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.

The busiest day of the year…

May is always a very busy time for us as we organise the Haslemere Classic Car Show and tour in our town. 2016 was the eighth year we have run the show although it has grown considerably over the years. We launch the event in late Jan/early Feb depending how good we have been about getting our annual business accounts done! Luckily as the day is so popular we don’t have to do too much to promote it. We are limited in space by the size of the Green and this year for the first time we were full with advance bookings and even had a waiting list for the morning tour.

There is a lot of organising to do in 4 months, booking in all the cars, sorting the stalls and food, producing a lucky programme, advertising, posters etc plus a FaceBook campaign and local press to let the public know about the event. People come from all around the area and this year we had several entries from further afield.

After a busy week of final preparations we spent the Saturday morning, marking out the Green with a cricket pitch marker to a very detailed plan we had drawn to scale. This was important as we had limited space and we needed to use it effectively. A friend of ours used a drone before and after the show so we could see how well our plan worked. It would have been very successful apart from the St. Johns Ambulance parking in the wrong place and blocking the carefully planned access road, which we didn’t notice until it was too late!IMG_1181DCIM100MEDIADJI_0073.JPGHomemade bunting using previous years rally platesK_100218After years of going to car shows ourselves, we have tried to make the HCCS the show we would like to go to. We like to drive our cars and so in the morning we organise a ‘tour’. Nearly 100 cars met on the Green for breakfast before departing on a 60 mile round trip through the beautiful local countryside of the South Downs National Park with a refreshment stop at the Goodwood Motor Circuit. We still managed to find some new roads that even the ‘locals’ hadn’t been down before.

DSC09189DSC09198IMG_0696IMG_0739K_100140K_100092K_100072K_100067IMG_0817IMG_0750The cars arrived back to meet up with the show cars and all parked up on the green to make a great display. The show is just an afternoon rather than an whole day and so people don’t get bored and the majority of the entrants stay for the duration.

Around the Green we have 50 or so quality stalls, selling crafts, local produce, vintage and classic car related products, together with a varied selection of hot and cold food, bar, cream teas, charities and local organisations. The Georges Regis Jazz Band entertains the crowds and there are amusements for the kids.

We hold a couple of competitions, the People’s Choice where the public vote for the car they would most like to take home and the Best Dressed Car and Driver, judged by James and show supporter Adrian from Keats Estate Agents. We also organise a ‘Bake-off’ competition for cakes that look good and taste good for adults and kids.

Yet again we were lucky and it was a glorious sunny day, the Green was bursting with fabulous cars, both the immaculate and the well loved. Mario was obviously on display. The whole day seemed to go very well with everybody enjoying themselves and we had lots of lovely comments. It’s just a shame that the day goes so quickly and we don’t really have the time to see everything and talk to everybody properly.

Organising the day just take a lot of hard work and effort which is all done voluntarily and in our ‘spare’ time but it is nice to give something back to your community and although we always go through a few moments of ‘I’m never doing this again’ we are already talking about how to improve things on 2017!

Mario chills in the sunshine with his friend BellaDSC_0005Three stunning cars from a local private collection caused great excitement. Lamborghini Miura, Lagonda Le Mans and Gullwing Mercedes.DSC_0007 Best dressed Car and Driver Winner Lisa Costello. Lisa only finished restoring this lovely Isetta 2 weeks before the show and a day before she used it to drive to her wedding!DSC_0012DSC09336DSC09340 Runner-up, Best Dressed – Richard Bourne from London in his immaculate 1965 Jaguar E-type Series 1 RoadsterDSC09393 This immaculate 1972 Ford Capri (my Dad had one just like it) owned by Gary Bartlett from Winchester won the People’s ChoiceDSC09426 Runners-up – Dean Lucas from Haslemere in his 1965 MGB and Bob Marchant from Brighton in his 1967 Austin A35 Police Van DSC09325 DSC09423IMG_3922 Busy stallsDSC09223 DSC09229 DSC09239 Town Crier Christian Ashdown was a Bake-off JudgeDSC09244 DSC09284 DSC09212DSC09288 Winners of the Bake-off, Mother and Daughter effort from Debbie and Kate ValentineDSC09298 Best dressed car and driver entrantsDSC09317 DSC09322DSC09344 DSC09348DSC09354 DSC09359 DSC09365 DSC09368 DSC09370 DSC09374 DSC09381 DSC09384DSC09406 Bright and colourful showDSC09351 DSC09195 IMG_3917 IMG_3919IMG_3938Time to go home…DSC09429

