Under the weather…

Bit delayed in writing this – sorry.

Easter is often recognised as the start of the Classic Car season and our regular outing on Good Friday is to Wheels Day, organised by the Surrey Street Rodders. This show which started for Hod Rods and Custom Cars 41 years ago, now encompasses classics from all areas. After last years show which moved to Dunsfold, where they had problems with huge numbers and traffic jams, leading to totally unacceptable online bullying and insults to the organisers, it looked like it might not happen again. However with a bit of time to reflect on things, SSRs decided to move back to Rushmoor near Aldershot and limit the numbers, so this year you had to apply and the organisers selected 500 or so to be able to buy a pass. Mario was one of the lucky ones.

DSC00213Unfortunately Good Friday was rather wet and horrible but we set off anyway and had quite a good run over, although Mario still seemed a little under the weather and the power was dropping off the longer we were running. There was no queue at all at Rushmoor Arena and we were swiftly into the show field which was less than half-full. We sat in Mario while the heavy rain went over but then it brightened up and we were able to have a good look round. We subsequently found out that only half of the pre-entered cars had turned up due to the inclement weather. There were a few interesting vehicles there (and some hideous ones!), we met up with some friends and James was able to buy lots of workshop stock from the traders.DSC00214DSC00212DSC00216DSC00215 DSC00217 DSC00220 DSC00222 DSC00223 DSC00224 DSC00225 DSC00226 DSC00227 DSC00231 DSC00233 DSC00235 DSC00239 DSC00241 DSC00243 DSC00247I loved this single person picnic set, thought it would be perfect for lunch at the Revival, however it seemed quite pricey and had been left out in the rain but I’ll keep a look out for one.DSC00244 We bought Mario a present – some little extra driving lamps, we have a real problem driving Mario at night as the lights are so poor, we tried these and thought they looked quite good, so for the Revival this year we’ll be able to see where we’re going!DSC00248 DSC00249 DSC00250 DSC00251 DSC00252 DSC00253 DSC00257 DSC00258 DSC00259 DSC00260 DSC00264 DSC00268 DSC00269Didn’t really want to take a photo of this as it might be thought of as  encouragement but it really was the most ugly thing I’ve ever seen. It’s owner obviously loved it though and was busy polishing it, so each to his own!DSC00266We left in the early afternoon as it was rather damp, Mario was still rather sluggish on the way home, he really hasn’t been right since last years Revival.

The rest of the Easter Weekend turned out rather better – well certainly sunnier. We were going to try a new monthly meet on Sunday afternoon at Alton but as it was James’ birthday we went on a trip round the Bombay Sapphire Distillery at Laverstock instead, very enjoyable and interesting plus delicious cocktails.

Easter Monday is the Goodwood Road Race Club sprint, so we thought a nice sunny drive over the downs in Mario would be a pleasant way to spend a bank holiday. However Mario had other ideas and less than a mile from the workshop was behaving very badly, we noticed water around the head and so took him immediately home. We swopped to a modern car, a shame as it was such a beautiful day and Goodwood Circuit looked absolutely fabulous, the Daffodills looked even better than they had been for the Members Meeting. We had a wander round the paddock and watched some of the timed runs.DSC00343 DSC00350 DSC00352 DSC00353 DSC00355 DSC00363 We saw the Catterham spin as it came out of the chicane and go sideways into the barrier quite hard. After it had been recovered there was an almost perfect impression of the car!DSC00366 DSC00376 DSC00381 DSC00382 So what about poor Mario – well the ‘Doctor’ has examined him and there is low compression on the 4th cylinder, caused we think by the seeping head gasket. The Water pump also isn’t too clever which has probably caused the engine to run too hot and hence the damage to the head gasket, hopefully not too serious. The next thing is to source the replacement parts and James will have the head off and check the valve seating as well so hopefully Mario will be back fighting fit before too long.IMG_0829DSC00338


A ‘Wheely’ good day out – Wheels Day 2014

ssr posterGood Friday traditionally means a trip to Wheels Day. Organised by the Surrey Street Rodders this show has been going locally in various venues for 40 years and these days incorporates everything from the original Hot Rods and custom cars to American, Classics, Sports, trucks, buses, bikes and to be honest quite a few dreadful vehicles which shouldn’t be allowed near a show!

Mario has been attending regularly since we have had him and as always is very popular, his cuteness, shape and colour scheme seems to bridge the gap between the various genres and appeal to everybody. This year for the first time the event was held at Dunsfold  Aerodrome, home of ‘Top Gear’. It’s a good location for us as it’s nearer and a lovely cross country drive which brings us in on the southside which seemed much less crowded. We arrived around 10am and drove straight in but the good weather and the 40th anniversary had brought cars out in droves and we spent some time being parked up!

The rest of this post will be a series of pictures of things that caught our eye. Over the years we have witnessed the changing fashions in hot rods and customs, the current style seems to be what I’d call ‘Sheddy’.  Stuff made to look (in most cases) in an unrestored condition with ‘rust’ and bare metal showing. Lots of the cars are ‘slammed’ and ‘chopped’ e.g. the suspension when stationery lowers the car so the sills are barely above the ground and the roof line is lowered so the windows are long and thin. The immaculate and heavily painted, flamed and chromed cars of previous years are quite few and far between these days with a much smoother and simpler single colour look being dominant.

