By Mike Peake
Time to introduce the rest of the exhibits on our stand. This one is a bit unusual in that it isn’t a car. Often on our group meets and tours we are camping without mains power for 3 or 4 days which can be a challenge, but we had resisted getting a modern generator due to their noise and they aren’t popular on campsites.
The idea came about one evening to acquire a vintage, quiet running stationary engine and connect it up to a basic generator. It would be both useful and a period correct addition to our shows. To this end, Gar recently acquired this 1947 Wolseley 1.5hp. It's a real group effort as it was restored and painted correctly as it would have been when it left the factory by Bernard Owen, our resident expert on such things. (He used to sit in front of his caravan all day at shows and watch all of his wonderfully restored engines chug away to power a light bulb. Or if he was feeling in need of the exercise, connected to a pump so he’d have to get up every now and then to swap the buckets over. Oh come on! You’ve laughed at these strange sorts too!)
In the near future it will be connected to a generator of some sort and be able to provide power to charge phones, caravans etc. when we are off grid. The Wolesley that is, not Bernard.
Now we come to another pair of group stalwarts. The ever reliable and entertaining Brooks brothers, Gus and Tosh and their lovely 1946 Talbot Sunbeam. The brothers only bought this car 6 months ago at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor show here at the NEC. In that time Gus has set about sorting the temperamental electrickery side of the car. As you can imagine, with 73 years of modification and bodgery to the wiring loom, it resembled a large bowl of unidentifiable spaghetti. So, rather than spend the rest of his life tracing each wire through individually, Gus took the decision to strip it all out and replace it with a new wiring loom. He then had to reinstate 73 years of modification and bodgery to get it working.
In the meantime, Tosh has been itching to get his hands on it and give it one of his trademark re-sprays. This desire of his has led to a few disagreements as many of us rather like it in its current state, patina and all. However, I’m pretty certain that Tosh won’t be able to resist returning the car to its former shininess. (Probably not as shiny as shiny Paul Shiny’s shiny MGB GT though. Tosh doesn’t have a spare toothbrush.)
What about this 1931 Humber Super Tourer? I LOVE this car. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that it was my favourite car in the show.
Ian Booth bought the car in August of 2015 becoming it's 6th registered keeper. At 1st glance, the car looked very much as it does now. however, as we all know, digging deeper reveals hidden woes.
The dashboard was a homemade affair and not particularly well executed with a mixture of original and aftermarket dials. The wiring loom was a nightmare of botched repairs and additions and was a 'rats nest ' to quote Ian. Fortunately the car came with the original dashboard and Smith-Jaeger instruments in a box albeit in very poor condition. Ian set about repairing the dashboard and glove boxes and the clocks were sent to Richfield Speedograph in Birmingham who did a fantastic job refurbishing them. The rare Jaeger Le Coultre time clock was sent to a master watchmaker, Paul Shrouder in Repton, who fully reconditioned it.
After repairs to the brakes, clutch and gearbox , new custom wiring loom , distributor, rear leaf springs , new hood and carry bag plus a myriad of other bit and bobs the Humber returned to the road in heroic fashion. No pampered trailer queen is this car! Ian and his friends in his car club took the brave decision to do a tour of Spain.
The car performed beautifully but there were still one or two “adventures” of note! My favourite ones were getting a police escort and when friends in front driving a 1933 Rolls Royce braked very suddenly. Unable to stop in time Ian had the split second decision to either hit his friend’s car or turn into the crash barrier, naturally he went for the barrier. As it happens the Humber is so solidly built it escaped with nothing more than some extra 'patina ' on the front wing.
Favourite car status was achieved in no short measure by Ian Booth being a thoroughly nice chap and fine fellow who was more than happy for us plebs to clamber over his car and be silly. I think I rather suit the role of rich 1930s industrialist don’t you? Obviously Gar Cole knew his place.
Now for the “pièce de résistance” of the stand. Nay! The show! A 1902 James and Browne. I’m sure you’ll all agree that it was an incredible coup have this important piece of motoring history on our stand and we might as well all go home now because I really don’t think we can better this. Huge thanks must go to Gar Cole, Matt Harris and the Students of Imperial College for bringing this about.
The 1902 James & Browne is 1 of only 2 survivors. The other is a 1904 example residing in Europe. This car was originally purchased new by a blacksmith believe or not! (I’m guessing a rather successful and wealthy blacksmith!) It was purchased by students of the City and Guilds in 1932 from a travelling fair of all things. It has been a mascot ever since and currently resides at Imperial College London as their official mascot. It is a regular on the London to Brighton run and is regularly used to ferry the students to the pub where they have found it incredibly useful for scrounging free pints from landlords and rich bankers keen to have a good look over the car.
At the show, the engine cover was removed to reveal absolutely nothing familiar whatsoever to those of us used to modern fare. (Yes, I’m calling 60s and 70s cars modern!) No, that’s not completely true. I spotted 2 spark plugs but not where you would expect them.
