A look back at the Goodwood Revival 2018

Writing the blog unfortunately keeps getting put down the ever growing ‘to do’ list of tasks but finally here is a predominantly photo report on Mario’s favourite weekend of the year – being part of the Goodwood Transport Corps at the Revival. I can’t believe it was four months ago but a cold January day is the perfect time to look back on the wonderful early Autumn sunshine we experienced last September. After the torrential rain of the 2017 Revival, we had perfect conditions.

Mario was packed up with all the kit and we set off for Goodwood. As we turned into the estate, Mario stopped and wouldn’t start again! I couldn’t believe he’d disgraced himself. Luckily Regie and James weren’t far behind and a quick bit of fettling got him back up and running smoothly – phew. We went straight to see the cricket match and flypast before our briefing and sorting our accommodation before supper. Friday dawned with glorious sunshine. No new outfit this year but a few new accessories including these fab 60’s earrings. We were working all afternoon shifts so we were able to have a good look round in the morning. Highlights were cars from the movies, including The Great Escape, Bullet and Le Mans and we saw Howard from Take That who was racing his Porsche! Goodwood were celebrating British Transport and had a real steam train at the entrance with the fabulous GAG (Goodwood Actors Guild) providing the entertaining passengers and crew.Once we were on duty there was no stopping, taking guests back and forwards to the Hotel, Kennels and House. It was a long afternoon as there was the first race of the meeting which ran into the twilight and so we didn’t finish until really late.
The following morning we discovered that in all the panic of the previous evening getting people back after the end of the race, unfortunately one of Mario’s back seats had broken. The seat couldn’t have been properly locked in and so had twisted, pulling out the captive nut. The only thing to do until it could be repaired properly, was to remove the seat, not so much of a problem as we could still take 4 passengers if one sat in the front.
It was good to have the ‘taxi team’ back together. Most people have been doing it for years, so it’s always a reunion of old friends. We transport many familiar faces too, with ‘customers’ coming back year after year. It’s nice to hear people say that we’ve made their weekend.
2018 was a special year as it was the 20th anniversary of the Revival and the GRRC. There were special events held for members over the weekend. The first was a special grid walk at the start of the Rob Walker Parade. A friend and one of James’ customers had his Facel Vega (previously owned by Rob) on the Grid.  Sunday was another beautiful day. We watched the kids get ready for the Settrington Cup, this is always fun and the kids are very determined and competitive.
Not working mornings meant we had a chance to have a good look round the paddocks. There was a tinge of sadness as we had heard the news that Barry ‘Whizzo’ Williams had passed away, he was a big supporter of Goodwood and motorsport in general, at one of the early Revivals James had taken part in a display event on track with Barry.We always have a lot of fun with the Taxi fleet. Up at the house at the fuel and maintenance yard, they had dressed it as ‘Gatwick’ Airport, this is part of a fun competition between the various departments on the estate for a team photo. On Sunday there was a special anniversary parade with winners from over the years of the event. As founder members we were allowed on the grid before the parade, this was very special and the Duke made a speech thanking Members for their support over the years.

All in all, it was one of the best Revivals for a number of years, we did have to work very hard but it is much better in good weather and the shift system allowed us to have time to enjoy the event. We can’t wait to be back in 2019 – Mario already has his contract!


Sun, rain, work, fun and mud… Goodwood Revival 2017

It’s September so it must be the Goodwood Revival. Time for our favourite and busiest weekend of the year.  Mario had been invited back to the taxi rank (our 19th year and Mario’s16th) and with great excitement we’d also been asked to join in the Fiat 500 60th anniversary celebration parade – more of that in the next blog.

We arrived on Thursday afternoon and went to the circuit to sign on for the parade. The drivers club had been transformed into a stretch of the River Thames complete with willow trees and the Richmond Rowing Club. The circuit was very busy with last minute preparations and the Freddy March Spirit of Aviation Party was about to start. We returned to the house for the traditional cricket match and Spitfire display.IMG_1871DSC06739DSC06770DSC06745After getting all our paperwork we settled into our accommodation and then went to the Goodwood Hotel for a lovely supper in the revamped restaurant – Farmer, Butcher, Chef. Using all of the estate’s products the food was superb and the decor interesting, our table was a display case full of agricultural bits and bobs. Fiat 500’s get everywhere, there was one in the hotel lobby! We decided on a relatively early night in preparation for the weekend ahead.IMG_1872IMG_1875Friday morning started rather damply and the day got progressively worse. Even though we were doing the afternoon shift at the taxi rank we were on site early as the Fiat 500 celebration parade was Track Oopening. It was exciting to see the baby Fiats everywhere and Mario felt very ‘at home’ with the Italian theme – we loved the ‘Italian Job’ Bullion Van Coffee Shop!DSC06775IMG_0152IMG_0169As in previous years on the taxi rank Jane drove Mario, James was driving ‘Regie’ the Renault 4cv Convertible and our friend Craig had ‘Kato’ the Subaru 360. The rank was made up of an assortment of classics spanning several decades of motoring including ACs, several Jowett models, old London Cabs, Mercedes, Austins and more. I’m afraid there are very few pictures from the taxi rank this year, when we were working in the afternoons it was very wet and we were kept very busy. On Friday when the racing goes on late we were driving from 1pm till 8.45pm and pretty much continuously during this time between the Circuit, Hotel, Kennels and Goodwood House. The traffic seemed especially bad around the circuit this year and with the appalling weather conditions and the amount of water and mud on the road it was quite a difficult task. However all three cars performed impeccably and we we still completed 100km a day which might not seem much but on one occasion it took 40 minutes to get back from the Kennels to the circuit!

