By Mike Peake.
Sunday had us back in the hall bright and early ready for another day of playing “who’s got the best car layout”.
Well, of course WE did so let me introduce the rest of the cars on our stand.
Dale Scutter’s 1952 Hillman Minx is a proper “family car”. It was purchased by his father, Brian, in 1998 who took 4 years to restore it to the level we see today and it is an absolute credit to his skills. It really is a beautiful car. Sadly, Brian passed away last year but Dale has bravely and proudly picked up the baton of keeping it on the road for the rest of us to enjoy. There is even another generation waiting keenly in the wings as Dale’s daughter seemed just as proud as he is. Dale is also the custodian of another Hillman, a vintage caravan and a scooter courtesy of his father’s passion so we really are hoping to see much more of Dale in the future. He’s a top chap too!
Of course, no BEBVBM1598 event would be complete without another Brooks masterpiece and this show is no exception. This time it is the recently completed 1958 Standard Pennant. (Yes, Poppy’s Grandad!) As we’ve come to expect, it is absolutely stunningly beautiful. Even the chairman of the Standard Owners Club was heard to grudgingly admit that it was the 2nd best Pennant he’d ever seen, just before pointing out that it had the wrong hub caps. Praise indeed.
The Pennant is another celebrity with several appearances in ITV’s Heartbeat and the Royal.
The last car on our stand was supposed to be a favourite car and owner of mine. The lovely 1948 Rover 16 owned by Alan Crown. Sadly he had to pull out at the last minute due to ill health and was sorely missed by us all. We’d all like to wish you the very best for a full and speedy recovery Alan.
So, huge thanks are due to the Brooks brothers for stepping in at such short notice and bringing a vehicle that needs no introduction, but I’ll introduce it anyway. Apollo the Rover P5B Camper. Yes, I said a Rover P5B camper. For those of you that have been members for any length of time and haven’t been hiding under a rock, you will already know and love Apollo who has become somewhat of a mascot and flagship of our group.
For those of you that have been living under a rock or new members, put the shot guns and pitchforks away. Apollo was converted into a camper by his original owner way back in 1972 when you couldn’t spit without hitting one of these cars. No one is really sure why he chose this car to convert but he did and created a unique vehicle. The Brooks bought him at this show some years ago and worked their magic to produce the glorious, mad as a box of frogs, vehicle we see today. A wonderful mix of the old and new, he was, quite possibly, the most popular car of the show. There wasn’t a moment when he wasn’t surrounded by admiring muggles and he bought a smile to everyone that approached our stand.
Saturday had been ram packed full of visitors, so much so that it was very difficult to get around or close to anything. Sunday was a little quieter and I didn’t have any more celebrity showings so it gave us a chance to chat on the stand and get around and see a bit of the show in a much more relaxed manner.
First though, at 11 o’clock a 2 minute silence was held to commemorate the Armistice 100 years ago. At the sound of Big Ben’s chimes, all halls fell completely and eerily silent. All the hum and noise of thousands of people just cut out while everyone reflected and remembered. It was actually quite moving and impressive.
Unfortunately, we did have a bit of an incident at about midday, when Gar and Gus were arrested by site security for stealing the seats out of a car in the car park, but we managed to smooth it all over in the end and I was able to have another mooch around the halls between manning the stand.
Now I make no big secret out of being a bit of a Triumph fan and have always quite liked the little front wheel drive 1300 but never really been up close to one until now, and this one had the bonnet up. Imagine my surprise then, when I noticed that someone had put the engine in the wrong way round!
It’s a front wheel drive car with the engine fore and aft instead of transverse. Why on earth did they do that? I thought Issigonis had already proved that the transverse is a much more efficient way of mounting an engine on a FWD car? (Answers on a postcard please) It was a jolly nice looking car though.
This is another car that caught my attention.
I’m seriously thinking of getting one of these for our tours as it could be very useful in keeping away pink Rialtos that get too close to members cars. What do you think? Crowd Fund anyone? (What? Too soon?) (Sorry Kevin, Couldn’t resist)
Of course we then had to play "Squeeze the fat blokes in a small space" and it fell to the Flat-Nose Morris to provide the space. Actually it was surprisingly roomy, but I don’t think the suspension will ever be the same again.
There were lots of others cars we wanted to play this game in, but unfortunately, the owners weren’t keen. Can’t imagine why.