 

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

Motoring for the Museum

MM-logo1-screenFollowing on from the Haslemere Classic Car Show we have just organised a new one-off event – Motoring for the Museum – a fundraiser for the Haslemere Educational Museum. The independent museum has been in Haslemere for over 125 years, we can remember visiting it as children and you can still see the bear and the Mummy with it’s toes sticking out today. It’s a fabulous local institution and has won several awards. The ‘Museum in a Million’ appeal is raising over a Million pounds to set up an endowment fund that will enable the museum to meet the day-to-day running costs of the Museum and safeguard the Museum for future generations.2015-07-05 09.39.102015-07-05 09.56.03

We ran the day along the lines of the popular ‘tour’ at the car show but opened it up to classics and thoroughbreds and so introduced newer cars. The cars met at 9.30 in a local carpark, the 1268 (Haslemere) Squadron Air Cadets helped with the parking and everybody wandered over to the museum to sign on and enjoy a simple breakfast of pastries and coffee while meeting their fellow entrants and have an opportunity to look round the Museum galleries and collections.

At 10.30 the cars started to leave on the outbound leg of the tour. Navigated by tulips, pictorial representations of the route, first used on Dutch rallies in the 1950’s, James had devised an interesting route of around 37 miles, mainly on smaller roads, some of which we’d never been on before! The route went from Haslemere to Lickfold, Fernhurst, Milland, Rake, Greatham, Oakhanger, Binsted and Frensham before finishing at Churt where we had been given access to a private car collection. 

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The Lewis’ have a spectacular collection of cars and automobilia and very generously offered it to us to help the Museum. The entrants were able to spend a couple of hours looking around the unique exhibits and picnicking in the adjoining field.DSC02952DSC_0362 DSC02980 DSC02987 DSC03011 DSC03014 DSC03022 DSC03010 DSC03009 DSC03004 DSC03000

After lunch the cars left the collection for another tour, a little shorter at just under 25 miles to wind their way back to Haslemere via Elstead, Puttenham, Compton, Hydestile, Brook and Grayswood. To finish the afternoon we held a BBQ in the grounds of the Museum.DSC_0399 DSC_0402 DSC_0413 DSC_0418 DSC_0423 DSC03054 DSC03062 DSC03067 DSC03077DSC03099IMG_3373

We had a great collection of vehicles on the event from the 1920’s up to 2015! They were an eclectic mix of vintage, sportscars and everyday classics, mixing with modern supercars. Alongside the more popular MGB’s and Triumphs were a Hadfield-Bean, Aston Martin DB5, Alfa Romeo Montreal and a team of Jenson Interceptors.DSC03079 (1)

Mario was obviously very pleased to help out on the day and after we had signed everybody on and distributed the route and information, we set off to leapfrog the route and take pictures in the very beautiful village of Binsted. We created a lot of attention with the villagers coming out to see what was going on. We had unknowingly clashed with a cycling event and we really confused them as they thought we were there to take photos of them! Several of the cyclists stopped to have a good look at Mario. We then followed the last part of the morning route to the private collection before a quick dash back to Haslemere to take pics of the entrants coming past the museum. Mario was in fine form following his recent ‘repairs’ and the handling was much improved as he flew along the lanes.DSC02946The day was a great success, everybody seemed to enjoy driving their cars and we raised in excess of £2500 for the museum. Keats, a local independent estate agents very generously sponsored the event and paid the majority of our costs and they joined in the fun, bringing a VW camper on the event.

