lol. Cheers. I'd have happily taken her home with me (even Mrs L7 liked her) but not at 300 quid IIRC Like I said, it was the world's weirdest autojumble outside Pebble Beach or somewhere else that Amex Black cards gather like a flock of crows
meanwhile, some that I missed... Flickr seems to currently be filling the role left by Photobucket by being glitchy, slow and crashing a lot
The kids have finished riding their bus, and insist we go for a ride altogether on the next trip. I'm not allowed to disagree, so off we set. At least you get a good view from up here! It'd be easy to think this quad is the bulk of the musuem, but if you head off along the winding tracks into the hills, you realise that there is actually an entire Lost World hidden valley here. Partly natural, partly carved out by the chalk miners of old, little roads cross and meander and throughout the narrow tracks of the railway intertwine. You can stumble across a huge working set of lime kilns around the next corner, hidden by trees until the last second, or a twee tea shop selling Darjeeling and cake from a 1930s roadside cafe transplanted here wholesale from Fairmile Bottom layby five miles away. And anywhere there's a spare few yards, there are old cars
past the Fairmile cafe the road straightens for a bit. The valley is separated by the lime kilns, and if you take the bottom road you pass an incongruous fire station in the woods, complete with working 1929 Dennis
in fact, this is one of those places where it seems every twist of the path turns up something funky and unexpected. Like a vintage phone box... who knew there was even a market for such things? Apparently there is; pretty much every day I drive trains past the telephone graveyard at Redhill and there Unicorn Restorations will happily relieve you of £12.5k in exchange for one of their refurbished telephone kiosks
further on from the fire station is the bus garage (obvs) and whilst I don't really "get" buses as a classic collectible thing, who can fail to be impressed by the glorious Art Deco behemoth of an AEC Regal?
At the end of the valley we jump off the bus, so we can wander about and get the train back. The meandering paths converge here and there's another wide clearing, filled with buildings and displays housing the history of power generation, telephonics from switchboards to Snoopy phones, pit machinery from drills to locomotives. Still more vehicles wedged in all around, from the sublime of the glittering waterfall grille and voluptuous Jayne Mansfield rear end of an early Dolomite
Outside one of the permanent museum buildings is a today-only display of stationary engines, always interesting to see. From ditch pumps firing their motor every second minute to linishers chugging away like the Industrial Revolution, the one that really blew the kid's mind was the "self-supporting tap"
and no, I'm not going to spoil how it's done for you. You'll have to work it out. We trunk about in the musuem buildings, switch the switches, twiddle the dials and generally marvel at lots of industrial machinery that we can't even spell let alone comprehend
we play about with the history of electric light, the kids formulating a devilishly complicated heist plan to liberate this century-old novelty bedside light. Cast in some old metal, it probably weighed the same as either of them!
there are so many cool experiments and doohickeys to fiddle with, it's like a miniature Science museum. Everything electric from an Enfield slightly slower than Johnny Smith's Flux Capacitor to a wheel that depending how fast you spin it dictates how much lightning you can manufacture
Eventually the kids' inquisitiveness is sated however, and we make our way to the station to catch the train back. Funny, the trains I drive run to about £13miliion per unit and fill one of the most complex signalling areas in the world. They seldom run as smooth or as punctual as ol' Casey Jones here and Skarloey the Little Engine. But then, they've only got about four signals and absolute token block (one for the anoraks enthusiasts there)
Trundling back on the wooden benches in the open carriages isn't the most comfortable way to travel, but it is fun. Bit of a busman's holiday for me, but it's funny seeing how the drivers and signaller take it all so seriously, just like a real railway. It might seem a bit like the guy with the layout in his loft, sitting in his Motorman hat and peep-peeping his whistle (not a euphemism) but in fairness, you wouldn't want one of these little locos running over your foot. Or indeed, having a head-on collision with another and derailing down a steep 50-foot bank. Hmmm. Maybe best if they do take it seriously.