We had to grin at the sight of the new Rolls Royces’ sitting in large deep puddles outside the entrance, unfortunately we didn’t get a picture of the rather odd white and orange version which looked particularly sad. In the late evening the sun could be seen through the clouds and the Goodwood Park looked rather beautiful in the damp.  On Saturday evening even Lord March (Duke of Richmond – as the old Duke had sadly died a few days before the Revival) was also stuck in the traffic in his Ferrari, he waved but didn’t look too happy, I’m sure the traffic situation was looked into very quickly!

Mario didn’t get to drive anyone famous this year, James gave a ride to Super Bike Champ Troy Corser and his ‘regular’ passenger rally hero Rauno Aaltonen.  Mario did give Vlogger Petrol Ped a lift back to the Kennels and we featured on his vlog of the day.DSC06943DSC06798IMG_0163DSC06938IMG_1904

Because of the parade held every morning we were on late taxi shift everyday but actually this worked to our advantage, as we had the best of the weather in the mornings when we had a chance to look around. On Friday we looked round the stalls and met up with some friends and then had a look around the paddock. We saw Dario Franchitti filming for the Revival TV coverage.DSC06802DSC06808DSC06810Fashion is a big part of the Revival and lots of the visitors wear great outfits. Liberty had a great display of vintage outfits as part of the March MotorWorks, I loved the outfit below. For my own outfits, I have gone a bit more sixties and practical because of the amount driving and getting in and out of Mario required – dressing in lightweight coats, trousers and flat shoes but adding interest with elaborate vintage accessories and by designing and printing my own period looking ‘Mario’ fabric for the coats. The coats attract a lot of attention and people love it when they notice ‘Mario’ on the fabric. This years coat went one step further and had special “Mario’ lining as well!DSC06811DSC06870On Saturday and Sunday mornings it was lovely and sunny and we enjoyed just wandering around looking at the cars in the paddocks and the attractions. As usual we didn’t see much if any racing on the track but this doesn’t really bother us as we catch up on TV later. Following is a selection of images from around the Revival…

We loved this Ecuire Ecosse D-type with a matching J40 Pedal Car for the Settrington Cup.DSC06841The Red Bull P38 Lightning US WW2 fighter plane was superb, I just caught a glimpse of it’s unique twin boom shape in the air but couldn’t grab the camera in time.DSC06849DSC06852 (1)DSC06866DSC06874DSC06880DSC06882DSC06888DSC06897We had a ride on the ghost train which was tremendous vintage kitsch, all damp string and illuminated skeletons. The hand that grabbed your shoulder made you jump though!DSC06910DSC06912DSC06915DSC07005DSC07010DSC07017DSC07037So all in all a pretty good weekend, the cars ended up pretty grubby but with no mechanical problems so all came home safely.IMG_1924IMG_1925

Coming soon… all the fun of the Fiat 600 celebrations at Goodwood.

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


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.

Goodwood Revival back on the taxi rank…

Finally a month late here is the story of Mario’s weekend at the Goodwood Revival…

Getting ready was all a bit of a panic as we had been really busy, this years new outfit was only finished on the morning of departure but by early afternoon a beautifully clean and shiny Mario was packed up and ready to leave. After all the repairs and work that has been done since last years Revival he was raring to go and we had a lovely sunny trip to Goodwood. We got there in time to see a bit of the drivers cricket match and watch the traditional Spitfire flypast before our sign on and briefing.


DSC04427 DSC04439 DSC04446 DSC04454 DSC04459 DSC04461 Readers will know that last year we had a few issues with the GRTC (Goodwood Racing Transport Corps) with the cars being overworked but this year a new shift system was introduced, which greatly improved our enjoyment of the weekend. The cars still did in excess of 200km each over the weekend but in a shorter period of time, so we had more off time and were able to see the event and socialise, it worked really well and we had one of the best Revivals in years.

