By Mike Peake
So I’m headed for the Valleys of Welsh Wales for the South Wales Charity Classic Car meet, organised by our youngest active member Thomas Jenkins.
The only route that was practical was a 2 hour slog along the M4. The alternative would be up to Gloucester and pick up the M50 and then the beautiful “Heads of the Valleys” road. However, this would have meant setting my alarm even earlier than 6.30am. Judging by Mrs FB’s reaction when the 6.30 alarm went off, I was wise to choose the motorway route. Otherwise, I think I would have been visiting A&E instead of a car show. Anyway the dull slog along the M4 it was.
The dullness was alleviated slightly when I joined the motorway at junction 16 and slotted in nicely behind a very clean Mk2 Granada and a Morgan forming an accidental convoy until they turned off at the Bath Junction. I suspect that they were heading for the Bristol Classic Car show.
After that, I was on my own, but it was a lovely sunny morning and the Muggles were pointing waving and smiling as they whizzed past. Next up was the 2nd Severn Crossing. I’d never driven across it in an open top car before and I have to say that looking up at the supports and cables was actually quite breathtaking. It gave me a real appreciation of the engineering involved.
My reverie was spoiled somewhat when I realised that for the 1st time, I’d have to pay the toll without being able to claim it back on expenses. £6.70!! I say again, £6.70! That’s very nearly half a bottle of polish!!
Recovering from the Shock, I pushed on to Cardiff Gate Services where I was meeting our Fabulous Events Fat Controller, Gar Cole. Due to some lame excuse about still working at 3AM that morning and having trouble fitting table, chairs AND his old chopper in Nelson, (stop sniggering at the back there!) Gar was in his modern.
After a brief comfort break, we set off again for the final leg. As Gar had the sat nav, he led and after a short, final stretch of M4, we had a nice uneventful drive through the valleys. Well, apart from that time Gar inconsiderately stopped for a red light when I was busy enjoying the scenery and not paying attention. Let’s just say that luckily, Poppy has FANTASTIC brakes!
It wasn’t long before we arrived at the Maesteg Rugby club. Plucky little Poppy had performed in a 1st class manner all the way down but was starting to run a little hotter than normal due to it being such a warm day.
On pulling into the Tesco/Rugby club joint car park, we were a little concerned that we were the 1st people there a full hour after the meet was supposed to have started and there was no sign of young Thomas. We parked the cars up and stood around scratching our heads. “Have we got the right day?” Yes. We’re sure we have., “Have you got young Thomas’ phone number?” No, Gar didn’t have his phone number.
Then it slowly dawned on us that this being Welsh Wales, the spiritual home of God’s own game, there might be more than 1 Rugby club in Maesteg. A quick search of Google Maps, showed that there was, in fact, another Rugby Club in town. This one called Maesteg Celtic RFC, so we set off again.
Poppy showed her displeasure at being asked to spring back into action so soon. Her temperature gauge was almost in the red and her fuel was evaporating faster than the gin in my bottle at home. After a brief bewildered look under the bonnet and much starter motor churning, Poppy reluctantly came back to life and we headed for what we hoped was the correct rugby club, just 1.5 miles away.
On pulling up we were pleased to see lots of classics gleaming in the sun. Not realising he was talking to a true VIP, the gate marshal sent Gar off to park his modern in shame, miles away with the other Muggles - but waved Poppy majestically into the car park.
As many of you know, I am quite a sensitive chap when it comes to people criticising Poppy’s patina’d appearance. So you can imagine my shock when, before I’d even got out of the car, I heard someone say “I don’t think much of that polish job”. Well I jumped out of Poppy prepared to serve a thorough verbal and possibly physical slapping when I saw a grinning face I recognised. Our very own Grand Elder Statesman, Brian Allison had made the trip all the way from the Emerald Isle to join us. Needless to say, I didn’t slap him.
The slip up with Gar’s VIP status was quickly sorted, mainly by Gar shouting “DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM” and generally acting like a little Diva. Eventually, the embarrassed marshal waved Gar in to park more locally so he was able to set up our table and chairs. He even got his Chopper out and displayed it proudly for all to see. (What now Habib? Oh you are so childish!)
The 3 of us spent a very pleasant day admiring the various classics on display and soaking up the superb Welsh hospitality.
It was however, “bloody hot!” (“bloody hot” is a Standard British Unit of Measure. See Appendix 1 for conversion table. It is not swearing in this instance.) It being “Bloody hot” necessitated frequent trips to the bar to cool off and rehydrate. (I know! A bar at a car meet! Jolly civilised these Welsh chaps you know!)
Young Thomas had done an heroic job of organising everything for what was an excellent, well put-together meet. There were prizes, raffles, refreshments of the food and hot drink variety, happy car chaps and even some lovely old tractors to look at and listen to, and of course, the bar! Thomas had even organised fine weather which is something our Fat Controller has never managed to do!
I have to say, my favourite car of the show was Brian’s smashing Triumph 2000TC. I loved it. It brought back memories of long hot summers with my cousins in my Uncles 2500TC in the same colour. Very nostalgic it was sitting in Tricia and I spent rather a long time drooling.
As I said above, Thomas had even organised some elegant engraved glass trophies, which were awarded as follows.
“Best Car as decided by the organizers” was given to this stunning Ford Capri 2.0L.
People’s favourite car was a canary yellow Ford Corsair Crayford convertible that certainly made me smile.
Best Tractor was the David Brown 850.
Furthest travelled was awarded to our very own Brian Allison who even got a passing mention in the local paper. An epic 400 mile round trip I believe, not including the wet bit. Brian insisted on celebrating this by “Doing a Woolard” against everyone’s advice. Much to our surprise, he actually pulled it off and a mighty “Woolard” was achieved I’m sure you will agree.
It only took 2 appliances from the local fire brigade to get him back down and a lie down in the ambulance to recover too, so I don’t know what we were all worried about.