Back at the main museum, there's a path we've not yet travelled. If you go up a steep little track from the main cafe you come to another hidden, unsuspected valley on a plateau above the museum. There's a large building here housing the history of road-building, from converted shepherds caravans to sleep the work gangs to really quite massive tarmacking machines. However, outside on the quad are still more cars. Last time we were here was to see Apollo fight fellow Robot Warriors, but today it's rather gentler machinery, with stately old motors basking in the last October sun like stranded manatees
Not that I'm implying relatively modern plastic Japanese cars are in any way analogous to a 1928 Lagonda, but at least having owned an RX-7 I can appreciate the paranoia that arises from having a temperature gauge that goes from "Normal" to "BOIL" in five degrees of needle travel
A Leyland Cheetah. Not perhaps the immediate choice of animal species with which to associate an old 1930s bus with but I guess the "Waddly Old Pangolin" probably didn't have the same ring to it. Equal rights for scaly ant-eating mammals! Mind you, just look at it, what a wonderful triumph of art deco styling that thing is! Roofline windows pre-date VWs allegedly iconic Samba bus by several decades...
well, that's about it for this episode. The site, bewildering and straggly though it is, simply isn't big enough to hold a vast number of cars, and the slightly unpredictable October weather probably kept a few at home anyway. So we wandered back down to the museum to run the gauntlet of getting out through the gift shop without the kids managing to wheedle us into buying tat. Still, always end on a song as my old nan used to say. But the song currently playing is Ozric Tentacles' Iscence and no-one has the need for five minutes of ska-lite hippy noodling, so we'll have to end on a high instead.
How about the forgotten, murdered German bosses' barge marque? Forgotten? Hmmm. Beard-tugging is happening in the audience, sagacious car buffs muttering that Mercedes and BMW are both still alive and well, thanks. And murdered? Bit strong, that.
Depends what conspiracy theories you believe. Some tell the tale that Carl Borgward's eponymous vehicular output was so good that the established powerhouses of the German automotive industry conspired with the governments of the day to put him out of business in order to protect their market share.
there's an equally strong counter-argument, of course, that persuasively points out that ol man Borgward was a megalomaniacal egotist and made many business decisions that suggested he was in fact mad as a balloon. What is undeniable though, whether he was architect of his own demise or whether he was the victim of the Old Order closing ranks, his cars were actually very good and very, very pretty. Look at the rump of the Isabella (named after his adored wife) and it's hard to deny it's as good looking as any Karmann Ghia or other handbuilt luxury. Easy to forget that once upon a time Germany had as many skilled artisan carrozeries as Italy and gave us such lovely-looking shapes as the Beeskows and Rometches and Hebmullers.
The inside of the car is as lovely as the out, and sitting in it you realise this is a really very well designed and screwed together product, not some small-volume lash up with peeling veneer and self-tapping screws holding everything together. It's as good, and better than, many equivalent period cars. Yet so few people have ever even heard of one. The old boy who owned it was a bit of a card, and seemed genuinely pleased to meet someone who actually had a clue what they were looking at. we chatted for quite a while, and he was happy to let Mrs L7 try out the whole Audrey Hepburn kit he had lying around to "set" the car with
no, I don't see it either, but then she wouldn't let me take any photos of her with big floppy-brimmed hat on! Anyway, that was by some margin my car of the day. The only slight letdown was the rather underwhelming engine bay, though the owner was pained more by how many non-original parts he was forced to employ just to keep it running. I guess it's not easy finding spares for a make of car most people have never even heard of (and even as we were chatting, people would walk past loudly declaiming idiocy like "Must be a Renault; look at the badge")
So that's that really. Another top day out, just enough cool car-itude to keep me happy, enough mad stuff for the kids to be happy with (there's even a playground hidden amongst the trees) and Mrs L7 got to sit in rare exotics and preen, which seems to be enough to keep her happy All this and Snoopy telephones too, what's not to like?
