Perfect day for a picnic and cars…

Last Sunday was the Goodwood Road Racing Club Open Day at Goodwood House. A perfect summer day. We took Regie the 4cv Renault for two reasons, firstly we could have the roof down and secondly Regie needed a pre-revival (and holiday) test drive, as he has lovely newly restored cream wheels which look good and have solved a wobble a certain speeds. We spent a lovely relaxing day with friends, looking at the displayed cars and enjoying a picnic.

The selected cars to exhibit in front of the house, were the usual mixture of old and new, exotic and everyday. DSC01198 DSC01199DSC01201The Saab was lovely and beautifully restored.DSC01204 DSC01205 I really fancy having one of these Volvo P1800’s.DSC01207 Our friend Richard’s 1999 Dare Ginetta G4 and is a modern recreation of the 60’s Ginetta G4 sports. Dare is run by the designer of the original G4.DSC01208 Personally my favourite of the day, this lovely 1967 Autobianchi Biachina Panoramica. Have always wanted the convertible version as driven by Audrey Hepburn in ‘How to steal a million’ but loved this estate version which I hadn’t seen before.DSC01211 DSC01213 DSC01216Cleo and Robyn from The GRRC had fun trying to sort the votes for the car of the day.DSC01200The winner was this rather impressive Alfa 6C but I wish we had got everybody to vote for the 3 wheel Reliant Robin, as the winner is going to be displayed in the RAC club in Pall Mall London for a week and I’d love to have seen their faces when the Robin turned up!DSC01227There were free funfair rides for the kids, including this wonderful Austin J40 car ride. James was especially interested as he’s in the middle of restoring a J40 pedal car for the Setterington Cup at the Revival – he could have done with acquiring a few parts!DSC01217 DSC01218 DSC01219 DSC01220 DSC01221 DSC01222At Wheels Day earlier in the year James had bought me a lovely vintage individual picnic set to use as a ‘Gin Box’, this was it’s first outing, using the flask for ice and there was enough room for a couple of doubles with garnish. Think this will get well used.DSC01230 DSC01236

Early start on the grid for Thoroughbred Sunday…

The August Goodwood Breakfast is traditionally a ‘Pre 66’ Revival theme, although rather confusingly called Thoroughbred Sunday. We had applied and received a grid pass, so it meant an earlier than usual start for us – not what we are used to on a Sunday. After what had been a glorious sunny Saturday, we awoke to drizzle and fog. Mario was ready and waiting so off we set through the low clouds hiding Trundel Hill by the racecourse.

Although we were running slightly late and arrived after 8am we were parked nice and centrally on the pit straight. Mario was immediately surrounded by fans and we left him to it, while we had a much needed Bacon and Egg roll and tea!

Personally this is the best Breakfast Club of the year. The tightest theme to get a pass for isn’t always the best attended but everything is period and interesting…DSC01158

DSC01186DSC01187The first unusual car to catch our eye was this Sunbeam Harrington Le Mans – a special coach built body on an Sunbeam Alpine Series IIDSC01145 DSC01148 DSC01149 DSC01150 DSC01151 DSC01152 DSC01179Lovely A40 Roadster, built in conjunction with Jensen, now very rare and there were two in attendance!DSC01153 DSC01155 DSC01156DSC01175
DSC01161 Loved this Fiat Abarth 1000 Bertone PrototypeDSC01163 DSC01164 DSC01165 DSC01166 And this great Peugeot 402, full of character and took part in the Tour de France Parade at the Revival a few years ago.DSC01167 DSC01168 DSC01170 DSC01171 DSC01174DSC01177 DSC01178

By the time we left Goodwood the sun had come out again and In the afternoon on the way to visit friends we popped into The Checkers at Eversely for their carshow. For a pub event there was a great collection of cars including a brilliant Amphicar, Renault Alpine, an immaculate Vauxhall Viva and a rare convertible Jensen Interceptor.DSC01191 DSC01192 DSC01193 DSC01194 DSC01195 DSC01196 DSC01197

Weird & Wonderful No 1 – Chevrolet Corvair Futura Concept

The first in what will hopefully be another little series, featuring the weird, wonderful, unique and just a little wacky…

The Chevrolet Corvair Futura Concept

Corvair-concept4Corvair-concept2 Corvair-concept3Corvair-concept5 Corvair-concept6 Corvair-concept-interiorCorvair-concept-interior2When we first saw pictures of this ‘Futura’ concept, I thought it looked a bit like an angular Multipla and certainly had the feel of some of the chopped Multipla Beach Cars. However this isn’t a carefully preserved concept car designed by the factory but is a one off made by an enthusiast.