Finally, the raffle was called and prizes distributed. Of which there were so many that I think everyone attending won something. Gar won a portable gas stove, Brian won some micro fibre cloths and I won a luggage strap.
With this the meet came to a close. The 3 of us were invited to join the Jenkins family for a meal which Gar and Brian accepted and had a lovely evening. Unfortunately, I had 2 hours of sweaty motorway to negotiate and work in the morning. Thanks again for the invitation though.
A quick stop for fuel just down the road were I spotted this and then I set off for home.
Despite not stopping the whole way home, (I was worried she wouldn’t start again!) plucky little Poppy performed perfectly. We were parked outside my house in next to no time. I went inside and slept in an ice bath to soothe the sunburn. Poppy even took me to work and back the next day.
It really was a great day out. Thomas should be extremely proud of himself. It will definitely be on my calendar for next year and as it is a charity event, it would be great if our group can support in more numbers. Don’t worry, we have a cunning plan! You’ll like it.
Take care all. See you at Coventry airport.
Conversion from standard British Temperature to Degrees Celsius.
Bloody cold = anything below -10 deg C
Quite Cold = between -10 and +5 Deg C
A bit chilly = between +5 and +12 deg C
Getting warmer old chap. = between +12 and +18 deg C
Really quite Hot now. = between +18 and +25 deg C
Phew! Wot a Scorcher = +25 to +30 deg C
Bloody hot = anything above +30 deg C
by Gar Cole
You join me just after my 40th birthday in February, Nelson was an early present to myself, but with the weakness of his brakes I feared I'd not see 41, but more of that soon.........
Restoration continues at a pace in the little Holivan junior caravan, or ' Doris ' as she has been christened, the floor and roof structure have survived remarkably well, but the wooden frame below the window line was completely rotten due to the seals failing in the past, no choice but to chop it all out right back to the aluminium panels, a slow and boring task, but I'm winning the battle, frame is now done and new facia boards are going back on the walls
It is important to try and salvage as many parts as possible to preserve its originality, its tempting to rip everything out and replace it with modern items, with this in mind I spent hours gently cleaning the brittle 58yo plastic sink with a toothbrush and mild cleaning agents, also the road wheels which I had thought far too rusty to save had actually been given a new lease of life by Birmingham City Powder Coaters, very impressed with the results.
Mechanically the caravan now has new shocks, shoes and brake cylinders, cables freed and adjusted, 3 new tyres and the lights all rewired, wooden seat/bed frames are being made this week as are the custom made foam seats and coverings, curtains, carpet etc, its on schedule for its show debut on 4th August at our Gloucester steam show and I'll reveal the finished article close to that time on the website.
I had driven a few cars in the past with all drum brakes but they all had 'Servo's' , my brakes felt like somebody was holding their shoe against the tyre to slow you down, after 1 too many close calls and soiled underwear a full rebuild was done, the rear drums were full of oil, so it was only braking on the front only, new rear half shaft seals cured that problem with new shoes and cylinders all round plus the all important Servo kit installed, was it worth it?
Well on my first venture out to get some petrol a complete twerp in a high powered Audi ran a red light at the island and cut across my bonnet, both feet hit the brakes and the front end pitched down hard with a squeal from the tyres, I missed him by only a foot or 2, if this had been pre servo overhaul I've no doubt we would have collided in a nasty accident, the upgrade saved me but another pair of underwear was lost in the fear of the moment.
Everyone who has driven Nelson says how well it drives compared to other Minors they have tried, it does feel very solid and with it having a recon steering box, the trunions done and all bushes replaced with polyurethane items it does steer and corner well for a Mog, but I had been struggling to drive him far due to my arthritis, I feared selling was the only option and looking for a larger auto car, but I really like the Moggy and didnt want to part with him, I started putting the idea out about an automatic conversion, I wanted to keep the 1098cc engine for originality but those far cleverer than me said it wouldn't even be able to ' pull a toupee from Captain Picards baldy head '.
The 1275 A series engine and Borg Warner auto was suggested several times, although general opinion is that these are still sluggish and underpowered, besides when did you last see an auto Marina being broken for spares?
Then like a knight in shining armour ( or oily overalls ) group member Steve Boitoult came to my rescue, he offered me a fully running 1500cc twin carb engine and 3 speed auto from a Dolomite he's breaking, Steve did me the whole package including carbs, cables, sensors, oil coolers and mounting brackets for a very reasonable price, heard everything running prior to Steve removing it, arrangements were made to collect it a few weeks later, which happens to be today as I'm writing this.
Arriving at the Toy Shop owned by the Chuckle Brooks brothers I found myself in a rather charming country village, the sat nav said I had arrived at my destination, but I was sat outside a church, even more surreal were 2 cute donkeys eating the grass in the church grounds, now the Brooks toy shop does qualify as 'holy ground' for those of us less fortunate to have such a premises, but a church? A quick phone call to Tosh revealed I was in the right place and he would come and fetch me, I amused myself with the mental image of Tosh appearing on a Roman chariot, as it happens he arrived in the modern day equivalent, an Alfa GT in Bright red.
I followed Tosh down a wee side lane until we came across a foreboding looking iron gate, similar to the ones in Jurassic Park, with a deft wave of his hand the 20 ft wide beast creaked and rumbled sideways to allow us through, between there and the toy shop is the most fabulous private gravel track about 3/4 of a mile long, oh the fun that could be had if i was in Nelson.
The guys are storing the items for me until the winter time upon when the moggy will go to live at the toy shop while they make a start on him between other projects, for a start my 1098cc engine and box are going into their convertible Austin A30.
Big thanks to the Brooks for taking this on, no rush guys long as i have it back for march 2018.
Part 3 will pick this story up when the project gets underway.
By Mike Peake
May the MOT man be cursed by Beelzebub’s huge hairy bottom forever!
Poppy failed her inspection in case you were wondering. Not only that, it was left to the 11 year old apprentice to tell me. Obviously, the 1st thing apprentices learn is how to deliver bad news with a huge grin on their face. His grinning response to my “Well? How did she do?” was “She nearly passed!”
