Old ‘Crocks’ in the sunshine – London to Brighton 2017

Sorry we’ve been quiet since Goodwood but there was catching up to do and then we actually had a holiday. No blog or photo’s as we went in a modern car and saw very few classics although we had a great time. There hasn’t been much happening on the car front at all, the last couple of Goodwood Breakfast Clubs were cancelled due to the poor conditions of the carparks after the Revival. James is currently on the RAC rally of the tests, navigating the Fiat 2300 for Michael Moss again.

Last weekend, on a beautiful sunny November morning we went to spectate on the 2017 London to Brighton Vintage Car Run. We went back to the Friars Oak near Hassocks which is a good place to watch from and obviously has facilities and is a good location to meet up with fiends. Some of our friends were taking part in the event and they can stop off and say hello.

We were there in good time and wanted for the veterans to come along. As it was such a lovely day classics of all ages were out in force and we wish we’d made the effort to bring Mario along! The route for the run had been altered due to roadworks in London and it was causing a lot of problems which meant the cars were quite slow in coming through but it wasn’t too long before Jan and Mike came along in their De Dion Bouton. This is a different car to the one James took part in with Mike, a bit more modern and comfortable and more reliable. They had a guest from Bonham’s with them, who’s Great Grandfather had had a similar car.

After waving them off to Brighton we watch some more cars come through. Everything was running rather late, in part due to a serious accident in Reigate involving one of the entrants and several modern vehicles. Hopefully the crew will make a good recovery and the incident won’t have any implications for the future of the event. As it was already 2pm we decided not to go into Brighton to Maderia Drive.

Anyway here are some photo’s from the day – I had a new camera to play with and I was quite pleased with the results. They were much better than previous years  although it is quite difficult to know if that’s the camera or the better weather conditions!

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If you are interested the full set is online

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The most photographed car at Goodwood Revival?

We are members of a FaceBook Group – ‘The Independent Goodwood Photographers Guild’, set up as a friendly group by some friends of ours the idea was just to share photographs of events at Goodwood. The group has grown and now has 600 members, a mixture of amateur and professional photographers, who share a wide variety of styles, skills and areas of interest. It is a vibrant and friendly group with a shared love of Goodwood.

When we knew we were going  to be in the Fiat 500 60th anniversary parade at this years Revival, we rather cheekily set them a challenge – who’ll get the best picture of Mario at the Revival with the idea that the best one(s) would feature in Mario’s blog of the event. The images shared were so varied that we couldn’t pick a winner and we decided that they deserved their own blog so here it is…

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Clive Reid caught us on duty in the taxi rank

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Guy Ward – poor Mario looks rather low to the ground 6up on Sunday

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Marjorie Dowling caught us lining up for the parade on Saturday

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Mario doesn’t offer the most elegant exit – Martin Hoare

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Great view of the grid on Sunday morning – Martin Hoare

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Cleaners on the grid on Sunday morning – Martin Hoare

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Ready for the off – Martin Hoare

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Rear View – Mike Dabell

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Waiting to go on track – Mike Dabell

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Thought the Theme was Italian! – Mike Dabell

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Insider viewpoint – Mike Dabell

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Empty taxi rank – Mike Dabell

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Heading for the flag – Phil Johnson

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Leaving the track – Phil Johnson

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The Chicane – Stephen Mosley

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Steve Burt

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A huddle of Fiats – Tony Birr

Thank you to all the photographers for sharing their images. Please note that these images have been generously shared by the members just to appear here, the copyright of the images belongs to the individual photographs so please don’t use them anywhere else without express permission from the photographer.

A ‘little’ celebration at Goodwood Revival…

IMG_1875In July 1957 Fiat launched the Nuova 500 or Cinquecento. Designed by Dante Giacosa as a replacement for the Topolino it was a cheap and practical town car. Just under 3m long and powered by a 479cc two-cylinder air-cooled engine, the 500 was enormously popular throughout Europe and was in production in various forms until 1975, nearly 4 million were made.

The 2017 Goodwood Revival was celebrating the 60th anniversary of this little classic and that special part of West Sussex became a part of Italy for the weekend.  Mario has been part of the Revival since the early days as a taxi and although he is a variant of the Fiat 600 – the 500’s bigger cousin, he was invited along to play and join in the party.

