Great idea for a thread. I've been saying for ages you should do your own blog (do people still do them?) for all the shows you go to. I know time is always a problem for you though, what with work, wife, kids and trying to keep on top of 3 cars that just to cause you hassle on a daily basis. You mentioned our lottery conversation and I do stick by my choice of having a GTR as a daily car. Going through this thread now though I'm going to have to add a lot more cars to my list and need a HUGE win to be able to afford them all. Going to be fun shopping for them all when I do win
Rotaries help make the world go around... And around and around and...
Some cars look the part but you just know, in the parlance of da street, that they're "all fur coat and no knickers"... all show and no go, as it were. Some cars you just know even standing stock still that they're going to be fast as fox-picture. Guess which one this is
My favourite year of Cutlass (especially in 442 flavour) would have to be '69 but I do love the colour on this '67. And the way the front grille trim and headlights seem to float completely unsupported. Clever trick that
It's easy to get caught up in the high-hormone macho powerfest of the musclecar era. It's a shame, because some of the kitschy humour often gets missed; the bonkers colours and trim specs, the crazy names they gave model ranges; Plymouth Dusters especially (so you could get a stripped out lightweight Feather Duster for example, or a wagon Space Duster or even a limited edition Gold Duster). Or their first cousin, this here Dodge Dart Swinger
The original Demon was actually quite mundane, coming in towards the wane of the muscle era. The new one is anything but, given that it's the most accelerative production car ever or something. Interestingly, Dodge dropped the Demon nameplate originally due mostly to lobbying pressure from devout elements in society thinking it was bad enough "the kids" being dope-smoking degenerates without encouraging devil worship too
Hard to imagine looking at the later power car offerings from Dodge just how... errrmm, shall we say challenging (Challenging? See what I did there? Oh, never mind. Tough crowd) the looks of their earlier styling efforts were
Anyone who's been to the Pod well... pretty much ever... will no doubt have seen the hilarious yet startlingly serious Fiat 127s from Taz Racing. Powered by a variety of rear-mounted engines from Toyota screamers to Murican V8s, they always add a bit of comedic relief to proceedings. And more importantly, they Taz crew very kindly let us shelter in their gazebo when it started raining. Although it was slightly worrying when the conversation turned to what order people would get eaten if we got flooded in and had to resort to cannabalism
I don't think that those Taz Fiats are rear engined? At least the V one's I've seen are not. The engines are so big up front that the driver sits in the back seat area.
96 E320 W210 Wafter - on 18" split Mono's - Sold :-( 10 Kia Ceed Sportwagon - Our new daily 03 Import Forester STi - Sold 98 W140 CL500 AMG - Brutal weekend bruiser! Sold :-( 99 E240 S210 Barge - Now sold 02 Accord 2.0SE - wife's old daily - gone in PX 88 P100 2.9efi Custom - Sold
Pretty much my favourite car on the day... one of my favourite cars of the entire genre on any day... GTO in black, red interior, best year. Perfect. And man, this guy must like polishing stuff. A lot. Soooooooo shiny!
Americans have always loved their pickups, and throughout history the bigger the better. Even though a Chevy Stepside seems quite big next to a modern car, compared to the cars of the day they really aren't that massive. But there have always been the Diamond Ts and suchlike, heavy haulers to put the big into the big country. Nowadays... well, things are no different. In fact, I wish I'd managed to get a human into this pic just to show how unfeasibly humongous this Ram actually is!
Always loads of Roadrunners... they were supposed to be the poverty entry into musclecar ownership after all. Guess if you were canny you could just option the AirGrabber hood and everyone would just assume you had a 440 or a Hemi under there. Because no-one'd be mad enough to have the hood without the powers, right? Right?
so that's about it for our whistle stop tour of the Mopar Nats. Plenty of righteous stuff there, but I do hope it isn't dying on it's knees. Hopefully the year-on-year trend of declining numbers will be reversed soon. After all, Brexit soon; it'll probably be cheaper to buy everything from America than it will Europe. In fact, it often already is, just people haven't noticed. There you go, ya heard it hear first, kids. Buy moar 'Murican carz. Anyhoo, as my old nan always said, end on a song. But what's playing now is Band of Horses' I Go To The Barn Because I Like The ... and that might be a bit maudlin for such a colourful, noisy show day. So I'll have to end on a high instead.
