by Gar Cole
A short 2 minute ride on the minibus didn't give us much time to reflect on what we had just witnessed on the 'Spitfires' part of the tour, especially as Andy our tour guide kept pointing things out on the ride. "On your left is the plants own fire station, on your right is the cobblestone test track putting 2 XFs through their paces" etc.
We pulled up at a large shiny new building, the plants new press shop. We disembarked the minibus and followed Andy inside where we received ear plugs and a stern warning to stay within the yellow pedestrian walkways. Andy drily pointed out if something looks shiny in a press shop that means it's sharp, so don't touch!
The press shop represents a 100 million pound investment by parent group 'Tata' to future-proof the assembly plant; compare that for 1 building in 2016 to the 4 million the entire complex cost to build in 1938.
We rounded the first series of walkways to be greeted by the biggest reel of aluminium you ever did see. These are delivered to the plant from the supplier in Germany. In fact the majority of machinery and the presses themselves are built by German companies such as Schuler. Andy pointed out that during the war Allied bombers had heavily damaged Schuler's factories. When you consider what we had just seen below ground it shows the utter futility of war and hopefully it will never happen again.
Once the reels are delivered they are given 48 hrs to adjust to the ambient temperature of the building before passing through a series of rollers that straighten the sheet out and stop it recoiling into a roll.
The building houses 13 individual presses and 16 robots, the dies for pressing the panels can be changed around relatively quickly, making parts for the XK, XF, XJ and F type. It also presses parts for the Discovery and F pace that are built at Solihull.
Now these dies are enormous, 10ft by 6ft, ranging in weight from 18,000 KGs to 42,000 KGs. They are manoeuvred by huge ceiling-mounted cranes that use chains that look like they belong to the QE2 Ocean liner. One passed over our heads as we stood in the walkway; despite it being about 10ft in the air we all instinctively made a little duck as it passed over - large machinery has a habit of making you feel very small and vulnerable.
We made our way down another narrow walkway with the ground vibrating from the heavy machinery until we came across 'the Cathedral', the huge 30ft high, 5-stage central press. The scale of these moving parts is quite awe-inspiring and with my ear plugs firmly in, my imagination fired up with sound of Sergei Prokofiev's masterpiece 'Dance of the Knights '.
These 5 presses mounted in one large Cathedral press the same panel 5 times - first with lower pressure to cut and give the basic shape, then with gradually increasing pressure as it moves from press to press that forms more and more sharper edges and detailing without splitting the metal in one big punch.
These are ultra modern machines powered by electric servo motors, much quieter than hydraulic presses of the past and with a greater degree of control - truly a sight to behold if you're a fan of heavy engineering .
Jaws lifted off the floor, Andy hurried us out of the building back into the minibus. Now we headed off once again to D and E block, back int ma day lad these buildings were used for the S type saloon, which incidentally was the first Jaguar to be completely built at Castle Bromwich - but more of that later - they are now home to the production lines for the XF and XE models.
This is by far the most modern and the most automated part of the entire plant, an incredible 680 robots from start to finish, with 86% of all jobs on the cars performed by automation. You really could feel the transition here from traditional hand crafted jobs such as welding and riveting now done by hyper accurate robotics.
During our tour there was no actual production taking place due to a small number of 2019 models being tested on the line and in a change from my day, Jaguar no longer builds cars to stock - every car made is already bought and ordered to individual specification. In these times of declining diesel sales and Brexit uncertainty it seems a sensible business plan to follow.
Having seen the bread and butter cars a few of us were keen to cross over the road to A1 and A2 buildings in which the awesome F type is built. Andy obliged and we soon found ourselves in a different sort of place, much less modernised than the other buildings we had visited and far less automation.
Just 4% of jobs on the F type are done by robots, compare that to the XF's 86%. Some of the robots and staff were still working and we got to see several stages of body construction take place before the shells disappeared on a track through the ceiling before going to the paint shop.
Lots of ooos and ahhhs could be heard from our group as we progressed around the assembly line seeing the cars more and more completed. This car represents the closest thing you will get in 2018 to a traditionally built Jaguar with 96% of jobs done by hand while incorporating the latest technology. These models are available with far greater personalisation options than other models, from unique paint jobs, 40 different interior colour and materials to choosing the colour of the stitching on the seats and dashboard.
Andy looked hopeful there might be some wealthy folks amongst us and happily pointed out the F type started at ' just ' £49,800 , but naturally having pulled into the car park in a well worn Morris Minor he didn't look in my direction! He then took us over to a parked bevy of completed beauties awaiting the ' water test ' which looked like a 50ft long washing machine.
The entry level car has a 2.0 turbo engine; this didn't really impress us until we learned it kicks out 300bhp! Next up is a 3.0 V6 supercharged producing 380bhp and a lot more torque than the 4 cylinder. Moving up the range again is the 5.0 V8 Supercharged R model with a very tasty 500bhp, and for those playing 'Top Trumps' there is the SVR model boasting further engine mods to the V8 and a titanium exhaust that blasts out 550bhp. We wondered - is this car truly the successor to the legendary E type?
The tour wrapped up at this point and we headed back to the Heritage Centre for further refreshments before heading off for lunch, however I have a few other things to tell you before you go.
You may recall in the previous blog that I pointed out Castle Bromwich didn't feature in the Jaguar story until much later, 1977 to be exact. Following the war, the plant was purchased by Fisher and Ludlow, later to become Pressed Steel Fisher. This company supplied steel panels to a large number of manufacturers including BMC and later Leyland. Castle Bromwich has produced panels for the Morris Minor, the original Mini, some Imp panels for Hillman and Triumph, many Rover panels and later Jaguar.
The company became wholly owned by Jaguar in late 1977. From then until 2001 Jaguar had the unusual practice of building its body shells at Castle Brom, then loading XJS, XJ saloon and later XK sports bodies onto a fleet of arctic lorries to be driven the 13 miles to Browns Lane in Coventry for painting and final assembly.
In later years the zinc coated body shells were stored in heated storage sheds and covered in plastic until loaded onto the trucks, however through the 80s and 90s it wasn't uncommon to leave untreated bare shells out in the rain while awaiting a transporter. I even heard tales of whole bodies left outside from Friday afternoon until Monday morning. If you've ever wondered why many Jaguars of that era suffered with such bad structural rot well that's the answer. Often the metal was exposed before it was even primered and painted, amazingly this carried on until 2001 albeit with some improvements.
This was a costly and inefficient way of building cars. When the new S-Type was launched in 1998 it was completely assembled at Castle Bromwich using the new paint shop and renovated D block building. At this point we knew one of the Midlands plants was at risk. Being a Jaguar fan I believed Coventry deserved to stay open as it was the spiritual home of Jaguar, but Browns Lane was unfortunately surrounded by new housing developments whereas Castle Bromwich still had unused land, excellent access to the motorways and airport and it's own rail link. The writing was on the wall and Browns Lane had all it's production lines and 90% of its personnel transferred to Castle Brom by the end of 2003 just in time for the launch of the new Aluminium XJ350 model.
The Castle Bromwich plant is now home to Jaguar manufacturing but I hope the blogs have given you an idea of just what a fascinating place it was even before Jaguar entered it's history, I haven't been on the plant for almost 10 years and it was good to go back and relive some memories and make some new ones.
Just as I was about to leave I smiled at my Minor parked amongst what I estimated to be over a million pounds worth of machinery when the 2 young ladies who worked on the reception came outside and had their picture taken with my old moggy. Made my day that!
Road signs sometimes tell you a great deal about the country they inhabit and its people.
This one brings back memories of Mum "navigating" from the front passenger seat back in the day ... apart from the apologising part, of course. Based on a Bristol sign.
And some more in no particular order ...
By Mike Peake
It’s the morning of Sunday the 7th October 2018. The sun is shining and a few of us are having an informal meet at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon.
It may have been sunny, but 8am found me scraping the ice off the Honda so I could get Poppy from the lockup. When I got there and opened the garage door, I remembered that I had completely neglected her since I put her away after our superb Isle of Wight tour. I hadn’t even washed her! She glared at me crossly. She soon cheered up though when she realised we were going for a run.
As is my way, if nothing is falling out of the sky, the roof is down and we set off for a lovely green lane run up to Gaydon. It was a lovely day and we had a great drive up although, I may have underestimated the chill factor as it took a while after arrival for me to regain the feeling and use of my hands. Several others were out in their classics too and I “spotted” several lovely cars including an XJS, a Vauxhall Manta GTE in a convoy of MK1 and 2 Cavaliers and even a Triumph Saloon.
I pulled into the museum car park to be greeted by Ian Woodward in his Zephyr, Bernard Owen in his Morris Minor and Kevin Norris in his MK1 3100 RS Capri. This was a tad confusing as the last time we saw Kevin on the Somerset tour, he was in a Frogeye Sprite.
Brian Allison and Darren Vel Satis were also there but without their classics as were Thilo Bell and his partner all the way from Germany. Gar and Phil were on their way but Big Rov needed a jump start from Nelson at the services. They soon arrived, as did Mark Wilson in his E-Type. Mark is a big wuss as he had his roof up but at least I didn’t need to push start it this time.
Sorry Mark. Darren didn't take a photo of your E-Type
We stood around the car park chatting while Darren took pictures until I reminded everybody that I still couldn’t feel my hands. We headed into the Museum for a warming cup of coffee and a cake. It was a jolly nice apple and lemon drizzle bun. Thanks Gar.
The museum was every bit as good as I remembered from our last trip and we had a great time.
