Sunday together.

Please donít forget the Cherohala Skyway drive on Sunday, October 17th. With the fall colors, it will be a beautiful time to be driving through a beautiful place! And weíre not going to be fighting all the traffic in the Gatlinburg part of the Smokies. Also, donít forget to ask everyone you know with a British car to join us Ė doesnít have to be a Healey!

Time is drawing nigh for our club to elect officers. More about that next month, but if you have someone you wish to recommend for an office, let us know.

See you at Sullivanís,



Smoke Editions

Ahhhhhhh! The play is finally over, the weather is cooler, weíve had a drop or two of rain, and I just completed a major project at work. Now, whatís missing?

The Healey! I havenít had Healium out in weeks. Itís not that I havenít tried. In fact, I drove it down to Chattanooga once during the summer. The next day, before I had the chance to put Healium back in the warehouse, my "reliable" Japanese car gave up the ghost. Both of the American vehicles were unavailable since Paul was driving the van and the Chevy was at the warehouse from when we went to get the Healey. No problem! I got to work in style the next day.

A problem has arisen, though. When I think of all the things that can go wrong Ė the engine, the transmission, the brakes, any of the Lucas components Ė it amazes me how one little piece of rubber can bring my fun to a halt. You see, thereís a little rubber piece on the back of the gas pedal that is supposed to keep the throttle linkage lined up with the pedal itself. That little rubber piece has cracked. The result is that the throttle linkage gets stuck in the rubber. That means that even when I want to slow down (yes, sometimes I do!), the car doesnít want to. Thatís a bit too dangerous even for a wild woman like me, so Healium is sidelined while I search for a gas pedal, or at least that blasted little rubber piece! Weíve called Moss, Vicky Brit, Mini Mania, and a variety of friends and suppliers, and not one of them has a gas pedal or rubber piece in good condition.

My goal is to locate and install a new pedal before the Brits in the Sky drive on October 17th. Iíll see you all there, right?

I do want to thank those who came to the play. It meant a lot to Paul and me to have friends there. In addition to those club members Doug listed, we also enjoyed seeing Guy and Judy Beaty from the Chattanooga British car club, and Gary and Paulette Lownsdale came to a later performance.

Hope youíll recognize Paul on Pub Night. The beard is gone. Goodbye Lazar Wolf!

See you on the road!



Brits in the Sky

This is it, folks! The last Smoky Mountain Austin-Healey Club drive of the millenium! (Yeah, yeah, I know. 2001 is really when the millenium begins, but everyone else is getting all excited about 2000 so I thought Iíd just join in.)

Regardless of the calendar milestone, this will be an event you wonít want to miss. Bob Ricker has planned a route that will take us through the Smokies to Robbinsville, North Carolina, where weíll take the new Cherohala Highway to Tellico Plains and Hwy 411. Incidentally, if youíre worried about traffic during the fall color season, you donít have to worry. Bob has checked and found that since this is only the third fall since the Cherohala Highway has been open, most people havenít found it yet. We should have smooth sailing!

Hereís your checklist for the drive.

See yíall there!




Your Article Here

What did you do this summer? Did you attend a show I didnít tell about in the newsletter? Did you start or finish a restoration? Maybe you found an innovative approach to the care and feeding of your Healey. Tell us about it!




Doug Smith

Rt. 3, Box 535C

Rutledge, TN 37861



Bryan Broadhead

215 Sugarwood Drive

Farragut, TN 37922



Paul/Amy Turner

126 S. Jackson Street

Athens, TN 37303




Rick Hayes

9024 Tall Timber Drive

Knoxville, TN 37931


Tech Chairman

Bob Ricker

9108 Montague Lane

Knoxville, TN 37923


External Events

Bill Denton

807 W. First St., No.

Morristown, TN 37814


Club Historian

Richard Miller

9705 Bob Gray Road

Knoxville, TN 37923


AHCA Delegate

Paulette Lownsdale

417 Shawnee Place

Loudon, TN 37774-3164


Southeastern Classic

Bob Ricker and Gary and Paulette Lownsdale attended Southeastern Classic in Hiawassee, Georgia, at the end of September. From all accounts, it was yet another wonderful event. The Lownsdales brought home trophies in the gymkhana and funkhana, and Bob won an award for Best Red Car. Congratulations to all!

Next yearís Southeastern Classic will be in Myrtle Beach, so keep it in mind. Itís a great way to meet fellow enthusiasts in our region, and itís never too terribly far away. As a rule, itís a well-organized event with lots for everyone to do.




A Train of Thought

From the Internet Ė Author Unknown


The U.S. Standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. That is an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used?

Because thatís the way they built them in England, and the U.S. railroads were built by English expatriates. Why did the English people build them like that?

Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and thatís the gauge they used. Why did "they" use that gauge then?

Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing. OK! Why did the wagons use that odd wheel spacing?

Well, if they tried to use any other spacing the wagons would break on some of the old, long distance roads, because thatís the spacing of the old wheel ruts. So who built these old rutted roads?

The first long distance roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. The roads have been used ever since. And the ruts?

The initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagons, were first made by Roman war chariots. Since the chariots were made for or by Imperial Rome they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing. Thus, we have the answer to the original question. The United States standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the original specification for an Imperial Roman army war chariot. Specs and Bureaucracies live forever. So, the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horseís behind came up with it, you may be exactly right. Because the Imperial Roman chariots were made to be just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of two war horses.

Now the twist to the storyÖ. Thereís an interesting extension of the story about railroad gauge and horsesí behinds. When we see a Space Shuttle sitting on the launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are the solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at a factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs might have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad line to the factory runs through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than a railroad track, and the railroad track is about as wide as two horsesí behinds.

So a major design feature of what is arguably the worldís most advanced transportation system was determined by the width of a horseís rear end!


October Calendar



Upcoming Events


Oct. 11 Pub night at Sullivanís Restaurant on Northshore.

Oct. 17 Brits in the Sky. Drive captain Bob Ricker, 423-694-6086 or 423-873-2005 pager.
























Smoky Mountain AHC Newsletter

Amy Turner, editor

126 S. Jackson Street

Athens, TN 37303-4711


Phone: 423-745-0309 or