All aboard for a tour of the future…

We’re off on our hols but unfortunately we wont be travelling in this fantastic futuristic bus.20120722-123401

This fabulous vehicle was commissioned in the 50’s by Groupe Cityrama a tour Operator in Paris. French coachbuilders Currus built the bus using a truck chassis and then created the beautiful double decker with wrap around glass. The luxury bus had plush seats, panoramic windows and tinted skylights. In the hot summer months the roof could be removed, no doubt a welcome feature as I expect it would get rather hot under all that glass. Each seat was fitted with speakers giving a Paris guide in eight languages. 20120722-123335 20120722-123427 U55Currus-5_Interieur-haut U55Currus-7_Arrierei542783

A great success, the ‘space age’ bus cruised the Boulevards of Paris in the late 50’s and early 60’s giving a spectacular view of the sights and no doubt being a ‘tourist sight’ in their own right. They even appeared in a couple of popular French films of the time, ‘Zazie Dans le Metro’  a 1960 comedy directed by Louis Malle, where a 12 year old girl explores Paris on her own and Le Corniaud (the Sucker) a gangster parody released in 1965.U55Currus-120120722-123350

It would be brilliant to see these on the road today and they would still look modern. Rumour (and pictures) has it that at least one is still in existence and undergoing restoration, lets hope so.20120722-144908 20120722-144936


Italian Sunday at Goodwood Breakfast Club

Last Sunday was the final Breakfast Club of the year at the Goodwood Circuit. Mario was pre-registered and had the required circuit access pass so we set off on a beautiful if initially slightly chilly autumn morning. We had a good run over the downs, past the queuing public traffic and were waved into the circuit and onto the pit straight to park up. Immediately there was a crowd around the ever popular Mario. We stopped and chatted to some old friends and followers and then left Mario to bask in the glory while we had a wander round the rest of the grid and the paddocks.

There was a good turnout and obviously a ‘sea of red’, not only the large Ferrari contingent but a lot of the Fiats and Alfa’s also appeared to be in various shades of crimson. Under the paddock garages you could actually see a reflected ‘red glow’.DSC03590

DSC03581 DSC03583Mario wasn’t the only Multipla there, this smart red over cream version comes from Southsea and is often at Goodwood events.


Rather laid back and unassuming, this Ferrari 250 was one of the most valuable cars on display.

DSC03588This rather cute and tiny moped was attraction a lot of attention parked alongside the Ferrari’s, from the 60’s it was really neat and compact and in beautiful condition.

DSC03592 DSC03595 Another of Mario’s friends – the Topolino, comes from Fernhurst and has been to the Haslemere Car Show several times and also appeared at Salon Privé with Mario in the ‘oddball’ class.

The car we would most liked to have taken home was this lovely special bodied Fiat Abarth 750. Basically ‘Mario in disguise’ with a few more performance parts, it was beautiful and must be great fun to drive. Again presented in great condition with some lovely points of detail.DSC03603 DSC03604 DSC03605 DSC03607 DSC03608 DSC03609 DSC03610 DSC03612 This lovely Lancia Aurelia B20 series 6 has been recently purchased by one of James’ clients and he has been working on it quite a bit ironing out some of those ‘new car’ issues and starting to restore some areas such as the braking system. It is a lovely looking car with great lines and a real sense of luxury.DSC03615 The crowds were still gathering around Mario and we saw one small boy running down the track towards him shouting out ‘Mummy, Mario’s here’ – it’s always good to have the fans come to visit, Mario is particularly popular with children it must be the colour and quirky appearance makes them relate him to cartoon films like Pixar’s Cars.DSC03620 DSC03624 DSC03628 DSC03632 There weren’t as many Fiat 500’s as I was expecting in fact there was probably more of the new version about, this little Abarth was sweet and the 500 conversion was a lot of fun, at least on a sunny day!DSC03633 DSC03635 DSC03644 When it came time to leave we saw a sight not often viewed through Mario’s windscreen, another Multipla – as we were going on for an afternoon at the seaside we followed the other one down the A27 and through Southsea, people certainly looked twice, it’s rare enough to see  one on the road, yet alone two!DSC03645 DSC03647

The Tour de France in West Sussex…

This year was the 110th anniversary and the 100th running of the Tour de France and Goodwood chose to celebrate this with a daily Peloton of over 70 vintage bikes being ridden around the 2.4 mile circuit followed by an assortment of authentic french support and promotional vehicles creating the noise and excitement of the classic french race. Included in the ‘caravane’ was a tiny three wheeled Vespa with a photographer in the back and some amazing vehicles, many based on Citroen H-vans, among them a castle from Chateau Castelvin, a wine company promotion from the 60’s, a BUTAGAZ bottle, SPAR and Arthur Martin, French domestic appliances.DSC02730DSC02732DSC02735DSC02738DSC02739DSC02741DSC02742

Off  track the vehicles were based in the fictional village square of Aubigny, created for Revival and complete with cafes, bars, French resistance fighters and a bicycle shop.DSC02734DSC02743DSC02744DSC02745DSC02755DSC02756

On Saturday World and Olympic Champion Sir Chris Hoy took to the track on a 20’s bike. Pictured alongside TV presenter Amanda Stretton


Copyright Goodwood

We were lucky enough to be invited to take part in our 1958 Renault 4cv Decoverable (Regie), the car was decorated with period advertising stickers and some for sponsors of the event. On each day the bikes were directed on track behind the camera cars, we followed on and drove round the track to a great reception from the crowd. Unfortunately some of the riders were quite slow so we were quite a distance from the main peloton but we got a glimpse of the action from the trackside screens. It was fun to do and on Sunday when the conditions were very wet, it gave us some impression of just how bad visibility was for the cars racing that afternoon. It was great to see the marshals who must have been soaking by then still lining the track and waving as we drove past.