This is my favourite car photo of the day. It shows the two most famous, iconic British cars ever made and side by side. When the world thinks of British cars, these are the two that they picture.
Yes, yes, I know. Some of you will want to argue and suggest that perhaps the Morris Minor or Land Rover or whatever, should be there, but it’s my blog and I’m an Admin so its these two. OK? (That and the others weren’t conveniently side by side for a photo.)
The Museum has loads and loads of interesting stuff including prototypes and concept cars, royal vehicles and racing cars. We were in “Car Nut Nirvana”.
As a lifelong F1 fan, I was also very interested in the various racing cars that they had on display.
We were particularly interested in an ancient single seater. Initially because Gar was having a measure up to see if he would be able to get in (he wouldn’t), then we were alarmed at the proximity of the gearbox to the drivers gentleman furniture, considering he would have to sit with a leg each side. Then we couldn’t find the gear selector. I spotted it finally. It was outside the cockpit to the right of the driver. I was so involved and overexcited that I committed a slight faux pas. I gave the gearstick a bit of a wiggle and took it through the selections. It was at this point that an angry museum guard shouted “DON’T TOUCH THE EXHIBITS!” and chased us away like naughty school boys. (This is why we don’t have a picture of it)
Out of breath from the chase, we finally lost the angry guard and found ourselves in the children’s play area. It was brilliant! There were all sorts of working models and cutaways explaining how everything works. How disc brakes are better than drums are better than a block of wood on the tyre and why the steering column is a BLOODY STUPID place to put a gear stick. There were even cars that you could touch and play on.
In the end, Brian and Bernard had to drag us out by an ear each as they wanted to see the rest of the museum like grownups.
It was just as well that they did though as we found another treasure-trove. The collections building is a separate building that houses all the exhibits that they don’t have room for in the main building and it housed all sorts of wacky prototype and safety testing cars. It was brilliant and a good mooch was had before going downstairs for a gander at the Jaguar Heritage Collection.
When our stomachs started rumbling, we realised that we had been there for all of 5 hours but it had flown by. We’d had a great time but we were starting to fade away with starvation. Some of the chaps decided that they fancied going to the pub for a chat about the day and grab something to eat. We followed Gar in a 5 classic car convoy and Brian’s Modern to a fine hostelry on the Fosse Way called The Stag where we had a very nice salad and mineral water and a jolly good chat before we all broke off and headed home.
Poppy and I had a fun and spirited drive back down the Fosse Way which took me almost to my doorstep. At only 130 miles covered it felt like it was just a local trip for me but Poppy did them all extremely well. AND, no one ran out of petrol this time.
So thanks to Gar for having the idea and really sorry our Skipper and head Admin, Paul Sweeney, couldn’t make it as originally planned, despite only living just down the road in Napier … New Zealand. A great day was had by all and the British Motor Museum comes highly recommended by us.
Well winter is upon us and only the Lancaster Insurance Classic Car Show at the NEC is left for this year, but what a year it has been for our group. Don’t forget, you get discount tickets as member of the group. Just use the code when buying your tickets and see you there.
As always, the pictures above are a mixture of mine and stolen from others attending the event. Particular thanks to Darren Vel Satis as I stole most of them from him.
Until next time.
Fatbloke and Poppy.
by Gar Cole
The day of our group tour of the Jaguar factory at Castle Bromwich had arrived. It was slightly bitter-sweet as it had originally been organised as part of "Head Admin" Paul Sweeney's visit to the UK from sunny New Zealand, but due to unforeseen personal circumstances the trip was called off. However we have said this is very much a postponement rather than a cancellation and we look forward to meeting Paul at some point in the future.
Living only 1 mile from the factory that I also worked at for 9 years I decided to take the moggy for a short trip, the tour guide greeted me at the gate with a beaming smile "Been many years since one of those drove through the gates" he enthused. I took my parking space amongst a plethora of F types, iPace's and other exotic machinery in the Heritage centre carpark.
I was greeted by group members Thilo Brill and his partner Eva who had flown in from Germany to enjoy the tour, with the arrival of the Brooks family we made our way into the modern glass and chrome building for breakfast refreshment and to meet our fellow tour explorers who had arrived well before 8.30am.
Introductions made, coffee and biscuits sampled the 14 of us were kitted out in 'V.I.P Visitor ' Hi-Viz vests and radio headphones so we could all hear Andy our tour guide, looking like the security crew for an 80s pop revival concert we headed off to our waiting tour minibus.
Now the spiritual home of Jaguar was and probably always will be the iconic Browns Lane plant in Coventry, Castle Bromwich did not feature in the Jaguar story until much later but it has a fascinating history in its own right and if you have read this far then make yourself comfy and I'll reveal what we learned on this fascinating tour.
The land adjacent to Castle Bromwich Aerodrome was aquired by the government in 1936, with construction starting in 1938 with an estimated build cost of £2 million pounds, the final cost would double to over £4 million, built as 1 of 12 'Shadow Factories' created to quickly change from automotive construction to military application should the political situation in Europe continue to deteriorate.
Castle Bromwich covers a vast 46 acres of ground, the buildings themselves are massively over-engineered using bridge construction methods, huge steel frames make up the roof sections which are supported by thin pillars giving maximum internal working space, this meant if a section was damaged by a falling bomb the hole could quickly be repaired with a new steel truss and the roof patched up, seeing it up close reminds one of a giant meccano set.
Getting comfy on our minibus we all stared a little open mouthed at the scale of these buildings that towered over our little bus, as we drove along the long narrow roadways between them and the exotic modern cars scattered all over the plant. The juxtaposition between new and old was quite stark. Andy our genial host started explaining how the factory built a total of 12,192 Super-marine Spitfires between 1940 - 45, hitting a maximum of 340 per month, mostly in the central C block in the middle of the plant, which happened to be the building I worked in and today serves as body construction for the XJ saloon.
The current workforce totals just over 4000; during the war it was 15000, I was fascinated to learn that 80% of the workforce was female, involved in all areas of construction. Today that figure has fallen to just 12% and JLR are working hard with local colleges and universities to recruit a higher proportion of female employees and to show them what a rewarding career can be had with the company.
In addiction to the 12k-plus Spitfires CB also constructed 200 Avro Lancaster bombers ordered in 1941, reaching a peak production of 25 a month that December. Just over 300 were produced by 1945, also 50 Seafire 45's. Once a plane was completed it was towed by tractor across the main Chester road onto the Aerodrome grounds, where each plane would be tested and delivered to the RAF all over the country by the members of the Air Transport Auxiliary headed by Chief Test Pilot Alex Henshaw. Listening intently to Andy and trying to absorb so much information on the war, we were brought back to 2018 as the minibus came to an abrupt halt and Andy jumped out the side door beckoning us to follow him.
We stood outside one of the various storeroom buildings on the grounds and one I had passed many times paying it no attention, only this time the aged pair of time-worn wooden doors that were always locked were now wide open and a dimly lit descending concrete walkway was just visible.
We followed Andy down the fairly steep ramp and you were immediately taken by the change in atmosphere, as the air cooled rapidly, that unique "old building" smell of damp, dust and rain water, which could be heard dripping onto small puddles on the ground. Rounding a corner at the bottom of the dimly-lit walkway we were greeted by another walkway that descended further underground, my imagination piqued as I felt we were in a John le Carre novel, about to trade some top secret microfilm with our agent in Moscow.
At the bottom of the second walkway a dim blue glow opening up into a larger room awaited us, as we arrived in this room I was stopped in my tracks by the sight of hospital beds. "What on earth?" I'm sure more than one of us thought, on the walls glass cases housing medical equipment and medicines of the era, plus large scale photos of the factory but showing obvious aerial bomb damage. It was quite sombre and we waited to hear Andy explain why a fully functioning hospital ward should be located under a factory.
On the 13th of August 1940 a squadron of Luftwaffe bombers dropped an estimated 118 tons of explosives and incendiary devices on the aerodrome and plant, causing significant damage to several main buildings and the surrounding road network. Tragically 6 workers were also killed during the raid; following this attack production was delayed for only 2 weeks and the buildings were quickly patched up. Tt was decided the plant also needed a hospital area to treat people for day-to-day injuries such as cuts or broken limbs. Health and Safety didn't exist at that time and they obviously expected more casualties from bombing raids as the underground hospital wing also houses a morgue (shown above).
Moving into another part of the underground rooms we glanced upon spotlighted photos of female pilots from the Air Transport Auxiliary. A video showed film newsreel of the time capturing these brave ladies piloting Spitfires, Lancasters and other types of aircraft from the aerodrome to other RAF stations across the country.
Incredibly these pilots received no radio training or evasive flying tactics. They were required by the Air Ministry to fly as low as possible and always be visible from the ground; they had to navigate just using maps and a compass in the ever-changing British weather. Speaking as someone who never travels far without a Satnav my respect and admiration for these pilots is immense. The spirit of the workforce at Castle Brom working 24 hrs a day on 3 eight-hour shifts surely had a major influence on the war.
Chief Test Pilot Alex Henshaw tested over 80% of everything ever built during the war years and would treat the plant workers to amazing displays overhead, at times flying a Spitfire between the buildings upside down just metres off the ground and he remains to this day the only person to have ' barrel rolled ' a Lancaster bomber in front of a live audience at Castle Brom.
As we climbed our way back up the ramps to daylight I pondered my time at Jaguar between 2000 and 2009. I had always known about the underground cellars and often nagged Frank the security guard to show me one when we worked nights "more than my jobs worth young man" would be his reply. I knew some of the history of the plant and what had been built there but like my fellow 13 guests I had just learned about the human side of the story and it left me feeling a mixture of pride and awe.