As ane fule kno, all drag teams need a support truck, often a jack of all trades to tow the drag car, carry spares and tools and even sleep in when you're full enough of booze to be able to sleep in the wasteland of the Pod. And what's the obvious choice of support van for a hillbilly redneck yee-haw kinda theme? Yep, Adolf's finest of course
Amberley Chalk Pits Museum is something that could only exist in Britain. You wouldn't know it's there, even if you were driving right past it you'd barely register it. You'd be too busy absorbing the pretty little Sussex village around you sheltering under the cliffs, the narrow stone bridge over the winding river, complete with little cupolas for pedestrians to shelter in, the sweeping dark range of the hills above with their pine and beech forests murmuring in the breeze, promise of cool green shade on a hot summer's day. And in the winter, the entire valley pretty much floods. These are water meadows of old, and just because humans have brought arrogance and buildings up along the valley from Arundel below doesn't mean that the lazy river should change the habit of millennia.
So most passers-by simply... well, pass by on the sweeping road through the village and unless they turn into the station car park (one of few branch lines in the region to escape the axe of Dr Beeching) they might not even realise that they're driving past a comprehensive history of Britain's industrial history pretty much from forever to the present day. But if you park up here and walk along the road via a hidden path through the trees invisible from the Tarmac, through a narrow notch in the chalk cliffs and buy a ticket in the little wooden shack you'll suddenly find yourself in a concealed valley into the hill that winds and meanders back to unsuspected depths. Sussex men worked here for 150 years, quarrying chalk and feeding the huge lime kilns that still stand and function today. The pit railway now carries tourists... those that have scoured the infopamphlet racks carefully enough to realise the place even exists. There are bus garages here filled with vintage vehicles, there are museum sheds full of the history of telephonics, electricity generation, a working printing works. There's a serious amount of surprising stuff crammed into a small space that seems bigger because you wouldn't even have guessed it existed www.amberleymuseum.co.uk/
We've been here to see all sorts of eccentric stuff; Robot Wars Live was a stand-out day where the sheer size and violence of these steel fighters was truly surprising. But on this particular day in October of 2017 we were here for the final season-closing classic vehicle day. This is the sort of day you want to come here (should you want to come here) because the museum is all up and running as well, so should you get bored of twiddling the switches of 1920s electrical distribution equipment or seeing if you can light a lamp with the potential difference across your hands, you can potter off outside and take a ride on the railway, chat to a remote-controlled lifesized Dalek or simply browse the ranks of cool old cars parked up
On this particular day we'd arrived in Mrs L7s boring family F*rd, but even parking up in the carpark up by the station proved that we were going to be in for A Good Day. When stuff like this is nonchalantly wedged in under the tree-hung bank...