IMG_1897DSC06794Everyday the track opening parade was dedicated to the Fiat 500 and there were upwards of 120, 500’s, variations and derivatives on track – I believe the biggest parade Goodwood have ever had.

DSC06788For once we were encouraged to use our horn and the exuberance of 120+ made it a very noisy affair. The cars gathered every morning in the gravelled area by the Old Control Tower which was festooned with lights, bunting and Italian washing! Tables with checkered cloths, an Italian bar, pizza, an Italian Job Bullion Van selling coffee and the GAG (Goodwood Actors Guild) in their element as a Mafia Boss, Nonna’s, pretty girls, a white gloved and suited traffic policeman and ‘Mario the Sicilian Lemon Seller’ who we shared much banter with – he thought our ‘Mario’ looked like a Lemon!

In organised chaos we were directed onto the grid and lined up 6 or so across – the grid still stretched back to the track entrance. A mass of colour and excitement with girls standing up out of sunroofs and loads of bodies crammed into the tiny cars. After photo opportunities galore we were led off by a course car and Robert Menghini’s immaculate 1957 Fiat 500N ‘Vettri Fissi’ one of the very first production models  of which only around 25 survive across the world today.

It was probably the slowest parade to ever take place at Goodwood, with many of the cars only having 14bhp but I suspect the most fun, certainly the noisiest and seemed to bring a smile to the early rising spectators already in position around the track.

We did this for three days and it improved everytime. Friday was a little grey and damp and a bit mad as nobody knew what they were doing, Mario had James and Craig as passengers. Saturday was a lovely sunny day, Mario was about five rows from the front. Our day was made when Lord March (Duke of Richmond now) spotted us and came over for a hug and a chat about how long we’d been taxing for and the ‘Mario’ coat, all this appeared on the live feed but unfortunately my Mum missed it! Saturday’s passengers were friends Trevor and Max, they were sitting relaxed and comfortable in the back waiting to leave when James and Craig managed to jump in at the very last second, Craig didn’t even get his seat up and so did the lap sitting on the floor!

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By Sunday we were all well practised and Mario got herded up the access lane by the Marshalls and we ended up on the front row of the grid. As the only 6 seater there we had to have a full contingent of passengers. Our four friends from Derbyshire who we have seen at the Revival for many years, had been offered a trip round and James popped in the front to make up the six. The boys are ex Rugby players and are always amazed at how well they can squeeze in the back of Mario. We might have ruined Goodwood’s little Italy theme as they turned up as the cast from ‘It ain’t half hot Mum’ and performed the ‘Boy’s to Entertain You’ at the front of the grid. We had an amazing time and James used FaceBook live for the entire two laps. Starting at the front we held back and let the majority of the field overtake so we got them all on film. The marshals around the track were all enthusiastically waving their green, white and red flags and there was an amazing buzz around the circuit.

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It’s so much fun to be a part of something like this, people seemed genuinely pleased to see all the little cars on track and there was some great coverage online, TV and photographs. We certainly won’t forget Revival 2017 in a hurry.

As you can guess we have loads of pictures of the Fiat Celebrations, thanks to Mike Dabell (one of the Derbyshire lads) for lots of the images which appear in this post.  We challenged members of the FaceBook group, The Independent Goodwood Photographers Guild to take pictures of Mario at the Revival to illustrate this blog but they were so good and so varied that I think they deserve a post on their own… coming soon.

Sun, rain, work, fun and mud… Goodwood Revival 2017

It’s September so it must be the Goodwood Revival. Time for our favourite and busiest weekend of the year.  Mario had been invited back to the taxi rank (our 19th year and Mario’s16th) and with great excitement we’d also been asked to join in the Fiat 500 60th anniversary celebration parade – more of that in the next blog.