Once again Andy crackled in our ears and said "Hope you all enjoyed that. Climb aboard the bus and we'll show you how we build cars now 😀"
Part 2 to follow soon. Please note all photos were obtained via a 3rd party on the Albanian border in exchange for lemon drizzle cake, and none of the photos shown inside the factory are in anyway affiliated with members of EBMVBB1985 😎
By Mike Peake
Roger had excelled himself this weekend. A fantastic day of driving on the Saturday and the Osborne House Classic Car show on the Sunday. However, with the weather being so wet, there was some doubt as to whether they would want their perfectly manicured lawns chewed up. So we were waiting to hear if it was cancelled.
My alarm went off stupidly early for a morning after a night of jollity, but did I actually have to get up? I filtered out the man using a jack hammer inside my head and listened carefully. I could hear Gar snoring blissfully, so I didn’t have to get up yet. I snoozed my alarm. 30 minutes later I heard Gar’s alarm go off. There was some snuffling, a couple of beeps and then The Norfolk Beast was in full flow next door and I could safely assume a cancellation and rest my weary head a bit longer.
Some amount of time later, I was roused by the smell of cooking bacon which immediately dispelled any residue “tiredness” I may have felt from the night before. In no time at all I was up showered and dressed and sat round the table with Andy and Gar, ready for another one of Old Uncle John’s cracking fry ups.
As it was still raining we relaxed in our van drinking coffee and chatting comfortably when we noticed that it was brightening up somewhat. With that, the caravan door burst open and there stood Super Enthusiast Man!
“Have you run out of petrol again?” said John, rather bravely I thought. (You see, SEM Ran out of petrol on the way down on Friday.) But no. Having already fixed the brake lights on the Rover that we didn’t know were broken, he wanted to “have at” the lights and fuel pump on John’s MGB GT.
The light switch was dismantled and no apparent faults found so reassembled. The lights then worked perfectly so it was on to the fuel pump. The MG was started and ran perfectly. So, it would appear that the mere presence of SEM can scare recalcitrant components into order. (Even if it can’t keep enough fuel in the tank.)
It had actually stopped raining. Yes really. Not only that but the sun came out and we all had a case of itchy accelerator feet so we decided to go to Ryde as that was one of the very few towns on the island that didn’t feature on Rogers spectacular tour yesterday. Yes, “We got a ticket to Ryde, and we don’t care.” (sorry. I’ll get my coat…)
We set off through the green lanes of the island which looked even better when not shrouded in mist and rain.
It wasn’t long before we were on the seafront in Ryde and as we stood admiring our cars and watching the hovercraft, I thought it might be time to get out Mrs FB’s legendary sausage plait. However Mrs FB had been as busy as I was in the run up, so we outsourced the project to Mrs FB’s Mum, who came up trumps and did us proud.
I have to say, the seagulls were more polite about grabbing the sausage plait than my fellow humans and it wasn’t long before the fights broke out. It was Bernard who got the best of it though as he waded through the group with haymakers swinging left and right. The sausage plait was gone in a flash but this time I’d made sure I had my piece before I told anyone else.
It took a short while to recover from the sausage plait and Bernard’s berserker interlude, (it’s extraordinary the lengths an OAP will go to for sausage plait, purple Quality Street or cake) but then we found out that we could drive along the pier. Well who could resist that? We even had a coffee at the end whilst watching the hovercraft and hand-me-down London Transport tube trains from the 60s that run on the island.
Photo opportunities abounded on the pier and we made the most of them. We even positioned Gus half way along to snap us as we drove past. I’m sure you’ll all agree, he did a good job. Do SEM’s talents know no bounds? (except remembering to put fuel in the Rover, obviously.)
As is usual for our tour, we have to laugh at the 2 fat blokes in a small car and Poppy was the smallest car this time, so Gar joined me in Poppy. The sun was out and it was now a lovely day, so we decided to revisit Military Road. Poppy was leading the convoy.
Once out of Ryde, the coastal road was fantastic. Lots of twisty, turny, uppy, downy stuff and great views. Gar and I were having fun with the roof down and I got a bit carried away with myself. Despite having the smallest engine in the convoy and carrying the 2 fattest blokes in the convoy, the convoy may have got left behind … just a little bit. Gar was urging me to slow down for them to catch up by beating me about the head with his cap so I slowed … reluctantly. She’s a plucky girl is Poppy.
Once we reached Military Road, we had a bit of a swap around. The Brooks ended up with Poppy and I was left to pilot the P4. Well it couldn’t have been more different to Phil’s P5. It still oozed charm and grandeur out of every pore but the driving style was much more upright and sedate than the P5. The P4 is a pipe and slippers gentleman’s car through and through. So is the P5 - however, in the P5 I got the feeling that if you swapped the pipe, slippers and panama hat for a cigar, sovereign rings and a camel hair coat, Big Rov could be a bit of a bounder and a cad if he wanted to.
I thoroughly enjoyed the P4 and the upright style gave the impression that you were looking down on the other Plebs. I even got to the end of my stint in the P4 without running out of petrol which was a bit of a bonus not enjoyed by everyone.
Gus was using the unrestricted views from Poppy to take plenty of action photos and display his acrobatic skills.
We found another couple of parking spots along the way with great views across the coast and stopped to make the most of them.
In one of the stops we came across this Mk3 Cavalier which made me feel very old. You see, my very first brand new company car was a burgundy 1.7TD Cavalier Mk3 hatch back (M573 MTF) and I have very fond memories of that car as it is the only one I’ve had written off.
What made me feel very old is that I can’t remember the last time I saw one of these on the road and that a car that I had new, is now considered to be a “classic” and is 25 years old! It was very good to see such a lovely example and we had a good chat with the owner. (I think I convinced him to join our Pre Mil group.)
We had managed to contact Nick in his Jensen and he said he’d join us so we waited … and waited. Apparently, he managed to get lost on this tiny island. Our hunger was getting the better of us though, so we set off for the Bugle Inn in Brading and said we’d meet Nick and Jo there, if he could find it. (It sold beer so we were confident Nick would find it)
Newbie to our tours, Graham Adams took the helm in Poppy for this leg and to be fair, we made it to the pub with most of the gear box still in the car and I don’t really need those teeth anyway. He got the hang of it though and judging by the grin on his face, even started to enjoy himself.
I do find it a bit odd to be sat in Poppy’s passenger seat but not as odd as when I watch her drive away without me. That odd feeling is more than offset though because I will be driving something incredible. I’ve said this before a few times, but In my experience, this is one of the few places where owners of exotic and posh cars mingle happily with owners of the more battered and mundane without a hint of snobbery or envy. (well, ok. Maybe a bit of hidden envy.) Not only that, but everyone is more than happy, perhaps even eager, to allow other members a go in their pride and joy (although this isn’t compulsory and no one is offended if you can’t bear to let yours go.)
A nice meal was had with more good-natured banter and chat and soon it was time to head back to the caravans. I was given the great honour of the keys to Ian’s beautiful Zephyr. An honour that paled slightly when I realised that it came with 3 passengers so all my mistakes and misdemeanours would be under the critical gaze of Ian’s nearest and dearest eager to report back to the proud owner… AND, I have to say it. What a BLOODY STUPID place to put a gear stick!
It all started quite well. Ian gave me a brief instruction on the column change and warned me that it occasionally gets stuck in second and what to do about it. He neglected to tell me where reverse was but thank goodness I didn’t need it. Ian dived into Poppy’s driver’s seat and we set off after John in his MGB. We soon lost John in his MGB as he whizzed off but Ian’s wife, Sarah had sat nav on her phone and all was well with only the odd crunching of gears. All was well that is until I heard the words. “Oh. We need to turn left here” from Sarah. We weren’t going that fast so an emergency left turn was made without any words about more warning required passing my lips.
The problem was, I was now faced with a very steep hill with all momentum gone and still in top gear. Precious moments were wasted while I fumbled about searching for the gearstick where it would be in a proper car before remembering it was in a BLOODY STUPID place. It was too late though. I was now stuck on a very steep hill with an ineffectual hand brake and I was starting to panic. I couldn’t get the gear stick to move but in my panic I thought mayby it had selected 1st and tried to pull away with plenty of revs. However, I was slipping backwards to the smell of burning clutch plates. My “audience” was no help either and actually seemed to be enjoying my display of utter bumbling incompetence.
Fortunately, Ian was right behind us and having dealt with Poppy’s ineffectual hand brake, came to the rescue. He patiently selected 1st gear for me and normal service was resumed for the rest of the trip with only the odd crunch from the gearbox and the lingering smell of very hot friction plates. (I’m really sorry Ian)
After this baptism of fire with my 1st experience of a column change, I settled down and started to enjoy the experience. Ian’s car is stunning inside and out and evokes the spirit of the rockin’ fifties with every USA influenced bit of bling and fins and curves. I fully expected my hair to grow into a DA and my lip to curl like Elvis. I loved it. Especially knowing that I should never be allowed near the car again.
I felt even more guilty when I remembered that I’d left the hood down, it was now dark and Ian was wearing nothing more than his club T shirt. (Of course he had his trousers on too! Honestly! What are you lot like?!)
Once again, we all piled into the Brooks' van for one of the funniest evenings I can remember. I haven’t laughed so much in a long time and by the end of the evening my face and sides ached. “What was so funny?” I hear you ask. Well I can’t tell you. This is a family site and what goes on tour stays on tour. I guess you’ll just have to join us at future events.
