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.

A motoring catch up – 2017 so far…

We’ve been rather lapse with posting so far this year so here is a quick pictorial catch up of what we’ve been up to so far…

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In April James navigated on the London to Lisbon Rally for Michael Moss in the Fiat 2300 which started from Brooklands Museum. The first leg took in roads very near our home, in fact the first regularity finished just a few hundred metres from James’ workshop! Maybe local knowledge helped as they had a great first day. The first coffee stop was at the fantastic workshops of vintage Bentley specialist William Metcalf. After the first day in the UK they took they ferry to France for a further 8 days of intense rallying through France, Spain and Portugal in all conditions from snow to blazing sunshine. They had a great week with a pretty respectable top 20 finish in a car that was rather large for many of the tests.

Haslemere Classic Car Show
At the end of May it was time for the Haslemere Classic Car Show which we organise. This was the ninth year and it grows in popularity every year. Places for the tour and show were ‘sold out’ weeks before the event. We had great gathering of pre-1973 cars, around 90 of which were waved off by the Mayor on our morning tour of about 60 miles with a coffee stop at Lasham Gliding Club. Mario was there in a very useful capacity helping to transport lots of stuff about. He spent the day being admired peeking out between the stands. This year saw the launch of the HCCS Haslemere Hog – a charity event in Haslemere where 60 Pigs have been decorated by different organisations and then sold/auctioned to raise money. RoadHOG is great fun with his illustrations by Derek Matthews and his flying helmet and accessories. Mario even features on one side! A few of his ‘Hoggy’ friends also turned up in a Peugeot pickup to help support the event.

Our two competitions – Best Dressed Car and Crew and People’s choice produced some deserving winners. It was just a shame that after 8 sunny years the show ended a little early with a ‘Monsoon’!


Goodwood Breakfast Club – Soft Top Sunday
Obviously Mario doesn’t have a soft top so Regie had a day out. It was a lovely sunny morning with a good turn out of convertibles at the Circuit. We had a pass and so got to show off at the end of the grid. It was the first time we’d taken Regie out in a while and you forget how much fun he is to drive. RoadHOG who was raffled off at the car show was won by friends of ours who took him along in the back of their Sunbeam which created a lot of interest. Also of interest was one of the 60 new Caterham Seven Sprints, a new car but built in a retro style. It was such a lovely day that we went on down to Bognor.  GRRC Members Drinks – Kennels PhotoBomb
Every month we meet up with local Goodwood Members at the Kennels, it has become quite a tradition at the June meeting to bring our classic/interesting cars along and have a photoshoot in front of the clubhouse. For once it was a lovely summer evening so we had a great ride down in Regie. So that’s us fairly up to date, there are several motoring things coming up including a day at the Festival of Speed tomorrow…











Mario’s doppelganger…

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Many people have mentioned that there is a new ‘Mario’ on the block… VW launched their concept (likely to become reality) ID Buzz microbus to the world earlier this year. A modern electric version of the VW Microbus taking design cues from the classic T1 and T2 buses. In quite a few of the publicity photos it looks a lot like Mario, the prototype is actually yellow and white/silver but in many pictures it looks just like Mario’s unique colour combination.

One of our followers actually asked if we’d ever given the VW design team a ride at Goodwood. Maybe Mario should charge a consultants fee.

The VW design boss Oliver Stefani told Auto Express, “The ID Buzz fits so well to what the VW brand stands for: it’s emotional, it has functionality, it makes your life easier.” You could say the same about Mario!

Here’s a couple of videos and a few pics… what do you think?

Coming soon a report on what we’ve been up to so far this summer.

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.

Weird and Wonderful 3 – the Lonestar Meteor

Weird and Wonderful posts come about because something has popped up somewhere online and sparked our interest…pink-meteor-frontYes, I realise it’s a boat but it looks like a car and is certainly weird and wacky!  The development of fibreglass construction in the mid-late fifties allowed boat constructors to incorporate ‘car-like’ features of the time, such as fins, into their designs, the Meteor went further with Crome trim, headlights and the two-tone paintwork popular on American ‘Jet Age’ cars of the time.