Not a great deal seems to be known about it. The design, it would appear is based on some drawings produced for Kaiser Aluminum in the late 50’s. To persuade the American Auto Industry to use more aluminium, car designers Frank Hershey and Associates were commissioned to produce a portfolio of aluminium car designs to feature in promotional literature. The designs included a targa-top convertible and a station wagon. The one design that stood out was for The ‘Waimea’ a sort of van cut down to station wagon height. The design was credited to a Rhys Miller.
Waimea-ad

So lets jump forward to the mid 90’s when a slightly eccentric gentleman called Harry Larson of Minnesota decided that after restoring 5 cars in wanted to create one. He had a file of the Kaiser Ads from the  60’s, pulled out the Waimea and set about constructing one. He started with a Corvair Greenbrier Sportswagon from 1960. Greenbrier

The Waimea was designed to give the driver as much vision as possible and so had the driver sitting in the middle with centre steering and a fully enclosed glass front area and glass sunroof. The car turned up at shows in Minnesota in the 90’s but then disappeared to be put up for sale on eBay a few years ago. In 2013 it was apparently brought by Wayne Carini from the TV programme Chasing Classic Cars, although it hasn’t featured in any of the programmes that I’ve seen. In 2014 Wayne wrote in an article for Hagerty called Buyer’s Remorse…

“Another car I have mixed feelings about is the Kaiser Aluminum Corvair Futura. It started as a Corvair Greenbrier Sportswagon, but has center steering and an all-new nose with stacked headlamps. When you’re talking about a one-off concept car, there isn’t much you can do with it. They’re rarely fully developed for driving, there are few eligible show classes and they only attract a special kind of buyer. I’m not thrilled about the purchase, because I don’t know what to do with it now that it’s mine.”

CariniIt isn’t known if Wayne still owns the car or if he has sold it where it has gone. Despite quite a bit of research this was all the info I could find and the only pictures, which appear to come from the original eBay posting.

Festival of Speed 2016 – our highlights…

Sorry for the delay, sometimes life just takes over but in the last month we did manage to get a couple of days at the Festival of Speed. Local to us, we have been attending the FoS since the first event back in 1993 and boy has it changed… in the early years it was a glorified fete with fabulous cars! You’d sit by the side of the track with your picnic and enjoy the spectacular sight as the history of motorsport blasted past. These days it is all a little different, more corporate, more sales orientated, more modern. With the Revival and Members Meeting taking over the historical aspects, the Festival concentrates more on modern motorsport and supercars. As such it has become much less appealing to us but still worth a couple of days looking for the gems and socialising with our car loving friends.

This year we went on the Thursday to the Moving Motorsport day as we get free tickets with our GRRC membership and then on the Sunday. Although the weather wasn’t perfect we managed to avoid too much rain and with local knowledge made the trip without too many delays.