There are loads of photos of the day online

We’ve been organising a Classic Car Show…

Apologises as we haven’t posted for a few weeks but it’s been ‘action stations’ here with the Haslemere Classic Car Show and Tour which we run in our town. It’s the seventh year and it’s grown, from sourcing 50 cars to display at a Donkey Derby to a very popular event which fills the local green and is an important date in the town’s social calendar.DSC01480

We run the day in two parts, a morning tour, when nearly 100 cars meet for breakfast before going off on a route of around 55 miles, through beautiful local countryside, with a refreshment stop halfway – this year at Lasham Gliding Club. The second part is a static classic car show in the afternoon, this has 200 or so pre-75 classics parked on the green, surrounded by stalls selling local produce and crafts, vintage and car related goods, alongside traditional entertainment, jazz, WI cream teas, hot food and a bar. Plus we have competitions for the best dressed car and driver and the ‘People’s Choice’ for the car you’d most like to take home. Not forgetting our HCCS Bake-off cake competition.

This year was our busiest yet with thousands of people out enjoying the wonderful display in the late May sunshine. It’s an awful lot of work to put on but worth it when we get great comments from people about what a good and well organised show it is.

Mario was of course in attendance… just, he had his MoT two days after the show, James had a little bit of work to do on the front suspension but he’s now fighting fit and looking forward to getting out and about during the summer. Cynthia came along as well and the pair, as always received lots of attention, I even had a go at riding Cynthia in a period frock and shoes, a fairly successful outcome so we might have to consider taking her along to the Revival this year. They even made the local paper.IMG_0889

We have already started looking forward to the HCCS 2016, thinking of ways to keep it getting better and we are also organising another tour in July to raise funds for the local Haslemere Education Museum so it’s still all go here! To follow a pictorial diary of the day…DSC01384 DSC01407 DSC01425K7012332K7012348K7012368K7012384K7012402K7012409IMG_6015 IMG_6039 IMG_6081 IMG_6106 IMG_6123 IMG_6163K7012423K7012459K7012481K7012493K7012505DSC01473

Photo James Lynch... James took some great pics on the tour

Photo James Lynch… James took some great pics on the tour

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Lovely day for a test drive…

Sunday was a lovely sunny day and was a perfect opportunity to take Mario out and check that the ‘operation‘ had been successful. It was also the Victory Wheelers, 10th anniversary Hayling Reunion at the Funland Amusement Park.HR2015-1We had been to this fun show, located right on the beach before and with some friends intending to go too, it seemed an ideal test run for Mario. We set off on a lovely cross country route via Harting – the route out of Harting over the downs used to be used for a hillclimb competition from 1905 till 1924, it’s pretty steep but Mario seemed to make quite easy work of it. We carried on past Stanstead Park into Havant and on to Hayling Island and Mario was performing well, you didn’t feel you had your foot pushed to the floor with nothing happening as it had been before the head gasket was sorted.IMG_6105 IMG_6107 Just as we reach the Island though, Mario seemed to be reving as I was braking, initially I thought I’d caught my foot on the accelerator but then I lifted all my feet off the pedals and we were still moving forward at speed – interesting in traffic! The accelerator was obviously sticking and it was at the engine end, rather than the pedal. We had to stop for a little fettling and it seemed ok, hopefully it had just been disturbed during the recent work but James will have a further look once we are back in the workshop. We carried on and arrived at the Beach which was heaving with hot rods and customs, we couldn’t get into the main display area or the reserve carpark, so we had to park further along the beach.

In the main show area there was a great display of cars, mainly Hot Rods and American, they looked great against the backdrop of the fairground rides. It might be the last time for this sight, as apparently, the fair is going to close and the land used for flats.DSC01059 DSC01060 DSC01063 DSC01064 DSC01068 DSC01069 DSC01070 DSC01071 We took the opportunity to promote our car show putting fliers on the cars.DSC01075 The ‘humans’ then decided it was lunchtime so we all piled into Mario and went to the western end of the beach for fish and chips in the Coastguard Cafe, followed up by ice creams from Pipperellis. Our friends Nikki and Keith had never been for a ride in Mario and they loved it, although Keith, sitting in the front said he had never sat so close to the road in a car before!DSC01080 DSC01082 DSC01083 DSC01084 DSC01085After lunch we set off for a slightly different cross country route back along picturesque lanes where there were masses of bluebells and wild garlic growing. We stopped off to take some pictures, obviously Mario wanted to join in…DSC01089 DSC01137 DSC01140 DSC01151 DSC01161

 

Best laid plans…

…Last weekend we had planned to take Mario to Goodwood breakfast Club and a small car show but it wasn’t to be.