Our first shift didn’t start until Friday lunchtime and it seemed very strange not rushing around to start at 7.30am, in fact we all felt rather lost to start with. Our relaxing morning was interrupted though by the sad news that Kato the Subaru 360 had a terminal breakdown right at the beginning of the weekend, when the gear linkage sheered from the engine. This was totally unexpected and very disappointing for Craig. He ended up having the car recovered home and then he helped run the taxi rank for the weekend but it didn’t seem right missing one of the gang. Mario and Regie the 4cv Renault were parked up for the rest of the morning and we set off to explore. Imagine our excitement when one of the first things we came across, was a General Motors Futurliner bus, having found these fabulous vehicles researching an earlier blog it was amazing to see one in the ‘flesh’.DSC04464 DSC04465 DSC04472DSC04521 There were also some other Fiats around… A lovely 500 in the Shell display, where we also bumped into John Surtess. There was also a cute 500 van running around as a service vehicle.DSC04481 DSC04483DSC04573 At lunchtime we reported to the taxi rank for our first shift. The new system works much better with a dedicated taxi rank with a turning circle and is well organised although it’s still a bit of a shame that the public don’t get a chance to interact with the cars much anymore. We got straight into it with lots of passengers wanting to go to the Kennels and Hotel for lunch. We were kept very busy all afternoon and into the evening not finishing until after 8.30 as there was a dusk race. Mario was very excited to pick up his ‘old mate’ Le Mans superstar Tom Kristensen. We’ve given Tom a lift before and he really is the nicest gentleman, we had great fun with Tom taking ‘selfies’ in the car and then posing with us back at the hotel.DSC04528DSC04503 DSC04511 Saturday morning dawned early with the morning shift, we were mainly doing pick ups at the hotel and Mario was very honoured to take Sir Stirling Moss and wife Suzie to the circuit. I think he enjoyed his ride even though Mario isn’t the easiest car to get in and out of. It was lovely to see Sir Stirling back on good form after the nasty accident he suffered at home a few years ago.DSC04516 DSC04518
DSC04523 DSC04530 People often ask me ‘why to you drive the taxi’s rather than just enjoy the racing’ well driving through the estate on beautiful sunny day with spitfires flying over head is the answer! Mario loves being useful and the whole event just brings a smile to our faces. Ok we don’t get to see all the racing but you can catch up with that on the TV later.DSC04535 DSC04540 DSC04541 DSC04553 DSC04554 The last two years I have had ‘Mario’ fabric printed and made 50 style dresses. This year we decided to go a bit more ‘up to date’ and designed some ‘Mario’ 1960’s style fabric and made a coat – you can’t really see in the picture but I ensure you there are little Mario’s travelling in the swirls of the fabric.DSC04557 These are our friends Walter and Jolie and their gorgeous children who are travelling round the event in style – in James’ old pram, his Dad brought it in 1964 and it was used for the whole family.DSC04572
DSC04577 DSC04582We popped over to the Bonham’s auction as there was a Multipla up for sale, unfortunately we didn’t see it, as it was a ‘drive thru’ auction and we missed it’s lot number. According to the catalogue it was fitted with a Fiat Panda engine and wasn’t in immaculate condition but it still made £22,137 including commission. (look out for a future blog post on values soon)
image This year celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the Birds Eye Fish finger and Captain Birdseye was present with his trawler and lots of fish fingers. They ended up in an awful lot of our photographs!DSC04585 DSC04587 DSC04608 One of the big draws of this years Revival was the coming together of all six of the original Shelby Daytona Cobras, the first time they have all been in the same place, in a recreation of the Sebring pits. Their designer Peter Brock was also in attendance.DSC04631 DSC04632Our good friends from Derbyshire, who for many years have attended the Revival dressed as James Bond and Villains, this year turned up very cleverly attired as ‘Cluedo’ – Reverend Green, Professor Plum, Doctor Black and Colonel Mustard. It was great to have the time to be able to socialise.
DSC04669 On Saturday evening we had a lovely wander around as the sun went down, we looked round the Freddie March Spirit of Aviation which in 2015 was celebrating the Battle of Britain and there were Spitfires and Hurricanes as far as you could see. The roof of the new Aero Club gave a fantastic view over the proceedings as a couple of planes took off to do the party flypast. All the planes stayed until the Tuesday when they took part in the main BoB celebrationsDSC04674 DSC04689 DSC04695DSC04755 This year the entrance to the Drivers Club had been turned into an archaeological dig with dinosaur skeletons being unearthed.DSC04710For the first time the track opening was completed by ‘Gassers’ – stock vehicles turned hot rodders who burn petrol. 20 of these american beasts were on parade and parked around this garage.DSC04735 For a few months now James and I have been involved with a new product called GaugePilot an in-vehicle information system that looks just like a period ‘Speed Pilot’ with functions for rallying, racing or just classics. It was launched at this years Revival and James had a demo model fitted in the 4cv. Rally legend Rauno Aaltonen was very interested when Regie gave him a ride. James also demonstrated the system to some of his driver mates on the GaugePilot stand.IMG_6681DSC04737This year we actually managed to see some cars! On and off the track. We were especially interested in the St Mary’s where our friend Desmond Smail was driving a Mini. Unfortunately on the Saturday – the celebrity part of the two car race – the rotor arm failed on driver Emanuele Pirro which blew their chances.
DSC04654DSC04759 DSC04770DSC04834DSC04855 The 60’s was celebrated across the Revival with the anniversary of the Mini Skirt, James didn’t enjoy it at all! The new ‘Mario’ outfit fitted in really well. We tried on some wonderful Repro 60’s sunglasses, think I will have some made with my prescription for next year.DSC04788 DSC04811 DSC04814IMG_6688So all in all we had a fantastic weekend, Mario worked very hard but still managed to meet and great some of his fans and most importantly came home in one piece. The whole weekend went so quickly – bring on Revival 2016.

