By Mike Peake
Saturday seemed to dawn much earlier than I expected but Gus had made us a lovely cooked breakfast to fortify ourselves for the day ahead and we’d all made our packed lunches. So, bright eyed and bushy tailed we set off for the NEC. Gus had so enjoyed driving my CRV last night that he insisted on driving it in that morning too. We arrived safely and even managed to meet up with Tosh in the car park before arriving at our AWARD WINNING stand and proudly setting up the AWARD THAT WE WON for all to see the AWARD THAT WE WON. WE WON AN AWARD at the Classic and Sports Car magazine awards dinner on Friday evening you see.
Nick Arthur sent us a message to say that he wouldn’t be in that day because he was pretending to have an event with the Jensen owners and that he wasn’t at all hung over at all and we all pretended to believe him.
Mick, Gill and Lexy Taylor were there though and because we were now an AWARD WINNING stand we decided to employ Lexy as our vicious guard dog to protect both the award and our award winning exhibits on our stand that we won an award for. I’m not sure whose idea it was to employ Lexy as our vicious guard dog because she is gorgeous, cuddly, fluffy and soppy and not at all vicious in any way. She is very big though and I suppose if someone stood behind her making growling noises we might get away with it.
Mick, Gill and Lexy are the very proud owners of the stunning 1965 Vauxhall VX 4/90. An unrestored and quite exceptional car. After the 1st owner, the car was a museum exhibit for 30 years. The 2nd owner kept it for 15 years and used it for the occasional car show before passing into Micks incredibly fortunate hands in July of this year. It proved very popular with the show going public and me.
Our wonderful and glorious Fat Controller Gar Cole was running a bit late claiming an overrunning taxi job and categorically denying that it was due to over celebrating at the Chinese Buffet Island because we WON AN AWARD.
Once he did come in though he refused to let the award out of his sight and he insisted on having a photo with it too.
Seriously though, Gar puts so much time and energy into these events and without doubt we wouldn’t be winning awards with the big boys without him, so it was a privilege to see his little face light up with pride on seeing our new silver cake plate. In fact, the only time we saw him NOT clutching the award was when he was fighting Liam’s son Finlay for the last slice of Sandra Simpson’s Banana cake.
It was time for me to have a bit of a wander round the show, but before I went I asked if anyone knew where the Lancaster Insurance Pride of Ownership stand was. At which Gar burst out laughing and said, “It is probably over there under that HUGE Lancaster Insurance banner! I can’t believe you missed that HUGE banner!” It was only after we pointed out that as the main sponsor of the show, Lancaster Insurance had several of these HUGE banners scattered around the show. In fact there were 4 in our hall alone. That shut him up and he went back to cuddling the Award.
Well, I thoroughly enjoyed my wander and would like to introduce some of my very favourite cars that weren’t on our award winning stand.
First up would be the actual Ford Consul GT used in the opening credits of the Sweeney. Like many of us gents of a certain age, The Sweeney was a pivotal point in our growing up. From sneaking down the stairs to watch it through a crack in the door to finally being allowed to stay up and watch it properly and having to put up with Mum’s tutting every time someone swore. It was a great show and I actually felt privileged to be stood next to the car which had recently had an extensive restoration to earn its place in the entrance to hall 5. Wow! Just wow!
As many of you know I am a bit of a Citroen fan and have long held an unrequited love for the DS. A truly beautiful car that was way, way ahead of its time. In fact it’s looks were so futuristic, it was used as flying taxis in the film Back to the Future II. So, imagine my joy when I came across this stunning example of the rarest of the rare Citroën DS Décapotable. It just oozes French charm even down to the iconic pack of Gauloise cigarettes on the dash board. Décapotable sounds so much better than convertible too doesn’t it?
Now look at the pictures while I imagine myself wafting around the south of France in it.
I eventually wandered up to the Lancaster Insurance Pride of Ownership stand where many a gleaming shining example of motoring history was displayed. My reason for being here though, was to see our illustrious group founder Lord John Simpson of Boston and Practical Classics fame. He was displaying his beloved Sunbeam Alpine on the stand.
Now, for me, pride of ownership isn’t about having the most immaculate car in existence or spending loads of money making car immaculate and trailering it to shows. (Although John’s car is beautiful and shiny and immaculate). I think it is about your history with the car and John’s has this in spades. He has owned the car since 1981, painstakingly maintaining and repairing as and when needed. The car has given John and Sandra, their children and now their grandchildren so much joy and fantastic family and childhood memories and continues to do so. As I walked away after taking the family picture, I overheard one of John’s Grandsons say “Grandad, can I sit in your car?” Now THAT is Pride of Ownership.
Unfortunately, when the vote was counted on Sunday, John missed out to this very shiny Morris Minor Million. The Simpsons know who the real winners are though and don’t need a trophy to prove it.
It was now time to head back to the stand for a very nice cup of coffee served from our very own mobile café. Of course I mean Apollo, the Brooks family 1969 P5B Coupe Camper van.
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 some 5 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 vehicle of the show. There wasn’t a moment when he wasn’t surrounded by admiring show goers and he bought a smile to everyone that approached our stand.
The show ended for the day and we all headed back to our respective digs. Tosh, Gus, Phil and I went back to the AirBnB before walking the 10 meters to the Pub for a jolly nice pie. Much to Pukka Phil’s dismay, I had the last pie so he had to make do with the monstrous mixed grill. Being in a pub, the chaps felt that it would be rude not to continue celebrating our award-winning performance and needless to say, the pub had moved when it came to home time and was much further than the 10 meters from the house that it was when we went in. Even so, Phil felt that we hadn’t done enough celebrating already and made us celebrate winning an award some more.
Tosh and Gus headed off to bed some time later, but I just felt that I couldn’t leave Phil down in the dark celebrating winning an award on his own so I took another one for the team and kept him company. It might have got a bit silly but we did WIN AN AWARD you know.
To be continued …
Filter by Author
Filter by Month