A photographic day out

After what has been unfortunately months of hibernation, Spring came early at the weekend and Mario finally got an outing!

Due to life and it’s demands we hadn’t been to see Mario for quite some time so we really pleased to get an opportunity to get out and about. The poor thing was rather grubby when we uncovered him but amazingly he started on the button and we gave him a quick wash down to remove the worst.

Even after a week or two the brakes often stick so we weren’t that surprised to find they were binding. After some heavy braking they began to free off and we set off on an adventure in the sunshine. After a mile or two just one brake was sticking (and smelling) a bit so we pulled over for James to adjust it slightly. Almost immediately one of Mario’s ‘fans’ going in the opposite direction had turned round to check we were ok.

With the car rolling more freely we set off towards Goodwood. Our destination was Boxgrove a villlage on the edge of the estate where the Independent Goodwood Photographers Guild of which we are members, was holding their annual competition and exhibition. Mario joined a small collection of interesting vehicles outside the hall.

The Guild which was formed a few years ago with the aim of bringing enthusiastic photographers together to share their experiences and photos from Goodwood Events. The group (predominantly on FaceBook) has gone from just being a handful of us to over 1000. The exhibition showed the just under 400 entries to this years competition. Covering 10 classes, of which you could enter seven, the standard was incredibly high. After initial judging the final selections had been sent to the Duke to Richmond to make a final selections and the results were announced at the end of the afternoon.

The afternoon was a good opportunity to meet up with old friends and say hi to a few people we only ‘knew online’ The organising committee had done a great job and were helped by other members providing snacks and drinks and the local Camera Shop and Sony had brought some cameras along to look at.

It was really difficult to select three pictures to vote for in the Amateur Photographer Category. It was quite interesting though that James and myself had picked out the same images and many of these were category prize winners. We didn’t win any awards but enjoyed taking part. Our entered pictures follow – mine first taken on a Nikon ‘Bridge’ camera and then James’ which were all taken on his iPhone.

It was really nice to be out and about in Mario. He still has a few issues with the brakes and clutch so will need a bit of TLC before the summer season kicks in and we hope to tidy up some of the bodywork too but it’s really done well considering that we restored him twenty years ago.

If you are interested in the IGPG check them out on the groups website or apply to join the closed group on Facebook


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.

Cars we love but can’t have… No 1

Regular readers will know that we love a bit of internet research but it often gets out of hand. We see an odd picture of something unusual that we love, dig a little deeper and it grows into a project. The problem with this is that the search becomes involved and the post takes ages to do, so we decided that we’d do a few quick posts just on something we’d found that was interesting, that we’d love to have in the family but were very unlikely to, as they always turn out to be ultra rare and hence ultra expensive!

This idea started out well when this popped up on Facebook…Vignale-Abarth-750-Goccia-original

A 1957 Abarth 750 Coupe Goccia,
With a lightweight and aerodynamic body designed by Michelotti for Vignale and Arbarths expertise in designing fine and highly tuned engines, this prototype was aimed at establishing a world speed record in it’s class. With a naturally aspirated 700cc Petrol engine it was said to be able to attain a top speed of 150kph (93mph).

Only three cars were made in 1956/57 and it was never considered to be a production car. The first one was shown at the 1956 Geneva Motor Show and featured Gullwing doors but these were dropped for the further two produced. The later cars competed in the 1957 Mille Miglia and many other events in Europe.Vignale-Abarth-750-Goccia-drawingsVignale-Abarth-750-Goccia-sketch2Vignale-Abarth-750-Goccia-gullwingMille-Miglia Targa Florio 1957 Vignale-Abarth-750-Goccia-period Vignale-Abarth-750-Goccia-period2 Vignale-Abarth-750-Goccia-period3From some of the pictures we found at least one car is still around and has appeared at shows around the world. We’re unsure of is whereabouts but it was sold possibly to Japan.Vignale-Abarth-750-Goccia-forsaleVignale-Abarth-750-Goccia1 Vignale-Abarth-750-Goccia3 Vignale-Abarth-750-Goccia9

As usual researching this post started to turn up some other interesting beasts, lots of 750 derivatives from designers such as Nardi but we’ll be good and save those for another day.