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.

Route 201120900_Copy20928

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.



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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All change at the Goodwood Revival Taxi Rank…

Regular readers will know that we have been part of the GRTC (Goodwood Revival Transport Corps) for many years, in fact we have been driving at the Revival since 1999. As the event is supposed to be a complete ‘step back in time’ there are no post 1966 vehicles allowed within the circuit and so a large group of volunteers bring their pre-66 cars along and run a service to support the event. This year as usual I took Mario, James was in ‘Regie’ the Renault 4cv and our friend Craig with ‘Kato’ the Subaru 360 – it’s always fun to see people amazement at how much room there is in the ‘little’ cars.badgeDSC06090DSC06070

When we first started the event was much quieter and we were based on the infield but over the years as the event has grown and evolved and the GRTC with it. Several years ago we were moved from the infield to the outfield and a location alongside the Circuit shop in a staged set with the ‘Glam Cabs’ with us as ‘Speedee Cabs’ from the Carry on Cabby film from 1963. Of course the Glam Cabs just posed and entertained the crowd with their Ford Cortina’s while we did all the work!posterThis was pretty successful and carried on for a number of years but we knew that recently with the huge crowds, good old Health & Safety weren’t happy about working vehicles mixing with the public and with more people needing to be transported, that things were going to change…

This year we were moved to a new ‘taxi rank’ the other side of the main public entrance with our own gate so we didn’t have to drive through the crowds. Using a large tarmac area with a tree in the middle that acted as a roundabout to keep the traffic flowing. We were still just about within the circuit but barriers were erected so the public couldn’t get in to see the cars close up which was a shame, as talking to interested people about Mario, Regie and Kato was always one of the fun things about the event and is what led to this blog and Mario’s Facebook page, as so many people became fans.DSC06081 DSC06083 DSC06088DSC06341 DSC06346

Goodwood had done a top job in ‘dressing’ the area with a great ‘Speedee’ cabs office and waiting room, a bus and the Glam Cabs just outside, with all the cars parked round the edge of the rank it made quite an impressive sight. The Glam Cab Girls, part of the Goodwood Actors Guild or GAG, did a brilliant job all weekend entertaining the passengers as they arrived and trying to poach Mario and me for their ‘business’. In the early years most of our ‘rides’ had been within the circuit, especially for me taking the press out around the perimeter road but this has also changed, we now go out of the circuit and run between the House, Hotel, Kennels and Lavant, sometimes with drivers and ViP’s but more often taking people to lunch at the Hotel and Kennels, a bit of a shame as we now feel less involved with the event.DSC06222DSC06078DSC06400 DSC06402

The number of taxi’s has swelled a lot this year with a collection of Jowett drivers, traditional London cabs plus a selection of other vintage and classic vehicles as well as the Jeeps based outside the circuit who mainly carrying mechanics and equipment. However there still seemed to be more to do and Mario completed over 300km/200miles an increase of 50% on last year which was already a record run. The new setup worked very smoothly but the downside was that the cars never had a chance to stop and hence cool down between runs, as once you were on the ’roundabout’ you needed to keep moving.

Unfortunately for the first time in 16 years both Mario and Regie came home poorly in fact poor Mario nearly didn’t make it home at all and was running really badly, having got very hot. Unfortunately Mario doesn’t have a temperature gauge, only a light and although that didn’t come on, if it does, it is really too late. James and a GRTC friend Fabian spent a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon taking him apart and looking for the problem without much success, he just couldn’t cope with the extended running and James will have to do some further investigation to get to the route of the problem. Regie had a problem with the radiator, the top is soldered on and as the radiator in the 4cv is attached to the axle, as the car entered and left the rank the suspension articulated over the kerb and split the radiator, as this was on Sunday afternoon there wasn’t much we could do, so Regie had to retire from service after also getting extremely hot.DSC06406 DSC06407

Obviously this was the first year with the new setup and there were some teething problems, we have had a good debrief with Goodwood since we came home and I’m sure things will be sorted and improved before next years event.

