As we are so behind, here is the first part of a brief catch up of what we got up to classic motoring in 2019.
The Haslemere Classic Car Show
After the Goodwood Members Meeting it was all go organising the car show we hold in our local town. We have been running this in our community for 11 years (we are currently underway with the 12th). We have around 250 cars attend of which nearly a hundred do a 60 mile tour in the morning in our beautiful local countryside. Mario of course is in attendance, he is in fact extremely useful in transporting stuff to and from the show, including ‘Houndtooth’ our Haslemere Hound, for the discerning Gentleman driver which the humans painted as part of a community arts project.
London to Lisbon
James went off navigating on Hero’s London to Lisbon Rally in a Fiat 2300. This event starts fairly near us at Brooklands and so Jane has an opportunity to go to start and a couple of the stops on the first day before the competitors get the overnight ferry.
The Wander – Jane’s first go at navigating a ‘proper’ event
Organised by some of James’ rally chums this is a fun one day event from Petersfield to Devizes, the long way with some fairly hard challenges along the route. This was my first time at managing maps and clocks but a good time was had and I didn’t make an idiot of herself. While it would have been lovely for Mario to have made his debut it was decided that he was probably a bit slow to keep up and so ‘brother’ Regie was drafted in for the day. Great fun was had, James didn’t get cross, I didn’t cry and Regie run perfectly! We look forward to taking part again.
Part 2 at the Festival of Speed to follow shortly…
In the last post we told you about how we restored Mario’s brother Regie the 4cv. Well two years after in 1996, the Renault 4cv as a model celebrated it’s 50th anniversary and of course Regie and the humans wanted to join in!
The event was being held at Renault’s Test Track, the Centre Technique et d’Essais Renault at Aubevoye, France, so we set off via a Portsmouth to Le Havre ferry, followed by a fairly short drive to the venue which was about half way between Rouen and Paris and a night in a nearby hotel. The next morning as we approached the event we saw 4cv’s going in all directions, now bearing in mind we had only ever seen one 4cv before this, it was quite extraordinary. We stopped for fuel and there were three other 4cv’s filling up! As far as I can remember there were nearly 500 at the celebration and they had come from all over Europe, we felt very sorry for the Swiss car which arrived with a very large dent in the front having run up the back of another 4cv on the way to the event. Unfortunately it was rather wet but that didn’t diminish the sight of 4cv’s stretching into the distance along the test track. Renault were superb hosts and provided food and drink for the whole weekend, the whole event including accommodation was a really reasonable cost too. In Europe and especially France the car manufacturers seem to support the classic car movement much more than they do here.
There was an exhibition in a marquee with some great historical documents and some display cars including some of the special bodied versions and a very early Alpine which was built on a 4cv. Many of the cars had interesting trailers and luggage racks, probably a necessity for travelling a long way in the small car. Regie got a lot of attention and it was interesting seeing him with an original factory convertible. There were all sorts of modified versions on display as well. The weekend included runs out, entertainment from a display team of modern Renaults, auto jumble and a Concours de Elegance competition. In France there is none of this British nonsense of shiny stuff and having the screws aligned, the whole thing is much more fun and involves people dressing up and doing little set pieces to an audience of judges who award marks. It could be as simple as a Gentleman opening the door for his lady but some entrants went completely to town and there was a car which appeared to drive itself and several children with matching toy cars which was a guaranteed extra 10 points!
We had met a delightful family in another convertible, Jean-Pierre and Jeanie Vincent with their children Remy and Sydney. They were from America but at the time were living in Switzerland and had acquired the 4cv (they took it back to the States when they returned). They were great fun and we all got on very well, they looked fabulous and won the competition to our delight – I think a combination of a convertible car and two cute kids was just too much for the judges!
In the evening we went to a local sports hall for the Gala Dinner. Armed guards protected the cars while we had a superb 6 course meal with champagne and wines before an awards presentation. Bearing in mind this was 18 years ago, drink drive laws in France weren’t that strict but we were very aware of how much alcohol was being offered and how much the French in particular were consuming and we were being very careful knowing we had to drive back to the hotel later. When we came to leave we discovered that there was a Police escort ready to lead nearly 500 4cv’s with their owners back to their hotels! It wouldn’t happen now and it certainly wouldn’t have happened in the UK but everybody had had a good time and everybody and every car got back safely.Before we left to go home all the cars were lined up around the track for a photo opportunity.All in all it was a fabulous weekend, brilliantly organised with typical French hospitality and we were already looking forward to the next one…