We are off to the 74th Members Meeting at Goodwood this weekend so should be back with some pics next week and Mario will be coming out of hibernation to take part in Wheels Day on Good Friday.

UPDATE – one of our readers has told us that at least two of the three Goccia Coupe’s still exists and one is in the UK!

A warm day for the London to Brighton Veteran run…

The weather was unseasonably warm for the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run although for much of the route it was rather misty and foggy, in Brighton it was glorious sunshine… This year we were only spectating and hoping to meet up with and support several groups of friends and clients taking part.

We had considered taking Mario along as lots of people turn out in their classics of all ages and join in or park up and watch the veterans going by but we weren’t organised enough and to be honest by the evening when we were travelling back, the fog was so bad that we were really glad we hadn’t as the visibility was terrible on our cross country route home.

Not being very good at getting up on a Sunday morning we went to just North of Hassocks which is fairly close to the finish to watch from outside the Friars Oak pub. We quite am assortment of vehicles come past including our friends Mike and Jan in their De Dion Bouton and Radio 2’s Chris Evans, Ken Bruce and Alex Jones in classic buses which were driven for Children in Need raising £320,000. Chris had been talking the event up on the radio for weeks and whether it was this or the mild conditions but there were certainly loads of supporters out lining the route.

We went on into Brighton although the amazing November sunshine had brought people out in droves and getting into and parking in Brighton was horrific. Luckily we had passes and so were able to go into Maderia Drive and the Bonham’s area to meet up with friends and enjoy a bowl of finishers chilli. Most of the people we knew finished the event although it would appear that quite a high percentage of the entrants didn’t make it to Brighton, a bit strange as the conditions were so good.

Anyhow it was a great day out as always…DSC06116 DSC06117 DSC06118 DSC06119 DSC06120 DSC06122 DSC06127 DSC06132 DSC06133 DSC06135 DSC06142 DSC06143 DSC06144 DSC06148 DSC06149 DSC06151 DSC06152 DSC06153 DSC06157 DSC06155DSC06161 DSC06172DSC06164 DSC06169 DSC06173 DSC06197 DSC06198 DSC06203 DSC06206 DSC06212 DSC06213 DSC06215 DSC06216 DSC06217 DSC06223 DSC06224 DSC06227 DSC06228 DSC06229 DSC06230 DSC06233 DSC06251 DSC06266 DSC06267 DSC06270 DSC06276 DSC06277 DSC06282 DSC06283 DSC06287

Ready to go…

 safely installed at Goodwood, we get to use the stable lads accommodation at the house. Dropped Into the cricket match first where Lord March fielded the winning side by one run! Several of the drivers play including Derek Bell, Tiff Needel, Jason Plato and Tony Jardine. The real start of the Revival for us is the low fly pass over the Cricket Pitch (interestingly the oldest pitch in the country). It was a perfect evening with blue skies and the Spitfire looked fabulous. We had to sign on and get our passes and instructions before going out for a lovely supper, before the action starts tomorrow.  

Quick update… off to Goodwood Revival

Sorry for the lack of posts but we’ve been very busy. Mario has had his head gasket, his leaking fuel tank repaired and carburettor overhauled a well as having some rather neat little spotlights fitted, so for once we will have a working fuel gauge and be able to see where we are going! Brother Regie had also had a head gasket done and the radiator repaired so both boys are fighting fit and raring to go! We are now loading up and off to the Revival, our favourite weekend of the year, as part of the period taxi fleet. We will do our best to blog over the weekend but if we can’t there will be a full report next week. After the difficulties last year we are supposed to be working a shift pattern so we have some more time to see what’s going on.
Happy Revival everyone. Love Mario xx

Happy Christmas from Mario

Christmas 2014It’s been rather busy with domestic chores leading up to the big day to do much blogging but we have some great ideas for posts the New Year. Mario will hopefully be out and about on New Years Day at the VSCC meet at The Stag Inn, Balls Cross near Petworth, followed by lunch with some of his motoring friends so expect a report and pics soon after.