Built by Lone Star Boat Manufacturers, a company founded in Texas in 1945 building traditional boats, a fibreglass facility was added in 1952 and by 1954 it was enlarged to allow 31 different models to be offered for sale.lonestar-adlonestar-brochure

In 1956 the Meteor was designed by Bob Hammond for GM, to be displayed at ‘A boat of the Future’ at the National Boat Show. It was so popular that a limited production run began of the four-seater boat with a 40HP motor and went on sale for $1600.

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Jet age fibreglass boats were originally considered to be ‘ugly’ after the classical elegant beauty of traditional wooden boats but are now very collectable and sort after, very few remain.

The Meteor one of the most popular in it’s time has a possible 60 or so examples still in existence. A 60-horsepower 1957 Mercury Mk 75 outboard powers this beautifully restored and very pink example, which I believe is owned by Kevin Mueller of Rockton. It has been display in the FINS: Form without function exhibition at the Peterson Automotive Museum in LA.

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As always when researching these posts I come across more and more info and my search widens, there were other equally weird and wacky boats designed around the same time including the Evinrude ‘Cadillac’ Sea Lark which was designed by great industrial designer Brooks Stevens. Owners often towed their boats with a matching finned Cadillac, you could even buy ‘mudguards’ for your trailer with fins!sealark-trailertrailer-wheelevinrude-lark-1 evinrude-lark-2I also discovered another collaboration between Brooks Stevens and Evinrude but it’s so weird and wacky I think it deserves a small post of it’s own, so watch this space…

A quick catch up…

Hello strangers, we’ve been very lapse at posting recently, so this will be a quick catch up to date and then hopefully normal service will be resumed.

After the Goodwood Revival and our Wander in Wales with Regie things went a bit quiet on the car front as they often do as winter approaches.

The first Sunday in October though, was the Italian Breakfast Club at Goodwood and Mario had a pass. It was a bright but chilly morning and the circuit was packed with a great selection of Italian cars, including Mario’s ‘girlfriend’ Bella a beautiful Fiat Belvedere, an ‘estate’ version of the first Fiat 500 Topolino and Lord March’s fantastic Lancia Aurelia.

dsc02792dsc02779 dsc02783 dsc02785 dsc02765dsc02768dsc02788Mario was as popular as ever and it was a lovely day for a drive in the countryside.

Later on another lovely sunny day in October, Mario was back on duty as a wedding car – having never done a wedding in all the time we’ve had him, in 2016 we did two in quick succession! This time it wasn’t to be as nerve racking as driving the bosses daughter!

An old friend going back to primary school days asked if Mario could be her wedding car and we were delighted to oblige. Picking up Sarah and her Italian brother-in-law (who obviously loved Mario) from her home locally and taking them to Guildford Registry office and then driving her and her new Husband Chris back home. Chris was really excited to be in Mario and we had a lovely afternoon helping them celebrate.
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After such a happy day the rest of the year took rather a downturn with the loss of one of our best friends Victor. Victor had been a big part of our ‘classic’ life as we first met him at the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club when James first had his Mark 2 Jag 30 years ago. Over the years we had become very close friends and took part in lots of car related activities together including importing the two Subaru 360’s from Japan and going on the Leige-Brescia-Leige and Micro Marathon microcar rallies, plus of course many visits to Goodwood and various shows. We will never forget him with so many fantastic memories.

Victor’s funeral on Armistice Day was sad but very uplifting with the church overflowing with friends, a very large number of who knew him via the classic car world. Many people took their classics and Victor was accompanied on his final ‘road trip’ by his own collection of vehicles including the Subaru, his Jaguar D-type replica, Daimler, Mini Cooper, Austin A40 and what had been his last acquisition – a Bedford army truck!360team Col du Tourmalet DSCN0207.JPG DSCN0244.JPG DSCN3175.JPG img_0770 img_0771 mm_0795

We were both poorly over the Christmas and New Year period so we didn’t get to any of the New Years Day car meets – the weather was atrocious too, so I don’t think we’d have risked either car even if we had been feeling well.

So here we are in January 2017. James is currently in Europe, navigating on the Winter Trial with Herman in the Volvo Amazon. I’m at home trying to get the information for the 2017 Haslemere Classic Car Show up together and update the website but I keep getting interrupted by emails asking ‘how to book’ so I guess it’s going to be a popular event again! We are behind and only have 4 months to go but hopefully in it’s 9th year it will organise itself – I hope.