Although we didn’t get to meet so many members of the public, we did give rides to some very interesting people who were in turn very interested in the cars and how we had got involved with the GRTC. Mario was a bit low on celebrities this year and we didn’t see many of our ‘regulars’ (several of them weren’t there) but we did see Max Chilton the current F1 driver and his touring car driver brother Tom, they nearly had a ride in Mario but choose to ‘pose’ in a convertible! We gave Darren Turner (former McLaren test driver and current Aston Martin driver in the FIA World Endurance Championship) a ride, Barrie ‘Whizzo’ Williams and several other owner drivers.DSC06063 DSC06067

Lots of passengers appreciate being able to travel in unique vehicles, in fact one gentleman said he’d be happy to spend the afternoon driving back and forth to the hotel in various cars! Mario also had some lovely comments from his passengers on his website, one saying that the ride was the ‘highlight of the weekend’ and of course we got to see lots of friends from previous years.DSC06347 DSC06348 DSC06349DSC06055 DSC06056 DSC06058 DSC06059DSC06156DSC06158DSC06410DSC06223DSC06224DSC06249DSC06098 DSC06142 DSC06153

Although we were so busy we had a great weekend, in our next blogs we’ll show you some of the things we saw when we managed to get a bit of time off, plus the creation of the 2014 ‘Mario’ frock.

A Micro Marathon… part 2

Continuing our adventures in ‘Nippy’ the Subaru 360 on the Micro Marathon in 2009. It had all been going so well but that was all about to change…DSCN3024

Day 5 – Wednesday 9 September Alcañiz to Tarragona
Straight back to Motorland first thing in the morning, where we had a Spanish breakfast of coffee and wonderful little cakes. Another three lap test but on a shortened course from the night before. This time there was no ‘squealing’ brake in Nippy and we went clear, so did Craig and Victor. Mark and Jane in the Messerschmitt were too fast again, had to seriously slow for the line and ended up over the bogey time again, so the competition was now on with ‘Kato’ and the Messerschmitt equal on points.

Target 2:00:4
2 Isetta 2:18.8
4 Subaru 2:00:1
5 Subaru 2:00:1
6 Messerschmitt 2:01:4
7 Fiat 500 2:07:4
8 Fiat 500 1:58:3
10 Trabant 2:10:1
11 Morgan 2:05:5DSCN3627 DSCN3632 DSCN3657 DSCN3692

It was another beautiful but hot morning with a good route including a section on a ‘Camino Rural’ which wasn’t on the map. We had a good run but following the stop at the kart circuit, time was tight to make the lunchtime stop at Morella and we had to average more than 50km an hour to make the stop, quite a feat in a 360cc car. At Morella, a spectacular mediaeval walled town, which is normally pedestrianised, we had special permission to drive through the main gates and through the town, where we had a civic reception and were officially welcomed to the area. We parked up and had a wander around the town and grabbed a spot of lunch.DSCN3725 DSCN3739 DSCN3764 DSCN3798

The afternoon was initially uneventful, apart from some roadworks, a few miles was just dirt. We got all the photo controls but then shortly after leaving Miravet and joining a main road to Tarragona, the Subaru suddenly became noisy and after a metal on metal squeal James immediately pulled over and discovered the bad news that the engine had seized. James took part of the engine apart on the side of the road and managed to free it off but the diagnosis wasn’t good, it appeared that a bearing had failed in the bottom of the engine – Nippy’s rally was over.DSCN3808 DSCN3810 DSCN3814 DSCN3816

We decided the best thing was to use the rally support to get Nippy to the hotel in Tarragona which was only about 40km away, where we could access the situation and organise recovery. Several of the competitors stopped to check we were OK and shortly after, Roy and Clive the rally support crew arrived. We all put on florescent tabards and put out two triangles as per Spanish law which was just as well as the Police turned up just after we had turned Nippy round and were pushing him onto the trailer. Initially they helped but them got quite angry and appeared to be telling us that we must use a lorry for the car not a trailer. They spoke no English and just shouted more, I eventually remembered some letters that the organiser had given us from the authorities giving permissions to run the event, when we showed them these, they decided to let us continue but made a real fuss of directing the traffic. We thought they were the local bobbies but afterwards discovered that they were the Civil Guard who generally shoot first and ask questions later!

Roy towed us into Tarragona, he is a professional heavy truck driver but I have to say I prefered the kart track to that drive down the hills to the coast! After several days of unexpectedly beautiful scenery, hitting the Mediterranean coast was the Spain we had been expecting, very industrial and developed, building sites, oil refineries and the roller coasters of Port Adventura in the background. Nippy was unloaded into the hotels parking and I rushed to sign in seconds before the deadline just in case a miracle happened and he could be fixed. After a quick shower we phoned the assistance, they were insisting that the car had to be taken to a Subaru dealer for assessment and possible repair so we tried our contacts at Subaru to see if they could help. We made the dinner in the hotel where the rest of the crews were all very sympathetic and everybody was offering help and more importantly very large Spanish Brandies.