Tune in to the next thrilling installment when we'll be looking at... oh, I dunno. Anyone even still out there? How about tanks, maybe? Shall we look at some tanks for a change?
Please keep adding, your giving much scrolling pleasure, I might have to copy that Triton at the pumps into another thread on here....love the Rover head and the skimpily clad lady figure, more more more
Thanks guys. The Rascal King , help yourself, lol. There'll be an un-retouched version of that pic up shortly if you prefer au naturel Darkspeed , just do it. That Magnette is superb! Just the right amount of understated cool, and the Dunlop-alike wheels are perfect. It had a lot of Jaguar bits on it and I overheard a conversation (though sadly couldn't find the owner) between two fellas that seemed to know it... one suggested it was running an XK motor. Do that, win at life forever
So, on to the next one, yeah? Down 'ere in the Deep Sarth we have a show called Wings and Wheels, held at the Dunsfold Aerodrome made famous by Top Gear and combining both historically significant automobiles, racing machinery, car clubs, military vehicles and air displays from triplanes right up to the Eurofighter. Sounds bleedin a-maz-oid dunnit? Well, you'd think so, and it must take a special talent to utterly screw up a recipe like that but sadlt that's exactly what they've done. The same mates-of-the-organiser cars every year (only fewer every year), the same car clubs every year crammed into an ever-smaller space... now, I love a Ford Granada as much as the next man but when you basically have a club stand that seems to contain every single surviving Granada in Europe it's easy to lose the buzz by the time you've walked past the seventieth example. The food is indescribably expensive ... not just compared to normal show tax, but compared even to Goodwood show tax (where at least the food is good). I reckon it'd be cheaper to get a hamper air-freighted in by helcopter from Fortnum & Mason than buy a family meal at Wings&Wheels. On top of that, a traffic disaster that's basically freeze-frame deep vein thrombosis that lasts for hours and we swore we wouldn't be going again. So far it's been easy to hold to that vow, but it's hard to deny that the recipe is a strong one.
If only there was another show that has the same core mix of vintage, racing, armoured vehicles, planes and car clubs *strokes chinny chin smiley*
Turns out there is. Enter Bicester Heritage and the rather awkwardly-named Classic & Sportscar Show In Association With Flywheel. Hmmm, they need to work on the name, but it seems to contain all that we need from a day out. Let's do that one, then. So a week from the end of June we piled the kids into the back of Dolly the Beetle and set off up the A34. And it was HOT!
And a bit weird, for me anyway. You see, my mother was born not five miles from Bicester, and my grandparents worked a farm from a tithe cottage their entire lives. I grew up spending summers running pretty wild on that farm, literally in the middle of nowhere and back in time what seemed like a hundred years. I remember my grampa cutting a tunnel through the snow to the end of the garden and the freezing cold outside lav. I remember plumbed water being run into the house for the first time, and the luxury of being able to turn a tap rather than have to go into the garden and heave on the rusty and creaky old pump. Being able to have a bath in a newly-built bathroom rather than in the living room in a tin tub in front of the range. Back then Bicester was tiny but it had good record shop when I got older and cared about these things. I bought Motorhead here in gold vinyl, No Sleep Till Hammersmith and Hawkwind in blue vinyl and a white label of Breaking Glass with the all-important Promotional Copy Not For Resale sticker. The American airbases guaranteed the countryside remained empty and provided an endless string of fascinating neighbours hiring out the other cottage; Yankee "how are ya, kid?" drawls and Mustangs parked next to Gramps' Wolseley. Back then summers lasted for a thousand years and the fields ran full of wildflowers and sunshine down to the lazy green shade of the brook sliding away into time as it chuckled in cool privacy under banks of willow and alder and treasures like crayfish and sticklebacks and caddis fly larvae in their funny tubes of stones and spit waited warily for the adventurous hunstsman. Spy and Rosie the horses poked their noses over the back garden gate from the Half-Acre Field where five-aside games of cricket were played with siblings and cousins and when you forgot the score there was always the rickyard to climb about in, or grampa's peas in the cottage garden to scrump and eat like sugary taste bursts straight from the pod. The barking of the foxhound puppies hung on the breeze from the main farmhouse, and there was ancient house itself to explore that was like Professor Kirk's from The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, built onto for centuries it had more staircases than you could reasonably expect and the attic alone had more rooms than our house had windows.