It’s bonkers! It features a 2 cylinder engine of 2.5 litres developing 9 RAC Horsepower, (approximately 15 modern HP). Although they are laying on their side and run front to back. It is lubricated by a “total loss” oil system and ignition is by something called a trembler coil. It has two, yes two, gearboxes and is chain driven direct to each rear wheel. Brakes are on the rear wheels only and are of the external contracting bands type.
Like I said, bonkers but we all loved it!
All the students were fine fellows and a pleasure to spend the weekend with. They were more than happy to spend their time explaining the workings of their marvel to all and sundry. They were even allowing visitors to sit in the car for photos. Although it has to be said, most of those I saw sitting in the car were of the young and pretty variety. We were further surprised when they brought lunch back to the stand. No Pot Noodles for these chaps. No, they turned up with sliced artisan bread, smoked cheese, honey roast ham and halloumi and proceeded to make sandwiches.
They redeemed themselves to “typical student level” on the Sunday by turning up late and hungover after discovering how cheap the beer is in Birmingham compared to London.
As you all know by now, we were again shortlisted for “best online presence” at the National Car Club Awards. This time we chose our finest and most sensible members to represent us at the awards dinner. Yes, Phil Allin from our print sponsor, Alveston Press and your celebrity admin (what do you mean “who’s that then?” It’s me!) We were with Sue and Nigel Hains from the Boston Classic Car club (and fellow members of this group). They were representing John Simpson who was up for Club Ambassador of the Year, but couldn’t make the show.
The meal was excellent as always with good company on our table and free wine flowing. It was at this point that I spotted the flaw in our plan to send to send our finest and most sensible members to represent the group. You see, Phil is a dreadful influence on me. Whenever I drink with Phil, he makes me drink far more than I would normally. I should know this by now after several long evenings at previous events but I guess I had forgotten.
Mike Brewer was in excellent form again this year acting as compère. He really earned his money too as he had to fill for about 10 minutes while the missing page of his script with the 1st 3 awards was found.
No. We didn’t win. We missed out to the rich-as-Crassus MG Car Club and John missed out to the Volvo chap.
I suppose I should say that it doesn’t matter and that we did really well as a non subscription club just to get shortlisted blah blah… but I really wanted to win this year!
Anyway, I kind of lost interest (and almost consciousness) after these two were announced so I wasn’t paying attention for the other categories but I’m sure our super organised glorious leader Paul Sweeney will be able to insert the link where you will be able to find all the results (https://www.necrestorationshow.com/winners-and-highly-commended). Thanks Skipper!
The evening progresses and Phil and I had a lot of fun and a lot of wine but I think we got away without embarrassing anybody or anyone noticing how inebriated we really were.
However, next morning was a different matter. Let’s just say I wasn’t at my best and was very sympathetic to the students in the same state. At least we made it to the show though. Phil felt the urgent need for fresh air so went to watch his son play rugby instead.
Copious coffee and sugar in the form of cake is my miracle cure though and I was soon back to my normal self, enough for Tosh to take me shopping and spend far too much of my money on equipment and stuff for my upcoming secret project on Poppy.
It really was a great weekend at a great show and I had a great time wandering around as well as manning the stand. Here are some of my favourite pictures from the show.
The end of the show came round far too quickly as it always does and as hundreds of car horns greet the tannoy announcement it was time to pack up and say a sad farewell for now to lots of good friends.
Special thanks as always to all the owners of the cars on the stand, all our members for visiting and especially Gar Cole and Paul Sweeney for all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to put on these events.
A huge well done chaps. I think that was our best showing yet. So on behalf of our members, Congratulations and thank you.
Thank you for reading and see you all soon.
By Mike Peake
Well, what a weekend that was! It has been a tough few weeks for me so I was REALLY looking forward to a break and a weekend of playing cars. I certainly wasn’t disappointed.
I wasn’t able to make set-up, so when I arrived Friday morning, I got the full “smack in the face” experience of our stand. IT WAS AWESOME! The chaps had done a fantastic job but let’s face it they had incredible material to work with.
From the gloriously crusty Wolsely to the ridiculously shiny Humber. From the rare-as-hens-teeth James and Browne to the common-as-muck but very, very shiny MGB GT. From 117 years old to the mere baby at just 40 years old. (No, not Bernard and Paul! I’m still talking about cars. How very rude of you!)
We even had a stationary engine, a foot powered lathe, bales of straw and a Herald tail lamp! Our Fat controller of events, Gar Cole, had really excelled himself again… and then some.
So let me introduce the exhibits and their proud owners. I’ll start with the gloriously crusty Lincoln Hunt and his mad-as-a-box-of-frogs 1928 Wolseley. (Hmmm, did I get that the right way round?)
Lincoln proved to be a proper stalwart this weekend. Despite some issues at home AND being called out all night to keep our railways running, he still made sure he was at the show helping out. He’s a top chap is our Lincoln. He’s even promised me a boot load of Herald spares!