DSC02757DSC02759DSC02769 DSC02773 DSC02775DSC02999DSC03007 DSC03013 DSC03014 DSC03023 DSC03028 DSC03031 DSC03032 DSC03036 DSC03040Coming soon… The great promotional vehicles reminded me of the unique Fiat Multipla ‘Pig’. I’ve been meaning to blog about promo-vehicles for a while and this has spurred me on to get on with it.

Time off at the Goodwood Revival…

Although we have to work hard we do get to have some time off and see some of what’s going on at the Goodwood Revival. Here’s a snap shot of what we got to see…

We took Mario along to see our old friends at Kenwood, they generously supported the Haslemere Classic Car Show earlier in the year and had a great set up at the Revival with a period style sitting room and Kitchen. They also had a photographer on hand who took these great images, you can tell Jane was missing her Kenwood Chef from home!1238755_522772184470841_714174175_n575268_522771934470866_1522749277_nWe then had a wander through the paddock, the only real chance we got to see the fabulous racing machinery on display.
DSC02784 DSC02786 DSC02788 DSC02789 DSC02790 DSC02791 This year Goodwood were celebrating 50 years of the Ford GT40 with a series of demonstrations, The Whitsun Trophy dedicated race and a special GT40 pit area.DSC02795 DSC02796 DSC02797DSC02799 DSC02800Following on from the re-inactment of the Great Train Robbery which James took part in at press day earlier in the year, they had an actual Royal Mail train carriage on site with actors creating set pieces throughout the weekend.DSC02803 DSC02805 This year the air displays were a little muted due to the weather conditions, however the English Electric Canberra PR9, the RAF’s first jet bomber introduced in May 1951 made an impressive sight and sound.DSC02816 Friday evening was supposed to see the 90 minute Freddie March Memorial Trophy race into the setting sun, unfortunately the weather had other ideas and the rain started lashing down. The race was eventually stopped early after several incidents and safety car periods. Cars such as Jaguar C-types, Aston Martin DB3’s and Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica’s still made an impressive sight in the dark, headlamps reflecting in the standing water.DSC02833 DSC02836 DSC02837 DSC02841 DSC02843 DSC02846 Saturday morning started in beautiful sunshine, we had to pick up Jochen Mass’ party outfit from the Revival Village and deliver it to the hotel so we stopped off at Tesco’s on route for a couple of period style pics.DSC02867 DSC02870After the taxi’s stopped on Saturday evening we took advantage of the lovely evening to have another look round the infield area. I love the revival like this when the public have gone home and everything is peaceful, the silence just broken by the Spitfire swooping in for the party display, the setting sun glinting off the bodywork.DSC02922 DSC02926 DSC02927 DSC02928 DSC02929 DSC02930 DSC02938 This year the ViP’s and drivers entering the drivers club were greeted with Everest base camp. Celebrating the 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay conquering the summit of Everest. I’m not sure what the team used to create the snow but weirdly it felt cold standing there.

DSC02946 DSC02948 DSC02961 DSC02963 Sunday was too busy and then too wet to see much but managed to catch the Junkers Ju 52/3m. This WW2 transport plane seems so slow in the air that it really shouldn’t stay up there.DSC02976 We finished the weekend late on Sunday with our only visit to ‘Over the Road’, we managed to catch the final performances of ‘Black Elvis’ and Mr B – the gentleman rhymer. A great but rather drunken atmosphere in the marquee, if rather surreal with Land girls, sailors, 50’s girls and gentlemen in damp tweed all dancing the conga, all in all the perfect end to a weekend back in time.DSC03049 DSC03070

Dressed to impress…

For many years now, Jane has been building a vintage wardrobe of suitable attire for Goodwood and to co-ordinate with Mario.DSC02691

Finding it difficult to find genuine vintage frocks in the right colours so in the last couple of years I have made dresses. Visitors at the Revival often comment on the ‘matching’ outfits but many seem to think it is a lucky coincidence! This year we decided to take it a step further and design and print our own fabric actually featuring Mario.

We found a company in the USA that allows you to upload your design and digitally print at quite a reasonable cost. I took a number of photos of Mario at different angles, cut them out and added some photoshop effects so they looked like illustrations. These were put together in a repeat pattern with a 50’s style graphic and some linking lines to produce my original design. The placing had to be very carefully thought out so that the design would repeat correctly across a width of fabric.Print

We uploaded the design and ordered sample swatches to make sure we were happy with the colour and fabric choice and waited anxiously for them to arrive before bravely hitting the order button to have six yards printed, after about three weeks a parcel arrived.DSC01968

In the meantime I had made up the chosen Butterick reprinted Vintage pattern in the lining fabric and fitted it to avoid wasting any of the unique material. The day I had to cut  the Mario fabric was rather daunting as I had no time left to get any more cloth if it all went wrong. The dress was made with a couple of days to go and some of the left over scraps were used to make hankies for the boys top pockets.

A trip out found a lovely new hat in a perfect shade and a huge sort out of my vintage collection produced outfits for the Thursday and Friday plus accessories for all the outfits. All packed up in our new matching vintage luggage we set off for the Revival in style.IMG_0236DSC02641

On Friday we were amazed to see this lady who perfectly and unintentionally matched Mario and much better than me!DSC02722

However on Saturday the new frock was revealed. I was very happy with the result especially as people didn’t notice at first which hopefully means that I achieved the proper vintage look, before suddenly exclaiming “OMG your dress is like the car”, I’m sure that some people still thought it was a lucky coincidence!

The dress got such a great and positive reaction that I spent the very few quiet moments over the weekend designing in my head, next years fabric… watch this space.