In more recent times the Cartier Style et Luxe concours d’elegance has been one of our favourite displays and although this year it seemed to be lacking in that totally ‘Wow’ display, there was still a lot to entertain us. Of most interest was the Alpine ‘Pass and Present’ class showcasing a selection of the Renault derivative Alpine Sportcars. This 1954 Prototype was based on the 4cv with a coach built body by Giovani Michelotti and had many similarities to our own ‘Regie’ the 4cv. This is the first of three prototypes built and is still owned by Jean-Charles Rédélé founder of Alpine.DSC09749 DSC09754DSC09743DSC09742 One of only 30 this lovely 1965 Alpine A110 Cabriolet is based on a Renault 8. Regie would love to have a set of the wheel spinners!DSC09946DSC09738DSC09729 DSC09945Without the money to develop the export market in the 60’s, Alpines were developed with partners abroad, this version with Willys Overland who built Dauphines in Brazil. Called the Willys Interlargos after the Brazilian GP Circuit. This one was restored for Retromobile in 2015.DSC09741DSC09750 A 1977 A110 SX Berlinetta, the last of the 7579 Dieppe Built A110’sDSC09739 Wasn’t that keen on the 1977 Mérignac, too wedge shaped for me.DSC09761For somebody who isn’t very fond of new cars this was fantastic, a prototype for a new Alpine going into production next year… I need one! The Alpine Vision was wonderful with some great details which unfortunately will probably never make it to the production model. Check out the wonderful logo shaped red key.DSC09734DSC09737
DSC09733 DSC09732 DSC09731 DSC09730Other classes included Pioneering Lancias which were lovely, especially the 1959 Lancia Flaminia 2500 Sport Zagato and the 1933 Lancia Pininfarina Cabriolet ‘Bocca’ both below; The Dawn of Motoring; and Legendary Lamborghini’s which are too angular for my liking although I liked the Green 1971 Miura SV which won the overall prize.DSC09765 DSC09764 DSC09763 DSC09762 DSC09758 DSC09756DSC09757While we are talking retro style new cars… I also loved this new Fiat Abarth 124 Spyder. Here at the Moving Motor Show you can see the original Fiat 124 Rally car and the new 300bhp rally version which will be built to customer order for competition in FIA’s R-GT class in 2017. Being test driven up the hill was the road going version of the small roadster. Based on a Mazda MX5 it was a seriously cute modern sportscar.DSC09842DSC09840DSC09843The defining feature of each years Festival is the central display, this year it was celebrating 100 years of BMW. As usual it was designed by Gerry Judah and this year’s was the biggest yet. The huge sweeping structure displayed the legendary BMW 328 Mille Miglia Roadster, the 1999 Le Mans-winning BMW V12 LMR, and the Gordon Murray-designed Brabham-BMW BT52 Formula One car which finished third in the 1983 championship.

While impressive it was almost too big and quite difficult to see the whole thing, especially when the event is so busy. The effect wasn’t helped by the inclement weather, I’m sure it would have looked better against a beautiful blue sky!
DSC09973 DSC09972 DSC09965 DSC09964 DSC09962 DSC09768 DSC09766Also from BMW were a couple of examples of their ‘Art Cars’. I must confess to not knowing much about these before but they were great. Introduced by French driver and auctioneer Hervé Poulin, the first one was commissioned in 1975 when American artist Alexander Calder painted the BMW 3.0 CSL that Poulain would race at Le Mans. Many famous artists have been involved including David Hockney, Frank Stella (below), Roy Lichtenstein (below) and Andy Warhol.

DSC09936 DSC09934DSC09937 Out and about in the paddocks and on the hill were a few gems. Perennial favourite the 1991 rotary engined Le Mans Mazda 787B, affectionately known as the Argyll Sock due to it’s distinctive paintwork.DSC09993Some amazing 1930’s Mercedes Streamliners, very difficult to photograph.DSC09808 DSC09806 DSC09794 We popped into the Preview on the Bonhams Auction. This 1948 Aston Martin DB Team Car was one of the star lots. After a distinguished racing career the car was waiting for restoration when it was stolen from a garden in 2002. It was ‘found’ and returned to the original owner’s descendants recently and fetched £679,100 at the auction.DSC09774A charity auction was held for this unique British Pop Art Bentley, this unique Continental GT V8 S Convertible was a collaboration between Bentley Motors and the godfather of British Pop Art, Sir Peter Blake. It raised £250,000
DSC09790Advertising a future sale this amazing 1929 Megola 640cc Touring Bike has a front wheel mounted engine. The bike is part of an extraordinary collection owned by the late Robert White which are being auctioned to raise money to create a new cancer treatment centre.DSC09772 As you will know we are not awfully fond of Supercars but I did quite like the look of the new Bugatti Chiron, the successor to the Veyron. Loved the way the chrome door surrounds reflected the ‘C’ in the logo, although I suspect the car was designed first and the name and logo came second!  The Aston Martin Vulcan also created quite a lot of interest.DSC09759DSC00239 This year the bikes were quite interesting. The totally mad Puma Gulf drag bike can go from 0 to 235mph in 5.8 seconds but couldn’t show that performance on the winding hill climb course. Filmstar Keanu Reeves created quite a stir riding the rather strange looking Arch KRGT-1 bike made by his own company. Unfortunately we never got to see the Yamaha ‘Triple’ on the track – a drag racer powered by three twin-cylinder engines.DSC00015DSC00008DSC09818Once again a star of the weekend was the magnificent ‘Beast of Turin’. The fiat S76 is huge and it’s massive engine spits flames. Even better the owner drives it to Goodwood from his home.DSC00181 DSC00179 DSC00162 DSC00156 DSC00154 One of the best stands at the Festival was Honda which was a ‘perfect’ full size reproduction of the classic 1970’s Fisher Price Toy garage.DSC09827 The Mercedes F1 car made a great ‘picture’ on the wall. We also had the rather surreal experience of seeing Nico Rosberg being interviewed – he’s the tiny figure on the right of the huge on-screen image.DSC09837DSC00104
DSC00019It wouldn’t be the Festival of Speed without an impressive firework display and they didn’t disappoint.DSC09911DSC09908DSC09868