We arrived on Thursday afternoon and went to the circuit to sign on for the parade. The drivers club had been transformed into a stretch of the River Thames complete with willow trees and the Richmond Rowing Club. The circuit was very busy with last minute preparations and the Freddy March Spirit of Aviation Party was about to start. We returned to the house for the traditional cricket match and Spitfire display.IMG_1871DSC06739DSC06770DSC06745After getting all our paperwork we settled into our accommodation and then went to the Goodwood Hotel for a lovely supper in the revamped restaurant – Farmer, Butcher, Chef. Using all of the estate’s products the food was superb and the decor interesting, our table was a display case full of agricultural bits and bobs. Fiat 500’s get everywhere, there was one in the hotel lobby! We decided on a relatively early night in preparation for the weekend ahead.IMG_1872IMG_1875Friday morning started rather damply and the day got progressively worse. Even though we were doing the afternoon shift at the taxi rank we were on site early as the Fiat 500 celebration parade was Track Oopening. It was exciting to see the baby Fiats everywhere and Mario felt very ‘at home’ with the Italian theme – we loved the ‘Italian Job’ Bullion Van Coffee Shop!DSC06775IMG_0152IMG_0169As in previous years on the taxi rank Jane drove Mario, James was driving ‘Regie’ the Renault 4cv Convertible and our friend Craig had ‘Kato’ the Subaru 360. The rank was made up of an assortment of classics spanning several decades of motoring including ACs, several Jowett models, old London Cabs, Mercedes, Austins and more. I’m afraid there are very few pictures from the taxi rank this year, when we were working in the afternoons it was very wet and we were kept very busy. On Friday when the racing goes on late we were driving from 1pm till 8.45pm and pretty much continuously during this time between the Circuit, Hotel, Kennels and Goodwood House. The traffic seemed especially bad around the circuit this year and with the appalling weather conditions and the amount of water and mud on the road it was quite a difficult task. However all three cars performed impeccably and we we still completed 100km a day which might not seem much but on one occasion it took 40 minutes to get back from the Kennels to the circuit!

We had to grin at the sight of the new Rolls Royces’ sitting in large deep puddles outside the entrance, unfortunately we didn’t get a picture of the rather odd white and orange version which looked particularly sad. In the late evening the sun could be seen through the clouds and the Goodwood Park looked rather beautiful in the damp.  On Saturday evening even Lord March (Duke of Richmond – as the old Duke had sadly died a few days before the Revival) was also stuck in the traffic in his Ferrari, he waved but didn’t look too happy, I’m sure the traffic situation was looked into very quickly!

Mario didn’t get to drive anyone famous this year, James gave a ride to Super Bike Champ Troy Corser and his ‘regular’ passenger rally hero Rauno Aaltonen.  Mario did give Vlogger Petrol Ped a lift back to the Kennels and we featured on his vlog of the day.DSC06943DSC06798IMG_0163DSC06938IMG_1904

Because of the parade held every morning we were on late taxi shift everyday but actually this worked to our advantage, as we had the best of the weather in the mornings when we had a chance to look around. On Friday we looked round the stalls and met up with some friends and then had a look around the paddock. We saw Dario Franchitti filming for the Revival TV coverage.DSC06802DSC06808DSC06810Fashion is a big part of the Revival and lots of the visitors wear great outfits. Liberty had a great display of vintage outfits as part of the March MotorWorks, I loved the outfit below. For my own outfits, I have gone a bit more sixties and practical because of the amount driving and getting in and out of Mario required – dressing in lightweight coats, trousers and flat shoes but adding interest with elaborate vintage accessories and by designing and printing my own period looking ‘Mario’ fabric for the coats. The coats attract a lot of attention and people love it when they notice ‘Mario’ on the fabric. This years coat went one step further and had special “Mario’ lining as well!DSC06811DSC06870On Saturday and Sunday mornings it was lovely and sunny and we enjoyed just wandering around looking at the cars in the paddocks and the attractions. As usual we didn’t see much if any racing on the track but this doesn’t really bother us as we catch up on TV later. Following is a selection of images from around the Revival…

We loved this Ecuire Ecosse D-type with a matching J40 Pedal Car for the Settrington Cup.DSC06841The Red Bull P38 Lightning US WW2 fighter plane was superb, I just caught a glimpse of it’s unique twin boom shape in the air but couldn’t grab the camera in time.DSC06849DSC06852 (1)DSC06866DSC06874DSC06880DSC06882DSC06888DSC06897We had a ride on the ghost train which was tremendous vintage kitsch, all damp string and illuminated skeletons. The hand that grabbed your shoulder made you jump though!DSC06910DSC06912DSC06915DSC07005DSC07010DSC07017DSC07037So all in all a pretty good weekend, the cars ended up pretty grubby but with no mechanical problems so all came home safely.IMG_1924IMG_1925

Coming soon… all the fun of the Fiat 600 celebrations at Goodwood.