Resisting the overwhelming urge to blub like a girl, I enquired as to the nature of the failure. He said he’d get the boss. Well now I was really fearing the worst. Boss arrived and grinning like a Cheshire cat let me know that the rear outrigger was in need of some welding. Just a couple of hours work he said. He also told me that “At least I got the horn to work 1st time for once!”
I wasn’t too alarmed at his quote for the work. Whilst slightly more than a box full of polish, it wasn’t going to induce stress fractures in my flexible friend. Not knowing my TIG from my MIG, I booked Poppy in for the following Friday.
It was carnival day in Royal Wootton Bassett and our local classic car club was having its semi-annual display round the town hall on the High Street. I had planned to attend with Poppy and as it was on my direct route from the MOT station to my lock up, I wasn’t going to let the trifling matter of a failed MOT test stop me. (and my old MOT hadn’t quite expired…. honestly)
I was one of the 1st to arrive and managed to blag the prime parking spot under the Town Hall. A pleasant morning was spent chatting to Muggles, “My Dad had one of those”, “I learned to drive in one of those”. “No, A Vitesse has the 2 litre straight six engine and twin headlights”.
It was also a chance to catch up with the other classic car locals and compare hubcaps and recent adventures. In short, I had a really good morning and managed to put my Ministry woes to the back of my mind. I even got to meet fellow EBMVBB1985 Member and Herald owner, Jason Wright who’d made a special trip all the way from West Swindon so we could meet up and talk Triumph. Thanks Jason. It was great to meet you at last.
However, not content with letting me down in front of the Ministry man, Poppy further disgraced herself by leaving a large puddle of oil under the Town Hall. Yes, even larger than her usual incontinence. It would appear that my petrol pump installation wasn’t as trouble free at I 1st thought.
You see, it was very difficult, nay impossible, to get a socket onto the bolt on the bulkhead side of the pump. The hand priming handle partially obscures the bolt head and my open ended spanner was too long to get in and manoeuvre. I thought I had managed to get it tight enough but clearly not. It was time to invest in a set of imperial “stubby” spanners and a visit to Amazon secured just such a set. (Wahay! Shiny new tools! Don’t you just love shiny new tools?) Calm down, calm down! - Ed
Well the shiny new tools arrived and it turns out that even stubby spanners are too long to get onto the bulk head side bolt head. So I am now faced with a dilemma. Unless any of you know of a magic way to tighten the bolt up, (PM me if you do!) I’m either going to have to take off my shiny new starter motor to give me the room, which would mean taking the valance off again too, OR, I can buy a bigger drip tray.
The good news is that the garage completed the welding and poppy has a fresh MOT. Now I just need to pluck up the motivation to cure my new oil leak.
A couple of weeks of truly atrocious weather passed without me finding any motivation until a momentary dry period encouraged a “drive it” moment. Although the usual grin was induced, I was slightly alarmed by a smell of petrol not usually present. On investigation, the slight kink I’d managed to put into the fuel pipe when changing the pump was weeping fuel.
I said the usual array of naughty words cursing my incompetence. I didn’t have a replacement pipe and it was a full 2 weeks to payday, therefore, bodgery was needed. I cut the kinked section out and replaced it with a section of rubber fuel pipe. I then put the car away quickly before Mrs FB could ask why I was messing about with Poppy when I was supposed to be baking ciabatta, focaccia, making a tiramisu and generally helping out with the preparations for our big family meal to celebrate our Silver wedding anniversary (It was an Italian themed meal!).
I did manage to get time to laugh at those suffering the torrential rain and gales at Crich, but mostly I concentrated on having a very nice celebratory few days. (Although I was still a bit upset at not being at Crich myself, but if I had, my 25th may well have been my last!).
The following weekend came round and the weather couldn’t have been more different. It was hot. Damn hot. And sunny and dry and generally rather nice. So, did I use this good weather to fix my oil leak and bodged fuel pipe? Of course not! I went for a drive with Mrs FB around our local and not so local green lanes which somehow turned into a 70 run which included stopping at camper van shop in Newbury so I could exclaim at the £50K price tags and Mrs FB could look wistfully and dream.
However, as well as being a lot of fun, this drive also proved a really good shakedown run during which, my bodgery held and most of the oil stayed in the engine. I was so pleased that I decided I would now attend Thomas Jenkins' Charity classic car meet in Maesteg, South Wales. I immediately messaged Gar and arranged to meet at Cardiff Gate service station next morning.
With hindsight, perhaps I should have let Mrs FB know I was going as well as Gar. If I had, then maybe, just maybe, she wouldn’t have been quite so upset when my alarm went off at 6.30 Sunday morning.
Sandwiches were hurriedly made along with a “nice cup of tea” to try and placate Mrs FB. Factor 50 was applied, shorts, sandals and a shirt was donned and my ubiquitous jacket left at home. I made my escape and headed for “The Valleys”.
To be continued…
By Tony 'Tosh' Brooks
In 2016, we had our first weekend event at Crich Transport Museum and we tagged our Enthusiasts Group show on the Saturday to Crich's own classic car show on the Sunday. It proved to be a very popular show and the queue of classic cars through the car park and out onto the road by 8am created all sorts of problems getting through to form an area for our cars to be together. It very nearly ended up in fisticuffs with the impatient waiting queue when i managed to wave our group to the front and get into the bandstand area before them all.
This year we would be ready. We'd get up early and form a line in the car park before anyone else arrives. It's not like we had far to go!!
Then someone who i can't quite recall, (i'm sure they will make themselves known and claim the glory!) came up with an even better solution!
"Why don't we just get Paul to get permission to open the bottom gate directly over the road from the campsite?"
This would give us direct access to a lovely parking area right in front of the old building facade.
Earlier on Saturday evening we had decided to have another swappsy session and give each other a chance to drive our different cars.
I wanted to drive Phil Allen's lovely Rover P5.
Phil wanted to drive Apollo.