Maybe FoS 2016 wasn’t a classic but we still had an enjoyable couple of days and saw some interesting stuff. So roll on September and the Revival – Mario is all signed up for taxi duties and is looking forward to meeting up with friends old and new.

The busiest day of the year…

May is always a very busy time for us as we organise the Haslemere Classic Car Show and tour in our town. 2016 was the eighth year we have run the show although it has grown considerably over the years. We launch the event in late Jan/early Feb depending how good we have been about getting our annual business accounts done! Luckily as the day is so popular we don’t have to do too much to promote it. We are limited in space by the size of the Green and this year for the first time we were full with advance bookings and even had a waiting list for the morning tour.

There is a lot of organising to do in 4 months, booking in all the cars, sorting the stalls and food, producing a lucky programme, advertising, posters etc plus a FaceBook campaign and local press to let the public know about the event. People come from all around the area and this year we had several entries from further afield.

After a busy week of final preparations we spent the Saturday morning, marking out the Green with a cricket pitch marker to a very detailed plan we had drawn to scale. This was important as we had limited space and we needed to use it effectively. A friend of ours used a drone before and after the show so we could see how well our plan worked. It would have been very successful apart from the St. Johns Ambulance parking in the wrong place and blocking the carefully planned access road, which we didn’t notice until it was too late!IMG_1181DCIM100MEDIADJI_0073.JPGHomemade bunting using previous years rally platesK_100218After years of going to car shows ourselves, we have tried to make the HCCS the show we would like to go to. We like to drive our cars and so in the morning we organise a ‘tour’. Nearly 100 cars met on the Green for breakfast before departing on a 60 mile round trip through the beautiful local countryside of the South Downs National Park with a refreshment stop at the Goodwood Motor Circuit. We still managed to find some new roads that even the ‘locals’ hadn’t been down before.

DSC09189DSC09198IMG_0696IMG_0739K_100140K_100092K_100072K_100067IMG_0817IMG_0750The cars arrived back to meet up with the show cars and all parked up on the green to make a great display. The show is just an afternoon rather than an whole day and so people don’t get bored and the majority of the entrants stay for the duration.

Around the Green we have 50 or so quality stalls, selling crafts, local produce, vintage and classic car related products, together with a varied selection of hot and cold food, bar, cream teas, charities and local organisations. The Georges Regis Jazz Band entertains the crowds and there are amusements for the kids.

We hold a couple of competitions, the People’s Choice where the public vote for the car they would most like to take home and the Best Dressed Car and Driver, judged by James and show supporter Adrian from Keats Estate Agents. We also organise a ‘Bake-off’ competition for cakes that look good and taste good for adults and kids.

Yet again we were lucky and it was a glorious sunny day, the Green was bursting with fabulous cars, both the immaculate and the well loved. Mario was obviously on display. The whole day seemed to go very well with everybody enjoying themselves and we had lots of lovely comments. It’s just a shame that the day goes so quickly and we don’t really have the time to see everything and talk to everybody properly.

Organising the day just take a lot of hard work and effort which is all done voluntarily and in our ‘spare’ time but it is nice to give something back to your community and although we always go through a few moments of ‘I’m never doing this again’ we are already talking about how to improve things on 2017!