Sunny Sunday… at Goodwood of course!

The sun generally seems to shine at Goodwood and after a few rather horrible weeks weather wise, last Sunday proved to be no exception. We set off fairly early for us but not for most Breakfast Club participants – Brunch Club would be much more our thing! It was a lovely morning and the great thing about driving Mario is the open road in front, just don’t look behind, especially when going up Goodwood Hill…We had a pass for circuit access and were soon parked up with the usual crowd gathered around. The theme was Classic Sunday and is our favourite Breakfast Club of the year. It was very busy with a good and varied collection of vehicles.This Opel had been opened since new. James was pleased to see this what appeared to be an Original Jaguar C-type, he was pleasantly surprised about the lack of ‘Kit Cars’ in attendance, far less than other breakfast clubs.Mario found a distant cousin in this rather lovely Fiat 500 Giardiniera, hopefully we’ll be seeing it again in the Fiat 500 Parade at the Revival. Having restored a Mini Moke for a client a few years ago, James was very interested in this prototype Moke, very rare and unusual in makes the production More look positively luxurious!We loved this cute Fiat 850 Coupe which brought back ‘happy’ memories of the standard 850 that Jane learnt to drive in – called ‘Tetley’ as it had 1000 little perforations, you need to be a certain age to understand that or a connoisseur of TV adverts! The picture is on the morning of Jane’s 17th birthday and the start of her first driving lesson. A rather colourful section of the displayAfter Breakfast Club we drove up to Goodwood House for the GRRC Open Day. This great ‘action’ shot of Mario was taken by fellow member Helen Sanders.
The open day consists of a friendly, public judged Concours. It was won, slightly surprisingly by a 2017 Aston Martin which to be honest I didn’t pay much attention to and didn’t take any photos off. My choice of the day was between two entries…

A 1955 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint, a very early example from a pre-series production. It ws originally sold to Swedish GP Driver Joakim Bonnier. A ten year restoration has led to the beautiful car on display.
My other choice was a close relation of Mario – a gorgeous 1959 Fiat Abarth 750GT. Using a 600 floorpan and with Zagato’s lightweight aluminium Coachwork and Abarths’s modified engine and exhaust. The type won its class at Le Mans and the last Mille Miglia in 1957.
James was nostalgic, seeing an Austin Westminster Rally Car – he rallied many times in his (Police) Westminster many years ago, until he overtook a snowplough and crashed into a gate post. The awards were made by Lord March.

So a lovely relaxing day in the sunshine, chatting to old friends and looking at old cars – couldn’t ask for much else, other than a great drive home in Mario.

Festival fun – a quick look round the 2017 FoS…

Due to a previous commitments (well OK a party in Devon) we could only make one day of this years Goodwood Festival of Speed. To be fair we weren’t that concerned as these days FoS has become rather modern and Drift cars, Monster trucks and the like don’t interest us. However I wouldn’t want to miss it completely as there are always a few gems hidden away.

The Cartier Style et Luxe is always our favourite and first point of call and although not a classic year there was a class ‘Cheeky Cinquecento’ celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Fiat 500 with some unusual versions.

First up this early first series 479cc Nuova 500, one of the first 15 built it is believed to be the oldest-surviving Nuova 500 in the world! I didn’t realise that the 500 is the only car given exemption from Rome’s ban on older high-emission vehicles entering the city.