Mario has been poorly since his overexertions at the last Revival. After his last run at Easter ‘Doctor’ James had diagnosed the problem, and after some research we ordered the new parts – a water pump and Head Gasket from a company in Holland. The delivery was expected before the weekend so Mario was taken apart last Thursday and with due efficiency the package arrived on Friday lunchtime. The plan was to fit the new parts on Saturday so we could take Mario to Breakfast Club at Goodwood on Sunday and a small car show on Bank Holiday Monday…DSC06406 IMG_0857James worked on Mario, all day on Saturday, the water pump fitted just fine but once the head and block was cleaned it revealed that when Mario had got hot, the head had distorted slightly and left an area that water would still seep from and so the head would need skimming. Not a major disaster but a set back, as James’ mill wasn’t large enough to do the job and being a bank holiday weekend we wouldn’t be able to get it done elsewhere until after the weekend, hence the change of plans.

The head before cleaningIMG_0860 Block before cleaningIMG_0861 Cleaned head, you can see the damage bottom rightIMG_0862 New gasketIMG_0863

Breakfast Club was ‘Supercar Sunday’ not a favourite of ours by any means as modern ‘supercars’ really don’t do much for us, Mario hadn’t got a entry pass anyway (can’t understand why as he’s a super little car!) so our main reason for attending was to promote the Haslemere Classic Car Show which we organise. However the forecast was terrible and for once accurate, and Sunday morning was very wet and grey. The posters and fliers, we were hoping to hand out would have got very soggy, so we decided not to go! From Goodwoods pictures it looked like quite a lot of people and cars did brave the horrible conditions and cars such as La Ferrari and the Lamborghini Miura were among the exotica on display. (photo’s from Goodwood forum). From social media after the event it certainly looked as though one Supercar driver didn’t enjoy his day, with pictures posted of a new McLaren in the undergrowth! The drivers over enthusiasm or is there an issue with the McLaren – there have been several reported incidents of them leaving the road without any other vehicles being involved?Goodwood-1 Goodwood-2 Goodwood-3 Goodwood-4Oops

Rather than wasting the day, we took the opportunity of some extra time to continue plotting the route for the Haslemere Show’s tour. 90 pre-75 vehicles are signed up to do a drive of around 55 miles through the beautiful local countryside in the morning before the show. It is difficult to chose the route as we try to find roads we haven’t used before and this is the sixth tour we’ve organised! We also have to find a route that is; interesting; safe – we often find lovely roads but they are too narrow, plus we avoid difficult junctions etc; have a place of interest/refreshments for a halfway stop; the correct distance in a circular route to finish back at the show. We generally go out two or three times trying variations and then have a final run through to make sure all the instructions are clear. The route is written using ‘tulips’ – first used by Dutch rallies in the 1950’s – which are pictorial diagrams showing directions plus written instructions and distances.


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1.Straight on  2.Turn right  3.Second junction at roundabout 4.Turn left at T-juction, pub on left, take next right turn

Example below
1 You have travelled 1.5 miles from previous instruction, 2.5 miles travelled from the start, tulip – straight on past hotel on right
2 Travel another 0.8miles (total 3.3) take a right turn, signposted to Lurgashall Winery, Take Care.
3 Travel another 0.6 miles (total 3.9) Keep left on same road, ignoring a turning on the right.

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The sun came out and the route looked very pretty with lots of wild garlic in bloom and fields of little lambs, hopefully it will be sunny when when run the tour for real in a couple of weeks.

