Drivers take car show on road in Arizona

Special for The Republic

Ahwatukee residents Mike and Janice Goodwin and their 1968 OTS E-Type Jaguar with original pale primrose yellow paint are ready to hit the road for this weekend’s 13th annual British European Auto Tour (BEAT).

The couple and Roger Guzowski organized the two-day rite-of-spring road trip 13 years ago, and have seen it become a popular draw for Southeast Valley and other drivers.

The drive covers scenic roads from Phoenix to Flagstaff and back, with stops to show off vehicles manufactured in Great Britain or Europe that range from the 2010 Mini Cooper to a classic 1962 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud.

Organizing the weekend is a six-month labor of love requiring close communication with government entities in stopover towns and cities, and state and local car clubs.

“It does take a lot of work and time,” Janice Goodwin admitted as she and Mike packed 145 goody bags for distribution to participants. Her “real job” is an accounting supervisor with a title insurance company, his a stockbroker with Charles Schwab.

“I think the camaraderie is wonderful; you have so many car groups getting together and they’re all real mellow. And then, Sunday morning, hearing how much everyone enjoyed the drive makes it worth the work,” Janice said.

The BEAT tour begins at 6:30 a .m. Saturday with drivers of the 145 British- and European-made cars gathering in north Phoenix.

The first convoy stop is in Wickenburg for coffee and doughnuts, followed by a cruise through the Joshua Tree National Forest to Kirkland and then Prescott.

BEAT is the only car organization that forces a closure of Prescott’s famed Whiskey Row.

During that two-hour stop, the tourists conduct a “mini car show” before climbing up the multiple switchbacks of the 7,800-foot Mingus Mountain to Jerome, then dropping down to the chaparral of Clarksdale and Cottonwood before cruising downtown Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon.

The day’s ride ends at Little America in Flagstaff tonight, returning to Phoenix via Strawberry, Pine and Payson early Sunday afternoon.

Matt Reynolds, 20, of Tempe, is one of the youngest drivers, even though he’s been a part of BEAT for more than 10 years. As a child, he accompanied his parents John and Patricia Reynolds in their Triumph TR6.

This is the second year the Arizona State University student is cruising in his dark blue, 1970 Triumph TR6.

“It sat 15 years under a tree in a Tempe yard, infested with black widows, but my Dad and I completely took it apart and rebuilt it over three years,” said Reynolds, vice-president of the 100-member Desert Center Triumph Register Club of America.

“It’s the perfect car, but I don’t use it every day; just weekends and for having fun.”

It’s the first BEAT trip for Chandler resident Trudy Crable and her bright red Mach 1 Triumph Spitfire convertible, named “Maggie.”

The “62-year-old going on 42” said she’s looking forward to “hanging out with other enthusiasts” and driving her car on the 651-mile round-trip tour.

This year, Gilbert residents Stu and Debbie Lasswell celebrate a decade of BEAT participation, once again driving their classic 1957, apple green TR-3 Triumph.

The multiple award-winning Triumph is more than a weekend car.

“We pretty much went coast to coast in this car last year,” Lasswell, a Tempe postman, said.

The varied and beautiful scenery are big reasons the couple likes the BEAT drive.

“You drive through some of the most scenic areas of Arizona,” he said. “And it’s fun – a big traveling car show.”

One Response to “Drivers take car show on road in Arizona”

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