Oh, and keep a close eye out for this car in the future. I’ve a feeling we may be seeing a bit more of it soon, but Shhhhh, don’t tell Allison Brooks
The show was coming to a close so our thoughts turned to a group photo for the annuls. As you can see, our early attempts weren’t up to much and we were having trouble getting everyone in the same place at the same time.
So, we decided to kidnap the Boston Classic Car Club stand to make us look busy and happy and slightly less scary. Most of them are our members too. Much better, don’t you think?
Of course there was a moment when we heard that the Artisan Bakery stand was having an end of show sale, so, as we hadn’t had enough cake over the weekend apparently, a small stampede ensued.
I think this was my favourite group picture of the weekend though. It shows what a family group this is with 3 generations of members attending. Grandad, Gus Brooks, Dad Kurt Lawrence and little Seth Lawrence whose favourite car was definitely Bernard’s Moggie. The photo was even shared by the NEC Classic car show Instagram account. As Gus said, when our club gets together, it really is like a family outing.
Sadly, the show came to an end and apart from breaking up a potential fight between the Austin 7 Club and the Period and Classic Caravan Club, the breakdown went well and sad farewells were said to all.
So, a massive thank you to John and Elaine Fisher, Matt Harris, Ian ‘windy’ Woodward and Bernard Owen, Dale Scutter and Gus and Tosh Brooks for showing their beautiful cars and manning the stand. A weekend like this is a huge commitment in both time and money and we really appreciate your support. Thanks also to all our members that came and said hello and shared cake with us.
As always, it is great to see you all and put names to faces. It was also great to see so many members on other stands with their cars. Paul Clappison, Lincoln Hunt, Chris Allan, Andy Gardner, Graham Boxhall and the Boston Classic Car Club, to name but a few. Keep spreading the word chaps!
Biggest thanks of all go to Gar Cole and Paul Sweeney whose tireless behind the scenes organising and form filling made all this possible along with the help of our sponsors Dave Youngs of Lancaster Insurance and Phil Allin of Alveston Press.
Finally, no event report would be complete without a picture of our glorious Fat Controller of Events, Gar Cole.
See you all soon,
Your Celebrity Club Administrator.
By Mike Peake
Saturday morning found me winding down a country lane looking for the Brooks who needed a lift in. Needless to say, Gladys the sat nav wasn’t very helpful and I was reduced to asking the local postie for directions. I finally found them and whisked us all to the NEC, trying to blank out the continuation of last night’s micky taking.
The 1st hour and a half in the halls is a bit of a haze for me as I was a quivering nervous wreck with my time split equally between the “facilities” and hiding behind Apollo blubbing like a little girl.
Mrs FB arrived with my daughters and then bolstered my confidence by beating me around head and telling me to “pull myself together”.
It was time to head to the stage and I felt like a man on the “gallows walk” but I made it there and mounted the stage with my fellow death row inmates from the Jowett club and 2CVGB.
I perched on the ridiculous “boy band” bar stools and just waited for the axe to fall in the shape of the rowdy chorus of “who ate all the pies” that I was expecting from my friends. It didn’t happen and I felt a modicum of relief and thought that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.
Danny Hopkins (Editor of Practical Classics) introduced the segment and we were off. He then asked the 1st question … directed at … ME! It was quite a simple question. He asked me to tell everyone my name and which group I was representing. Of course I immediately forgot the answer to both but it didn’t matter because as I tried to stutter out something, anything, bumbling incompetence struck. My microphone didn’t work. I don’t think it was my bumbling incompetence as I really hadn’t had it long enough to break it, but it wasn’t working. It was soon swapped for a functioning one and having accidentally gained some thinking time, I finally stuttered out the correct answers.
Between trying to maintain my balance on the ridiculous stool and concentrating on the questions and my answers, I forgot my nerves and made it all the way to the end without completely embarrassing myself or the club. There wasn’t even the slightest heckle from my friends! I’d like to think this was out of respect for me and my position with the club, but suspect that it is far more likely that they were scared into good behaviour by a glaring Mrs FB and the threat of the withdrawal of cake privileges.
Well, with that ordeal over and done with, it was back to the stand for a celebratory slice of cake and a cup of coffee. Everyone was polite enough to say that it had all gone well and I’d done a good job, but I was holding a knife at the time.