Mario was again used to advertise our forthcoming car show.DSC07979 An immaculate classic –  4.0R Vanden PlasDSC07983

1950’s Plymouth Station WagonDSC07984 A really cool Batman ice cream/snack wagon, think it was based on a Mark 3 Escort, love the glass bubble in the top so the vendor can stand upright!DSC07987 Allegro Police Car – bit worried about James’ growing love for 70’s and 80’s ‘shitters’ the thing is they were pretty unloved at the time and hence very few have survived making them rare and quite ‘desirable’ these days!! We will not be adding any to the family though.DSC07991 A ‘sheddy’ slammed Citroen Dyane, big wheels and big engineDSC07992 We bumped into a guy we hadn’t seen for years. Thirty odd years ago we were all in the venture scouts together and Geoff sold James his first ‘classic’ a Ford Cortina Mark II 1500GT complete with a roll back roof and a fur fabric headlining. Geoff was showing off his recently finished project another GT Cortina. Absolutely immaculate the new white paintwork was dazzling.DSC07997DSC08000DSC07998 This Mini had a very original bonnet – copies of the Beano.DSC08006 I loved this bus, afraid I know nothing about it other than it had been converted into a motorhome, and it had a fantastic New York Liberty Tours paint jobDSC08008 DSC08010 Now this is the car that really took our eye, think it would make a stunning BIG brother for Mario, although I’d never be able to park it! It’s a Hudson Hornet and it was for Sale… if we win the lottery tonight! The second one parked behind is in race spec and has competed at Goodwood.DSC08018 DSC08022 DSC08024 This Mercury was amazing, subtle in two-tone cream and white with great lines, room for all your friends too.DSC08027 DSC08028 DSC08030 Probably the rarest car at the show – A Mazda MX4 twin rotor wankel engine and again totally immaculate.DSC08031 DSC08033 Another Hudson, maybe this colour scheme would fit in better with the ‘family’. The interior was blue and black zebra fur!DSC08040 Simca 1100, the engine is fitted with ‘twin webers’ in a better conditions than it would have been new inside and out.DSC08041 DSC08043 Classic CapriDSC08044 DSC08045 Chevy Bell-Air. Station Wagon’s are increasingly popularDSC08048 On the way home we stopped to take a few new pictures of Mario.DSC08065 DSC08073Happy Easter Love Mario xx

A motoring Easter…

Good Friday was dry but very cold so we decided to leave Mario at home and popped over to the Surrey Street Rodders Wheels Day at Rushmoor Arena. This event is mainly for custom and American cars but there is always a good collection of classics there too. We used it as a good opportunity to invite cars to our forthcoming Haslemere Classic Car Show. While not as many vehicles as previous years there was a very good turnout and a few gems.

DSC07876 The fashion seems to be for vehicles which sit on the ground!DSC07878 DSC07885 This narrowed bus was pretty cool.DSC07886 DSC07887 James rather fancied this roof rack for Mario, it was a perfect size but don’t think it would have carried very much.DSC07901But Mario did get a gift, we found this rather fetching suitcase, unused from the sixties and a rather good colour match, will be very useful for the Goodwood Revival.DSC08077 Easter Monday brought another motoring event the annual GRRC Sprint at the Goodwood Motor Circuit. A bright day but still very cold and the wind was howling through the chicane. We had gone to see our friend Christopher compete in his D-type replica but unfortunately there was a problem on his first practice run so he took it home and got his Mark I Jag instead but this too had a problem when the wheel splines stripped and lost a wheel. Both ‘disasters’ happened when the second driver was at the wheel but Christopher was just relieved that no one was hurt and he was awarded the ‘spirit of the Sprint’, he also managed to get the car home with a borrowed spinner and the spare wheel.

This Cunningham C4 recreation was sold by James several years ago as a project and now looks the part on the track, it will be at the Revival in September and it’s owner was delighted that it was faster than one of the GT40’s!DSC07999 DSC08000 DSC08007 DSC08013 DSC08027 TV Chef James Martin was competing in his new Mini – a good practice for the Mini race at this years Revival.DSC08035 DSC08043 DSC08049 DSC08055So a good if chilly weekend, finally today it is looking a little more Spring like so hopefully Mario will be venturing out soon, those days at the seaside are in sight.


Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

At last the sun had come out so Mario set off on Sunday to Hayling Island for the Victory Wheelers custom car show. Held in a carpark by the funfair and right by the beach meant the cars had a lovely backdrop. Supposed to be a custom/American show Mario was let in as he was ‘interesting’.

We were a bit late getting to Hayling and saw a number of interesting vehicles coming the other way, possibly leaving early as although it was sunny there was a rather fierce wind blowing off the sea. There was still a reasonable crowd there including a very rare Simca Aronde Plein Ciel, the only known example in the UK we have known and loved this car for a long time and were pleased to see it back on the road after an eight year lay up.

After a stop off for chips and ice cream – well you can’t go to the seaside without having them, we had a great drive back through the country lanes, all as pretty as a picture in the much needed sunshine.