Brit Bits owner Sam Smith grew up in Maine behind Kittery Auto Sales, a British car shop, hanging around, admiring, questioning and generally being a pest. He would sneak into the back lot after hours and on Sundays, sitting in sports cars (actually any car), driving miles and miles without ever moving. He still sits in cars that don't move.
One of his favorite childhood memories was being allowed to help perform the dealer prep for the delivery of a beautiful blue Austin Princess, with its the gleaming woodwork and the leather interior, to an excited new owner. Then there was the Mini Cooper given to him one summer (I think now in jest to shut him up). It was rusty even then and not moving, of course, and its remaining good parts slowly went to keep better cars on the road.
Sam vividly remembers looking in wonder at a photograph hanging on the office wall. It showed a customer’s MGB GT that had rolled over during a race after hitting a Coke bottle in a tight corner. The car rolled over, denting the roof and ending upright on its wheels. But the window glass didn’t break, the engine fired up and the driver, uninjured, drove off. All that from a picture. Those were the days.
Arden McLean served our country during WWII in England and Europe in the U.S. Army Maintenance Battalions repairing and supporting all the equipment for the U.S. Army. During his time overseas, Arden fell in love with these fancy new sports cars. After working for many years in Massachusetts for British car dealers, late in the 1950's, Arden, in partnership with Brad Coleman, became a British Leyland dealer for MG, Austin Healey and Triumph in Kittery, Maine. Arden lived and breathed sports cars and actively raced throughout New England. This was the place to be as British Sports cars came alive during this era. There even were two British Leyland dealers in just the small town of Kittery, Maine.
The stories and adventures from Arden continue to this day.
After moving five miles across the bridge to New Hampshire in the late sixties, McLean went on to become a TVR dealer, selling new Triumph and Yamaha motorcycles among other product lines as well. After more than 40 successful years in the British car business and sports car racing, Arden passed the torch in 1989 to his son, Mark McLean, who continued the tradition with McLean Enterprises, specializing in sales and service for fine British Sports cars until his retirement in 2005.
Brit Bits follows in those footsteps, actively and with passion. We are much more than a car place. We are in the entertainment business providing memories to last lifetimes. We are very active in many club activities and attend many car shows in the Northeast. We remain a family oriented business, as many of you know, having visited our show booths staffed (or overrun) with Sam's kids.
McLean Enterprises grew to be the largest center specializing in sales and service of pre-owned British automobiles in the New England area. Brit Bits was created in 1998 as a division of McLean Enterprises to expand the business into the retail and worldwide mail-order sales of new, used and rebuilt parts and accessories dedicated to British sports cars, as well as gifts, clothing, and souvenirs with a British theme. In 2005, as Brit Bits expanded again, we took over many of the earlier services offered by McLean Enterprises, including a full range of repair and restoration services specializing in British sports cars, all under one roof. Today McLean Enterprises remains a licensed New Hampshire car dealer under the Brit Bits banner.
In the same location on Route 1A in Rye, New Hampshire, since 1969, we are still the British sports car place to come to for repair and restoration services. Our customers come from as far away as the mid-Atlantic states, Canada and out into the Midwest.
Consignment sales are our specialty. The British sports cars we sell range from projects to solid drivers to restorations that may end up with a proud owner anywhere in the world.