The next morning was our final chance for one of old Uncle John’s superb breakfasts and we made the most of it. He even sprung for 2 eggs!
It was time to pack up the cars, say sad farewells and head for the various ferries. We’d left plenty of time to get to ours. Or so we thought, but we were to discover that Newport has a rush hour at 8.30 on a Monday morning. Who’d have thought?
Once through the heavy traffic, Gar engaged Mach 1 again and we scraped into check-in with seconds to spare.
We made our way to the back of the boat and bade a tearful cheerio to the island that had made us so welcome. Clutching our passports, we made ready for our return to Olde Englande and the 21st century.
Being so close, it would have been rude not to visit Lord Montagu of Beaulieu and his small car collection. So, Gus and Tosh, Gar and I did just that and spent a very pleasant morning supping tea with his Lordship while he showed us his cars.
So, after a fantastic weekend and nearly 400 miles in a 48 year old car, Poppy safely deposited me home to Royal Wootton Bassett.
Thank you all, for staying with me over these 3 parts and I hope I have managed to convey just how much fun we had despite a soggy Saturday. Hopefully you have enjoyed reading about our exploits and you have been inspired to join in our adventures next time. Keep a close eye on the events section and sign up to our newsletter to find out where and when.
Once again, a massive thank you to Roger Spaven and his friends from the island for a great tour and an even better welcome.
Thanks also to my fellow tourists new and old for the belly laughs and great time. I really hope that our 1st time tourists enjoyed it too and will join us again in the future. We certainly enjoyed your company and cars.
See you all again soon.
Fatbloke and Poppy.
by Callum Tooey
It's been three months since part 3, can you believe it? At a risk of sounding like a broken record, work and family life took over and Nutmeg had the occasional ray of sunshine as I started her every week but work on her had pretty much stalled.
I had a week off work but this was spent anti-fouling our boat (a small cabin cruiser that runs on a marinised BMC 1.5 petrol inboard engine) this was actually the first time we had taken the boat on a long trip (10 miles) and we were apprehensive but fortunately we got there, got the work down, and got back without any issues, but you came here to read about Nutmeg, not the boat!
So back to the car, I had plans to spend a short time at the boat and work on Nutmeg for the rest of the week but unfortunately work took longer than expected so instead I booked another week off, the final week of September and gave family and friends strict instructions not to bother me unless somebody is dying.
After what felt like an age the final week of September came and as promised bright and early Monday morning I was greeting Nutmeg and showing her many shiny bits I intended to fit.
First job was to get the headlights sorted. I had loosely fitted some new halogen units replacing the original sealed beam unit and confirmed these were working, the connectors were different on each headlight so I guessed someone had repaired wiring previously. Unfortunately when I took out the old units I discovered the metal headlamp housing had rusted on one side, as had the retaining rings and the screws holding the assembly in place, these needed replacing
I ordered some new WIPAC 7inch headlamp housings off eBay, thinking ahead I got them in plastic to prevent future rust issues these arrived on Wednesday and after some fettling I got the new units in and the front end back together.
I had hoped that the chrome ring headlight surrounds I had bought specifically for a Victor FB would fit but they did not seem to fit correctly, after asking on my owners group it would appear the grill I am missing is a five part system with a large center piece and 2 separate headlight surrounds either side.
With the headlights now done it was time for the interior, mainly sorting the welding as there was a large hole in the passenger floorpan, my dad arrived to help me and together we put together the welder and an angle grinder and got to work. We used the grinding disks to grind back the area around the hole, we then enlarged it and got a 9inch hole which now needed patching.
I noted that we now needed to cut the 1mm sheet to size to patch over the hole, not having a vice to hand we ignored health and safety and used the curb (Don't try this at home!), amazingly we got the patch cut without incident and using welding magnets to hold the patch in place I decided to try tacking it in place with the MIG welder.
I clamped the earth lead to the car and fed wire to the plate and... Nothing! No sparks, gas was flowing, wire was feeding but no arc at all! I clamped the lead to the plate itself, still nothing, I tried it on the uncut plate outside the car and still no action. It would appear my brand new welder was unable to do the very thing it was designed to do.
We checked instructions, watched a YouTube video to confirm we were using it right, the box was powered and buzzing but no welding was happening. I now had a dilemma, a car with a 9 inch hole in the floor pan and no chance of welding it up! As it was late in the day I returned Nutmeg to the garage with the magnets holding the panel in place.
In desperation I asked on a local group for recommendations on welders "Can you get it to my unit tomorrow?" Came a reply, so the next morning I drove her a short distance to a workshop on the outskirts of town, I explained my predicament and that the car needed to be done for Oh So Retro on the Sunday "Leave it with me, we'll have it welded and give you a ring when it's done".
I took a stroll into the retail park and bought some paint from Poundland, an hour or so later the car was done, I collected her ready to drive back, her fuel gauge was reading low and she seemed to be struggling a bit so I stopped off at Morrisons and treated her to £20 of the good stuff.
As I pulled up at a set of lights waiting for them to change, Nutmeg suddenly died, I laughed at having 'stalled it' and tried to restart her but she simply turned over with no chance of firing. The lights changed and I was stranded, naturally in modern British fashion the vehicles behind helped by sounding their horns at me as the lights changed back to red. I got out and tried to push the car up onto the curbside whilst the impatient drivers gawked at me, only a teen on scooter stopped to help me push the car.
After bumping up the curb I got in and tried her again, she fired straight up and I thought I'd go for it and shot off down the road. I almost made it home before she died again, this time I threw her in neutral and let her momentum bump up the curb at a bus stop. I left her to sit for a while and called the other half to explain the issue, unfortunately although I had recovery I was under a mile from home so I knew there would be no chance of rescue. After a short while I got her restarted and drove her home, the space directly outside my front door was free so I parked her up and let her sit once again.
I was positive that the issue was fuel related and remembering another members recommendation I dived into my bags of spares for the bottle of Seafoam I had purchased, I added a few fl oz to the tank as per instructions and got her started again, I was expecting to see 'white smoke' coming from the exhaust as per the videos I had seen of this product but despite getting her to idle and rev, this didn't happen. I decided to leave her to sit and let it 'work its way through' and treated the floors instead.
Enter the next product recommendation: AquaSteel. Aquasteel is a rust remedy product, Nutmegs floors had lots of surface rust which I imagine had been hidden for years under the carpet, this stuff much like other products in the market it looks like a white cream that coats the rust blue, this coverts the rust into black paintable metal surface. I liberally coated the surfaces with this and left it to dry, it was getting late though so I tried to get her back into the garage but sadly the Seafoam had not seemed to do anything and she stalled in the middle of the road, I could perhaps get her started on full choke but selecting a gear and easing off the clutch simply caused her to stall, with no help available I got my partner to sit behind the wheel and I manhandled Nutmeg back into her garage.
It was now apparent that she would not be ready to attend Sundays show, so angry and upset I made a hasty for sale ad and retired to bed, by the morning I had calmed somewhat but decided to take a day off and took my mind off it. On the Saturday I decided to finish the floors and was amazed to see the result of the rust proofing, a quick over-spray of matt black paint and the floors look 100% better than they ever did. I told myself that replacing the fuel tank and fuel lines was a worthwhile job and with some friends and families reassurances that it would 'be worth it in the end' Nutmegs stay was extended.
I also decided that despite not being able to attend the Oh So Retro show in the car, I was still going to attend, so I sold my car pass to another enthusiast with a small Fiat and attended on Sunday in my daily Citroen C8.
We were approached by two men from the show selling raffle tickets for a 'Win This Car' competition, the car was a 1 Litre Peugeot 205, not British obviously but a nicely restored car done up in classic rally livery, as it was for charity I bought a £5 ticket for each of us and thought no more about it.
That afternoon the organizer was reading out the awards and I begun to feel disheartened that Nutmeg had been unable to attend, perhaps she would have won something? As the awards came to an end it was time for the car raffle, I heard a guy behind me boast "I've bought 30 tickets, it's in the bag lads!" "Ticket number 526" says the organizer. "That's mine!" I shouted back, my other half was in disbelief, I took my ticket to the guy, he confirmed my name and said "You just won a car for a fiver!"
Well.. I guess it wasn't such a bad week after all!
By Mike Peake
It’s Saturday morning on the Isle of Wight, (approximately 20 hours after SEM ran out of petrol) and residents of our caravan, John, Andy, Gar and I were all up, bright tailed and bushy eyed and eating a full English lovingly prepared by good old uncle John. Watch out Gus, he’s after your breakfast crown!
As we’ve come to expect on an EBMV event conceived by our beloved Fat Controller of events, the weather was horrible!
However, this didn’t stop Super Enthusiast Man leaping into action and rescuing Ian who had developed a large and rather embarrassing swelling… on his CAR Tyre obviously! (honestly! You lot! Can’t take you anywhere!) It was too wet and early to fix the lights on John’s MGB GT though. We took every opportunity to rib him about too. (Or was that just me?)
Needless to say, Poppy’s hood remained firmly UP and as waterproof as Triumph expected. Yes it leaked… A lot! But to be fair, the rain did end up as biblical.
Roger Spaven from the IOW Chapter of the Jaaaag club turns out to be a bit of a slave driver and expected us to be at the Osborne House departure point by 8.30. Yes! 8.30… In the MORNING! …on a Saturday! Anyway, we all made it despite having to go the long way round as the new chain ferry across the River Medina was being a bit temperamental.