With my adrenaline levels ebbing I could relax and mooch around the halls for a bit with my family and we had a very nice time of it. The highlight for Emily-Fleur was when a celebrity even higher in the lists than me actually spoke to her. It was Lewis Hamilton’s Dad and I don’t think she’ll ever forget his words. He said “Oh! Sorry! I didn’t see you there.” I’m sure that this was all down to my own new found celebrity status.
My celebrity status also made it possible for Tosh Brooks to smuggle Nick and I into the VIP auction area. I could really get used to this. However, he soon had me thrown out again when I started bidding on an SS Jaguar using his auction ID number.
Jaguarless, I returned to mooching the halls with my family having a great time discussing which cars we would take home with us if we could. Of course Anita and Emily were going to take all the minis home but Sophie was torn between the TR7s and MG Midgets.
Me? Well almost everything! However, this little gem caught my attention.
Yes, I’m sure it’s not to everyone’s cup of tea but holds a place in my heart as it was my Mum’s 1st car. Hers was a Talbot Horizon, but otherwise identical to this one. Mum learned to drive later in life and actually only passed her test (1st time) a year or two before me. Therefore my Mum, me and my younger brother all learned to drive in this car. The poor thing. My brother is the only one in our family, including my daughters, that didn’t pass his test first time, but we barely mention it these days. We barely mention the fact that there wasn’t a single undented panel left after he’d finished with the car either.
Whilst on our mooch, we bumped into fellow member, Andy Gardner on the TR youth stand where amazingly, he’d actually remembered to bring his classic car with him this time. It’s a jolly nice TR7 that he has shoe horned a really, really big V8 into. He immediately fell back down to young idiot status again when he admitted that both Harris Mann and Lewis Hamilton’s Dad had been chatting to him on the stand but he forget to get photos with them or get Mr Mann’s signature on his boot lid. Like I said, Idiot! He’s even got a rosette to prove it.
Of course there was plenty more to see in the vast acreage of displays and here are a few of my favourites.
No selection of my favourites would be complete without me boring you with yet another pic of that 1930’s Triumph Dolomite. But no! it’s not the red coupe this time but a black saloon showing off that incredible waterfall grill.
Oh OK. The red coupe was here again too.
Another car that grabbed my attention for personal reasons was this absolutely mint Vauxhall Viceroy with its 2500 straight six engine that I believe it shared with the Bedford vans. Only 2290 of these cars were made by Vauxhall. Not out of any ideas about limited editions, I just don’t think it sold very well.
Why do I like it so much? Well I had one. It was my 2nd car when I was 19 or so. It used to waft me effortlessly between Swindon and London to see the future Mrs FB in velour clad luxury. Nothing puts a rose tint on your glasses more than nostalgia, but I did love that car. I had to sell it in the end though, because I took a job in Reading and I couldn’t afford the petrol bill this monster was producing on the daily commute from Swindon. Ahhh… happy days. Mine was white with a black vinyl roof registered RLF 410W and sadly, hasn’t survived. I hadn’t seen another one in the flesh since I sold mine back in the early 90’s so this was a real treat for me.
It was soon time for my ladies to head to their various homes and I headed back to man the stand for the last couple of hours and eat cake before a pleasant evening meal in a Harvester. I had a much more relaxed evening than the last one.
To Be continued …
By Mike Peake
How about that then? Nick Arthur came up with a new title for me and I like it much better than Bumbling Incompetent Fool, so I think I’m going to use it for a while. I’ll explain later, but don’t worry, I won’t forget my roots!
Well that was another epic success at the groups 2nd showing at this prestigious event. The Lancaster Insurance Classic Car show with Discovery, at the NEC in Birmingham.
Our beloved Fat Controller of Events, Gar Cole, outdid himself yet again with a wonderful collection of cars and owners all beautifully displayed in Hall 8. The cars looked great too. Annoyingly, work got in the way a bit so I missed set up and didn’t arrive until Friday afternoon to be greeted with a very professional looking stand.
So let me introduce you to some of the cars and their owners.
First up is this 1966 Mini Crayford Convertible owned by the delightful, if slightly bonkers John and Elaine Fisher.
Oh! Sorry. Wrong pictures. This isn’t how it appeared on our stand, but how it was discovered. Now, most people would have looked at that and thought ”how sad, a lovely rare little Mini that has gone to meet its maker, fallen off its perch and is, indeed, an ex Mini.” But not John. He looked at it and thought, “that will fix up alright”. Yes, as I said, “slightly bonkers.”