Paul drove our XR3i and Kurt drove his Mini (i think)
Again i can't remember who else drove what but i think we all had a go in something different!
This turned out to be rather dissapointing in the end as Paul had indeed got the bottom gate open and we got to drive all of 50 yards over the road to our display positions!
Eric Dalton had kindly donated a genuine Rover dealer flag and with the proper banner poles Gus made for us it was a perfect opportunity to park the three Rovers in our group together and give us some great cover shots for the meet.
The rest of the cars were carefully placed to give us the best display possible, which looked great until the Crich health and safety bods told us "you can't park there, there, or there. We need to have access for an ambulance to get through to the first aid centre in case of an emergency"
So after much shuffling and shifting and grumbling and moaning, everyone rearranged their cars until the staff were happy.
This did give me a quick opportunity to have the worlds shortest test drive in Roger's gorgeous Morris Oxford though. It was slightly out of line with the rest of the display so i got to "manhoover" it into position. I certainly wish i could have taken it further. (Like home!)
We were all set up by about 8.30 and were happy with how the cars looked so it was time to head back to camp for breakfast before the other car clubs and show goers started to arrive.
I have to say this breakfast became a true feast. We had three camper kitchens as well as the barbecue on the go at the same time and between Gus, Gar and Phil managed to produce some of the best bacon, eggs, (fried and poached), sausages, beans, tomatoes, mushrooms and toast in such vast quantities that we were unlikely to starve any time soon!
Kevin and Sheila joined us for the feast and Liam was about to go out in search of hashbrown's before being persuaded they were not needed and we were just being greedy!!
Of course i had to do all the washing up and collecting the rubbish etc as i'm too lazy and bad moody in a morning to actually do any cooking and you would not believe how many black bags of rubbish we had managed to collect over the weekend!
As we headed back over to the show we all grabbed a rubbish bag and almost filled Crich's rather handy skip!
It had stopped raining but the black clouds continually threatened to give us a soaking and the wind was howling through our display like a wailing banshee. It was a case of jumpers on, coats on, coats off, jumpers off and then back on again all morning as it changed from freezing to warm every ten minutes!
The wind did unfurl the flag from time to time for some great pictures though, so as they say, every cloud has a silver lining!
Despite us all feeling a little washed out and tired by now, we took it in turns to have a wander around the show. There were some fabulous cars turning up, not least a stunning pale blue Alvis. A whispering Rolls Royce looking like a banana split in creamy yellow and brown livery. The best Rover P4 you are ever likely to see with a for sale sign in it. (oooh a purchase opportunity?) Err, no. I would need a mortgage!
The Mg club had formed their own display up in the woods and offered some very fine looking Mg's and Mini's.
The bandstand area was covered in all manner of Johnny foreigners including a fabulous Renault and Ford V8 Pilot etc. (sorry i can't remember more details, I've been to bed since then and i'm never very good at remembering model names!)
As i walked back down the cobbles i heard the familiar rumble of a massive, highly tuned V8 coming from behind me. I thought Lincoln had turned up with his Range Rover but it was a very menacing looking, immaculate, black Rover Sd1 with a stunning stance. This owner had obviously spent many many hours and a shed load of cash building this stunning machine. It looked as good under the hood as it did on the outside and the boot contained a Nitrous kit and dvd screen which was incredibly neatly installed. I understand it may belong to one of our group members, so if anyone knows the owner, please get him to post more close up details! Ed...didn't you take a photo of this miraculous SD1?? Amateurs!
Although there were many more cars on display on the Sunday and the weather wasn't quite as bad. The show didn't have the same atmosphere for me. It could just have been that i'd eaten too much, drank too much or talked too much but by lunchtime i'd just about had enough and talking to some of the other guys,they were feeling very much the same.
A few of us kept wandering back to camp for a sneaky sleep (especially Gar, who couldn't keep his eyes open lol)
Phil's wife Lorraine had turned up with their son Lucas and were enjoying several tram rides on the magnificently restored machines from around the country and indeed the world. As were Liam and Finley and Kevin and Sheila. I keep seeing their little faces go by as i sat around the display trying to catch some sun. (i didn't actally catch any)
I think it was around 2pm when i went back to camp to pack up the camper and get the trailer ready to take the Nash home. I would take it over to the car park for easier loading and then go and rejoin the gang for the rest of the afternoon but after parking the van outside the main gate and walking down the entry ramp, i couldn't help but notice all our group cars heading up the cobbles towards the exit!
It was all over. Another fabulous Crich show as coming to an end and en mass, everyone had decided it was time to head home.
Some of us had a long way to travel home and some of us didn't. Gus and I were fortunate to be only an hour away but i did feel for Gar who had to retrace his double run back and Liam who had a 3 hour journey home in an unfamiliar car.
Well done to everyone for making it a memorable weekend enjoyed by all. Big thanks to Paul Cheetham and Gar Cole for their oustanding organisation and thanks to Crich Transport Museum for again allowing us to use their superb location and facilities.
I hope you enjoyed my reports and i look forward to Mike Peake taking back over for our future events! Ed...oh no! all yours now matey!
by Jim Lodder
The Herald was a very different animal to the Mini when it came to driving! After the go cart handling of the Mini, cornering like it was on rails, the Herald’s tendency to tuck those rear wheels under and try to catch up the front end was quite a frightening experience. I mostly got used to it, but could still get caught out on wet bends!
Although the girlfriend (now officially fiancée) couldn’t understand why, I immediately began to personalise the Herald just as I had done with the Mini.
I made a centre console from aluminium, covered in black vinyl, that sat on top of the gearbox tunnel and housed a radio and an 8 track tape player. Speakers fitted into each front footwell trim panels. The radio aerial was a fibreglass whip thing, mounted on the rear offside wing and clipped in a big arc to the front of the rain gutter. Occasionally it became unclipped, and whipped around quite dangerously!
