BEDFORD - A small crowd gathered Sunday as Mike and Sue Williams stepped out of their shining black 1938 Jaguar SS-100 on a rain-soaked Bedford parking lot.
One of their American hosts apologized for the dreary weather.
"We English are used to it, aren't we?" Sue Williams replied cheerfully.
The couple, visitors from the tiny Isle of Man in the Irish Sea, had joined dozens of British Jaguar owners for an afternoon stop in Bedford - part of a three-week car enthusiasts' tour set to take them from Washington, D.C., to Canada.
An earlier shower didn't stop locals from checking out the temporary British imports, shipped straight from the United Kingdom and recognizable from flag insignia, "GB" stickers and pouncing-jaguar hood ornaments.
"Oh my God, I love them," Patrick Smith Jr. of Imler said as his companions debated whether they'd be allowed to touch the sleek red car in front of them. Smith stumbled upon the "cruise-in" while his 4-H group decorated downtown Bedford for the upcoming Fall Foliage Festival.
"You're not going to see another one of these in Bedford again," an onlooker said when the 74-year-old SS-100 rolled in near the Fort Bedford Museum.
It wasn't the first American tour for many Jaguar Enthusiast Club members, but it was certainly their first time in Bedford.
Like any hobby, some said, you become part of a tight-knit group that develops international connections.
"There's a tremendous following," Alan Mobbs of Surrey said alongside his 1959 Jaguar Mark IX.
Asked what inspires British Jaguar enthusiasts to ship their expensive cars overseas and spend weeks in North America, Mike Marshall of Gloucester offered a simple, if thickly accented, explanation.
"You've got to be cracked," he said.