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Monday was a small car show at the Frog and Wicket pub in Eversley near to where our friends live. As we didn’t have Mario to take we just popped over inn the afternoon to see what was going on. The pub was very busy with lots of people enjoying the sunshine and quite a good showing of cars. Our friends had taken their whole collection along to the show – a Daimler, Mini, Jaguar D-type replica and ‘Kato’ the other Subaru 360 which we imported with ‘Nippy’ our 360 and did the Microcar rallies with.DSC01046 DSC01047 DSC01048 DSC01049 DSC01050 DSC01051 DSC01054 DSC01056 DSC01057 DSC01058

On Tuesday morning James was back in the workshop and took Mario’s head to the engineering shop to have it skimmed, 6 thousands of an inch being removed. It’s been previously welded up in a couple of the waterways and the passages need opening out again with a mini grinder to increase the water flow. In the evening he put the engine back together again and so far so good it looks like it’s working, although there now seems to be an issue with the electric fuel pump which seems a bit intermittent, so we are going to try using the original mechanical pump which is still in position and just needs plumbing in to see how that works.IMG_6038

A test drive will now be required to see how everything is working. At least it looks like Mario will make it onto Lion Green for the car show on the 24th, it wouldn’t be the same without him being there…

Memories of vehicles from our past…

It’s been a while since we blogged but it’s a bit of a quiet time car wise, Mario is safely tucked away from the inclement weather and the new season’s events still seem a while away (although it is less 5 weeks to the Goodwood 73rd Members Meeting). Plus we have had most of our spare time taken up with organising the Haslemere Classic Car Show & Tour!

However while looking through some old photo’s I got to thinking about the cars from our past…

As a child my father was car-mad following formula one and rallying but with his own transport had rather dubious taste. He has been a ‘Ford’ man for his entire driving life (and while we’re about it always used Michelin Tyres and Shell Fuel) starting with a Ford Prefect before I was born. After I arrived he moved on to a Ford Anglia, this was crashed into and rolled when I was a baby – asleep in the back, I was handed out through the broken rear window into the arms of a passing woman who nearly dropped me as she thought I was dead! In fact I slept through the whole experience and have just a fleeting memory of a Doctor telling my Mother to keep me awake in the hospital. The Anglia was brought back from the insurance company and repaired but my Mum never liked it again and so it was passed on to my paternal Grandparents who kept it for years and I enjoyed many happy days out in the back.

My Dad progressed through a series of Fords – White Cortinas which I remember on holidays in Cornwall and the endless telling-off’s for filling them with sand and wildlife! He progressed to an Escort Ghia, pictured here in Wales in 1978 with a ‘glamorous’ 15 year old model. In a very 70’s bronze with a black vinyl roof, the personal numberplate came from the previous owner believed to be the actor Terence Rattigan.scan101Dad went on to have a Mid-life Crisis and owned a bright red Ford Capri before settling down to more mundane Orion (which was Stolen) and a Focus. With this rather restricted experience of cars one could wonder how my own love of cars developed but my Mother and maternal Grandfather, who lived with us, more than made up for Dad.

Grandad, who I adored had a very varied selection of what now would be considered ‘desirable’ everyday classics, a Wolsley, Morris Minor, Triumph Dolomite, a gorgeous primrose Yellow Triumph Herald, an Allegro, a Peugeot 104 and a Triumph 1300, which the steering wheel came off while driving down the A3!

My mother who, while I was small, transported me around on the back of her bicycle upgraded to an A30 when I started school, I have very fond memories of piling in the back with, what was probably an illegal number of friends and setting off for days at the seaside, having to park on the flat as the handbrake wasn’t very good. I also recall waking up one morning to find the A30 up on bricks as the wheels had been stolen, and no my parents lived in a ‘good area’. The A30 was upgraded to a white Mini Countryman ‘Snow White’ – room for more kids in the back and then an Anglia Estate, as we got bigger.

By the time I reached 17 I was desperate to learn to drive, I’d already been taught the basics on the old army camp up the road and on the morning of my 17th birthday proudly set off with my Mum in our Fiat 850 – called Tetley as it had 1000 little perforations, if you are old enough you will understand!old-scans085Poor Tetley’s perforations got the better of her and she didn’t last long and I took my test in a Ford Escort 1300GT, the shame of a two Ford family. By this time James and I were an item, he’d been car obsessed since he was born, amazing as his family only saw cars as transport and had to buy a Ladybird book to keep up with his interest. He started big with a Maserati 250F..IMG_4891…but by the time we were dating has ‘progressed to a Gilera Motorbike, this was incredibly noisy and I could hear him arriving from a mile away!IMG_1389

We both had a love of cars and used to visit shows and events. James’ first car was a Mini, this was followed up by an Avenger which he wrote off and a Ford Cortina with a Webasto sunroof and a brown fur interior – you would have thought this would have put me off but it was the early 80’s!