I also had fake sheepskin seat covers, topped with matching front headrests that slipped over the seat backs. Weird! One evening whilst parked up in a multi storey car park whilst I was at a night club, I returned to the Herald to find that someone had got into it, stolen the seat covers, headrests, and radio aerial and then locked it again! They left all the 8 track tapes and the £3 / £4 in loose change in the tray on top of the tunnel. Thieves with bad taste I think!
Around now, for reasons lost in the mysteries of time, the girlfriend / fiancée became the ex girlfriend / fiancée. Her mother never did like me! To celebrate my new found single status, 4 mates and I set off for Minehead in the Herald for a weeks jolly holidaying at a caravan park.
Around halfway through the week, as we were cresting a rather steep hill, we came to a sudden and immediate stop. Opening the front end of the Herald we were met with a pool of oil on the road, and a con rod sticking out of the side of the block! Curses! At the bottom of the hill we spotted a traditional garage / petrol station so we jumped back into the Herald and coasted into the forecourt.
The sympathetic owner allowed us to push the car round the back into his compound, on condition that unless we removed it within a month he’d scrap it for spares. We got a bus back to the caravan park, finished our weeks holiday, and went home on the train.
The following weekend, my long suffering Dad and I drove down to Minehead in his GT6. It had a towbar fitted to move his speedboat around, so with an AA approved tow rope we proceeded to tow the Herald back home, me sat in it and concentrating 101% on braking and turning. I was completely exhausted by the time we got safely home.
Then one particularly rainy evening, on my way home from the pub, I went into a sharp right hand bend far too fast, and made the classic Herald mistake of lifting off the throttle half way round. The rear end inevitably spun round, and the car left the road, spinning sideways down a grassy bank until a large oak tree stopped it by getting in the way of the front nearside wheel.
Fortunately I was shaken but unhurt, and there was no one else around, so I managed to pull the dented wing off the still inflated tyre, got back in and somehow managed to drive back up the wet grassy slope onto the road, and nursed the car back home. In the cold light of the following morning, the true extent of the damage became obvious. The bonnet was really damaged beyond repair, so that came off first, to reveal a slightly repositioned front suspension unit, and a decidedly redesigned steering rack.
Still don’t know how I got it home that night! Fortunately I had a mate who had a 1600 Vitesse bonnet going spare, but it was in blue. And I got a second hand steering rack from a scrappies, although I had to remove it from the donor car myself. Those were the days of proper scrap yards!
I took the steering rack, wrapped in old newspapers, home on the bus, to many odd looks! Having rebuilt the Herald, I flatted the blue Vitesse bonnet and managed to press the rather useful paint spraying uncle into action again. But this time he also provided the Conifer Green paint!
By now I’d had enough of the Herald, especially as it had never really been my choice, but that of the now ex girlfriend. So it was duly sold, and replaced with …………….. a red Morris Mini Minor!
By Tony 'Tosh' Brooks
After way too much merriment on Friday night, my brother and I were
very rudely awakened from our drunken sleep at 5am by the sound of
heavy rain lashing down on the campervan roof.
"Oh noooooo" I said to Gus, Then thought to my self. "Did we put the
roof up on the Nash? Did we put the left over food away?, Did i leave
Bella outside? Is poor old Paul Cheetham getting washed away in his
little tent" and many other questions started to go round in my head. I
could hear Bella snoring in her bed under mine so rather than going
out and actually checking any of my other worries, i decided to pull a
pillow over my head and try and drift off back to sleep.
A couple of hours later i woke again to find it still raining but not so
hard. Gus was up and about and i could hear voices outside grumbling
and moaning about not getting any sleep and the day ahead being a
Fortunately Gar being sober had thought on to place all the chairs and
tables under the gazebo before he went to bed, so we were able to
have a relatively dry breakfast, which was a rather somber and steady
affair compared to our usual meaty feast, due to to the rain and our
With pots washed and rubbish from the night before collected up it was
time to mount our steeds and get ready to drive just over the road,
through the car park and onto the cobbled streets for our show.
Gar set up the cake table and chairs under the bandstand, out of the
rain, whilst the group banner was strapped to the railings ready to
welcome all comers through the main gate.
The bandstand area was filled with most of the campers cars and after
a bit of shifting, shuffling and wheel spinning on the muddy grass we
were happy with the display.
As a steady flow of Britains finest classic cars started to arrive, Paul was
running round like a mad thing as usual, organising the parking, trying to
keep out of trouble with the various Crich staff, answering people's
questions and taking as many photo's as possible. He's a busy boy!
Benjamin Gretton and his good lady arrived in his superb Mk1 Granada
Coupe, desperate to defend his members favourite car title for a
second year but there were some top class cars arriving and it was
going to be a tough choice for everyone!
Next to arrive was a lovely looking Triumph Dolomite with a very
dapper looking chap at the wheel, resplendant in white shirt, tie,
waistcoat and ...........what's that on his head?? why its a yellow bowler
hat!! No idea who he was, does anyone know him?
Snowey Ellison arrived in his lovely old Hillman Husky and we had
Metro's sitting side by side in front of a Jensen Interceptor, S Type
Jaguar, Liam's Rover P6 and even a rebodied Kitten Tempest! This may
not be the largest car show ever but this was a quality line-up!
Gar had decided, due to there only being 20 odd cars on show in the
rain, that the best way to present the members choice award would be
to post one picture of each car on the Facebook group and the picture
with the most likes would win. Thus enableing everyone that couldn't
make the show to get involved.
That was plan A... what we didn't take into consideration was the fact
that no one at Crich could get any internet signal and if we did get a
signal it was that poor that downloading pictures was impossible!!
Plan B....Gar went round and asked everyone there to choose their
It was a close run thing with all the cars being worthy winners and it
came down in the end to Nick Arthur shooting himself in the foot!
Nick's stunning Jensen Interceptor was neck and neck with Ian
Woodwards equally stunning Ford Zephyr and unbeknown to Nick it
was his own final vote for the Zephyr that gave Ian the win!
