Langley tinkerer’s touch brought to British car show

Colin Cuvelier fell in love with Marinas back in high school, and has been a collector since.

by Bob Groeneveld/Special to the Langley Advance

A local Marina enthusiast will be on the LAMB with other British car buffs in Fort Langley later this month.

The Langley Area Mostly British Motoring (LAMB) Club is presenting its 13th annual St. George’s British Motoring Show at the Fort Langley Community Hall on Sunday, April 22.

Two of Colin Cuvelier’s Marinas will be among the 80 cars, trucks, and military vehicles expected on exhibit from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cuvelier has been mechanically inclined all his life, and has had a special interest in British cars since he was in high school in Aldergrove.

“My shop teacher [Kevin Moore] had a big influence on me when it came to British cars,” he recounted.

He has been a member of the local British car club for several years, but the blue four-door Marina he’s been restoring for 20 years, along with a newly acquired convertible Marina, are his first entries in the show.

Marina is not a familiar name for cars around here. They were sold in the U.S. for a few years in the 1970s, and just a few years more in Canada, but they never caught on this side of the Atlantic, despite being the third bestselling make in the U.K. at the time, Cuvelier explained.

“They were not very well loved in North America,” he added.

“The Japanese cars were coming, and they were more reliable, they were cheaper, and the marketing didn’t suit the Marina very well.”

In Britain, Marinas “were marketed as a car you could tinker with on the weekend and drive it to work all week and then you have to tinker with it again… but in North America that doesn’t work.” Cuvelier explained. “Here, you hop in the car, hit the key, and you go.”

But the tinkering appealed to Cuvelier.

“I had my first Marina when I was 14 years old,” he said. “I’m 42 years old now, and I’ve always had at least two Marinas sitting in my yard.”

His 1973 blue four-door doesn’t get out of the yard often.

“It only gets driven a couple of times a year, because of time and, well, [I’m] too paranoid.”

His other car headed for the show in Fort Langley is a Morris Marina convertible.

“It’s one of only 30 ever made, and it’s the only one in North America,” Cuvelier said.

“When I got it here, I converted it to left-hand drive, using all the original Marina parts that I have. In essence, even though it’s converted by me, it’s the only left-hand drive Marina convertible in the world.”

It took a year to get that car from England to Langley. He tracked it through the Panama Canal and up the coast, north past him. And, as his anticipation heightened, back down to Seattle where he picked it up.

He wished they could have dropped it off in Vancouver.

Visitors to the St. George’s show will get to share his excitement, and that of dozens of other British motoring enthusiasts who will show off their Jaguars, MGs, and Triumphs, as well as the working man’s makes, like Hillman, Vauxhall, Morris, Cortina, and Austin.

“We decided it was time to feature cars that we grew up with as mom and dad’s vehicles,” said John Walden, president of the motoring club.

There will also be a silent auction open to the public. Net proceeds from the show will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Langley.

The show is free to the public, but there’s a $20 fee to include vehicles in the show. Visit www.lambscarclub.com.

Net proceeds from the show will go to Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Langley.

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