Day 6 – Thursday 10 September Tarragona to Andorra
A day of two parts – heaven and hell. Heaven for the rest of the rally crews, they set off heading towards the Pyrenees. A lunch stop at the Classic Motor Club de Bages allowed a good viewing of a private collection including lots of unusual microcars. Climbing back into the mountains, the final control of the day was at the National Automobile Museum of Andorra. The competitors made their way to Soldeu and the nights halt at the Sport Hotel – a great ski resort high in the mountains.

For us though the day was hell. We awoke to a beautiful sunrise over Tarragona bay. We unloaded everything from Nippy and put it and our luggage in the baggage van, we felt very sad to see everybody heading off on the days adventure but we were hopeful we’d be catching up with them soon in a hire car. It all appeared to be going well so I had a wander around the town until James called to say there had been a problem with Subaru helping us and we had to call our own assistance. This started a catalogue of problems lasting over eight hours and involving two taxis, two hotels, a station, two hire cars, two airport terminals and loads of phone calls to an incompetent office which lied all day. It was all very complicated as the assistance wanted to fly us home and collect the car but A. I don’t fly, B. Our car and trailer was in Toulouse plus all our luggage was headed for Andorra with the rally and C. We wanted to complete the last bit of the route and go to the final dinner in Carcassonne. This caused lots of problems as we needed a hire car that we could collect in Spain and deliver back in France. At 7.30pm we finally got into a hired French Registered Smart car at Barcelona Airport and set off for Andorra, at least it was an ideal car to follow a microcar rally. DSCN3848 DSCN3879 DSCN3880

The traffic was very heavy as the Spainish were travelling to the mountains for the following Catalunia National Day holiday. The Smart car was brilliant but by 9.30 we were still a long way from the hotel and so stopped in the last small town before the high mountains for a quick steak and chips. Back in the car and several impressive roads and long tunnels later we made it to Soldeu in Andorra at 11.30pm, to be met by the hardy members of the rally in the bar to a round of applause. The Sport resort was a lovely hotel which we didn’t get a chance to appreciate but we had a couple of drinks and caught up with the days happenings, Bernie and Dan in the Giardiniera were back on the road and finally enjoying some rallying but the Berkley was back on the trailer.

Day 7 Friday 11 September – Andorra to Carcassonne
Up early for the best breakfast of the trip, an amazing spread being cooked in front of us. Everybody checked out, shivering in the early mountain air, the microcars looked great parked outside the flower decked hotel. After waving the cars off we followed in the Smart car – Mike the photographer well wrapped up against the cold winds got a massive surprise when we appeared at the top of a mountain! The first Col, Port d’Envalira was the highest of the trip at 2408m although the roads weren’t as impressive as those earlier in the week and they were busy with locals as one of the tunnels was closed. We continued via Port de Pailhéres 2001m, (where we had to stop for a wolf in the road), Col de Moulis 1099m and Col du Garavel 1256m we left the mountains and crossed back into France, entering the rugged Cather area of bare cliff faces with impressive ruined castles clinging on to the ridges. The rally wound through the incredibly narrow Gorges de Galamus, a popular tourist attraction with a traffic jam, as there was very few places for oncoming traffic to pass unless you were in a microcar!DSCN3905 DSCN3926 DSCN3938 DSCN3942 DSCN3955 DSCN3979

With the possibility of the event result being a draw there was to be a tie break photo – a detour was made to Chateau de Peyrepertuse, this amazing castle is only reached by a very steep and uneven climb on foot over the rocks, in the now very hot midday temperatures. Showing competitive behaviour Vic & Craig and Jane & Mark both had to scramble to the very top to try to get a ‘Passage Control’ picture to impress Malcolm the organiser – I’m not sure how impressed he was with the results as rather too much flesh (not shown here) was exposed! Vic fell over on way down, I did point out that both members of the crew had to be alive to win.day7castle DSCN3992 DSCN4010

We left the castle for the final run to the finish. About 40km from Carcassonne we came across the American crew Keven and Loree in the Trabant on the side of the road with a problem, Mark who had also stopped and James diagnosed the problem as a failed coil, the Trabant has one for each cylinder. First they tried Marks spare which was also faulty, luckily Hedwig and Nicole in the Morgan had one which was fitted and we followed them towards Carcassonne. Seeing the medieval city in front of us was very sad as Nippy wasn’t reaching the finish. The cars gathered outside the city walls and then drove in together through the narrow crowded streets.DSCN4028MM_1617carcassonne DSCN4080 DSCN4105MM_1744