The car park was already quite full with Jaguar owners and some members of the Vectis Historic Vehicle Club. (Vectis is the old Roman name for the Isle of Wight don’t you know. See? Educational as well! I’m too good for you lot!)
Anyway, at this stage the rain was just that fine drizzle so not too bad. We chatted and admired cars for a bit including welcoming some more EBMV members on their first event with us. Don Everest and his partner Louisa in a rather stunning white Triumph Stag, Jamie Denson in his Land Rover and Bud and Karen in their TVR Tuscan. Another very, very late 1999 car.
Unfortunately we didn’t see much of Jamie as we think he suffered a “Failure to Proceed” about a mile after leaving Osborne house and we didn’t hear from him again. Rumour was the SEM had syphoned his petrol to prevent further embarrassment to himself. (He ran out of petrol on the A34 you know.) Bud and Karen were fine chaps as were Don and Louisa who lasted almost to the end but that’s a story for later.
Cars of interest for me were a pair of Fords in matching livery.
The Cortina, owned by Kevin Froment was a 1600L and at the risk of sounding like a Muggle, my Dad had one of these. Not only that but it was the same colour and he painted the garage door to match it. The Capri owned by Graham Farrar, was a Mk1 3.0L that our Keith Lloyd would love. I loved it because it had one of those 70s louvered grills on the back window! When did you last see one of them?
Osborne House Clock bells chimed 9 O’clock and it was time for our 22-car convoy to set off. I have to say that Roger was very organised with him at the front and his friends acting as marshals in the middle and at the back and they all had walkie talkies and everything.
Anyway, we set off through the Island lanes to the first stop at a lovely viewpoint overlooking a valley and a bit of the sea. Roger’s presence and organisation must have been having some influence in counteracting the Rain Man’s baleful presence as we could actually see this view and the rain was still holding off a bit. We had lost the Land Rover though.
We continued through the villages of Yaverland and Rookley to our tea break stop at The Old Smithy in Godshill where we were joined by a Triumph Spitfire among others and I had the biggest chocolate cream éclair I have ever seen. It was gorgeous and surprisingly, not too sweet.
By the time it came to leave The Old Smithy, Roger’s influence over Rain Man Gar’s presence was waning as we now suffered heavy rain. We were not downhearted though. We had come here to enjoy ourselves and enjoy ourselves we would, and we did! We headed off to our lunch stop at The Needles via more picturesque villages and lanes until we got to the best road on the Island in my opinion. Military Road up the west coast.
We were able to stop at a viewpoint overlooking Military Rd and the Needles in the distance so we could appreciate where we were going. The road looked fantastic and really piqued our excitement, but we couldn’t see The Needles because of the rain.
This road was every bit as good as billed with great driving and great views when we can see them. By this stage the rain had got to biblical proportions and I had a very wet right leg because it was dripping in above my window. My rally notes were an illegible pulpy mess because of the drips from the same place on the passenger side.
I still had a great big grin on my face though and was revelling in the fact that since my alternator conversion, I had working wipers and lights unlike the South Wales tour, and unlike John's MGB GT. I was behind John and flashed my lights at him occasionally just to remind him. As we also saw on the South Wales trip, electrical gremlins are extremely contagious in old cars as Don lost the brake lights on his Stag too.
We caused another stir as we pulled into the Needles car park for our lunch stop and no, it wasn’t because of my wet trousers but our cars. Muggles appeared from all over the car park to look, take pictures and chat. The brand new Maserati Quattroporte, and equally expensive and sparkly Range Rover were completely ignored. (Except by me. I love the Quattroporte!) Their owners took it well though and even they came over for a chat and a photo or two.
I have to say that the Needles attraction wasn’t at its best in this weather. In fact it was a bit grim. I still didn’t see the Needles but I did buy a couple of those jars full of layered coloured sand for my girls. I also spotted a bottle of local Royal Navy strength gin and another of rum at 57% proof. It was £50 a pop though, so I had to forcibly remove myself from temptation.
Rain Man Gar had by this time completely reasserted his control of the weather and rain was falling at a rate that would give Noah cause for concern as we left for our last leg of the tour to Carisbrooke Castle. Don had asked me to follow his Stag and act as his brake light man.
I’m not sure I did any good as I don’t think the cars behind could see my car let alone my brake lights but it was still a fun a challenging drive and the castle looked very forbidding and hauntingly beautiful as we approached. Unfortunately, the rain was now so apocalyptic that most of us were content with a quick look through the castle entrance before rushing back to the shelter of our cars. (Somewhat dubious shelter in some cases.)
I’d managed to con Phil out the keys to Big Rov and was enjoying the luxury of the soft leather seats as I wafted along in the stately home on wheels whilst being lulled by the comforting V8 soundtrack but best of all, I was both warm and dry. I did however spare a thought for Phil who would have been neither warm nor dry as he drove Poppy back to the camp site. I did have to laugh as Poppy’s driver’s door flew open on a left hand bend and it became apparent that she was trying to eject him Harry Potter fashion. I bet he’d crunched that 2nd to 3rd gear change one too many times.
Once back at our vans, there was some slight concern that Gar and John seemed to be taking a long time and we were about to head back with SEM… honest… well ok, after we’d had a warming cup of coffee we were going to head back as in addition to his headlight failure, the MGB GT had thrown a proper strop and wasn’t starting. Before we’d finished our drinks though they’d got it started and running mostly well enough to get back to the site. We added it to SEM’s list of jobs for the morning.
It had been a fantastic day’s touring despite the weather and on behalf of the group, I would like to thank Roger for all his hard work and effort in organising such a great day. I’d also like to thank the rest of the locals for making us all so welcome. I for one, have fallen in love with your island and will be back. Thank you.
The day wasn’t quite over yet though as we rounded things of with everybody in the curry house (except the Woodwards and Owens. (Apparently, Indian food gives Ian wind.) The rest of us had a jolly nice ruby followed by a bit of a party in the Brooks caravan where a bottle of Talisker appeared miraculously and equally miraculously disappeared. We had another early night though and headed back to our beds for another classics day on the morrow. What? 2.30 AM is early isn’t it?
To be Continued ...
By Mike Peake
Super Enthusiast Man BROKE DOWN! I’ll say that again shall I? Super Enthusiast man BROKE DOWN.
Not only did SEM BREAK DOWN, but he broke down in the most bumblingly incompetent foolish way imaginable. Yes, HE RAN OUT OF PETROL!! I shall pause for a moment to let you get over your bout of hysterical laughter. This is our 1st indication that Super Enthusiast Man may actually be only human after all and proves that there is hope for the rest of us. He now joins Young Paul Cheetham as the only people daft enough to run out of petrol on tour.
Sorry, but I couldn’t help but lead with such momentous news. I know, I should start at the beginning of the tale which I will do... In a minute… when I’ve stopped laughing….
Right. Here goes… no wait, I’ve gone again…
OK. Deep breath… I’m composed.
As is becoming the norm before one of our tours, enthusiasts from all over the British Isles were getting excited. Number of sleeps remaining were being counted, cars were being packed and prepared ridiculously early and partners were slapping us round the head and telling us to “grow up!” (or was it just me getting slapped?). Anyway, I was up early on Friday morning and waving my womenfolk off to work before a quick slice of toast and a cup of coffee. It had been a bit of a manic week so I still had to pack some clothes food and merlot and put the bags in the car, check the fluids and top up with fuel before I was off east on the M4. It helped a lot that we were staying in Static Caravans and camping equipment wasn’t needed. It meant much more room for Merlot.
Gar in Nelson, Nick and Jo in the Jensen, Ian and Sarah and Bernard and Thelma in Ian’s Zephyr and the Brooks Brothers in their Rover P4 had all met up somewhere oop norrf before coming down the A34 and meeting Poppy and I at Chieveley services. This was shortly before Gus ran out of petrol.
Greetings made, pit stops pitted and we all set off together and headed down the A34. Gar was leading at a very respectable speed followed by Poppy, Nick’s Jensen, The Rover P4 and Ian bringing up the rear because of his noxious emissions’. I really had to fight Poppy to get her to turn south as she has become far more used to heading north for our meets and she was really quite confused.
Gar decided to start showing off his new engine and diff and increased speed to approaching Mach 1 to get past a line of lorries. Poppy and the Jensen kept pace but the Rover and Zephyr were lost in the dust. We thought it was that they were just slow but by the time we reached Rownham services they were still nowhere to be seen and we started to worry. It wasn’t long before we heard the truth of it though and we stopped worrying and started chortling. You see, SEM had RUN OUT of PETROL ON THE A34!
At first I was extremely disappointed in Ian not taking a photo of this momentous event but after he explained that they were all laughing too much to hold a camera straight, I forgave them.
After hearing that they’d scraped enough fuel together to get to a petrol station, the 4 of us settled down for lunch. As the Brooks weren’t willing to pay motorway prices as “Them’s from Yorkshire Tha Knows”. We agreed to meet up at the ferry so they could go in search of more acceptably priced fuel.
Does anyone know where Yorkshire Tha Knows is? I’ve found Yorkshire on a map but not met anyone from there yet. I’ve met quite a few from Yorkshire Tha Knows, but can’t find it anywhere.
Anyway, the rest of the trip was uneventful and coincidentally, both convoys arrived at the ferry port at exactly the same time from opposite directions. We were turned away and told to come back in 10 minutes as we were too early.
10 minutes later, we were allowed in and parked in a row causing a bit of a stir and attracting lots of muggle attention before being loaded to set off for foreign climes.