As I said before, entrance is via a ramshackle wooden shed that gives no hint of the secret vistas about to open before you. Just beyond this, today, is a phalanx of classic bikes, and I make no apology to those who don't "get" two-wheelers. Just wait your turn, there'll be cars along soon
A Honda Black Bomber ...or CB450 Dream, as Soichiro rather more prosaically called them. Amazingly, this was called the Hellcat in Canadian markets despite what now seems a very humble spec. But in 1965 this was spacecraft tech; unarguably inspired by (or copied from) the hitherto ruling Brit bikes, Honda were happy with the parallel twin layout but with typical Japanese inquiring minds thought "what if we split the crankcase horizontally so all the oil doesn't leak out?". The legendary Mike Hailwood was barred from racing one at Brands Hatch by the scrutineers because "it had double overhead camshafts and therefore could not possibly be a production machine"
In its own way, the humble Ariel Arrow was equally gasp*astonishment*sci-fi in its day. Pressed steel frames were supposed to eliminate complex, expensive and time-consuming fabrication processes used on traditional tube frames, and arguably fortold the coming of the perimeter beam that dominated motorcycle design for decades... some decades later. Shame the engines were woeful
Earlier still... much earlier, from the 1920s in fact... the Scott Squirrel and Flying Squirrel challenged motorcycling convention. Two-stroke motors weren't exactly a new thing, but watercooling on a bike predated accepted wisdom by over half a century. Sadly it also made the bikes prohibitively expensive, though they were undeniably effective. Barrels painted green for road use or stirring red for race, they deserved a greater part in history than as an interesting footnote
It's not all exotic delicacies and spices though. Every smorgasbord needs bread to make it work, and it doesn't get much more stolid and doughy than a 1930s Rudge-Whitworth (yes, like the funny-sized bolts). If the 1970s straight-four was derided as the UJM or Universal Japanese Motorcycle then a twin-loop cradle frame upright twin or single was for the longest time the UBM. Even then, this bike hides its light under a bushel; yes, a 500cc single might vibrate the bike and your skeleton to shards but you could take pride as your teeth liquefied that at least the head of your shuddering torture implement contained a witchcraft number of valves... four, in fact. In 1938! Rudge had already experimented with a belt-driven gearbox assembly that offered no fewer than 21 forward gears!
Fair contrast; if Rudge had engineering excellence and racing pedigree, surely no company reflects the archetype of British bike manufacture better than Francis-Barnett. Despite building a truly bewildering range of machines, they relied on the time-honoured technique of buying in everything and simply assembling it like a Lego kit. Nothing wrong with that; after all, it's what Brough did and they were supposedly the Rolls-Royce of motorcycling. But it does mean Franny-Bs were only ever bitsas and the sheer immensity of their parts bin made model and spares identification almost impossible. Cheap and ubiquitous, they were many working-men's entry to motorcycling, but they were not built to last, and when any component stopped lasting and started breaking, it was hard to process the labyrinthine trail back to a new part. Amusingly, if you read the Wikipedia entry on Francis-Barnett it ends with the rather random line "Francis & Barnett also made bayonets. The finish quality was not the same standard as the government factories." Says it all really. Nice emblem though
And if we're being shallow and posting stuff just because it's pretty, then we have to revisit those BSAs, don't we? Because who cares that they earned the Gold Star name from their ability to lap Brooklands at over 100mph when they're this gorgeous?
I'm not going to write anything about Norton. If you don't know what they are and what they represent and about how the McCandless Featherbed frame transformed chassis design... oh, wait. Ooops. Bet there's a few quid and a lot more hours in this restoration
The frames were superb, the pushrod single lumps less so; asthmatic and leaky. As any petrolhead has done since forever, the way forward was to take the best of both worlds, glue it together with big bolts and weld... and the archetypal cafe racer was born. Often a Frankenstein of Norton frame and less awful engine, usually Triumph due to cost and availability, the TriTon was chariot of choice in the amphitheatre of the embryonic North Circular
That's not a posed photo, by the way. It just happened to be parked in front of one of the permanent museum buildings! Anyway, the Triumph twin found its way into enough Norton frames to become an archetype, but this was mostly due to the fact there were a lot of Triumphs around to plunder. Rather more rare and exotic mills did crop up from time to time, and the acme, the Holy Grail, the White Album of hybrids was the Norton frame being propelled by the most advanced, powerful and desirable bike engine imaginable...