And that's still what it ought to be like in my mind. But it's not. The landowner got old and sold up, my grandparents went into an estate house outside Buckingham and then passed on where I can't yet follow. The farm's a working stud and the roads have moved away like a river forming oxbows so you can't even see it from the bypass any more. And Bicester has bloated like cancer; giant retail parks surrounded by estates like the backdrop to Jeremy Kyle intertwine like the blood supply to a tumour. Everyone I knew is gone or dead. The traffic's abysmal. I hate it. I'm hot, I'm in a coal-black Beetle and it's forty degrees and my leg's wobbling like a perpetual motion machine on and off the clutch in stop-start traffic. The kids are bored and this was a bad idea and the clutch has started slipping and...
Thomas Wolfe was right. You can't ever go home again.
But then, finally we make it into the gates. This was an airbase last time I was here, but to youse lot it'll need no introduction. Mrs L7 has to practically punch me in the throat to stop me getting out and beating to death the hi-viz-vested caveman who snarls at us to "wait our turn" when we ask where the disabled parking is. Errr... it was our turn, that's why we're right next to you. He finally demands to see our blue badge and I tell him to @#?!k off and drive away, watching in the mirror with great delight as he turns puce, thinks about coming after us and then gets honked out of the way by about three different cars who, like us, seem to have got bored with waiting for him to lower himself to direct traffic. Always one, isn't there? But we've made it. And the heat that was so unpleasant in a fixed-window Beetle with a slipping clutch is now a welcome continuation of the best summer ever and everything's turned to gold, the hayseed on the thick, slow air turned to glitter. And when pretty much the first thing you see through the gates is a gold Iso Grifo, you know you're in for A Good Day
Yep, a Honda CB750/4... the bike that can arguably lay claim to being the first real superbike (Vincent owners might disagree) but certainly compared to the rattly old Brit twins it faced in the day, it seemed Star Trek tech with it multiple valve overhead cams and FOUR cylinders and disc brakes and... by God, it's practically witchcraft! .... then Kawasaki came along and kicked it squarely in the nuts with Project New York Steak (not a miss-spelling) and the almighty Z900. And the British bike industry crawled up its own fox-picture and died
Unusual thing that. A Hotchkiss (nope, me neither) and you couldn't imagine a more British-sounding name, but No! Or non, in fact because they're as French as cheese and ham toasties with fries and wiping your fox-picture on a single sheet with a hole in the middle for your finger. Hotchkiss as in the guns, made in Paris so the French army had something to throw to the ground in a dramatic gesture of surrender. Hence the crossed cannons of the badge. And the cockerel radiator mascot. Because nothing says le Francais better than a rampant cock
..... just do it. That Magnette is superb! Just the right amount of understated cool, and the Dunlop-alike wheels are perfect. It had a lot of Jaguar bits on it and I overheard a conversation (though sadly couldn't find the owner) between two fellas that seemed to know it... one suggested it was running an XK motor. Do that, win at life forever
It also belongs in the "Cafe Racer" thread. If the engine is an XK lump that's about as close as it gets - I could not say NorVin as I'm not sure that the Magnette chassis has much of a reputation - more of a TriBSA perhaps
I also had to look up the capacity on the old .GoV hoping to find something close to 3800cc but it just lists 1489cc so remains a mystery at present unless hood up pictures exist
Again, thanks for the efforts taken to do this thread - I for one appreciate this one immensely.