The roll call continued with a Fiesta and then a Renault 5 Gordini, this was a lovely car, fast – I drove at over 100mph for the first time! We took it on holiday to Europe.

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The Gordini was sold to fund the purchase of his first real classic, a 1961 3.8 Mark 2 Jaguar. Again we took it all over the place to lots of shows and it was a lovely car, although it did catch fire once on Hindhead Hill! Pre-mobile by the time somebody had driven to call the fire brigade James had put it out with a blanket, I of course was paranoid that it would blow up like all the cars in the Movies. The Jag was used as a wedding car for our oldest friends wedding in 1988, James as Best Man had to be at the church so he had to intrust the job of driving the bride to church to my Dad, I don’t know who was most relieved to see the car show up James or the groom!scan099

James continued with more Mini’s, some for the road and some for Racing and Sprinting and a 1275GT, rolled by his cousin on one memorable boxing day when they popped out for a ‘quick spin’ returning about three hours later on a tow truck. Plus of course he had numerous cars for rallying which I wrote about in the last post and another bike – a Triumph Bonneville.scan095Scan 13 Scan 19

When I was at college James brought me my first classic a 1950’s Austin A35 in Speedwell Blue, I loved it and we went all over the place on A35 club events. On the way back from Longleat we had severe overheating problems and the head gasket had failed, this resulted in us taking the car to Kent to use a friends garage and completely overhauling the engine. This was my introduction to being ‘Mechanics Mate’, being given all the dirty jobs and I still wasn’t put off.old-scans038old-scans190 scan090 scan091 scan092 scan093old-scans047-mid80s scan094I loved the A35 and it was great fun, however I eventually was given a company car and had a new shiny Peugeot 205. This was the first of a series of small Peugeots and I still have a, now rather old, 206GTI as an everyday car today.scan096The convenience of a new car and with our time taken up with houses and jobs the poor A35 was left at my parents and needed rather a lot of work to get it back up to scratch. So in 1994 when we decided to buy Regie a Renault 4CV convertible from the South of France we popped the A35 on the trailer and gave it to some friends in St Paul de Vence, it’s probably still in the garage we popped it into 20 years ago.scan097 scan098We took Regie home and restored him as per our previous post, then around 1996 James popped off mysteriously to France and came home with a Citroen H-van or ‘Grumpy’ truck. I’d been coveting one of these for years but it was a complete surprise when he turned up with one off the ferry at 6am. We had great fun with the truck putting upholstered bench seats in the back so large groups of us could go out and picnic at events such as the Goodwood Festival of Speed. We also took the truck on one of the Footman James Retro Runs to Silverstone where we got to do a lap of the track – dressed as french farmers with a Pantomime cow in the back Silverstone had seen nothing like it and we won the C&SC Spirit of the Event award, I believe that the historic lap was captured on video, I’d love to see it if anyone has a copy.retrorun059Unfortunately the Grumpy Truck really needed too much work doing to it and we had neither the time or money so it was used as a ‘shed’ for a number of years until it was eventually sold for spares.

The next classic was  of course Mario followed by Nippy the Subaru 360, both of which are still in the family and have of course Regie and are all here to stay. So who knows what the future will bring, you’ll have to keep reading the blog…
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It all came together in the end… including the sun!

For many months now we’ve been working hard putting together plans for the Haslemere Classic Car Show and now it’s been and gone in the blink of an eye. The show took place last Sunday the 25th May at Lion Green in Haslemere. We were sooooo lucky as in the middle of a rather wet spell we managed to have the only sunny day over the bank holiday weekend.

IMG_0507Mario who has been used regularly over the last few months to promote the show was put on display on the green the day before while we measured and marked out all the pitches for stall holders and cars.

