Perfect holiday car…

Mario has been having a well deserved rest after the Revival (the Goodwood blog will be here soon promise!), the humans needed a break too and so they set off in ‘Regie’ the Renault 4cv for a week in Cornwall. While it would be fun to take Mario away, Regie is far more practical as a holiday car, the Dauphine Gordini engine and 4 speed box means that we can keep up safely with everyday traffic, get from A to B in pretty good time, especially if taking the most direct route, it’s comfortable and of course if the weather is good the roof comes down!

We managed to get from home to Polperro a journey of over 200 miles in pretty good time with a stop-off for a ‘cuppa’ part way with the roof down the whole way. Polperro is a very old fishing village with very tiny lanes and you have to park in the main carpark 1km away and get a quad bike and trailer to take your luggage to our cottage – Jane got a lift on the back which brought a smile to her face. We soon settled in to the lovely Pier Inn Studio which was right on the harbour with a balcony over the water.

IMG_0974DSC05108 We spent the week driving around, in St Mawes we found this lovely old garage, loved the AA signpost with london at 263 and a quarter miles to London.DSC05143 DSC05145 In Charlestown they were filming the second season of Poldark – the lovely old harbour was set dressed and looked period perfect but they didn’t want a 1958 car in shot!DSC05160 DSC05165DSC05451 The Cornish lanes are a maze of tiny unmarked roads, we kept seeing these lovely old mile posts… we weren’t lost – honest.DSC05189 We met a supermarket delivery man just up here, he was persuaded that as we hadn’t seen a passing place for over a mile that he should reverse!DSC05191 DSC05201 This is on the main bus route… at least you get a good view.DSC05209 DSC05211 We took several ferries as they can save miles of driving round the inlets, this is the biggest (and cheapest) from Torpoint to Plymouth. One of the others gave us a free trip as we were in such a nice car.DSC05232 Many of the small lanes have grass and vegetation up the middle.DSC05388

DSC05492 DSC05503 This was one of the smallest with a 6 foot width restrictor at the start.DSC05505In Fowey we saw a lovely old sailing ship and a little steam boat – it was just setting off on it’s last journey after 40 years of trips up the river.DSC05662 DSC05666 DSC05687 DSC05688 DSC05696 Two huge tractors are not what you want to meet in a Cornish Lane.DSC05700 regime loved parking by the sea – here on the harbour wall in Mevigessy – and he caused great interest wherever we went.DSC05763 It was unfortunately soon time to leave and James had decided that Regie was small enough to drive down to the cottage to pack up.DSC05810 DSC05818 DSC05822 We went home via some friends in North Devon/Somerset and came across a small Steam festival.DSC05884 DSC05890 The drive over Exmoor along the North Coast was spectacular and the weather was fantastic, beautiful roads around Porlock where the famous Hillclimb is situated, several roads had inclines of 25% some of the steepest in the country but Regie managed pretty well, we were very glad we weren’t in Mario who doesn’t like hills!DSC05904 We finished the holiday with a trip to Banksy’s Dismaland at Weston-Super-Mare, a bemusement park.DSC05940 And we had a good trip back with the roof off in the sunshine.DSC06079

A classic holiday…

For a number of reasons we haven’t had a ‘proper’ holiday for a while and so we decided (rather last minute) to relive our childhoods and have a week in Looe in South East Cornwall where we had both spent fun holidays in the distant past. Of course, classic holidays require Classic transport and so set off at the end of August in ‘Regie’ the 1958 Renault 4cv convertible.DSC05033

Regie is pretty good at holidays and previously we have taken him all over Europe, for a small car he’s pretty spacious and with only two of us there is the back seat as well as under the bonnet so carrying luggage isn’t an issue. The car has been upgraded to a Dauphine Gordini engine and ‘box giving us 4 forward gears and 850cc (50hp at the wheels) in a very light vehicle so we can cruise at a sensible speed and keep up with modern traffic. Of course the important thing for holidays is that Regie is a ‘decoverable’ as the French would say – it has side windows but the whole roof is soft top and folds right back giving all the benefits of a convertible but also a lot of protection from the wind. You also get a good view.

It’s around 210 miles from our home in Surrey to Looe and we set off on a Saturday lunchtime and took the more ‘country’ A30 route – Winchester, Salisbury, Shaftsbury, Sherbourne, Crewkerne, Exeter and then the A38 via Plymouth to Looe. With a couple of stops and a good run we arrived by teatime.

We had booked an apartment high on the cliff at Hannofore point which had a fantastic view but the choice of location was down to the property having parking, Regie ended up with an even better lookout with the parking space being 57 steps up behind the property.DSC05208Regie behaved perfectly all week, going up and down the steep winding Cornish Hills and his small size made him perfect for the tiny high banked lanes and the even smaller roads through Cornish towns and villages. We attracted attention wherever we went with lots of scratching of heads and questioning ‘what is it’. Being small and cute we could park in places others couldn’t and Regie was left in prime spots on the Quay on several occasions.DSC05540DSC05044DSC05817DSC05912DSC05775DSC05502DSC05518DSC05521DSC05522DSC05885DSC05909We went on adventures everyday and visited loads of places – Polperro, Fowey, Padstow, St Michaels Mount, St Ives, Plymouth often travelling across country on the the very tiny rural roads, you get a chance to see unusual things and the time difference isn’t that different from the main route. We came across this really low bridge…

DSC05067 DSC05071 Went for a ride on a steam train, which scarily was rather like the carriages we used to commute to London in…DSC05158We only had one damp day but did go up onto Dartmoor (to see the Prison Museum) where it was rather murky, it was the only time we had the roof up all week.
DSC05413 DSC05417 Went on the ferry across to Fowey, which had a much better view than the Torpoint Ferry to Plymouth where we were very hemmed in by large vehicles… DSC05449 DSC05450 DSC05451 DSC05453IMG_0572 Over to St Michaels Mount, Regie was left on dry land and we walked over the causeway at low tide, we saw this great amphibious vehicle but you certainly wouldn’t want to buy a second hand vehicle which had been used on the island, we saw a 5 year old land rover which was really rusty!DSC05462 DSC05469 DSC05480We had a fantastic week which proves it’s not always a bad thing to go back to somewhere you have good childhood memories off. The great weather certainly helped and going just after the summer rush meant that places were relatively quiet. Unfortunately we didn’t see very many classic cars and there doesn’t seem to be any sort of motor museum in Cornwall. We came back along the A303 past Stonehenge which is a much faster road although it can get very busy and Regie just purred along happily, he really is a perfect holiday car.DSC05956So we got back safe and sound and although sad to leave our glorious view and end our holiday we have the Goodwood Revival to look forward to this coming weekend where Regie and Mario will be in their normal role as part of the period taxi fleet driving ViP’s and drivers around the estate. We will hopefully be blogging as we go, so keep checking back. Now I must dash and finish off this years special ‘Mario’ dress, here’s a sneak peak at the material…IMG_1230