Thank you for following us on our motoring adventures, we’ve had a great and interesting year and plans are already in place for exciting things to do in 2015. We will be going to the 73rd Members Meeting at Goodwood in March, fingers crossed the weathers as good as last year. The Haslemere Classic Car Show which we organise is happening on the 24 May and hopefully will be bigger and better than ever – see the post on this year! We have sent in an entry for Wheels Day at Easter, which is going back to it’s old venue and will be pre-booked cars only after they were over run with vehicles in 2014. We already have a contract in place for the GRTC at the Revival, so Mario will be back as the ‘Worlds favourite little taxi’ but with a much better work schedule, so he will also have time to be part of the event as well as working.

Regie-penguinsSo for now, Mario and Regie wish all our readers and followers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year xx

Centenary Celebrations

We’ve recently posted about Mario’s ‘brother’ Regie the 4cv Renault’s restoration and our trip to the 4cv 50th Anniversary so keeping on the theme… 1998 was Renault’s Centenary and of course Regie wanted to be a part of it.

The weekend was to be held in Paris based on the Île Seguin an island on the Seine at Boulogne-Billancourt which was the site of one of the most iconic Renault Factories which had ceased production in 1992 and has since been pulled down. Veteran, Vintage and Classic Renaults from all over Europe had been invited.

renault-factory1 renault-factory2We left after work on Friday evening, planning to stay in Northern France so we could arrive in Paris early on Saturday morning. Driving towards the Tunnel we smelt burning but thought it was from other traffic, when we arrived at the tunnel and had a quick look in the engine bay we were horrified to see a burnt melted mass where the alternator had been. Not a major problem but it did mean we didn’t have any facility to charge the battery. Shutting the engine bay before anybody official saw the mess, we managed to get onto the train and find the hotel just outside Calais using sidelights. The Following morning, not needing to use lights etc we managed to get to Paris using the power in the battery and then purchased a new one to swap over. From memory somebody helped out and charged the first battery in their car for us!

We started off looking round the fantastic Renault Collection, which was housed in the old factory buildings. This included all sorts of development, concept, racing and historical Renaults. The first image shows a very special 4cv which competed in the Mediterranean rally in 1950 across Africa and the Racoon concept car from 1992scan051 scan052 1950’s weird, slashback concepts and the Monte Carlo Rally winning 4cv.scan053 scan054 scan055 scan056 One of the most fun exhibits was a scaled up Twingo designed to give adults a childs view if being in a car!scan057 scan058 We got to pose for a centenary picture outside the old factory.scan059 scan060 The next part of the weekend was the ‘Concours de Elegance’ competition. In true French style a pre-selected shortlist representing the 100 years of Renaults history ‘performed’ for the crowd and a judging panel.scan061 scan062 scan063 An early WW1 tank designed by Renault, outside of the original workshop. Renault collaborated with the German’s during the second world war which enabled him to continue designing which led to the launch of the 4cv ‘People’s car’ in 1946. An unusual special bodied 4cv in the hotel car park.scan064 On the Saturday evening there was a vast dinner, maybe 2000 people, tables had flags on them so you could sit with people you understood! It was very noisy and there was quite a party mood. The following morning all the cars gathered again at the factory before setting off for the celebration parade.scan065 We headed into Central Paris and parked up in a road approaching the Arc de Triomphe. Excitement was building with so many interesting cars and people. James took the precaution of changing the batteries over again as it would have been too embarrassing to have broken down.scan067 scan068 We were waved off in batches to parade down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées and felt very important being cheered by the flag waving crowds. In typical French style there was very little organisation with classic cars going in all directions. After the main parade we crossed the river and proceeded past the Eiffel Tower and on to the Hippodrome de St Cloud, where we had the most fantastic buffet lunch complete with ice sculptures and in great company from around the world including Germany and Australia.scan069 scan070 scan071 scan072 scan073We left after lunch for the drive back to the UK, most of the route went without incident but  as we were on the M25 the light was starting to fade and we could only drive on sidelights. Luckily we were able to ‘shadow’ a lorry who realised we had a problem and he let us sit behind him most of the way back.