Congratulations to Ian and commiserations to Nick, and Ben, and
everyone else who didn't win but i didn't hear anyone complain about
As the day went on the rain was on and off. Much cake was eaten and
many cups of coffee were flowing out of Apollo's very handy kettle.
Paul had spread the word that we could do a convoy parade up and
down the cobbled, tram lined street at 1.30pm and this certainly
proved to be a highlight of the day (for me at least!).
Lincoln Hunt had earlier relayed a story about his dad owning a Nash
Metropolitan when he was a boy and that he once got locked in the
boot and couldn't get out! Despite this claustrophobic episode he still
had fond memories of the car and would love to do the parade in our
As many of the regular show goers know, we love letting people enjoy
our cars so i had no hesitation throwing him the keys and being the top
fella he is, Lincoln throws me the keys to his beast of a Range Rover!!
The sound of that massive 4.2 litre V8 motor reverbarating through the
enclosed street was absolutely amazing as we started the parade. I
was grinning from ear to ear as i regularly blipped that throttle. It was
good to see the smile on Lincoln's face too, as the biggest guy, sat in
the smallest car roared up and down the cobbles.
Paul was leading the parade and chose to do no less than three runs up
and down, which was good for Liam as he missed the first run but not
so good for Simon Birch as his lovely but temprimental Mk 2 Granada
had starting problems! At least he was able to get some good pictures
from the bridge above the street and lots of us were taking video's and
pictures en route, most have which have already been seen on the
I took a bit of stick from everyone for constantly revving Lincoln's
tremendous Rover engine and for dropping back in the line so i could
floor it up the cobbles for dramatic effect but Licoln certainly got his
own back when the Nash came back looking like "Puffing Billy" with
steam pouring out of the radiator!!
One of the few vehicles that didn't join us in the parade was owned by
Joshua Springer. I don't know what his problem was, i think he must
have been in a bad mood and not enjoying the show.......or maybe it
was because he turned up in his immaculate 40' Plaxton bodied Butlins
coach, complete with hilarious skeleton driver!
If the members choice award was for the groups largest vehicle, he
would certainly have taken it without argument!
Despite the weather trying it's best to dampen spirits and numbers
being a bit down on what we'd hoped, we had a fabulous day. Met
some lovely people and enjoyed some lovely cakes.
As the show was winding down and people were dwindling away, the
rain had stopped and although it was still windy, we decided to have a
mini convoy out of the museum and up to the memorial tower over
looking the site.
This gave some of us another chance to swap keys and drive each
others cars up the hill. I can't quite remember who drove what but i'm
sure those who did swap will fill us in. Up to this point i hadn't yet
drove our Nash so i took that and followed the convoy up to the
memorial car park for an impromptu photo opportunity on the grassy
area with stunning views over the Derbyshire countryside.
We walked en mass to the tower for more piccys and some of us
braved the endless spiral staricase to the very top. I can tell you it was
extremely windy up there!! Kurt nearly lost his glasses, Lincoln thought
about taking his cap off for a second and Liam, Gus, and I had our hair
blown all out of shape!
Cobwebs blown off, photo's taken, it was time to head back to camp for
some well earned barbecue and drinkypoo's.
As usual Gus did a splendid job of cooking everything to perfection and
me and Phil did splendid job of polishing off every available drop of
Joan had supplied us with some of Lincolnshire's finest sausages at the
request of John Simpson, as they went down so well at Boston. They
certainly went down well at Crich too!
As the rain started to pour heavily again we tried to huddle closer and
closer to the centre of Gar's 9' square gazebo but several of us were
just on the outskirts and we took it in turn to drown under a shower of
freezing cold water. Roger and Joan could take no more and declared
"Why are we sitting here getting soaked when we have a beautiful,
warm dry camper with tv and Pimms?? Lets go!!" So they turned, in
leaving us to ponder whether we should get an early night and be fresh
for the second days show on Sunday.
I was willing to call it a night but Phil Allen produced a bottle of
"Christams spirit" in the form of some rather tasty Cinnemon whiskey!
This did the trick and our spirits were indeed lifted and we had no
choice but to party on until well after midnight again!
After almost being flooded down to the bottom of the field in his little
tent, Kurt had invited Paul to spend the night in Apollo with him instead
of risking another sleepless night. He welcomed the idea and the two
of them cosied up in there like a couple of boy scouts on a big
Eventually Gar had had enough too and sent us all to bed. It's always
good to have a sensible one in any group and if it wasn't for him (and
running out of whiskey) we would probably have carried on another
few hours. Phil wasn't happy and was searching his van for a stray
bottle of merlot but eventually we all settled down having had a soggy
but good day.
To be Continued....
by Gar Cole
I had been looking forward to this years Crich meet for some time. It had been such a success last year and I hoped for more of the same. I finished work at 3am Thursday night/Friday morning but struggled to sleep while buzzing about Crich.
Being a middle aged softy I had decided to abandon any form of canvas and take the family's 19ft caravan, leave it at the campfield, shoot home in the modern and return in the moggy, sounds a simple plan right..?
After returning to Brum I discovered my bank card was missing from my wallet, went into a complete panic looking for it, eventually retraced my steps to the petrol station who thankfully still had it in the kiosk. This however meant I wouldn't make the meeting point for our little convoy.
I phoned Paul Cheetham and Phil Allin and told them to carry on without me. It was at this point Phil pointed out his Rover P5b keys were in his works van and he wouldn't be able to leave until 5.30pm. I was starting to hear the Laurel & Hardy theme tune at this point ...
Nelson buzzed, popped and parped his way along the 58 miles to Crich without a hitch and i arrived at the camp field to see everyone set up and an impressive selection of classics ( including Phil and the P5b ).
'How did you beat me?' I enquired, he smirked and said "Well I may have touched 85 or 90 on occasion, and I have 4 more cylinders than you and more capacity". Nods of agreement came from the other 3 owners of V8 powered classics. Feeling like the guy with the smallest willy in the changing room i quietly parked Nelson consoling myself with his impressive 50 mpg and reliability.