My favourite and the car I would most like to take home was this wonderful 1964 Neckar Weinsberg Coupe. One of many 500 derivatives made under license around the world. Made in Germany by NSU, they were made from partly assembled 500 bodies with different panels and rear lights from the Fiat 1100. The rather strange but quirky 1967 Ferves Ranger. Built by Ferrari Veicoli Speciali (FERVES), it was unveiled at the 1966 Turin Motor Show. The compact off-roader was designed to be used in vineyards and olive groves. Less then 50 have survived. A one-off fun car the 1969 Zanzara Zagarto (Mosquito) was designed by Ercole Spada who also designed the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato! The planned limited production series never happened. The logo is fun. You couldn’t have a display of 500’s without the iconic beach car – this 1960 Ghia Fiat 500 Jolly was known as La Spiaggina in Italy. It cost almost twice as much as a standard 500 but was mainly purchased by the rich and famous to use as golf carts and yacht tenders.
A 1968 Fiat Gamine Vignale, the open top roadster often known as a ‘Noddy’ car. 1957 Steyr-Puch 500, made by Austrian company and adapted to suit local demands. A 16bhp flat-twin engine was more suited to the mountainous Austrian roads. This car is chassis number 3, a pre-production prototype. A later developed model the 650TR won the 1966 European Rally Championship. Another car in the Cartier which I rather liked was this impressive Aston Martin DB5 Shooting Brake. Originally designed for David Brown who wanted more room for his polo equipment for his personal use, customers soon wanted one too., Coachbuilders Radford were commissioned to supply the demand as the factory was too busy. Only 12 were built.On the BMW display was this fantastic 507, built from 1956-59 it was originally a model destined for the USA, it was too expensive and only 252 were made. Owned by celebrities including Elvis and Bernie Ecclestone. I would quite like one but it’s rather out of my price range, well into 6 figures! Each years Festival is defined by the Central Feature. Once again designed by Gerry Judah this years was rather unique as it honoured an individual rather than a brand – Bernie Eccelstone. Celebrating the life and career of Bernie the display represented the different eras of his life as a Driver (Connaught), Manager (Jochen Rindt’s Lotus 72), Team Owner (Brabham BT49), Impresario (Ferrari F2001) and Legend (Mercedes W07 2016).

Unfortunately it was rather overcast on Thursday so it didn’t show the sculpture off to its best but it was still pretty impressive and had some great angles – just would have been nicer with blue sky behind it.

We noticed this rather lovely van in the paddock – A Renault Saviem SG2. Produced from 1965-1982 it was beautifully restored.Finally the new Alpine A110 a lightweight turbocharged sportscar from the legendary French marque. I don’t like new/supercars much but we saw the prototype of this at last years festival and thought it was lovely and had still managed to retain the look of the original Alpine. This model is pretty close to the full production model which will be available in 2018 and was making its world debut although I believe it will cost over £50k so it won’t be joining the family! There wasn’t much action on the track on Thursday as it is the Moving Motorshow day but we had a look round the Paddocks with the normal display of current F1, a special class to celebrate Tom Kristensen’s career and some pre-war vehicles which were interesting. We didn’t have time to get to the rally stage which is normally worth a look. There were lots of supercars and newly launched production models which didn’t interest us but made a lot of 6 year old boys very happy!

So all in all we had a pretty good day, no problems with traffic, just a couple of very light showers and it was pleasantly warm and we met up with several friends. But one or maybe two days is enough these days, it’s all a bit new and corporate for our liking – bring on the Revival and then Mario gets to play.

Catching up with Wheels Day

Been slack at posting again – too much to do with the car show coming up. So in order to catch up here’s a mainly pictorial post on the annual Wheels Day.

Wheels Day is the annual show organised by the Surrey Street Rodders and has been taking place for over 40 years. Always held on Good Friday the show took place at Rushmoor Arena near Aldershott. There must have been the best part of 1000 cars on display ranging from Hotrods and Customs to Classics. Personally I feel it’s a shame that there are modern souped up cars on display but each to their own I suppose.

Mario had an entry, although we were a little late turning up after celebrating a friends birthday the night before!

Loved the Woody and Buzz hanging off this pick-up
The picture looks red but this was soooo orange! Great Matt paint finish Couldn’t decide about this. Had it just been pulled out of a barn/field or very carefully made to look destressed? Tiny, Baby Airstream – would look great behind Mario! This Cosmotron had been completely handcrafted on a BMW Z3, very comic book, space age.