plenty of Ferraris parked up from some "Drivers' Club" or other... what is it about badge snobbery that makes people uneasy with the word "owner". As if one could be presumptuous enough to own a Ferrari or a Rolls or whatever. One's merely a custodian of it, dear boy. Anyway, the Ferrari Afficiando Enthusiasts Club didn't seem to have noticed (or possibly didn't care) that at least one of their number had started life as a BMW zukunft car, although it was now wearing a costume shaped a bit like a 250SWB. If you squinted. And had never seen an actual 250SWB before in real life. Weird. Fortunately none of them were about to talk to me cos I looked exactly like a bloke who'd just spent three hours in a Beetle on one of the hotter days of the year, and that was absolutely fine. I snapped some of the real ones and scooted off. As you can see in the corner of this shot, it's even got Z3 wheels still on it. What is wrong with these people?
Just down the way was a gaggle of that other sportscar with a cavallino rampante in the centre of its badge... and yet again, why does everything sound so much cooler and exotic in Italian? Fiat model names might be the ultimate proof of this where even "Point" and "Type" sound full of Latin allure but would we find Enzo's appropriated flying ace horsey badge quite so evocative if the Stuttgart version had been given equal billing? Tänzelndes Pferd simply doesn't have the same ring to it. I don't even know how to pronounce it. Anyway. Porsches
Never mind Evian, they should bottle the water that runs through Malvern. It clearly induces hallucinations and psychedelic trance states. How else do you explain a company being content to produce the same car more-or-less unchanged for 70 years suddenly making this?
This beastly thing rolled in as I was wandering around the field and was immediately swamped with interested punters. I had to wait quite a while to get any decent photos of it. Critics might say I'm still waiting, arf.
Chrysler legendarily had to pay Warner Bros a few dollars for every Roadrunner they produced with the licensed "Voice of the Roadrunner" lilac horns on them. Meep meep. Wonder if Bentley had to pay Klaxon a license to fit .... well, klaxons. It's a trademark after all... the Hoover of automotive horns, though they started on bicycles. Maybe everyone's just forgotten.
Not just a Cougar, not even just an XR7, but a goddarned Eliminator and all. Awesome. They call these the gentleman's Mustang but about the only thing they share is the fuel tank. Just because they were both born at Dearborn
Futuristic (OK, zany) Raymnond Loewy styling, prodigous Packard mill, lightweight car (for an American)... the Golden Hawk along with Chryslers' 300 series can really have a strong claim to being the one that laid the groundwork that made the power car muscle revolution possible. It was rare then. It's rare now. And it looks downright bloody stunning. Want.
included more to serve my peculiarity for eccentric radiator mascots than because I especially love Riley Lynxes... Lynxii? Anyone know the collective noun for Lynx? A chain. No, really, a chain of Lynx! See what they've... say it out loud...see? Oh, never mind. Enjoy the camp skiing bloke
And so... clearly... do the relentless-as-a-Terminator Flickr Early Thunderbird Group guys who, sure as eggs, popped up to invite me to add this to their page thing. AND I STILL DUNNO HOW! Sorry, guys, I'm really not ignoring you just to be rude
Another of my frequent rants is about how the DB6 is the best-looking of the Brown-era pre V8 Astons. And Paul McCartney agreed with me, that must count for something after all... he was at least the ooooh... second to most annoying Beatle. Hmm. That hasn't helped, has it? I'll just have to continue constantly posting photos of them until everyone is brainwashed into agreeing
Here's where I'd post the next pic and let people guess what it was, no doubt running through all kinds of early Japanese obscura and Italian forgotten names. Sadly, Flickr roundly bugglers such japes right up the fox picture. So. It's a Corvair. *sigh*
First generation too... it's the dangerous one. Careful, if Ralph Nader's right it'll kill you just for looking at it funny. It's more dangerous than a polar bear falling out of a tree on you. Holding a shiv. Burning
The usual thing had happened as on such days, Madame Beth had got distracted and wandered off with the kids and I'd got distracted following my own form of absent minded Brownian Motion... basically wherever the camera led me... but it was all coming to an end. The kids had got bored of what they'd been doing (which was mostly sitting in a glider and asking the poor pilot endless questions) and demanded we move on. So I bade the shining ranks of car club displays a reluctant farewell (for now) and we forged ahead into the main arena to see what delights lay in wait for us. And you can come too, if you like
... Not just a Cougar, not even just an XR7, but a goddarned Eliminator and all. Awesome. They call these the gentleman's Mustang but about the only thing they share is the fuel tank. Just because they were both born at Dearborn
Well they're both just stretched Falcons under the sheetmetal, but...
