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.

Normal service will soon be resumed…

Mario would like to apologise for his absence, just don’t know where time has gone. We’ve had a very busy few weeks…

Starting off with our favourite weekend of the year at the Goodwood Revival, a great time was had as part of the period taxi rank and ‘brother’ Regie the Renault 4cv got to take part in the Daily ‘Road to Wembley’ Parade.dsc01615regie-at-goodwood-friday-9-sept-2016

The following weekend the Humans went on holiday, taking Regie as he’s a bit more practical and goes up hills, important as they were on a classic tour in Wales.dsc02215Mario was out and about again at the October Breakfast Club meet at Goodwood – Italian Sunday.
img_1393And on duty last weekend for an old school friends wedding.dsc02802Watch this space for more on all these events coming (very) soon!

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.
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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.

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!

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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…
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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

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

Wheels Day back on Track…

We’ve had a very busy few weeks. Starting with the Goodwood 74th Members Meeting, which was great and we promised you a post but we’ve got so many photo’s to sort from the event that it’ll have to wait for a short while.

However, better news is that Mario is out of his Winter Hibernation and has been out and about. We started him up on the Thursday before Easter and took him for a careful first drive. One of the front brakes was stuck on and got rather warm but a gentle drive and some sharp breaking seemed to free it off, James also took the wheel off and it would appear the problem is caused by the brake shoe adjusters not adjusting so that will be a future project. I took him round to the local hand car wash for a bit of spruce up but he embarrassed himself by refusing to start after his wash. The battery which had seemed fine that morning just died completely but at least it was easily rectified.

On Good Friday we set off for Wheels Day organised by the Surrey Street Rodders at Rushmoor Arena near Aldershot. Following the problems a couple of years ago, you now have to pre-register and Mario had been selected and was in possession of a shiny pass. Unlike previous events we practically drove straight in, much better organised. By far the best day of the Easter Weekend, it was lovely, warm and sunny, although it was a shame it had rained so much the night before making the ground rather boggy. Mario got his usual attention and lapped up the compliments while we wandered around the exhibits and stalls, picking up a great one-man vintage lunch box/picnic set which is destined to become a ‘Gin Caddy’. We had a great day and Mario certainly enjoyed the run after being cooped up for the Winter.

DSC08142 Very subtile paint on this woodie rod, flames and checkers but in muted colours which unfortunately don’t show too well in the photo.DSC08143DSC08144 This Saab pickup was great.DSC08145 For those old enough to remember, Rainbow’s Zippy and George in a rod!DSC08149 Needs a bit of work but the horns were a great extra.DSC08151 Favourite car of the car (apart from Mario of course). The ‘paint work’ was fantastic and appears to be real, James made a guess at about 17 or so layers and rubbed down in an amazing nearly symmetrical pattern before being matt lacquered.DSC08152 DSC08153 DSC08158 DSC08159 DSC08160 DSC08161 A beautiful little Simca which had a rather stompy engine. Hopefully the owner Des will be bringing it to our car show in May. It won a prize at Wheels Day.DSC08168 DSC08169 DSC08170 DSC08174 DSC08176 DSC08177 DSC08178 Lovely immaculate VW Pickup with a mini VW bus in the back.DSC08180 DSC08181 DSC08184 DSC08187Easter Monday dawned pretty bright after the horrendous night of Storm Katie and we were going to take Mario to the GRRC Spring Sprint at Goodwood but it was cancelled due to weather damage to the grandstands. However a friend from Derbyshire was staying in Chichester so we took Mario to pick her up and out for an afternoon tea and bubbles at the Kennels. With a ride in Mario she had the full Goodwood Experience! We had a few problems getting home as travelling cross country we came across several lanes blocked by fallen trees and floods.

So all in all a pretty good Easter. The Members Meeting blog will follow shortly.

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!