One of the members, ex-pat Briton Keith Wynn, struck upon the idea of advertising in a French-language magazine for a rally of British motors at Signal de Bougy, between Geneva and Lausanne.
To the club’s surprise, 150 cars showed up and the Swiss Classic British Car Meeting was born.
The 21st annual event, now held in Morges, a lakeside town in the canton of Vaud, is expecting 1,600 cars on Saturday, October 6th, organizer Wynn told The Local.
Featuring such collectible models as vintage MGs, Jaguars, Austins, Rolls-Royces and Bentleys, the event – the only vintage British car meet in Switzerland – has grown to the point where it attracts 20,000 spectators throughout the day, he said.
The weather can influence how many cars show up, but even in poor conditions at least 1,200 will be on display, said Wynn, a longtime Vaud resident.
Exhibitors drive from as far away as the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Germany and France to as well as France and Switzerland.
Wynn recalled it was cold and rainy for the first meet in 1991.
“It was very British, but despite the weather 150 cars showed up,” he said.
“Everybody enjoyed it and asked whether there was going to be another the next year.”
So another event was held the following year before a decision was made to relocate to Morges, a town east of Lausanne, for subsequent meets.
Participating cars must be at least 20 years old, although exceptions are made for vehicles of interest to the public, Wynn said.
“A newer Aston Martin is always of interest because they’re aren’t that many of them.”
This year’s meet will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the MGB, “the biggest-selling sports car in the world with half a million produced,” Wynn said.
The event will also mark the 20th anniversary of the MGR, of which only 8,000 were produced, and the 50th year since the Lotus Elan sports car was introduced.
In addition to motor cars, the meet also showcases classic motorbikes.
Wynn, who owns a 1956 Triumph TR6, explained that he will not be able to display the sport car this year because he needs a bigger vehicle — a van — to carry stuff for the event.
Running from 10am to 5pm, the meet is spread over several venues including a park overlooking Lake Geneva and Morge’s waterfront.
Entry to the event is free.