After making some introductions to new members joining us including Ash with his cool Moke and Roger and Joan Tennyson in their beautifully restored Morris Oxford, it wasnt long before the BBQ and wood fire were alight under our communal gazebo.
I made my way to Tony Brooks latest toy, a Nash Metropolitan ripe for restoration. He mentioned repainting it, before he could say anymore I said "Hope its not that lurid turquoise and white you see them in?" He pursed his lips like he was sucking a lemon, realising I'd hit the nail on the head I back tracked by saying maybe a slightly darker green would suit it better. The lemon increased its bite on Tosh's lips before he said in his best yorkshire twang "It's turquoise or nowt".
Large amounts of cooked food, nibbles and alcohol followed in what was a very pleasant evening belatedly celebrating Phil Allin's birthday, ending around midnight.
My alarm woke me at 7am with the sound of heavy rain bouncing off the roof of the caravan. The air turned blue as I cursed our bad luck having heavy rain in June. As i looked outside I saw young Paul taking shelter under the gazebo, his tent having sprung a few leaks in the night.
Nevertheless as campers emerged from their tents, caravans and camper vans the show spirit kicked in. Engines were started, tables and chairs loaded, keys swapped to enjoy each others cars and we took off for the short drive over to the museum, deftly organised into order by Paul Cheetham we set up in our favourite spot around the band stand.
The weather started to improve and a better than expected 23 vehicles arrived. More of the general public arrived and soon started to appreciate the eclectic mix of vehicles our shows provide (including a Leyland coach ).
We all took full advantage of what Crich has to offer - trams, shops, restaurants and stunning scenery. At 1pm we were given permission to do a convoy up and down the village street; it was quite a sight seeing such a mix of vehicles together on a cobbled street. The gentle parp of exhausts and cheeky horns was shattered by Tosh Brooks revving up Lincoln Hunts monster Range Rover, can't take that bloke anywhere 😉.
The show drew to a close with Ian Woodward taking the prize for the 'members favourite car' with his stunning Zephyr.
All swapping keys again i found myself in Phils P5B, as our convoy made its way to the memorial located on the hillside next to the museum grounds. Once parked up it offered a truly amazing 360 panorama for photo opportunities .
Sunday presented itself in a much drier fashion but with considerably more wind than the previous day. Keen to get a good spot in the village Phil had one of the tram drivers open the main gates early for us.
We arranged ourselves around the main building near the entrance; the early birds who had been queuing in the side entrance were somewhat surprised to see our cars already set up as they arrived, but as the old saying goes ' its who you know that counts '.
A larger and more diverse selection of cars made up Sundays event, with some exceptional looking cars making an appearance, everything from an Alvis and a Traction Avant to a small coach that once belonged to the Queen Mother for transporting her staff between Royal residences.
Once again Crich showed itself to be an excellent venue for a car show as more and more visitors arrived and came to chat to us. Apollo the camper once again drawing attention from all quarters. My moggy, the Nash Metropolitan and the Moke made up a line of unrestored cars with heavy patina but still seemed to draw attention.
My final drive of the day was in the red XR3i owned by the Brooks and driven by Kurt Lawrence. He seemed to have fun in my Minor , slip sliding his way out of the field in a rear wheel drive car with only 145 tyres.
The XR3i was a treat to drive. It's been 20 years since I owned one and the memories came flooding back; low firm suspension, quick gearbox and whizzy and willing engine. There is something about those performance Fords that makes you feel good once you're behind the wheel.
My right hand man at these events, Mike Peake AKA Fat Bloke was sorely missed, but understandably was at home celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary. The rest of the campers made it an easy weekend all helping out in different ways and of course special thanks to Paul Cheetham for all his hard work on both days.
Thank you Crich - we shall be back!
Part One. Setting up camp.
By Tony 'Tosh' Brooks
Due to our regular group meet attendee and master blogger Mike Peake being otherwise engaged, I’ve been bullied...sorry, "politely asked" to write a report on our latest group meet and camping weekend at Crich Transport Museum Derbyshire. Organised by the ever enthusiastic young Mini owner Paul Cheetham, with the help of our very own events guru Gar Cole.
The weather forecast for the weekend was Sunny with cloud for Friday. Rain and more rain Saturday. Showers with cloud and blustery wind Sunday. For once, and much to our dismay, the forecast was spot on!!
Some weeks earlier I had picked up a Rover P6 for my mate Liam White, as it was for sale close to my home town. He was desperate to collect and drive the car but due to living in Bristol, was struggling to get over for it.
He asked if i could take it to Crich for him and he would come over for the weekend and drive it back home to Bristol on the Sunday.
He had to collect his son Finley from school and his lovely wife Helen from her pampering salon session and hoped to join us by about 7pm. Due to Helen being a total Diva they had decided not to camp and had booked into a swanky dog friendly B&B in the village to also accommodate their dog Luna.
This gave us a bit of a dilemma as I was bringing our new Nash Metropolitan on my trailer behind the camper we would be sleeping in, my brother Gus was driving Apollo and Kurt Lawrence was driving our XR3i. A car which he loves almost as much as the Mk3 Cortina I sold from under him last year.
Not wanting to let Liam down I said no problem, we'll leave the XR3 and Kurt can drive your P6 to Crich. Well this went down like a lead balloon and Kurt was screaming like a girl and stamping his feet, so being the kind hearted gent I am, I said "tough" that's how it's got to be!
Gus was going to our toy box early Friday morning to top up Apollo's fluids, as he has a tendency to spew them all out on the floor in between waiting for his time to shine, while I go shopping for essential weekend supplies. (Ok mainly whiskey, vodka, burgers, whiskey, cake and whiskey!)
I get a call from Gus at 10am saying he was bored, Apollo was good to go, all the cars were washed and the Nash was on the trailer! We were going to be way too early, so i suggested we take Liam's car to Crich then come back and collect everything else, as it was less than an hour from home. That way at least Kurt might be in a better mood and we'd have a full complement of cars at the show.