Sunday morning dawned dry and bright and everything was packed into Mario and taken to the Green, where we set up to welcome and register the classics who had signed up to go on the ‘tour’. This drive round the local countryside attracted nearly 90 cars. After arrival the entrants had breakfast and a natter, put on their tour plate and had their first look at the route. This is given as a series of tulip’s – these pictorial instructions are named as they were first used on Dutch rallies in the 50’s.

Layout 1DSC01100By 9.30 the cars were starting to leave on the 60 mile drive. This years route followed a figure of eight, first going East of the town through Hambledon, Dunsfold, Alford and Kirdford before arriving at the picturesque Stag Inn at Balls Cross for a welcome coffee stop. This lovely pub is our ‘regular drinking spot’ and the entrants were warmly welcomed and had another opportunity to swop motoring stories. The route continued to the South through Fittleworth, West Chiltington, Wisbourgh Green and then back via Kirdford again and Northchapel to arrive back on Lion Green for the show.

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Beautiful 1939 Citroen Traction Avant Cabriolet

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I’ve always had a soft spot for Austin A35’s, my first car was one!

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1967 Mini Moke, James restored this a couple of years ago to be used for the owners son’s wedding

DSC01075 DSC01083 DSC01165 DSC01102 DSC01113 DSC01128 The tour first went through the town centre of Haslemere, round the Town Hall, looking rather splendid with it’s recent new roof.DSC08530DSC08522DSC08535DSC08553IMG_4979IMGP5521_edited-1IMGP5594_edited-1

While the tour had been taking place, the Green had been a hive of activity with all the stalls arriving and setting up and the show cars started to arrive and park up. Mario was first in the queue with prime place outside the show HQ tent.

DSC01153 DSC01157DSC08600The whole feel of the day is that of a traditional vintage fete and the stalls we have reflect that, with a mix of art and crafts meet farmers market. We have hot food vendors and the WI serve Cream Teas while the ever popular George Regis Jazz Band entertain the crowds.

Introduced last year was the ‘Bake-Off’ competition and we were totally overwhelmed with the number and quality of the entries from adults and children. The judging panel consisted of Michael Nicholson OBE, ex ITV war correspondent, Haslemere Town Crier, Christian Ashton – who loves cake! and Trevor Cruickshank, award winning cake designer. There was much deliberation and tasting of a lot of cake! The winning adult received a  K-mix mixer from our supporters Kenwood and there were lots of other prizes too.
DSC01188 DSC01197 DSC01207Lots of our stalls sell vintage and retro clothing and homewears.DSC01351 DSC01387 DSC01395The big event of the day is our Best Dressed Car and Driver Competition where entrants are encouraged to dress in period to match their cars. Everybody has a lot of fun and the winner gets tickets for a day at The Goodwood Revival donated by our Vintage Partners – Costume Hire Direct.DSC08611 DSC08618 DSC08621 DSC08633 DSC08635 DSC08638 DSC08654DSC08649After some serious pondering by James and John the decision was made and this years winning combination was Rigby and Charlotte Andrews, dressed as a period Chauffeur and his elegant lady not forgetting Norbert the pug in their Daimler EL24 Light Limousine.DSC01443The other big competition of the day is the ‘People’s Choice’, this allows all the visitors at the show to vote for the car they would most like to take home. This years vote was won for the second year running by Rod Ayres from Walton-on-Thames but this time with a different car – an unrestored Triumph Stag which looked like new. Rod also won a pair of tickets to the Revival from show supporter Walter Heale of Historic Motor Car Storage. Two runners up prizes of Vouchers from American parts supplier Rockauto were awarded to Geoff Moss from Liphook in his newly restored Ford Cortina 1600GT and Mark Burch from Havant in “Hector’ a 13 window deluxe splitscreen VW camper.
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We had a amazing array of cars dating from 1913 up to the 70’s and a great enthusiastic group of people who turn up with them and display them for others to enjoy. Local business’ support us by offering prizes and taking ads in our programme which we sell on the day to raise money for the show. From our point of view the only downside is we really don’t get the time to look at the cars and talk to the wonderful and interesting people who turn up.