We also welcomed fellow members and lovely couple, Graham and Sue in their very, very late 1999 Rover 75 as they joined us in the real world for the 1st time. (Ok it was a 2003! I was all for keel hauling them on the return crossing but as they were so nice and a lot of fun, I let them off.)
Despite the storm warnings and high wind, the Solent was kind and hardly rippled our coffees as we stood in the bracing wind on the foredeck. As Bosun, I was tempted to set my crew to holystoning the decks but the Brooks brothers were looking particularly mutinous so I let them all relax. (They had run out of petrol after all.)
It wasn’t long before we convoyed off the ferry and headed to our caravan site with Graham and Nick peeling off for their more luxurious digs.
The caravans were luxury indeed and best of all, they weren’t tents. Actually, that wasn’t best of all. Best of all was that the farmer’s wife had left a homemade Jam and cream sponge cake in each of the caravans! Wayhay!
Bags were unpacked, kettles boiled and we settled down to a nice brew and a slice of cake while we waited for fellow tourists to straggle in from various different crossings. John Ticehurst was the 1st of the stragglers in his lovely MGB GT, followed shortly after by Phil Allin in Big Rov and bearing the Rally Plaques.
Nick and Jo, and Graham and Sue re-joined us at the site along with the man of the moment, Roger Spavin who was the organiser for Saturday’s Tour. He was also in a very, very late 1999 registered car but this time it was a Jaguar XK-R. (Phwoar!!) We were really quite hungry by this time so before proper introductions could be made, Roger was bundled back into his car and forced to lead us to the Shanklin Fish and Chip shop he’d promised us was the best on the Island.
We had a pleasant relaxed drive across the Island with our convoy attracting more attention than is usual among the locals. We all thought they were admiring our classic cars, but Roger assured us that they weren’t used to seeing anything so modern as motorised transport on the Island. (Sorry. A cheap shot I know but they would have taken away my writer’s guild membership If I didn’t make it.)
Arriving on Shanklin sea front we parked up and were welcomed by some more of Roger’s friends from the Jaguar Owners club – IOW Chapter in their lovely selection of Jaaaags and a very, very nice Mini which, (puts on nasally geeky voice) having an MW number plate, makes it a Swindon car I believe. (takes off nasally geeky voice).
Andy Perman, despite only living in Portsmouth and being the most local of the visiting tourists, didn’t arrive in time to meet us at the caravan site so we arranged to meet him at the chip shop.
It hadn’t all been plain sailing. John was telling anyone who would listen that his dipped and main beam headlights on his MGB GT weren’t working. Not many of us were listening as we were HUNGRY, but a rather sheepish Super Enthusiast Man (He’d run out of petrol earlier) agreed to take a look while we waited for Andy
Unfortunately, Andy arrived in his VDP Allegro before a resolution was achieved so we decided that the moon was out so what did he need lights for anyway? We went and had our long awaited, and very nice Fish and Chips.
The trip home was even better for me as my hood was down and it was night. I don’t know what it is but I think driving at night in an open car is particularly special and I love it.
We made it back to the caravans and as the Brooks van had the biggest seating area, we piled in there for a bit of a party. Most of us were taking it fairly easy as it was an early start and a big driving day tomorrow. However, Bernard was going all out. Despite the many wrist slaps from his wife Thelma, he still managed to overdose on purple quality street!
The Party broke up about midnight and we all headed off to bed. Except the Brooks and Phil. They had to tidy up!
…. Ran out of petrol indeed! Tee hee hee…. Ha ha ha… AAAH HAHA HAH HA … Oh…. I might have just had an accident….
To Be continued…
by Gar Cole
The tyres had barely cooled down on my little Fisher caravan following a blisteringly hot long weekend at the South Cerney steam show, just 3 days later I was packing up again ready for the 'Steam and Scrumpy' tour of Somerset, work has an annoying habit of getting in the way of our car hobby which dictated taking the caravan to the Cheddar campsite on the Thursday and setting up my pitch and the group banner, it did mean an additional 260 mile round trip but I didn't think my customers who I was driving to Southampton docks Friday morning would appreciate arriving at the luxurious Queen Mary cruise liner in a taxi pulling a 58yo caravan.
I've always loved Somerset and spent many happy family holidays around the Cheddar Gorge area and I always feel better once I've crossed the Avonmouth bridge , Petruth Paddocks campsite is a conrods throw away from Cheddar village and the owners are petrol heads and were very excited to be hosting our group, upon arrival I was greeted by Thomas Jenkins, his girlfriend Emily and their mate Thomos , thank goodness for the one letter difference or it could have been confusing, TJ's MK2 Granada looked as well polished as ever surrounded by 3 tiny pod tents. Having recently been given the moniker of 'Old Mother Cole ' I decided to fuss over the kids and make sure they had enough food and not just biscuits, I need not have worried, modern mobiles have something called 'App's and before I knew it fresh made hot pizzas were being delivered direct to the site, the wonders of modern tech, I bid the 3 intrepid campers farewell and headed home while tucking into my pre made Cornbeef sandwich, no Apps for this old dinosaur.
Arriving back at camp Friday afternoon I was pleased to see the expected biblical downpours had not arrived, also the campsite appeared to have entered a worm hole in the space time continuem, the front row was filled with classics from Jag XJS, Triumph Stag, Granada and Zephyr and gave the illusion of a campsite from at least 30 years ago, other campers were naturally admiring the cars and asking questions. Tragically I had arrived too late once again to help put up the Coleman shelter and it stood filled with table and chairs, we were still waiting on Mike Peake in Poppy the Herald and Last Minute Liam in the Rover P6 V8, the intrepid Debbie Fizz Berrimen had unfortunately suffered a mechanical issue on her Morris ambulance campervan and was awaiting recovery to Gloucester services.
Hungry faces started looking at me like a pride of lions looks at a steak so Old Mother Cole swung into action preparing a Chicken Chassuer for 12 people, Phil Allin was sceptical I could produce enough for everyone and in a reasonable time in my wee caravan, I shushed him up and set him to work chopping veg, which was soon taken over by wife Lorraine as he was making ' a pigs ear ' of it, just over an hour later a Cauldron full was bubbling and ready with more faces appearing at the door saying ' ooarr that smells noice ' in increasingly stronger and more bizarre Somerset accents, by the end of the night we all sounded more like Pirates ( Aharrrrr Jim Lad )
Arriving last was ummmm Last Minute Liam, with family in tow, we were all impressed watching their vintage 1960s inflatable tent being erected, way ahead of its time, in an effort to be helpful I pumped up the double airbed for them, it didn't occur to me it wouldn't fit through the narrow opening door into the tent, but the thought was there, as the evening drew on those of us in caravans looked eviously at Bernard and Ian's Caravan that was connected to the mains supply, and was boasting such luxuries as a working fridge and heater and lights, those in tents looked eviously at those of us in caravans that boasted such luxuries as a comfy bed, toilet and a waterproof roof ( but more of that later )
Poor Debbie had been messed around all day by the RAC and were now relaying her to Gloucester services where she would have to spend the night in the Morris camper until a suitable low loader could be sent first thing in the morning, having myself driven over 500 miles in 2 days I was the first to retire and left the others happily chatting around the campfire enjoying drinks and scrumptious gluten free cakes made by John's Ticehursts wife.
Saturday arrived in what seemed to me the blink of an eye , I slept a little too well and appeared to be the last to rise, lucky for me other cookers were making breakfast so I made myself a couple of cheeky bacon rolls and packed a bag of essentials for the tour (wine gums etc)
Word reached us from Debbie that she was expecting the lowloader at 9am so we made the decision to await her arrival so she could still join the tour riding shot gun in another car, as I was doing by riding in the back of Ian and Bernards Zephyr for the day. Sadly once again the RAC let Debbie down so she signalled for us to carry on without her, our climate changing convoy of V8s, V6s , Inline sixes and 1 four pot rumbled and thrummed our way out the campsite with that unforgettable smell of unburnt hydrocarbons, there had been concerns the annual Balloon Fiesta in Bristol would make it difficult to reach the SS Great Britain, however after a very pleasant 18 mile drive using the back roads into Bristol the traffic turned out to be remarkably quiet and we pulled in the ship's parking area.
We found a nice empty row and formed our own small classic car display, coach parties just arriving started taking photos before heading towards the ship, we were thrilled to be joined for the first time by 2 group members driving a stunning Austin Sprite, I'm hopeless remembering names sorry but I'm sure his name was Kevin , were always trying to encourage more local members to join us if a tour is passing by your town.
The SS Great Britain lived up to its reputation as one of the UKs best museums, you cannot fail to be impressed by the size of her and the engineering that went into building this ship 174 years ago, you are able to descend below the water line of the ship in its dry dock, a glass case encircles the ship with a thin layer of water on top which really creates the feel of being under water, huge dehumidifiers keep the fragile iron hull from rusting any further. The ship has been restored 1 area at a time in remarkable detail, we marvelled at how small the bunks and cabins were, even in 1st class it must have been quite the voyage on the 6 weeks trip to Australia, in contrast the first class dining room is a grand sight to behold, long banquet tables, gold gilded columns and paintings and even a piano. 1st class or not a tour of the galley kitchen complete with rats running around the cupboards was quite the eye opener, the whole ship is a fascinating glimpse into another time , for those of us who are admirers of Brunel's heavy engineering we found ourselves mesmerised at midships at the sight of the engine, a 4 cylinder monster taking up 3 decks in height, we estimated the stroke on the pistons to be over 12ft, seeing it all in motion again being driven now by electric motors was a real treat and we could only marvel at just how it must have looked in full steam with the pistons shooting up and down, steam hissing everywhere and the floors vibrating, you really must visit this ship if you get the chance.