Magnificent time at Member’s Meeting

Mario had his first outing of the year a couple of weeks ago when we went to the 75th Goodwood Member’s Meeting. Not working this time, Mario had a parking space at the Chicane Parking so he was part of the event and we had a ‘giant’ locker for picnic stuff, refreshments and extra layers of clothing. The event held in mid March is famous for it’s Daffodils and last year all GRRC members were sent a daffodil bulb as a mailer to grow for the meeting. We grew ours in an old Castrol Oil can and they bloomed in perfect time for the event and to be entered into the competition at the meeting. The meeting is a greta change for us after the Revival as we actually get time to look around and watch the racing. MM is far more relaxed, much like the early years of the Revival and much less crowded. It can be quite ‘nippy’ on an airfield in March but we were lucky and it stayed dry all weekend, as the saying goes ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing’ so we wrapped up well in lots of layers and stayed snug all weekend. 

The Revival is for cars from the era when racing originally took place at the circuit – 19948-1966 but the member’s Meeting widens that and includes cars from the turn of the century up to the 80’s. Our favourite race of the weekend is ‘the Edwardians’ or the S F Edge Trophy for specials that raced up to 1923. These are amazing, aero engined fire breathing beasts, including the awesome ‘Beast of Turin’ – Duncan Pittaway’s superb 1911 Fiat S76 which e saw racing for the first time.
Saturday was practice and qualifying with a race into the twilight, the Bonham’s auction and then the MM75 party into the night. With a fairground, all sorts of illuminated entertainment and a spectacular fireworks display. Sunday was race day, a chance to poke around the paddock admiring the amazing detail of some of the cars and watch some exciting wheel to wheel action. As well as Mario there were some interesting and varied cars parked around the circuit. We thought the Porsche might have been specially painted for the meeting as it was in the cream and pale blue livery of the MM. Little GRRC hot water bottles were on sale and you could get them filled up at the tea stalls, this was a brilliant idea that certainly helped to keep the hands warm. we also went prepared with toasting forks and crumpets to toast on the fire pits. It was a great social weekend and Mario certainly enjoyed a little spring attention.

Wonderful Wales – tour in ‘Regie’ the 4cv

As usual when it comes to holidays, Mario gets left at home and ‘brother’ Regie the 4cv convertible gets to play, no offence to Mario but Regie is just a better car for touring, the 850 Dauphine Gordini Engine means we can keep up safely with modern traffic on the road, it’s more comfortable for longer journeys and hasn’t got a roof, which hopefully is a good thing!

This year we had decided to go on an organised car tour – Watton’s Wander, organised by one of James’ rally pals. It was a relaxed four day tour around South Wales.  As this was to be our holiday for 2016, we decided to make the trip West worthwhile and spent a couple of days visiting other motoring friends in Devon and Somerset on route. We had a lovely couple of days and Regie spent some time with one of his Girlfriends – Bluebelle a Morris Minor convertible, although he wasn’t so impressed with being left behind while Bluebelle’s humans took us for a ride to the seaside. It was fun and interesting to experience the differences between the two fairly similar classics.

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On a rather wet Monday morning we left our friends and set off for Wales. Our first stop and meeting place was The Plough Inn just outside of Llandelio, Carmarthenshire. We arrived in the early evening and had soon joined old friends and fellow entrants in the bar. By the morning the bad weather had cleared and we set off on out first adventure.

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Day one –  Pembrokeshire Coast and secret coves

After skirting Carmarthen, our first stop off was Laugharne, the home of Dylan Thomas. The Castle looked lovely but their was a very high tide and the area around it was flooded!

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A few miles further on was the famous Pendine Sands, unfortunately the high tide meant we couldn’t see the vast sands used for motor racing but we spend an interesting time at the Babs Museum. Babs was a land speed record car from the 20’s, the driver John Parry-Thomas was killed on the sands in Babs and the car was buried in the sand dunes until 1969 when it was exhumed and restored. The car spends much of it’s time at Brookland’s but luckily for us it was at Pendine.

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We had a lovely picturesque drive along the beautiful coastline, stopping off in St David’s to see the Cathedral and then the Llys-y-Fran reservoir and dam, which was also a Hill Climb course – obviously we had to have a drive up it.