A final dinner was held in the Hotels Restaurant – local specialities of goats cheese salad and cassoulet. Malcolm and the head of PR for Fiat France made speeches and presented the awards. Everybody was presented with a finishers medal, all the drivers and navigators were there even though some cars hadn’t actually made it to the end. Although the Messerschmitt and the Subaru had finished equal on points, the overall winner was declared to be Vic and Craig, as they had the smaller engine and on the tests they were clear on two and on the other it was impossible for the Subaru to achieve the time. Craig also got the drivers prize and Jane Southgate the navigators. So there we were at the end of a brilliant weeks event and all that was left to do was party… MM_1796DSCN4150 MM 096

So another great event was over. There had been highs and lows but most of the brave little cars completed a week of hard driving, high temperature, steep passes and track challenges. Poor ‘Nippy’ made it home on a transporter about a week after we did. He requirers fairly major surgery to replace a failed bearing, pistons and rods. This has been delayed by lack of time, money and technical difficulties. The language barrier with Japan and the small number of the Subaru 360’s throughout the rest of the world has made sourcing new parts very difficult. We are still hopeful that he will be fixed before too long and be ready to go on whatever will be his next great adventure…

A Micro Marathon… Part one

As promised, following on from the blog about the Liege-Brescia-Liege microcar rally here’s the story of our adventures in Mario’s brother Nippy a 1967 Subaru 360, the following year on the Micro Marathon…Layout 1

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly I had really enjoyed navigating for James on the Liege-Brescia-Liege in 2008 so when the organisers came up with a sequel in 2009 to drive the ‘little’ cars from Toulouse to Carcassonne via the Pyrenees and Spain, we jumped at the chance. Victor and Craig in Kato the other Subaru also came along, so we set off with both Subaru 360’s on an adapted trailer. A late tunnel crossing, a night in a motel and 12 long hours driving later we arrived at the start.trailer

Day 1 – Saturday 5 September Toulouse to Barèges
Day one started from a Fiat dealership in Toulouse. It was a beautiful sunny day and we headed off into the foothills of the Pyrenees using fairly small country roads. The scenery was instantly beautiful travelling through villages with very old buildings and lush farmland. By lunchtime we had ascended our first Col – 1069m.MM_0059

The afternoons route took us up several of the major climbs of the ‘Tour de France’, the roads where covered with painted names of cyclists and many cols had statues celebrating cycling achievements, culminating in the Col de Peyresourde 1569m, Col d’Aspin 1490m and Col du Tourmalet 2115m. The view were stunning and the passes mainly pasture with lots of cows, sheep and goats, and not heavily wooded like those in the Alps. We were amazed by the huge vultures sitting by the side of the road. The two Subarus performed well, the actual gradient determining which would climb better the 4 gear Kato or 3 gear Nippy. Some parts where very steep, a challenge for the cars. Fellow competitors Mick and Sara Bell in the BMW Isetta had also done most of these passes by bike! Both Subaru’s made the hotel in Barèges without problems but some of the other competitors were already experiencing difficulties. We went further up the mountain by bus for a very social evening in a lovely Auberge Chez Louisette.MM_0098montage-Day-1DSCN3058MM_0145 DSCN3125 DSCN3128 DSCN3134 DSCN3208

Day 2 – Sunday 6 September Barèges to San Sebastián
An early start dawned with a 7am breakfast, it was very cold as we were at high altitude but the sun was on the way up and it was another beautiful day. The day stated with some more high cols – The Col du Soulor 1474m and the Col d’Aubisque, where we found huge bicycles on the mountainside. The wildlife was tremendous with Vultures and other huge birds of prey watching the huge horses and herds of cattle and goats.DSCN3253 MM_0225IMG_1949

The event is a navigational exercise with photo checkpoints as passage controls to prove you have taken the correct route. The small cars only have small fuel tanks and once again in Rural France on a Saturday, petrol was an issue and we had to deviate on a 20km round trip to fill up. The Isetta had such a small tank it had to carry two spare cans strapped on the back.

day2-montageThe whole day was spent going up and down cols, The Col de la Pierre St-Martin 1760m marked the border into Spain, the descent was a beautiful new smooth road, but we soon turned off this onto a ‘forest road’ which was barely tarmacked and wound it’s way through some spectacular deserted woodland. A final three cols saw us drop down to the coast and to our destination, the cosmopolitan, San Sebástian. While James and Craig looked at Kato’s brakes which had been giving some concern,, Vic and I walked down to the crowded beach to take our ‘feet in the Atlantic’ pics for PC18 which ended up with rally photographer Mike taking a pic of Vic taking a pic of Me! After a meal in the hotel, we had another walk down to the beach before retiring to the Hotel bar where the ‘Irish’ teams introduced us to G&T Spanish style – a bottle of Bombay Sapphire for five glasses. Theo and John in the Heinkel have been suffering a major problem with the wheel spline and so are retiring the car back to Toulouse and going to follow the rest of the event in their camper van.MM_0309DSCN3320DSCN3336