No drama, the car drove great, we dumped it on the camping field and shot straight back for the other cars.
When we got back for the second time Gar's caravan was parked in prime position. He'd been and gone back home to fetch his Moggy Minor "Nelson" and he'd text me to say due to the weather we should form a circle to shade the evening’s entertainment, so we parked Apollo and my camper "just so" and cracked open a beer just in time to welcome Phil Allen with his caravan which made up the full "square" circle.
Phil didn't hang about as he was doing a double run too and heading straight back to fetch his beautiful Rover P5. He doesn't live far from Crich so wouldn't be long!
The weather was beautiful in the afternoon and as time went by more beer flowed as we welcomed our organiser Paul Cheetham with his Mini, Kurt in the XR3i, Roger and Joan Tennison with their gorgeous Morris Oxford, and Ashley and his son Thomas in their mad as a box of frogs Scamp.
Still no sign of Gar or Phil but the text messages were coming thick and fast!! Gar had lost his credit card and was retracing his steps from earlier in the day hoping to find it and Phil's wife Lorraine had the keys to his P5 in her van miles away!! Well done boys!
Despite driving 160 miles from Bristol, Liam and his family still managed to arrive, check into the B&B and join us on camp before the rest of the gang!
Finally they were all back, Gar found his card in the petrol station where he'd left it and Phil retrieved his keys. The barbecue was roaring and the drinks were flowing. The banners were up, the sun was shining and life was good. Thomas and Finley became best of friends and played happily for hours. Luna and my dog Bella were also getting to know each other as we celebrated Phil's birthday with a superb cake provided by Gar with a picture of his P5 emblazoned on the top..(there's even a sweet wedding type picture of Phil and Kurt doing the cutting ceremony somewhere)
We partied on until after midnight with toasted marshmallows burning over the fire pit and copious amounts of alcohol being consumed until some sensible fellow (Sober Gar) suggested we hit the sack as we have a classic car show to go to tomorrow!
To be continued....
by Jim Lodder
A long time ago, in a city far away, this 17 year old had just spent 4 days in hospital after coming off his motor scooter (Italian, so not to be identified here) on his way to the school 6th Form. Not my fault by the way, although the scooter was a write off.
So the parents agree that he will be safer with four wheels, plus his car driving test is imminent. Having had to resort to the bus to get to school, which admittedly was considerably easier in those days; just walk to the bus stop and wait for the next one to arrive; I used to come home every afternoon, turn the corner into our road, and hope that there would be a nice shiny Mini Cooper S parked outside our house, bought for me by my generous caring father! (He was actually neither of those things, but that’s another story).
Having passed my test first time, the nice Co-op insurance man (who else remembers the insurance man calling each week to collect premium instalments?) explained patiently that there was no way on I’d get cover on a Cooper S, why didn’t I aim lower and get a basic 850cc Mini? Sensible chap!
So trawling the classified ads in the evening paper – Thursday was the car ads night – I found a 12 year old Morris Mini Minor in beige with a brown roof – registration 659 BOM. Several previous owners but seemed to be in reasonable condition, and £135, which was the equivalent of around 10 weeks of my wages at the time.
Of course, back then a 12 year old Mini was just an old car. Now of course, realising that “then” was 1971, that 12 year old Mini was an early 1959 model complete with floor mounted starter, dog leg gear stick and floor mounted dip switch. Worth a small fortune now, but sadly I suspect long gone to the great scrapyard in the sky.
Shortly after getting the Mini several mates and I came back from the Racing Motor Show with lots and lots of stickers – Castrol, STP, Esso, Duckhams etc etc which I proceeded to cover the Mini with! I thought it looked really cool; my manager at the bank where I worked was less impressed and asked me to park it out of sight of our customers.
Over the next year or so 659 BOM (affectionately known as “The Bomb”) provided regular service with only the occasional breakdown, usually during heavy rain. Anyone who’s had an early Mini will understand why!
Then one day, on the way to the girlfriend's house, I lost all gears except reverse. The nice AA man towed me home, and at the weekend my Dad took his brand new Triumph GT6 Mk 3 out of the garage (it only usually came out at the weekends) and we pushed the Mini in backwards. To cut to the chase, bonnet off, front subframe unbolted, we lifted the front of the Mini and pushed the body to the back of the garage. Engine and box separated, we rebuilt the gearbox on the garage floor over many long evenings and weekends with guidance from the Haynes manual.
Whilst sitting on the garage floor with the ‘box at my feet, I began to ponder tidying up The Bomb. So off came all the stickers and the paint was flatted (mostly to get rid of all the adhesive residues). Now at that time I had an uncle who worked at Standard Triumph as a paint sprayer, whilst my dad worked at Massey Ferguson as a maintenance electrician. So when The Bomb finally hit the road once more, it was now Tractor Red with a matt black bonnet and boodlid (and a few new stickers!)
Sometime later I added a black vinyl roof, bought as a kit from the girlfriends mother’s Kays catalogue at 50p a week! I used to spend every Saturday morning at the local scrappies, climbing through the wrecks looking for anything I could add to the Mini. I got lucky one time with a newly arrived Mk2 Jaguar and along with the switch panel I took most of the gauges as well. These I fitted to a plywood dash panel in the Mini along with other toggle switches, most of which did nothing! I also fell lucky when someone I worked with at the bank, who also had a Mini, offered me a set of five reverse rim Mini Cooper S wheels that just needed a repaint. For free!!
The Mini provided a further year or so of fun transport, including holidays to Wales and Cornwall (that journey used to take over 12 hours!) The girlfriend and I slept in it on a Welsh beach once, did “other” things in it (it is possible in a Mini, but only if you’re young and flexible) and generally had good times with The Bomb.
However, the girlfriend decided one day that “we” needed something bigger (she didn’t drive) following our recent new status as “engaged”, so the Mini was sold and I bought a C reg Herald Estate in Conifer Green with a white stripe. But more on that next time!
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