Lincoln’s 1928 Wolesley has been languishing in his barn ever since his Dad bought it approximately 50 years ago, after the one-off special body had already been fitted. It has been part of Lincoln’s life ever since he can remember. He particularly remembers the thrashing he got after he’d shot out the headlamp with his catapult.
Lincoln showed his dedication to the club again by exhuming this beauty from its burial place among literally thousands of other projects and 50 years of accumulated detritus to show it on our stand as well as bringing all the accessories you can see in the photo below to make the “barn find” section.
Lincoln has now begun to clear the thousands of potential projects and has a metro engine on standby as he has promised to resurrect this car for the road.
Next up is Roger Spaven’s 1978 Series 2 XJ6 4.2 Jaguar. Actually, the newest car on the stand but you’d never know it! (Who said that? How very rude!)
Roger is Vice Chairman of the Isle of Wight division of the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club and had always admired the Series Jaguars but wasn't actively looking for one. However the Isle of Wight has a thriving and close-knit classic car scene and word reached Roger via the islands ' jungle drums ' that a series 2 was available and the widow of the previous owner was trying to contact the club.
She had been approached by members of the islands active oval racing scene but her husband had owned the car since 1995 so it held 20 years of memories for her. Naturally, she wanted it to go to a home where it would be restored.
Roger and his good mate Keith went to view the car in October 2015. The paintwork had seen better days but importantly, there was very little sign of corrosion.
The previous owner had made some ' odd ' modifications during the past 20 years. He’d stripped the chrome bumpers and painted them a matt grey, fitted modern blue led spot lights, replaced the original biscuit rear bench seat with a black leather 2 seat VDP rear bench, and finally a Halfords special high-level brake light on the rear parcel shelf.
Despite being stood for many months the big cat fired up right away, Keith bravely volunteered to take it for a test drive while Roger followed in case it broke down, Keith decided to do a brake test and they worked brilliantly, unfortunately the sunroof seals had seen better days and he was drenched in cold stale water that had accumulated in the sunroof recess. Despite Keith being wet and smelly, a deal was done for the car including a shed full of spares.
Back at home, more issues came to light. Non-functioning wipers, washers, blower and lights. After carefully replacing various relays and putting right some of the electrical modification the previous owner had done, all was now working correctly and the car was booked in for MOT.
Roger was amazed when the Jaguar passed the mot with no advisories! A good inspection of the underside revealed no previous welding or rot, something of a miracle for a 70s era XJ that lives in a salty coastal town, but Roger knew this car was an excellent base.
Having used it and enjoyed it for several months the car developed an oil leak from the gear box and one day during a house move it broke down due to a faulty fuel relay. It was at this point Roger decided to take the car to his friend Ray's garage and restoration business. The plan is to strip the car for a full bare metal re-spray, restore the chrome work and put right any aftermarket modification including that leaky sunroof. However, you know what we car people are like, whilst acquiring a new rear seat for the car Roger, purchased a 1985 series 3 at the same time so now both cars are competing for time and funds to be restored.
Shiny Paul Clappison’s shiny 1972 MGB GT is very shiny. Shiny shiny shiny shiny, shiny. Shiny shiny. Shiny shiny, shiny. Shiny shiny shiny shiny, shiny. Shiny shiny. Shiny shiny, shiny! Shiny shiny shiny shiny, shiny. Shiny shiny.Shiny shiny, shiny. Shiny shiny shiny shiny, shinyness. Shiny shiny. Shiny shiny, shiny. Shiny shiny shiny shiny, shiny. Shiny shiny. Shiny shiny, shiny!
In case you didn’t notice, Paul’s MGB GT is VERY, very shiny. A previous owner, a retired engineer completed a restoration of the car making it quite shiny, but by 2015 health problems forced the reluctant sale once again. However, it wasn’t until April 2017 that Shiny Paul Shiny steps in and purchases this quite shiny MGB GT.
The quite shiny MGB GT wasn’t quite shiny enough for Paul shiny so he spent the next 6 months shinying it and got it so shiny that it won shiniest car at the Manchester Classic Car Show. By the following April, after lots more shinying the MGB had made it to the finals of the Pride of Ownership area at the NEC restoration show where it won Best In Show for being so shiny.
It was great to have such a shiny celebrity car on our stand but we noticed that Paul may have become slightly obsessed. You see, in between kidnapping passers-by and forcing them to see how shiny his MGB GT is and telling them how he’d made it so shiny, he was caught several times lying down by the side of the car, using a toothbrush to make parts of the car that nobody could see shiny and muttering “my precious”. As you can imagine, it was incredibly embarrassing for us to come across such intimate scenes so we told him to get a room!
I strongly advise the wearing of a welders mask to protect you from the glare before viewing the following photo.
Of course someone had to take it too far and play a heartless trick on our dearly sainted Fat Controller of Events, Gar Cole. I can’t imagine the type of evil mind that would put this sign on the back of his buggy without him noticing and then letting him drive all over the NEC with it! Despicable behaviour and very childish.
To be continued...more cars to come!
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