Post by johnthesparky on Feb 13, 2019 22:17:41 GMT
Great photos and words
For a while Bicester was appreciated by us as it grew it’s tumorous housing estates, but now Buckingham is going the same way... so if you were inclined, I’d not bother, stay at home and reminisce! I too remember when all of this *waves hand at Bicester* was fields
Happy to help. It's funny isn't it, how we forget everything eventually, even ourselves?
Anyway, as is obvious to anyone who read all that gibberish, I haven't been near Bicester in decades, let alone the old airbase that is now Bicester Heritage. Last time I was here was en route to Tingewick to meet up with my uncle before going on to my grampa's funeral, and that was at MK Crem, a place so surreal it should have its own episode of The Prisoner. The base was derelict then when I rode past on my streetfightered old VFR but I was paying more attention to the road past the old farm. It even passes over the brook at one point. There were bullheads in there too, not just sticklebacks
Short version is I've no idea of the layout of Bicester Heritage so it was rather a case of blundering about and seeing what turned up. It was impossible to miss the huge paddock that had been set up in what must have been the planes' staging area. This space was now rather like Festival of Speed-lite, a fascinating array of veteran to modern cars, many of them racing cars, all lined up and being shooed off in groups by marshalls in order to parade round "the track". Which was a rather grandiose name for a little go-kart run laid out with K-Rail and in which most of the cars can have consummately failed to trouble much above second gear. The end result of all this was warm, loveable, bumbling chaos. Punters and pushchairs, shouting marshals, exhaust fumes and the deafening clatter of open-valve behemoths, children scurrying around, rivet-counters boring anyone within range and occasionally strings of vehicles forcing their way through the melee. We like this place, but it's tricky to get time to take much in the way of meaningful pictures
It ain't... as anyone who can count to six will be able to easily tell by counting how many tailights are missing. It's not even a BelAir *rolls eyes smiley* It's a Biscayne, but to be fair, you're unlikely to park next to another. Why not be happy with what you are?
It's probably a bit harsh to call this a replica, sounds contemptuous. But there were only two genuine DP214s built, only one of which still lives. And this was converted from an existing DB4 so it's not like it was built from a Ford Cortina or something. And it has raced in the Le Mans Classic. And there are only three of these built so it's almost as rare as the originals anyway. Shall we cut it some slack on account of it being really pretty as well?
Given that the standard Daimler Dart/Sp250 is one of the most hideous cars ever built and looks so depressed it seems to be permanently contemplating suicide, and yet has a superb jewel-like Edward Turner-designed Hemi V8, this would seem to be about the best use for one. All the go without making small children cry at how ugly it is
wait, a racing Vauxhall? Oh yeah, long before anyone had heard of Gerry Marshall, the distinctive fluted radiator shell of the Vauxhalls was a thing in international competition, often in trials and hillclimbs rather than outright racing
This, in the time-honoured spirit of motorsport pioneers, is a bitza. In the 1920s f it wouldn't go fast enough, you needed more engine. In this case the 6-litre mill from the original American racing car (apologies to Mercer), the Stutz Bearcat. Which is a much better name than "14/40" which is what Vauxhall named this model
Alfa somehow managed to be ahead of the game whenever they could be bothered to build cars and show up. Early 20th Century racing would have been rather more predictable if they'd ever managed some consistent presence because when they turned up, they won