...which almost perversely was to ignore the fact that much of what made a Vincent Black Shadow and her lesser sisters special wasn't just the prodigiously powerful engine. In the 1950s this was a genuine two-wheeled Lamborghini Countach or McLaren F1, its self-supporting stressed-member engine design matched by the advanced plunger direct-action suspension and geometry-preserving semi-trailing girder front end, oil-in frame space saving and futuristic use of lightweight alloys combined to make this the true spaceship of the British bike industry. 125mph was the least you could expect.
But because this is mostly a car forum, and I can see people glazing over and shuffling away at the back, in our next thrilling installment we'll get back to four-wheeled stuff. Even if it's really sad-faced stuff that seems to be contemplating drowning itself
Love the Podington pics, seen the 330 wagon before and its lovely, nice to see Butch Wilkins on here too with his Moggy Minor, he used to run a Chevy engined Super Minx that had been converted to a van and he’s a top bloke.
Love the Coronets, I’d gladly take any of them or the ‘59 Impala or any of the Fury’s for that matter!!!, no wait a Roadrunner or a Satellite!,,, argh too much choice.... 😂😍😍😍
Cheers, retrolegends! I always think a Fury (or, better, Sports Fury) is a muscle car for the gentleman who doesn't need to brag too much. Sorta in keeping with Roosevelt's "speak softly and carry a big stick" policy
Right, back to the Chalk Pits then. The kids, of course, wanted to scurry around and be bonkers and stick their noses into everything all at once, so they and Mrs L7 went for a ride on one of the vintage buses that are a regular feature of Chalk Pits. This was good because it gave me a chance to take some pics of things...
...including them. On a bus. Local Sussex types might be able to date the bus as pre-1933 because that's when the Bungalow Town railway halt closed. It had been made from disused railway carriages parked up on the shingle in Shoreham Beach. They were later re-used to make the Shoreham Airport Halt, which closed mid-WWII. And you can also tell because Flickr helpfully captions the photo as "Leyland 1920s"
There's a big grassed and paved area after the museum entrance and here we find many cars and trucks scattered about. Not many are exactly what you'd call RR staples, tending towards "proper" classics but as always there's a crossover into fascinating patina, wear, and modifications made in the day to keep vehicles for which there are no spares running.
I've often wittered on about the heraldry of car mascots and badges (and one day I will write that thread on it). I love the detail and differences. Back when it was perfectly acceptable to swap the mundane badge of plain radiator cap your car left the work with for a more exciting plaque or even statuette. Even firms as up-market as Lalique made a lot of money selling replacement mascots. I've not seen one like this before; it's common for Alvis (errrmm... Alvii? Alvisses?) to have a hare mascot but this very French clown is ...well, vive la difference
hotrodders french in light buckets or fit caddy rear thrusters, the M*x P*wer generation festoon everything with LEDs. If you happened to own something as lovely as a 1937 Lancia Aprilia then it must have been a happy day indeed when VW in 1962 produced the "new" Beetle with a tailight design that was to persist till the 1970s, thus giving owners of Aprilias access to an endless supply of perfectly-curved rear lights with which to replace the feeble, two-shilling-piece sized originals. Flashing indicators, too. It's practically wizardry!
Minor lowlight looking awkward and sad. Must have been the longest five years at Morris while they hastily re-designed the front end praying people would stop laughing long enough to give the re-boot a chance
As well as more recent stuff, there were a phalanx of properly old vintage motors, artillery wheels and all. I get more and more into these old beasts as I get older, maybe just because I love seeing the evolution of the car unroll before my eyes
This mighty Dodge arrived as I was wandering about, and boy did it take some parking! A big heavy beast with terrible visibility, no power steering and a clutch you needed both feet for... I felt for the guy and didn't blame him when he got it close as "that'll do" and abandoned it
In and around the buildings of the (functioning) printing works was the most bizarre "autojumble"; more like a bric-abrac sale for those with double-barrelled names and salmon pink trousers! It was the oddest of things; cheap and nasty diecast cars made from pure Chineseum rubbed against period bronzes of louche ladies. And none of it was cheap!