So apart from the regulator/battery issues it had been a wonderful weekend and it was great to be part of something with such historical significance.

The making of Cynthia…

You may have read in previous posts that Mario has a new girlfriend… Cynthia; a retro styled bicycle. We got interested in the idea of a ‘vintage’ bike when James did the Tweed Run earlier in the year. So James found me a bike on Ebay, the right style and most importantly with a basket! DSC01917DSC03546IMG_1167 She was collected rather inelegantly, returning from Swindon, upside-down on the back of the car. Although it looked pretty good in the photo’s it was a bit tatty around the edges and so a restoration to match Mario was plotted. There was a fair bit of discussion as to how she would look which I blogged about earlier.

We put some pictures on Mario’s FaceBook and our personal pages and got our friends to vote on the combination they preferred! James set to taking Cynthia apart and got on with preparing, priming and spraying the frame and other metal parts, using the paint we had left from restoring Mario many years ago – proving that two-pack paint keeps perfectly well. He also striped down the gearbox, cleaned it all and reassembled it which will hopefully solve the problems with the gears slipping and polished all the alloy frame components to a mirror finish.photo 2photo 1
10552512_730254053697077_6924704042527702638_nIn the meantime I set to work at home in the kitchen sink with bleach and brillo-pads and cleaned the wheels and tyres, handlebars, saddle etc. The handlebars went in the dishwasher which brought them up really well, they were then lacquered to seal them. I managed to get rid of all the little rust marks and although the chrome is still a little pitted it looks pretty good. DSC04183 DSC04185 DSC04187 DSC04188 DSC04191She was soon being put back together with the addition of some rather nice checker tape to match Mario’s bling. We had contacted Cicli Cinzia the original manufacturer to try and get some decals, they didn’t have any of the originals but very kindly sent us some from their current range of bikes, as the logo is quite retro looking which looked perfect and finished off the frame. It’s nice that you can still see the manufacturer especially as they are Italian. They also confirmed that Cynthia was originally manufactured in the 80’s (1986, marked on the gears) which is good news as Cynthia will be eligible for some of the vintage events. James also lightly sprayed the baskets blue which we rubbed back to give a distressed look and added some flowers round the front basket to complete the vintage feel. We also managed to get a perfect black and white elastic skirt guard which fitted perfectly in the holes on the mudguard.photophoto-3photo 3photo-2DSC04194 DSC04206 DSC04207 DSC04208photo 2-2 DSC04209

Now everybody knows that many of the top automotive launches take place at Goodwood and so the GRRC Open Day seemed a perfect venue for Cynthia to make her debut. The first thing was to see if we could fit the bike inside Mario. With all the seats folded flat into the floor the Multipla has a huge load area comparable to it’s size and Cynthia just fitted. With some fiddling and strategic positioning of bungee straps she was very secure and we had a easy journey to Goodwood House. The previous posting tells of our day out at the Open Day but I’ll just say here that Cynthia went down a storm and made a beautiful pair with Mario, she even had her own little sign!
DSC04210DSC04213DSC04221DSC04225DSC04268DSC04303Layout 1We are delighted with the result and are looking forward to more seaside cycling and hopefully taking part in a few vintage cycling events in the future. Mario is just pleased to have a new friend.