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This trip is all very relaxed and not competitive, the benefit of which is you can go off route if you wish. It was disappointing not to see the actual sand at Pendine so we made a detour on our return route. We were hoping to get Regie on the beach for a picture but unfortunately the barrier was locked.

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Day two – the Black Mountains and Valleys

A rather chilly and grey day but dry and we were still ‘roof down’. The morning started in the valley’s with some rather tricky map reading designed to take us through a series of fords and some rather bleak mountain roads. Even James who is an experienced rally navigator found the instructions rather unfathomable but with James Mann and Tracy in the Vintage Lagonda we made it through to Llangadog and found a lovely pub for lunch, not long after most of the group joined us. ‘Josephine’ the Lagonda was was originally brought by James Mann’s grandfather in the 30’s and he competed in the Monte Carlo rally in 1936. James and his Brother took Josephine back on the Historic event last year on the 80th anniversary.

We were very impressed that the Welsh farmers had painted the sheep to match Regie!

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Towards the end of the day we stopped off at Talley Abbey. The weather was closing in and it looked very dramatic against the dark sky, we weekened for the last few miles back and put the roof up!

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Day three – The Brecon Beacons Valley’s and Hidden treasures

It was a beautiful morning as we packed up and left the Plough, for a stunning drive into the Brecon Beacons. The scenery was breathtaking as we traversed a series of mountain roads. Most of the group stopped off at the Penderyn Distillery, there wasn’t enough time for a tour but we stocked up on the lovely Brecon Gin which we had been drinking in the hotel.

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Stopping off for lunch at the Mountain Railway and afternoon tea in Brecon itself, we were soon crossing the famous Epynt ranges, home to many well known rallies.  The land is owned by the MoD, the army were very much in evidence and we just sneaked through before they began ‘Live firing’! It wasn’t much further to our second hotel the Lake Country Hotel and Spa at Llangammarch Wells.

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Day Four – The lakes of the Cambrian Mountains

Our final tour took us back West, the route up through the Elan Valley and the series of reservoirs was truly stunning. At one point a difficult spot of navigation went a little wrong and we ended up through a series of beautiful farms and tiny tracks until arriving at a gate – luckily unlocked and we managed to get through and join the original route.

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Lunch was at the seaside in Aberystwyth, fish and chips on the prom in the sunshine. Another stop at at railway drew quite an audience who wanted to know all about Regie and Josephine.

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The final drive back to the hotel took in lots of famous rallying roads, through forests, around reservoirs and across moors including this well known remote phonebox ‘Tregarron 262’ where, historically, road rally competitors would phone for instructions.

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The cars on the event were a mix of old and new with MG’s, Porsche, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Lagonda and more. Regie performed well and kept up with the Lagonda, everyone was very surprised at how well he went. It was the first time we had been on a trip like this and we really enjoyed it. The event finished with a great dinner at the hotel and a few drinks!, we’d had a fun week with old friends and made some new ones.

The following morning we set off for England, spotting this rather large group of Hillman Imps along the way. We saw quite a few groups of cars or bikes during the week as it is a perfect area with good roads for classic motoring.

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On the way back we detoured to Blaenavon, a world heritage site of Industrial Landscape. It was a great place and although we didn’t have time to do most of the attractions we did go to  the Ironworks which was an amazing place and well worth the visit. This is somewhere we will try to go back to in the future.

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The Road to Wembley 1966 – Goodwood Revival 2016

Better late than never, finally here we are looking back on the 2016 Goodwood Revival.

