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.
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