Mario chills in the sunshine with his friend BellaDSC_0005Three stunning cars from a local private collection caused great excitement. Lamborghini Miura, Lagonda Le Mans and Gullwing Mercedes.DSC_0007 Best dressed Car and Driver Winner Lisa Costello. Lisa only finished restoring this lovely Isetta 2 weeks before the show and a day before she used it to drive to her wedding!DSC_0012DSC09336DSC09340 Runner-up, Best Dressed – Richard Bourne from London in his immaculate 1965 Jaguar E-type Series 1 RoadsterDSC09393 This immaculate 1972 Ford Capri (my Dad had one just like it) owned by Gary Bartlett from Winchester won the People’s ChoiceDSC09426 Runners-up – Dean Lucas from Haslemere in his 1965 MGB and Bob Marchant from Brighton in his 1967 Austin A35 Police Van DSC09325 DSC09423IMG_3922 Busy stallsDSC09223 DSC09229 DSC09239 Town Crier Christian Ashdown was a Bake-off JudgeDSC09244 DSC09284 DSC09212DSC09288 Winners of the Bake-off, Mother and Daughter effort from Debbie and Kate ValentineDSC09298 Best dressed car and driver entrantsDSC09317 DSC09322DSC09344 DSC09348DSC09354 DSC09359 DSC09365 DSC09368 DSC09370 DSC09374 DSC09381 DSC09384DSC09406 Bright and colourful showDSC09351 DSC09195 IMG_3917 IMG_3919IMG_3938Time to go home…DSC09429

 

A very important engagement…

We’ve been hinting for a while that Mario was about to do something special… well last weekend, he was a Wedding Car for the first time.  Amazingly in the 18 years or so that Mario’s been in the family, he’s never done a wedding.

That all changed last year when Lucy, the Daughter of Ross – a great friend who Jane has worked with for 30 years – announced she was getting married and enquired, could we could find her a ‘wedding car’. After some discussions about whether she wanted ‘Downton or Dallas’ she tentatively asked if Mario could be roped in for the job. Having known Lucy since she was born, we were delighted to be part of her big day and the date May 14 2016 was put in the diary.

IMG_1162The day before started with some serious pampering – the local (brilliant) hand wash company gave Mario a good wash and brush up, paying special attention as requested to the rear seats! Then Mario was decorated with ribbons and flowers on the front and more fresh flowers on the parcel shelf. Our job was to collect Lucy and her Father from their hotel in Guilford and deliver them safely to Loseley Park a few miles away. I have to say that in all the years of driving Mario and all the ViPs we’ve had on board, this was by far the most traumatic drive we’ve ever done – not helped by Ross, who a couple of weeks before, asked the question “the car will get there, won’t it?” having had a nightmare about breaking down on route!

DSC08966DSC08969DSC08970We were at the Harbour Hotel in good time and waiting in the glorious sunshine for the bride to appear. Mario as always attracted lots of attention and even the regular taxi drivers didn’t object to him blocking their drop-off point. The Bridesmaids appeared and we were delighted to spot that their dresses matched Mario’s ‘top half’ perfectly. Then finally, Lucy emerged from the Hotel, looking totally stunning and seemed very relaxed, certainly more so than us! Getting in wasn’t all that elegant, although Mario has plenty of space the rear seats are a long way back from the door but soon Lucy and Ross were settled and we set off through the Guildford Saturday morning traffic. DSC08971DSC08974DSC08976DSC08978

We certainly created a sight with firstly people spotting Mario and then realising that he was carrying a beautiful bride. Mario behaved perfectly and soon we were travelling up the long impressive driveway of Loseley Park, and Lucy was delivered in style to marry Carl.DSC08979

DSC09022With the hard work over, Mario was quite at home sitting outside the impressive house. Built in the reign of Elizabeth I, Loseley Park stands in ancient Surrey parkland with stunning views towards the North Downs. Still the home of the More-Molyneux family, it is remarkably unchanged since 1562 when Sir William More laid the first stones. The renowned gardens are very impressive and after the ceremony the new Mr & Mrs McKenzie led their guests through the grounds for the reception.

Basking in attention throughout the proceedings, Mario was a great attraction and it was most amusing in the following days, seeing guests posts on social media with everybody taking turns to sit in him and have their photo’s taken. We thought we’d lost Mario for ever when Lucy’s little Niece Scarlet was not at all happy about being removed from the back, shouting ‘My Car!”

It was lovely being part of such an important day and as always Mario did us proud!

DSC09024 DSC09032 DSC09035 DSC09037 DSC09048 DSC09052 DSC09065 DSC09120 DSC09131 DSC09133 DSC09186

Cars we love but can’t have… No 3

As Promised in the Soft Top Sunday post we’ve done a bit of research into the ‘Heinz 57′ Wolseley Hornet Convertible.DSC08601

We spotted this great little car at the recent Soft Top Sunday Breakfast Club at Goodwood and were rather intrigued by the fact that it had been made as a competition prize.