The Revival is Mario’s favourite weekend of the year and definitely his hardest. We were back again as part of the GRTC Goodwood revival Transport Corps working as period taxi’s to help keep the event working successfully. Our task is to move people between the circuit, Lavant Corner, the Kennels, Goodwood House and the Hotel. Mario was all spruced up for the event and wearing his rather splendid new roof rack.dsc01398The weekend started with the annual drivers cricket match at the house which always has a great collection of classics including this wonderful Autobianchi. It also has one of the best flying displays of the weekend.dsc01399dsc01400dsc01401dsc01403dsc01404dsc01429dsc01434

For the second year running we were working a new shift pattern which would allow us more time to enjoy the event. I don’t think this means that Mario works any less, just that it is crammed into a smaller time frame. The hours we were driving – on Friday we did 1pm until 8.45pm we just didn’t stop and over the weekend travelled around 300km. Mario was very well behaved this year and didn’t put a foot wrong, although he did need some work after the event to replace failed lights and part of the suspension!, it’s fun doing the taxi’s but it is hard on the cars and the drivers! Most people loved having the chance to ride in Mario and really enjoyed the experience although one rather grumpy lunch passenger did say that they “used to have cars ‘like these’ before they could afford a proper one” – rather rude we thought!dsc01550dsc01553dsc01554

The extra time for us, failed to materialise though, as we we had been invited with Mario’s ‘brother’ Regie the Renault 4cv, to take part in the daily ‘Road to Wembley’ parade which took up most of the mornings. It was fun though to go round the track and gave us an opportunity to take friends on a special trip. We had to decorate Regie for the occasion with scarfs, rosettes, World Cup Willie, Union Jacks plus replica programmes, tickets and of course wooden rattles to wave.

The whole Revival was themed around the 66 Football World Cup final with crowds of supporters, police horses, banners etc and there was a pitch hosting ‘the match’ at the drivers club. The parade was for cars that could have been on the road in 1966, driving to Wembley with English and German fans. It was good fun and even the Marshalls got into the spirit of the day playing football on the side of the track, out at St Mary’s.dsc01360 dsc01391dsc01395 dsc01396 dsc01453dsc01560dsc01467 dsc01470 dsc01474 dsc01483 dsc01488 dsc01490 dsc01494 dsc01499 dsc01502 dsc01504 dsc01508 dsc01510 dsc01511 dsc01515 dsc01524 dsc01527 dsc01532 dsc01537 dsc01541 dsc01542regie-at-goodwood-friday-9-sept-2016 On Saturday the weather was terrible, which made the parade a bit of a washout, roof up and it made you very aware of how bad the conditions were for the competitors with very poor visability.dsc01578 dsc01579 dsc01580 dsc01593 dsc01596 dsc01599 dsc01601 Poor Mario got absolutely filthy working the afternoon shift, the roads surrounding the circuit were dreadful and covered with mud from the carparks.dsc01617 dsc01619 dsc01620dsc01463dsc01610dsc01626 dsc01627 Sunday however was glorious and sunny – proper Goodwood weather. We managed to have a look around the site before and after the parade.dsc01636 dsc01637 dsc01638 dsc01641 dsc01644 A great area was the tunnel linking Piccadilly Circus and Green Park undergrounds, it had been built with great attention to detail (I spent 20 years travelling through Piccadilly Circus) the ‘staff’ were superb and there was even an original ticket machine.dsc01645 dsc01648 dsc01650 dsc01652 dsc01656 dsc01658 dsc01665 The sunshine made Sunday’s parade more fun.dsc01696 dsc01700 dsc01706 dsc01714 dsc01719 dsc01728 dsc01735 dsc01738 dsc01746 dsc01758 dsc01759 dsc01761 dsc01765 The Setterington Cup for Austin A40 Pedal cars is always popular.dsc01778 dsc01783 dsc01788 dsc01799 We even managed to get a quick look round the paddock.dsc01807 dsc01808 dsc01810
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And the Freddy March ‘Spirit of Aviation’dsc01813 dsc01814 dsc01816 dsc01817 dsc01820 dsc01822A brilliant desert display of military vehicles was a special exhibition to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the SAS Regiment in 1941dsc01825 dsc01826dsc01830dsc01832 dsc01834On duty driving between the hotel and circuit through Goodwood Estate gives you a wonderful view of some of the flying displays.dsc01842 dsc01843 dsc01844 dsc01846 dsc01850 dsc01852 dsc01857 dsc01861 dsc01862 dsc01863 dsc01872dsc01840So, we’re sorry for the lack of pictures of the racing or the rest of the stuff going on at the circuit but with working, the parade and the rain, we just didn’t get to see that much else of what was going on. We had a great weekend though with friends old and new and are looking forward already to Revival 2017.