Events are already planned, Mario has a Chicane Parking spot for the Goodwood Member’s meeting in March, we have applied for a place at Wheels Day on Good Friday and we have a signed contract to be back taxi driving at the Revival. So already it looks like it’s going to be a busy year. We have lots of material in the wings to blog so hopefully there won’t be such a big gap between posts.

A belated Happy New Year to all our readers.mario-bubble-front

UPDATE

You might remember reading the first part of our ‘Weird and Wonderful’ series about the Corvair Futura Concept – we didn’t know where it currently was… anyway we received an email from Scott in the US, who had read the blog, letting us know that it was still owned by Wayne Carini and he had seen it there in January covered in dust – hopefully it will find a new home soon.

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.

Weird & Wonderful No 2… The Astra-Gnome “Time and Space Car”

I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the “love them or hate them” Nash Metropolitan’sNash-Metropolitan-1954So I was very excited to see some images pop up on the internet of Nash’s only ‘Concept Car’ The 1956 Astra-Gnome “Time and Space Car”, a weird and wacky custom development of the Metropolitan. The ‘Astra-Gnome’ made it’s debut on April 28th at the 1956 International Auto Show in New York. It created headlines all over the world and featured on the front cover of Newsweek on September 3rd 1956.publicity1 Publicity2 Publicity3publicity4Autoshow-1956newsweekNewsweek-cover

The Astra-Gnome is a ‘dream car’ designed by Richard Arbib & Company and manufactured by Andrew Mazzara Custom Body Work (New York) on a Nash Metropolitan chassis. The futuristic space age design was created in 4 months with many aesthetic elements borrowed from science fiction of the time. The almost invisible undercarriage gives it a hovercraft or spaceship effect, with a panoramic view from the bubble top and changeable coloured aluminium panels.1956-Astra-Gnome4astra-gnome-street

American Motors commissioned leading industrial designer Richard Arbib, famous for designing the Hamilton asymmetrical watches and boats as well as cars, to design his vision of the future and the result was a vehicle which represented what an automobile would look like in the year 2000. It was never intended to be a production model but to raise awareness of how cars could look in the future.

Among its many features is a Hamilton “celestial time-zone clock permitting actual flight-type navigation. The acrylic glass bubble canopy also served as a sound chamber for the car’s high fidelity radio and record player. Also included was air conditioning and wrap-around bumper protection to the same height of other car bumpers. The 6-foot (1.83 m) width of the concept car was much greater than comparable cars of the time and allowed for extra interior room, as well as storage and luggage spaces that included six pieces of matched integrated luggage. The company at the time said

“A host of features, are here and now in the Astra-Gnome, but it will only be a matter of time until in some form they appear in future production cars. These features are not concerned with high horsepower or competition car performance, because as product stylists we do not believe the primary task of the appearance designer is a mechanical one.

We believe our job is to create new and exciting shapes, textures and colors in a functional car.  In the Gnome a totally new driving sensation akin to flying has resulted from this kind of esthetic exploration.  The “Space” element in the Astra-Gnome is almost self-explanatory, for the designer of the “personal” car is dealing with a space problem from the very beginning”

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BrochureBrochure2Amazingly the Astra-Gnome was discovered in 1980, sealed up in a New York high-rise office. It has been faithfully restored to perfection and kept and displayed at the Metropolitan Pit Stop in North Hollywood, CA. 1956-Astra-Gnome 1956-astra-gnome2 1956-Astra-Gnome31956-astra-gnome5 Astra-Gnome-badge astra-gnome-badge2There’s a video doing a ‘tour’ of the car, in the museum.

The Astra-Gnome even featured in this fashion feature for Esquire Magazine.
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So here we are in 2016 and unfortunately, that 1950’s ideal of what cars would look like in 2000 never materialised, the roads would certainly look more interesting if they had!

We still have Mario though and he’s busy getting himself and the humans ready for next weeks Goodwood Revival. We will be in attendance as usual with ‘brother’ Regie the Renault 4cv, doing taxi duty all weekend. If you are coming along make sure you say hello. We’ll be reporting all the adventures we have, here in due course.