Food manufacturers Heinz had run lots of competitions over the years with cars as prizes but in 1966 they run their “Greatest Glow on Earth” soup competition and commissioned Crayford Engineering to produce 57 bespoke Wolseley Hornet Mini Convertibles for prizes. Crawford had already received great acclaim for their new Mini Convertible and it was decided to base the ‘competition special’ on the booted Mini or Wolseley Hornet so that they would be totally unique to the promotion. The competition was judged by Heinz, Crayford and TV personality and food critic Sir Clement Freud.

wolseley_heinzCompetition FormThe 57 prize cars were produced in two colours, Birch Grey or Toga White with red trim. They were fitted out with special accessories including a built-in insulated food cabinet, electric kettle, tartan rug, picnic hamper, radio and an under-dash make up tray, complete with Max Factor cosmetics. All 57 vehicles had consecutive registrations.

CrayfordHeinz_5 CrayfordHeinz_6813D-&-856D-c8703b94abfour_winners_Penn_Hotel_Birmingham-91b4dec690LLH849D_Heinz57_Truro66-b681611489MaxFactor--7ecaddf578

There were over a million entries to the competition. Today 41 of the original 57 survive around the world with it is believed, around half of them on the road.

One of the survivors was on display at the Goodwood Breakfast Club, Soft Top Sunday and still appeared to have most of it’s accessories. It’s a lovely little car and the story makes it so special. Unfortunately we never got to meet the owner and hear it’s personal story.

DSC08599 DSC08600
DSC08602 DSC08604 DSC08605 DSC08606 DSC08607 DSC08608 DSC08609 DSC08610 DSC08611 DSC08612So, another rare car that we like although this one is a little more affordable. One example sold at Auction in 2013 having been in the original winners family until 2004. It sold for only £17,500.

A busy May Day Holiday…

We’ve had a good but busy May Day Bank Holiday weekend. Saturday was ‘work’ day, Mario and Regie were taken to the Workshop to be fettled and polished. Mario’s brakes were sorted although they are going to need a major overhaul soon. He was also given a good polish in preparation for an special event in a couple of weeks. Regie the Renault had his newly painted wheels fitted, the cream or ‘Landrover Limestone’ as the paint is known, looks very smart and is much better than the silver they were. Unfortunately there are some balancing issues with them so they will have to be professionally balanced to stop the wheel wobble at speed.IMG_1116Regie-wheels

Sunday morning was the first Goodwood Breakfast Club of the season and as it was ‘Soft Top Sunday’ Sunday Regie was the one to go. After all the dismal weather we’ve had recently, it was a glorious if a little chilly morning. We aren’t very good at getting up on Sundays – the rest of the week is so busy – so we didn’t arrive until just after nine and some soft tops were already leaving, wish they did Goodwood afternoon tea and gin club!IMG_1119IMG_1118IMG_1117

An early leaver played into our hands and we were able to sneak into a spot close to the main grid display and closer to the action, there were cars parked all the way between  Madgwick to beyond Woodcote corners plus in the paddocks. Regie was a great display and helped to advertise the Haslemere Classic Car Show we organise at the end of the month. Convertible’s old and new were on display – let the pictures tell the story…
DSC08581 DSC08582 DSC08585 DSC08586 DSC08587 DSC08588 DSC08589 DSC08590 DSC08591 DSC08592 DSC08593 DSC08594 DSC08595 DSC08597
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DSC08617The most interesting thing on display in our opinion was the fantastic little Heinz 57 Wolsley Hornet, it’s story is so good it deserves it’s own post so watch this space…DSC08599

We were one of the last to leave the circuit and took a lovely cross country route to Southsea. Regie misbehaved slightly and we had to have an impromptu stop for a new set of points. We had the points with us but no tools, so luckily we had stopped right by a tool shop. It was a lovely day and great to finally be ‘topless in the sunshine’.DSC08615

On Monday’s bank holiday  it was our local Charter Fair. Haslemere was granted a Charter to hold a weekly market by Elizabeth I in 1596 and still celebrates with a bi-annual Fair. We took Regie and Mario along to promote the car show and had a great afternoon meeting lots of car enthusiasts.Charter FairDSC08619

Cars we love but can’t have… No 2

The second in our new series of wonderful vehicles we’ve spotted on the internet, would love to own but probably never will…1949-georges-irat-cabriolet-par-labourdette-3

