Sunday, 10 November 2013

Honorary Alvis OC member for the morning

Back in June at the Woodley Carnival, I was nattering to fellow H&B club member Rob about his Alvis collection, I gave his daughter Mayumi a few pointers on Beetles and made a throw away comment that we should swap cars one day. Well it wasn't exactly a swap that took place today, but I got to see into the world of the Alvis owner with a trip to one of their monthly meets. With blue skies and cold hands, I blasted the Camper down the country lanes to Rob's place near the A30 and once parked, swapped 1.6lt flat four for the 3lt six in his 1964 TE21. On the cruise over we chatted engines, oil pressure, roadtrips and more before rolling into the cramped carpark at Newlands Corner near Guildford.

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Already there was an immaculate 1930s 4.3 Vanden Plas, one of only a dozen produced and worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. It was truly stunning in two tone white and green. A chat to the owner revealed it came with an on board jacking system run off the engine and controlled from under the bonnet. His is currently disabled as there is a risk of the car being stuck on its jacks should it fail.

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Following a washout meet last month, Rob was hoping for a better turnout with better weather. By lunchtime ten models from the marque were parked up, the owners happy to natter about them to the interested public out for a sunday morning stroll.

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Keeping in the 1930s, this Speed20 from 1934 was fitted with a makeshift radiator shield to keep engine temperatures up on a cold day.

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Bonnet mascots varied a lot. I never got round to asking what they all were.

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The perfect car for the weather (with gloves, hats and scarves) was this TD21 drophead coupe

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A couple of latecomers were the four door TC21 Saloon, looking gorgeous in two tone silver and red and the elegant Firefly from the 1930s in bright green with an equally bright red leather interior. Both found spaces to squeeze into.

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Slowly the owners headed home, the solid line of Coventrys finest getting interspersed with modern machinery. Rob had already departed for the airport, so it was left to Mayumi to chauffeur me home in style.

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We took the cross country route through the villages to the M3, the TE prefectly suited to both meandering and when required, pressing on at motorway speeds. Once safely tucked away I swapped back to the Camper for a lovely blast home, the sun shining and my brain imaging what I can't afford or garage!

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There are a few more photos from a brilliant morning here. .  


Saturday, 2 November 2013

Tempest Rally

In the week building up to the rally, the UK got battered by some of the worst weather for years, high winds brought trees down all over the place and it was raining heavily the night before. Not a good start for standing around in the woods for a day. Fortunately it dawned dry and overcast on Saturday so my brother and I once again headed to Warren for the closest stages to home. As the course car came through the sun was coming out and the sky blue. Soon after the two wheel drive crews came thundering through.

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With the last cars through we headed for Rushmoor and the service park. a chance to see up close the Mk1 and 2 Escorts, Novas, 205 and more modern fodder.

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With the 2WD back out on stage we filled half an hour nattering to some friends we'd bumped into before the 4WD cars entered the arena stage. Popping and banging they bounced along the rutted track round the event field.

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The sick 6R4 was misfiring and took an age to get round, a change of plugs in service rectified this. Other cars needed a wiped down, some lots of work.

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As the cars left service the heavens opened, it looked like the weather had changed for the day so we headed to the carpark and pondered. With the next nearest stage at Pavilion only a mile away and half an hour we decided to risk it and prayed for a break. Soon enough the clouds cleared and the sun was out, so off to the hairpin we went. A pair of pallets formed a temporary barrier, it stood no chance against quick running WRC cars running wide.

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With the sun still out we aimed for the final stages of the day at Warren. Opting for the hairpin onto the long straight, it offered the slowest point for the cars and the most light in a fading dusk. With the glare quite high the cars rocketed round.

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The last shot would be the perfect end to the blog, but we decided to hang around for the following 2WD cars, a delay somewhere meant they were 20 minutes late and the night had arrived. Hence the gloomy flash shots.

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Once again the Tempest Rally has ended my motorsport year. A nice, back to basics event with no frills, 90 crews can't be wrong. The rest of the photos are here