We bid the SS farewell, after hearing the good news that Debbie was now safe at the campsite we decided to do the route in reverse so we could collect her from Cheddar, the convoy headed off to collect Debbie, however the ' 3 hoods ' in the Zephyr as we were described accidentally took a different road, knowing Debbie was being rescued by the rest of the party we trundled on our way towards the village of Priddy at the top of Cheddar Gorge and it was pure luck we arrived half hour before everyone else and were happily tucking into cheese n onion baguettes and pints before the rest turned up in what was now pouring rain, Bernard, Ian and myself practised our ' innocent smiles '.
Suitably refreshed we said our goodbyes to our new friends in the Sprite and the lovely olde world Victoria Inn and headed down the winding and twisting road that snakes its way through the Gorge, i was sat in the back of the Zephyr in total comfort and took the opportunity to film the steepest segment, as much as the rain, steamed windows and vacuum wipers would allow. Unfortunately at this point we lost Giles and John in the Stag after they suffered an overheating issue, which seemed strange as we were descending the Gorge not climbing it, being so close to the campsite they decided it was sensible to retire and limped back, it was later diagnosed as only being a water pipe not being tightened enough and they had slowly been losing all their water.
From here we drove through the picturesque countryside between Cheddar and Watchfield passing through several pretty but rain lashed villages, Watchfield is home to Richs Cider Farm, another place I've known about from childhood holidays, it has a lovely shop selling not only ciders but all manor of alcohol, exotic cheeses and jams and preserves, Debbie was more than happy to try a few samples of cider after her 24 hour ordeal at the hands of the RAC, the place also has it's own museum with 3 of the biggest oak barrels you've ever seen, one containing over 10,000 pints, plus a vintage tractor and restored delivery vehicle wearing the firm's livery, after helping swell their coffers we took a few photos in the rain and headed for ' Burnham on Mud ' as Lorraine 'Ooarrrr' Allin insisted on calling it. Let's be polite and say Burnham has passed it's heyday, the once impressive Victorian buildings along the sea front now looking faded and with peeling paint and green streaked plaster, in the gloomy rain filled skies it had a forlorn feel to it, undeterred we parked up along the front and headed for the fish and chip shop, the Battered Fryer produced a very decent meal from yet another tired shop front , the rain mercifully stopped long enough for us to enjoy our food and ice cream.
The drive back to Cheddar passed without incident and all cars performed faultlessly, however.... on returning to our campsite we found young Thomos tent had got soaked through, the same had happened to Liams inflatable tent soaking everything inside, living only 8 miles away and with an unhappy partner who doesn't really like camping he did the sensible thing and threw everything into the P6 and retired to a comfy warm home, we all sat in the Coleman shelter with rain drops forming on the roof poles and dripping on the table thinking Liam had the right idea, my reputation for inviting rain fall on our tours was well and truelly cemented, so nothing was left to do but crack open snacks, wine and other goodies and ignore the puddles building up all over the campsite.
Sunday drive out to Haynes museum.
Debbie had asked the more mechanically minded members of our group to have a look at her engine before we headed to the Haynes museum in Sparkford, now our regular blogger and admin Mike 'Fat Bloke ' Peake has recently had some success with the cars he's worked on, mine included, and in the absence of Gus Brooks A.K.A Super enthusiast man, he manfully offered his services, diagnosing the points as the cause of the loss of power and popping back through the carb, as the cover was removed from Debbies engine was removed we expected to see Mike fly past in a blaze or red and white, cape flapping in the Breeze, however Gus is a tad more slender than Mike and he ended up waddling past in star spangled hot pants and red boots, to the theme from Russ Abbots comedy show, all together now ' dun dun dun da dahhhhh, Blunder Woman ' .
I'll give you all a moment to delete that image from your mind 😎
Despite the tightness of the working area in the Morris engine bay and the chafing of the hot pants, Blunder Peake had the points changed in no time and the engine fired up and sounded sweet, a test drive showed Morris to be driving better but still down on power over 35mph, at this point myself and Tom Jenkins agreed it might have a blocked carb jet so I nipped out for a bottle of Redex, we put a whole bottle into only a quarter of a tank of fuel assuring Debbie that it might smoke a bit but would help clear any gunk out of the carb, as a final offer of advice Ian Woodward said the engine sounded retarded and Debbie should have the timing advanced at the first opportunity she had at a garage, feeling confident our convoy headed off on the scenic route through wells and Shelton Mallet to the museum, this time I was passenger in Andy Permans Allegro VDP auto and what a complete treat it was, I've not been in one of these for 36 years and usually when I get back into a car that we had in my childhood I'm always surprised how small they feel, my SD1 a prime example, but the VDP has great headroom and leg room galore, the wood and leather interior is a pleasant place to be and I can see why Andy loves it and is in the process of restoring a second VDP, Debbie's Morris camper seemed to be having no trouble keeping up at 50 mph so we pressed on to Sparkford.
You will not be surprised to hear it was raining at the museum, but now immune to the soggy feeling of wet clothes we lined the cars and camper up for some photos, the museum has been greatly extended since my last visit 7 years ago and is well worth a visit, something for everyone there and a great restaurant, a good place to meet up with friends on a cold winter's day.
At this point we had to say goodbye to a lot of our fellow campers who had to return home for that dreaded word 'WORK'
This left just the 5 of us, me with Bernard and Ian in the Zephyr and John and Giles in the V8 Stag, shortly after our friends departed the sunshine reappeared, not wanting to waste a minute we diverted into Wells, parking in the ancient square and enjoying a walk around the grounds of the Cathedral, I also showed the guys the filming locations used by the Film ' Hot Fuzz ' that was shot entirely on location in the city, Giles very kindly offered me a drive of the Stag back to the site but I politely said no but could I ride passenger, what an absolute treat being driven in this iconic car with it's V8 engine singing off the high stone walled roads, I loved it and can see why owners and enthusiasts hold these cars in such high regard, the evening was a real treat enjoying dinner at the excellent Brent Cross carvery and getting to know each other better as only spending quality time together can do.
A great weekend that triumphed over the weather with determination to enjoy it, oh and in case you wondered, Debbie did have her timing adjusted and made it all the way to Lands End, between 4 of us I think we sorted Morris motor home out 😀
By Mike Peake
WOW! THAT WAS AWESOME!. What a weekend. This is, in my opinion, the best static show that we attend as a group and that I have ever been to.
It is also one of the biggest. Just how big became apparent when I arrived on Thursday evening to find the exhibitors campsite section nearly full already. We were parked up by Marshals as we arrived, so it was impossible to reserve spaces for members arriving later. Fortunately we weren’t so far apart that a short walk couldn’t bring us all together for an evening chin wag.
The Brooks were first on site and caused panic and mayhem when they told us they’d seen a sign to say that gates were locked between 8pm and 8am. This caused me to rush around like a lunatic in order to have both cars and caravan onsite before the deadline and Gar to decide he’d have another night in his own comfy bed and join us Friday morning. (BTW, The gates weren’t locked at 8PM)
Campers the 1st night were Gus, Tosh and Bella Brooks, with the Austin Big 7, Jason Wright with his Triumph Herald 1200 Convertible, Poppy and me. A pleasant evening of chat and alcohol was spent and an early night was had.
Friday dawned a perfect summers morning. We were all up bright and early to set up the stand and were joined by Gar and Hattie Cole with his Fisher Holivan Junior 8 which was pressed into service as the pitch café providing many a tea, coffee, hot chocolate latte etc.
We were also joined by Darren and Karen Williamson with their rather lovely Morris Ital 1.3, one of 3 Itals Darren owns. It was great to see this nice couple hadn’t been scared away on the Peaks tour and had agreed to join us again.
Being Friday, the show was a bit quieter with fewer visitors and exhibitors than were expected for the actual weekend. Many of the Car Club stands were completely empty.
However there was still acres of fine old oily stuff to see with the working steam engines, commercial vehicles, buses military vehicles, tractors, small industrial trucks, motor bikes, emergency vehicles, as well as animal displays, a huge trade area and radio controlled model aircraft. Like I’ve said before, this show is MASSIVE!
Of course, my old favourite was there too. A 1941 Diamond T 980 Ballast truck.
I’ve made no secret in the group that my Grandad drove RT and Routemaster buses for London Transport. What I haven’t made such a fuss about is that it was the Army that taught him to drive and then sent him to North Africa where he spent a brief time driving Austin K2 ambulances, (Yes, just like “Ice cold in Alex”) before being transferred to tank transport and recovery using Scammels at 1st but then the Diamond Ts - a far superior vehicle as far as he was concerned.
Realising that our tanks struggled to drive themselves the large distances required over the rough terrain of the North African Desert, The British Army decided that they would need a lot more tank transporters. Scammel, their supplier at the time couldn’t mass produce the numbers required so the Army approached the American company and commissioned them to supply the Diamond T 980 and 981.
I have seen this truck a few times at this show now. I have always loved this particular Diamond T because it is the only one I have found that was actually in the desert at the same time as my Grandad, but this year it got even closer. One of my Grandad’s war stories was how he was in the team of drivers that unloaded the 1st batch of “Ts” to arrive in Alexandria and in fact, drove the 1st one off the boat.
Well, there was some new information on the show board this year. This particular “T” was in that 1st batch delivered. Well, that is close enough for me to say that it is highly likely that my Grandad actually drove this vehicle 77 years ago (In fact I have decided that he did). Therefore, I have even sat in the same seat he did all that time ago.