1949 Georges Irat convertible by Labourdette
This lovely car turned up recently at the Artcurial Auction at this years Retromobile. It’s a prototype and so a one off and very unlikely to join our collection. It fetched €57,216 in the February sale.Irat-auction

Georges Irat was a French car producer from 1921-1953. They weren’t very successful and had financial difficulties. The companies biggest success was a small roadster produced in the 30’s with a Ruby engine although less than 400 were produced.Irat-other-1938-roadster
irat-otherposterDuring the war the company experimented with electric vehicles while making industrial motors. It was during this time that the revolutionary prototype, mounted on a magnesium frame was developed and first appeared at the 1946 Paris Motor Show with a 1100cc flat-four engine, possibly a Ruby from their earlier roadster.1946It was shown again in 1947 with a revised front, new wheels and revised styling.Georges-Irat-1946original6A third prototype appeared in 1949 with a 2 Litre engine, no bumpers and a fixed glass cover over the center-mounted headlamps but the design never made it into production, partly due to lack of materials after the war and the government not approving it. Years later the body coach built by Labourdette was found in the old Georges Irat factory and a Simca Eight chassis was used to underpin the car so it could be used. It is now powered by a 2L Simca engine and is reported to have a top speed of 150kph.original-2originaloriginal-3The model sold looks immaculate and has been beautifully restored. There is some wonderful detail in the car and it’s small size and streamlined shape make it very desirable.1949-georges-irat-cabriolet-par-labourdette-1 1949-georges-irat-cabriolet-par-labourdette-2 1949-georges-irat-cabriolet-par-labourdette-4 1949-georges-irat-cabriolet-par-labourdette-5 1949-georges-irat-cabriolet-par-labourdette-6 detail-button detail-chasisplate detail-dash detail-engine detail-interior detail-interior2Georges Irat did go on to produce a few other cars including this 1950 Barquette which I cannot find any information about. In the early 50’s Georges Irat moved the company to Morocco and ended up building small Jeep like vehicles conceived by Emile Petit, these were known as La Voiture du Bled.

Irat-other-Barquette1950-2 Irat-other-Barquette1950 irat-other-LaVoiture du Bled1953
irat-other-Voiture_du_Bled Irat-other-Voiture-du-Bled2While researching this blog this handful of pics turned up, taken in 2007, the car is obviously red, not the white of the original or the restored version but it has the bumpers of the earlier prototype. So I don’t know if it’s an earlier prototype or has just been restored to the version that was auctioned – if anyone knows, please let us know…Original-72007-1 2007-2 2007-3 2007-4

Edwardians star at 74th Members Meeting

PrintA couple of weeks ago we spent the weekend at the 74th Members Meeting at Goodwood. This much lower key event was revived in 2014 and is intended to be a recreation of the original seventy one Members Meetings that were held at the track in it’s heyday. It’s a treat for us, as we actually experience a weekends racing, it’s much less crowded and more accessible with no corporate hospitality then at the Revival later in the year, when we are busy working as part of the period taxi fleet.

Taking place in mid March the potential downside is the weather, luckily it stayed dry but it was rather chilly as it is an exposed airfield. However as James often says “there is no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing” and so we prepared well. With lots of layers – I could hardly move and looked like a Michelin Man – hats and warm boots, we stayed toasty all weekend. We saw some very stupid people who didn’t dress for the conditions and obviously weren’t enjoying it and the numbers thinned out quite quickly in the afternoons.