Quite an Improvement isn’t it? So, although bonkers John was correct, but before you witty wags start, it took a lot more than the miraculous “bit of T-Cut”. It took an epic and substantial rebuild which eventually turned the rusted heap into the car we see before us today. A sympathetically rebuilt car that retains the heart of a really great and rare little Mini. (let’s just hope that Stephen King’s “pet cemetery” isn’t true.)
Now whilst this provides quite enough evidence of bonkersness, John and Elaine provided even more by admitting that they actually have 761 other Mini’s and mini-based cars at home, AND they spent the weekend camping in a field … in a tent … in the middle of November, just to be at the show! Yes, as I said, “slightly bonkers.”
Next in Line is Matt Harris’s 1928 Morris Flat Nose Cowley and as you can imagine, it has seen a lot in its 90 years of life.
The pick-up truck actually left the factory as a 4 door car and is believed to have been converted to its current configuration during the 2nd World War. The reason for the conversion is thought to be because as a commercial vehicle, it would receive the larger petrol ration than that received by private vehicles. Apart from a little woodwork, the car is believed to be completely unrestored since its modification.
It has a 1546cc 11.9 HP side valve engine which, after a rather complicated starting procedure, ran as smooth as a sewing machine. I noticed it could be a little smoky when revved hard though. It took me ages to get the soot off my face and clear my lungs and I decided not to stand behind it anymore.
The Morris has a 3 speed crash box with a cork clutch but I was reliably informed that no bottles of merlot will be harmed when it comes to be replaced.
There is also evidence that the car was used on the BBC TV show, All Creatures Great and Small as the sign written doors bear the legend “Jeff Mallock, Fellmonger, Darrowby 308”. He was the knacker who collected dead animals in the fictional village. An ex BBC Props manager also confirmed that the truck was hired from Action Cars for filming, but Matt confesses that he hasn’t yet waded through all 7 series and 90 episodes to find it.
Finally for now, Bernard Owen’s immaculate 1962 Morris Minor 1000.
Bernard is one of our groups elder statesmen. (That is the polite way of saying that he is really, really old. See? I can be polite when I need to be.) Bernard is a lovely chap and everyone’s idea of a favourite Grandad but he has a wicked sense of humour with one liners that can cut you dead. He also turns into a berserker whenever there is sausage plait being shared out.
The Minor is just like him too. All cute and cuddly on the outside but a bit of a sleeper underneath. You see, the mystery engine has been identified. It turns out that a 1.3 Marina engine and gearbox has been fitted at some point during its life, along with the larger SU carburettor.
Having a “modified” car on the stand, however lightly and sympathetically, inevitably attracted a “Norman Shufflebottom”. (See my “Spotters Guide to the Classic Car Enthusiast”)
Norman furtively approached the car and then in a stereotypically nasally voice pronounced “The brake master cylinder is in the wrong place. Why isn’t it under the floor where it should be?” We had the last laugh though, because although he had spotted this minor modification, (did you see what I did there?) he’d failed to notice the much larger engine and gearbox swap so Gar took great joy in pointing this out. Norman’s face was a picture of horror as he stumbled off in shock, muttering “Ohhhh, Its been modified!”
There'll be more on the rest of the cars later, but Friday afternoon was spent pleasantly chatting with old friends and getting to know new ones and continuing this over a very nice Chinese Buffet in the evening.
Well, I say “chatted pleasantly”, but most of my “old friends” just wanted to take the micky. You see, our group had been approached and asked if we would like to put forward a representative for a panel discussion to be held on the main stage … in front of an audience. I had volunteered.
Well, I say “volunteered”, but what actually happened was that whilst I was trying to understand the question, the rest of the admins had instantly run off and hidden behind the furniture. “Thanks Mike” said Captain Sweeney. “Be on stage at 10.45am on Saturday”. (Hence the “Celebrity Club Administrator” title)
I really hadn’t been all that nervous about it on the run up to the show, but I should have known I could rely on my friends to change all that. So when I went to bed, I had the nightmare of walking on stage to a rowdy chorus of “Who ate all the pies?” from my friends and the rest of the hall joining in. This played on an endless loop in my head all night so needless to say, I did not awake refreshed and relaxed on Saturday morning.
To be continued…
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