Sorry. I went off on a bit of a tangent there. I hope you don’t mind and weren’t too bored, but I was so excited to find this truck was even more closely connected to my Grandad, that I had to share it with you.
We took it in turns to man the stand and wander off to sample the show’s delights but all too quickly the show ended for the day and it was back to the campsite to await some more fellow members. We were expecting Phil, Loraine and Lucas Allin.
We couldn’t wait to hear about Loraine Towing a caravan at the speed of light, trying to keep up with Phil in his newly purchased XJS. The ever intrepid Chris Ball who was bringing his MGB all the way from Cricklade (about a mile and a half from the site) and of course our really intrepid mile muncher, Eric Dalton who was coming all the way from deepest darkest Scotlandshire.
The Allin’s and Chris made it but Eric’s Ambassador finally threw a strop and was heard shouting “I’m an old lady Eric! Have some respect!” as she coasted to a stop near Keele services on the M6.
Missing Eric, the rest of us settled down to a lovely chicken and beef stew provided by Old Mother Cole. Jolly delicious it was too.
Some time had passed, some wine was drunk and chats and laughs had and most of our gathering took themselves off to bed. However, Phil produced a bottle of gin and another of tonic. Well you know me - I’m never able to resist temptation, so I was severely led astray by Phil who kept me up until 2AM drinking sociably and putting the world to rights. (I will be introducing a “Brexit Swear Jar” for future events though. I Know, It’ll be me that fills it. Sorry about that.)
Saturday morning was another perfect summer dawn, I believe. I certainly wasn’t early or anything approaching bright but I did notice that Hattie, Gars dog, must have been at the gin bottle we had left out as we didn’t drink that much and Hattie spent the whole day asleep so that proves it.
As I couldn’t face even the thought of breakfast at that stage, I was blearily peering at my hood, trying to remember how to lower it when Gus bounded up like Tigger and said “ we need your car to put the banner up”. Before I knew it, he had my keys and was driving Poppy up to our stand with a partially collapsed hood and my microfiber cloth still drying on the boot rack.
Resisting the urge to go back to bed, I fell into Chris’s MGB and was driven up to our pitch to supervise the setting up - only to find most of it was done and all I had to do was arrange the remaining cars to arrive. I left them where they landed until I felt a bit better and did some rearranging.
The new arrival on our stand and new to our live meets was Steve Roberts and his MG Metro. Phil Rendle was also supposed to join us with his Morris Traveller but got a bit confused on entry and ended up parking with all the independent owners.
Chris Ball took pity on me and took me off to look at the classic cars on display and search out that magic cure-all that is known as a bacon bap. An hour later I was back at the stand and halfway through manfully taking my medicine when I noticed that Mrs FB and my daughters had arrived on the stand. I was well and truly busted. Now if it was just the bacon bap, I could have talked my way out of it. However, I could tell by the nasty grins on my “friends” faces that they had taken the opportunity to fully grass me up in my absence.
“Hello Dear” I said as brightly as I could manage whilst trying to dodge that “Wait ‘til I get you home!” glare that was directed at me. Then inspiration struck. “Shall we go and look at Minis Emily?” I said whilst moving quickly but trying not to look like I was running away.
When I was finally cornered, I took it like a man… and blamed it all on Phil.
Another day was spent chatting to members and muggles that came on our stand, chatting to each other and looking at old oily stuff in a field. Immense fun was had by all and we even had a parachute display team land in the main arena.
4PM arrived and it was time for the classic cars to tour the arena. I have to say I was very impressed at the marshalling and organisation in getting us from our stand to the arena without killing any Muggles and it was great to drive around with a sea of people all pointing waving and smiling. I do have to say though, that the new commentator tried hard but needs to brush up on his knowledge.
Emily was desperate to drive Poppy again so the keys were passed and I sat in the back for the first time in my ownership. I had also closed my ears ready for the expected grinding of gears on the 2nd to 3rd change which can be tricky for the uninitiated, but no. Smooth clean changes all round.
Many of my fellow stand members seemed to find it hilarious that Mrs FB and I were in the back while our daughters took command. I have no idea why it was so funny but it did mean that there are plenty of photos. It also bought home just how long I’ve had Poppy and how much a part of the family she is.
Well, with the arena tour over it was time to head back to the campsite for a bit of a relax and some tea before heading up to the steam fair. Or so we thought.
One of the arenas has a live demonstration of steam traction engines running a saw mill. This was running for the entire day and as you can imagine, quite a pile of sawn timber was accumulating. Well Tosh, being from Yorkshire Tha’ Knows, couldn’t resist and soon negotiated the purchase of a proportion of the pile knowing that as he’d sold the Austin he would have an empty trailer going home. So, at the end of the day, my CR-V was hitched up to the Brooks car trailer which, let me tell you, seems an awful lot bigger when hitched to the back of my car!
Four of us then headed up to the saw mill area and started loading… and loading… and loading! Well, let’s just say that the weight of the loaded trailer gave the Honda’s clutch a good work out on the way back to the camping pitch.
Knowing how supportive all the chaps would be, I was a little nervous when I discovered I was expected to reverse the trailer back onto the extremely narrow gap between the Brooks camp site and their neighbours. I needn’t have been though as I managed to show my epic towing skills and dropped it back, millimetre perfect in one go! Time for a well-deserved beer then. (After last night I still couldn’t quite face wine.)
Mrs FB then cooked us a lovely BBQ in the van. (it was too dry to have a real BBQ, we’d have set the field on fire.) it must have been nice because Hattie ate most of it.
After our meal, we all set off for the steam fair and exhibitors party. All except Gar who was off to do a taxi run and wouldn’t be back until Sunday PM. Chris Ball also left as he had other commitments on the Sunday. You could tell they didn’t want to go as Gar got into the car and those sad doleful eyes looked back at us to say goodbye. Hattie looked fed up too but she’s a Basset Hound and they always look like that.
If you look closely, you might see a Fatbloke.
You could tell Gar didn’t organise this trip. For the 3rd day running dawned another perfect summers day. In fact it was still “Bloody Hot” to quote the Standard British Temperature scale.
Sunday is THE busy day of the show with every exhibitor space crammed to overflowing and Muggles a-plenty. Our stand was no exception - we had 13 cars and a caravan on display.
We were joined by Andy Perman in his VDP, John Malley in his Piper, which is true dedication driving a car with no opening windows on a day like that. Mark Wilson and his E-Type Jaguar also arrived along with Windy Woodward, Berbo and Ian’s son Johnathon in the Zephyr. The real surprise however, was the special vehicle they were towing but I’ll keep you in suspense about that for now.
Phil Rendle and his Morris Traveller managed to find our pitch this time and bought his mate and fellow EBMV member, Scott Morris and his Tahiti Blue Triumph 2500S Estate. Dave Britton was also on the stand with his rather stunning Rover P5B. Along with Steve Roberts and his MG Metro, This was the 1st live EBMV meet that these 4 chaps had attended, So I hope you all had fun and will be joining us again in the future.
The Woodwards wanted to be with us all weekend but Ian’s daughter decided that she would get married this weekend and, rather selfishly I thought, wouldn’t move the date for us. But it was really great that they came down for the Sunday. It wouldn’t have been the same without them and we wouldn’t have got to see the “Special” that Ian towed down.
Well what can I say? Out of all the fantastic oily stuff that was on display it was this that got my attention. It doesn’t really fit into either of our groups but WOW! I was even allowed the honour of driving it around show field and I was amazed at the out and out power of this single seater. All right! All right! I’ll tell you! It’s a Pihslang 888NR with a 2.5 motor. Never heard of it? No, me neither but click below to reveal this awesome vehicle.
Ok, OK, its a 2.5 KW motor. What can I say, I couldn’t resist it. Sorry. When I heard Ian was bringing this, I wanted to decorate it with tin cans on string, ribbons and a “Just Farted” sign instead of “Just Married” but Mrs FB thought it would be poor taste to mock the afflicted. (I guess she doesn’t know us that well does she?) I hope you get well really soon Ian and the Pihslang can be laid up safely for future generations to admire.
Another great day was had by all as we deep-fried ourselves in sun tan oil. It really was a great show with great people. You can’t really describe the size and variety of this show other than to say that there really is something for everybody and if you’re coming next year, you will need more than one day to see it all.
Because of the traffic problems leaving the show last year, The Allins, Gar and I elected to stay on another night and leave on Monday morning. The organisers had even laid on a party with live music and cheaper beer. Unfortunately all the vintage fair and steam engines had already been packed away and only one food outlet was still open, so we had a nice baguette and a chat and watched another sunset.
To quote a rather clever chap, “WOW! THAT WAS AWESOME!. What a weekend. This is, my opinion, the best static show that we attend as a group and that I have ever been to.” [Me, at the top of the page. EBMV 2018]
Huge thanks to all those that supported me on our stand you all really made the weekend special and I hope you had as much fun as I did.
SVTEC (the organisers) have already announced that they will be back next year on 2nd to 4th August 2019 so put the date in your diaries and keep an eye on our events section for more details. I will be doing my damnedest to get us another stand at this show.
Finally, It wouldn’t be an EBMV event without a photo of our beloved Fat Controller eating now would it?
Well thanks for bearing with me through yet another Blog. Poppy and I will be off on our adventures again on our group’s Steamships and Scrumpy tour this weekend. Please join us if you can we’d love to see some new faces in real life.
All the best.
Poppy and Fatbloke.
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