Saturday is practice day and after a great journey down to Goodwood, we arrived about 10.30. Unfortunately we didn’t have circuit parking for Mario, unlike the first 72 meeting and so left him at home. New this year and what we were most looking forward to, was the SF Edge Trophy for Edwardian Specials raced up until 1923. These proved to be the total stars of the weekend. One of the first things we saw in the paddock was this fabulous fire breathing Darracq, a 1905 land speed record car which was totally awesome. The practice session was amazing with a field of unique vehicles, most of which looked positively dangerous.DSC07239 DSC07287 DSC07304 DSC07305 DSC07343 DSC07352 DSC07354 DSC07360 DSC07244On Saturday there was a special demonstration of two Championship winning Mercedes Benz W196’s from the 50’s. Driven by Jochen Mass and Mika Hakkinen. We almost missed them so only got a rear view!DSC07371 DSC07388 We popped in the viewing of the Bonham’s auction. Mario would have been pleased to see a couple of small Fiats. We loved the Mercedes Service van and wanted to take home the Autobianchi Bianchini, just as well it wasn’t the cabriolet version or I might have had a problem keeping my arm down!DSC07402 DSC07404 DSC07409 DSC07411 DSC07412 DSC07414 DSC07420 As it started to get dark the Alan Mann Trophy got underway with a field of 29 Ford GT40’s charging into the darkness.DSC07446 DSC07457Then it was time for the party. Unique to the Members Meeting, everybody is invited to an evening of entertainment, with fairground rides, high wire acts, fire dancing and parades. All finished off with a tremendous fireworks display which lit up the sky as far as the eye could see.DSC07466 DSC07471 DSC07485 DSC07503 DSC07553 DSC07556 DSC07625 DSC07630 DSC07672 Sunday morning saw another good run to the circuit and we made sure that we arrived in plenty of time for the Edwardian race. At the entrance was this lovely Speedwell Blue A35, just like my first car (sort of!). We discovered that the racing was already running very late, this was due to a horrid and freak accident in the first race of the day, when a car had rolled and ended up in the tunnel beneath the track. Amazingly nether the driver or any members of the public were hurt but unfortunately it put a damper on the day and heralded a day of incidents and red flags, including another massive accident in the afternoon, again under unusual circumstances. The driver although injured wasn’t as bad as feared. Goodwood keep a very low profile over major accidents and do not show or comment on them and so I will not dwell on them any further or add links to images and video. The result of all the stoppages was that several of the races had to be shortened and it did take the gloss off of the racing.  DSC07675

DSC07698The Edwardian race however was superb. Exciting, competitive and with no incidents. In vehicles that were difficult to drive and handle, the drivers showed tremendous respect for each other while racing hard. They are completely bonkers, racing as they do while perched high up, exposed and unprotected on tiny seats and with a huge difference in size between the cars.
DSC07715 DSC07718 DSC07721 A high speed demo by the group 5 sportscars, which had dominated the World Sportscar Championships in the 70’s, including the iconic Gulf Porsche was a spectacular sight.DSC07765 DSC07773 DSC07778 DSC07797 We set off for a trip out to Lavant and spotted this lovely Volvo P1800 which is a car I’ve fancied owning for a while.DSC07812 Part of the Members Meeting is all the other events which take place around the circuit for people to join in and earn points for their house. Out at Lavant Corner I had a go at Duck Herding – well I stood in the middle of a field and the sheep (duck) dog and ducks did what the knew how to! There was also Feret Racing.DSC07813 DSC07819 DSC07822We went back to the paddock area for a tasty pre-birthday Afternoon Tea in the Bill Wisdom Enclosure. Then we had a good look around the Edwardian cars, which are even more impressive (and oily) close up and great for some detail photography.IMG_1087DSC07681DSC07685DSC07865 DSC07871 DSC07872 DSC07877 DSC07878 DSC07884 We went infield beyond the startline, to an area which at the Revival is all hospitality, here we had a good view back to the start through the daffodil display. The Ground Effect F1 cars gave a good high speed demonstration, unfortunately we missed the grid walk as due to the incidents the timings were all over the place. It was a good viewing spot so we stayed there to watch part two of the Gerry Marshall Trophy for the Group 1 Saloon cars 1970-1972.DSC07894 DSC07897 DSC07983 DSC07985 DSC08007 The Parnell Cup is another favourite with pre 1953 Grand Prix cars, including ‘Remus’ the blue with yellow wheels ERA which made such an impression on us, in the first race, at the first Revival, way back in 1998 and started our love affair with motorsport at Goodwood.DSC08027DSC08017 As the sun started to set, there were still three races to go, these all had to be shortened and were run with no ceremony but they had a certain intensity and in the cooling conditions, the lack of ‘hanging about’ was rather welcome.DSC08031 DSC08037 DSC08058 DSC08092 DSC08113 So with the racing over, the remaining spectators and competitors, headed for the Great Hall for the prize giving. Warmed up with Bullshot – hot Bloody Mary’s made with beef consommé – the ceremony took the format of a school awards day with the Race Governors in their robes handing out the prizes. The four House Captains waited anxiously to find out which house had won – Methuen and Anthony Reid for the third year running, although it was our house captain Emanuele Pirro who had the last word, thanking Lord March for the weekend.DSC08121 DSC08130 DSC08138