Putting on an event like this is a huge amount of work and we always go through spells of ‘never again’ but it is very satisfying to see it all come together and see people from our town and far and wide all enjoying the spectacle. We get some amazing comments from people and that all makes it worthwhile, I’ve no doubt this time next year you will be reading a report on the 2015 Haslemere Classic Car Show!

What is a ‘supercar’?

This morning was the first Goodwood Breakfast Club of 2014. Rather later in the year than previous, due to the 72 members meeting being held in March. The theme was Supercar Sunday, normally one we try to avoid, personally not having much interest in the subject matter and it is always so busy. However this was the only BC before the car show we organise so in the spirit of marketing (handing out leaflets) we decided we’d better make an effort.

Although many of the attendees arrive at ‘stupid O’clock’ in the morning, we left Haslemere at a much more leisurely pace and had a lovely sunny drive over the downs to the Goodwood Motor Circuit. Being a bit later we didn’t have our usual ‘super traffic jam’ behind Mario but we did see several cars making their way back northwards, amazingly between Midhurst and Goodwood we saw 5 Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale’s, so hardly unusual!

DSC08315Although we and many of his fans consider Mario to be a ‘Supercar’, for once we parked in the public car parks, a bit of a shock for Mario but we left him in a very prominent position covered in posters and fliers advertising the forthcoming Haslemere Classic Car Show – if Mario didn’t attract attention, nothing would!

As we said we personally have very little interest in what are loosely described as Supercars, as James put it most of them are ‘footballers daily transport’ and quite of lot of them you’d be as likely to see in Sainsburys than at Breakfast Club! Still we persevered through the crowds of excited eight year boys jumping up and down at shiny red Ferraris and Grey Porsche’s and did spot a few more unusual gems…

With the factory just down the road there was a smattering of Rolls Royce on the grid, personally wouldn’t want one but did like the colour and the numberplate!DSC08317DSC08318 DSC08320 DSC08322 After musing about which car we would take home if we’d won the lottery, we came across this rather spectacular Bristol, the bodywork and interior was spectacular and it was definitely the car I’d have taken home.DSC08323 DSC08324 DSC08326 Parked next to the Bristol was this rather scruffy looking Jaguar, in fact I overheard somebody say ‘it looked like it had been dragged from a lake’, however the paperwork revealed it was actually rather special and was one of the few XJ40’s fitted with a V12 and truly was a super car of it’s time.DSC08329 DSC08332 DSC08333Aston Martin Lagonda – probably the ugliest car of the day although I’m sure it’s owner loves it, a real ‘Marmite’ car with it’s 70’s styling.DSC08334James always get rather annoyed about the number of ‘kit cars’ at Breakfast Club but if you are going to have one it might as well be a rather fun and good looking Vanwall look-alike.DSC08337 Or if I was going to have one – a Porsche Speedster kit, with it’s beautiful almost illustrated cartoon sportscar lines.DSC08341 Or a bright yellow ‘GT40’.DSC08342 Slightly hidden away in the paddock was a lovely Piper, a specialist car built in the 60’s and 70’s. Only around 80 road cars were made.DSC08344 and the 80’s ‘Back to the Future’ DeLoreanDSC08346 On the grid, next door neighbours demonstrated the change in super cars over the years with an Arial Atom parked alongside a Ferrari Daytona.DSC08349 Finally hidden away amongst the bikes parked in the Chicane carpark was the real treat of the day – Gordon Murrays Rocket, an ultra-lightweight, open cockpit roadster powered by a 1-litre motorcycle engine, which has an appearance similar to that of a 60’s era Grand Prix car. Looking like a pure single-seater, it actually could accommodate a passenger in tandem with the driver. This seat was located beneath a removable cover. Only around 50 were ever made and as of the lightest road cars ever conceived, weighing in at under 400kg, at the time of its launch in 1992, it was one of the fastest accelerating cars in the world.

Just maybe lurking in the background away from the crowds we had seen a true super car?DSC08352 DSC08357 DSC08358PS Whatever you think about super cars everybody (us included) seemed to have a good time, other than the poor chap in his Aston Martin DB9 whose emergency anti roll bars seemed to have deployed accidentally through his rear window – oops!

oops