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!
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