Day 3 – Monday 7 September San Sebastián to Logroño
Lovely sunny start in San Sebastián, Kato’s brakes seemed fine but Nippy was developing a rather loud exhaust. I drove along a very pretty coast and then into the hills to Olaberria where we had the first kart track test. The cars were all unloaded, partly to avoid loose stuff rolling around and a serious attempt by the boys to lower the weight! The bogey time of 1:19:2 set for this course was impossible for the Subarus to obtain but they had a good attempt and we ended up with 16 penalty points and Craig driving Kato, only had six although as James said he didn’t have an internal ‘squealing brake’ I think he meant me! We repacked the cars and continued along the route which had a couple of tricky controls, one was very early compared with the position given and hence easy to miss and one was very late but they kept everybody on their toes and we cleared them all. We stopped for lunch at an interesting abandoned monastery with Vic & Craig, Loree & Kevin in the Trabant and Mark & Jane in the Messerschmitt. Local children appeared from the middle of nowhere to have a look at the cars.Day3 montage DSCN3376 DSCN3377MM_0361 DSCN3393

Very changing scenery from coast to hills, to open heathland and then gorges before finally into the extensive vines of Rioja. A much shorter day and we all arrived at Bordegas Heredad Ugarte (a huge vineyard) early so we took the opportunity to spend a couple of hours trying to seal Nippy’s exhaust and plotting the maps. At 5pm we were allowed in for a guided tour and tasting, although Rioja isn’t really to our taste the most expensive one was quite pleasant! Another 30-40km into Logroño to the hotel. After dinner James and I had a walk around the old town, it was very pleasant to be outside at 10pm in 28º. We finished the day at a pavement bar outside the hotel for more G&Ts.Day3 rjoca montage DSCN3455 MM_0422

 Day 4 – Tuesday 8 September, Logroño to Alcañiz
As soon as we left Logroño, we were straight into a very hot and barren landscape, initially there were still vines and olives but these soon gave out to rocky fields with strips of wheat in any place that could be farmed. There were wind turbines and fields of solar panels as far as the eye could see. The exhaust on Nippy had been getting louder and louder to the point of needing earplugs and about half a mile after stopping to refuel, the expansion box fell off. Luckily as we had been in such a remote area we were still in the small village of Casante and managed to find a workshop where they very kindly let James use the ramp and welding equipment to fix the exhaust system, which was now in five parts. The Spanish garage was so helpful, especially as we had no language in common. You just can’t see Health and Safety in the UK allowing someone to just wander in and use all the garage equipment!DSCN3508 DSCN3509 DSCN3516 DSCN3523 DSCN3528

In just over an hour we were back on the road with an amazing ‘lunar like’ landscape and some nice long straight roads to be able to catch up time. We arrived in Belchite a town destroyed in the Spanish Civil War and left as it was as a monument. Several of the cars seemed to be a little unhappy, maybe after the long straight roads, running faster than usual in the extreme heat, it was 35º+.
DSCN3539 MMpanarama2DSCN3540 Belchite DSCN3560 DSCN3574

We carried on to Alcañiz and the fantastic new motorsport complex Motorland Aragón. This site still under development has a 2km international Kart Circuit which we were going to use. As the sun was setting we got to do 3 laps – warm up, timed and slow down. We could all watch from the bar area, with Vic & Craig and Mark & Jane in the Messerschmitt being equal on points it was a critical part of the weeks event. The Messerschmitt had a 500cc engine and was very quick but they were too fast and had to slow for the line to try to get the bogey time. Craig drove the 360cc Subaru superbly and was spot on time.DSCN3601 DSCN3606 DSCN3609 MM_0792 MM_0803 MM_0805

All was going well but that was all to change… the adventure will continue in the next blog.



Fame again… the best little taxi

Just a quick ‘bragging’ post as Mario has made the press again. Practical Classics April 2014 issue has a great article about the taxi fleet at the Revival. A couple of their journalists joined the Vauxhall Heritage team and worked as part of the Goodwood Revival Transport Corp (GRTC) with us at the event last September.

Their article over 6 pages of the issue has lots of pics including ‘Regie’ the 4cv and ‘Kato’ the Subaru 360 and is an interesting view of life in the taxi rank.

But Mario gets his own little headline ‘The Best Cab?’ and a mention of how popular he is and gives the website a plug – maybe this explains the unexpected surge in blog views a couple of weeks ago!
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All very exciting and makes us hope we get invited back again this year.  In the meantime we have the new 72 Members Meeting at Goodwood to look forward to in a couple of weeks time. Mario has been given a place in the Chicane Paddock so will be on display and people can vote for him as ‘car of the meeting’. It’ll also be a very convenient place to leave the coats!