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For our latest meeting up at Wharton Park I was joined by a couple of new members; father and son combo of Bren and Ade. They met me at my place in their cars and we headed over to the meet in convoy. Bren was in his 2004 MG TF whilst his son was at the wheel of a lovely 1958 Wolseley 15/50, finished in a vibrant red...a most unusual colour for this model as most of them seem to be painted black. Recent meets at Wharton park have seen our members cars spread a little around the car park, so this time I resolved to get us all together in one impressive line. So I donned the 'magic' jacket - yes that mystical giver of organisational powers: the High-Viz! Thus armed I made short work of bullying any new arrivals and soon had our cars lined up directly outside the clubhouse!

I was pleased to see a MG TF, a much underrated car and one that sold well before the demise of MGR 2005, well in excess of 100,000 over a ten year production if you include the earlier F too. Think about it; a pretty, affordable, quick and MID-ENGINED sports car. Perhaps it should get more recognition than it does. Bren keeps his example immaculately and it was one from the final model year, which can easily be spotted as the hood has a glass and heated window as a opposed to a plastic one in the earlier cars.

Bren's lad Ade rolled majestically up in the '58 Wolseley which is actually a family heirloom having being passed from his late father in law a few years ago. Again beautifully presented , it's 1500cc B series engine ensured that progress is dignified rather than hurried despite breathing through twin SUs! Crucially for a Wolseley the grille badge lights up! These were once popular with the plod (watch any 1950's crime movie...), but they tended to be the larger models with a six cylinder C series engine, that tackled corners in flurry of understeer that a cruise liner would be proud of!
We had quite a few new people come along today too, such as Phil in lovely Austin 1100, a member of the diverse and long lived ADO16 family of cars produced on a least three continents from 1962 until 1974. Sold as Austin. Morris, MG, Wolsely, Riley, Vanden Plas and Authis to name just the ones I can think of. It was also the basis of the interesting Aussie designed and built Nomad, that had a E series engine, a hatchback and 5 speed box...a sort of mini Maxi! His 1100 is in great nick and keeps an A30 company at home amongst other things.
It was also good to see some of our regulars returning too, Keith in his Minor pick-up complete with a spare engine in the back - a twin engined Moggie; now there's a project for somebody!  Gary and Jude not only brought their '74 stag this time, but their cute little Panda 4x4 'Sisley' limited edition. Amusingly, Lee another of our regulars also rocked up in a Panda, a right old pair. He also maintained his proud record of turning up in a different car every time! The Panda was actually a very clever piece of design by Italdesign house head Giugiaro, whose credits include some pretty exotic cars. It has flat body panels and glass and an ultra basic interior, simple suspension etc. To quote the great man himself:

"The Panda is like a pair of jeans, that simple, practical, no frills piece of clothing. I tried to bring into this car the spirit of military machinery, especially helicopters, that means light, rational, built-for-purpose vehicles". 

They sold bucket loads especially in their native Italy for nearly 25 years right up to 2004. They are still a common sight there, but when did you last see one in the UK? Also returning was Richard in his Mini and Blair Hobson in his P6 Rover 2200SC. The P6 was a car that was designed originally to be powered a gas-turbine engine! The prototype still resides in the museum at Gaydon and is well worth checking out. 

At the other extreme of the Italian car spectrum we had our first Maserati at a meet. Thanks to Mike Poulter and his rather stylish 3200GTA. Pushed along by a rather potent twin turbo V8 with a rather delicious howl, to match those to die for looks. This was an early example with the 'Boomerang' rear favourite! It also brings back happy memories of when had I some involvement in the development of the earlier Maserati Biturbo, a real treat to drive for a impressionable 19 year old apprentice back in the day.

We had another first in the form of a '89 Porsche 944 2.7 Lux, a variant only available for one model year. It's owner Matt was uncomfortable when asked about restoration costs in front of his partner! We have not had a Porsche along  before so it great to see. However a bit like buses, no sooner did we have one Porsche than we suddenly had two...a 911 Carrera 4 Tiptronic. I think this is the first of the water-cooled 911s in a bloodline that runs back into the 1960s and continues right to this day. Steve McQueen had a 911, that kind of sums it up...copper bottomed cool! Again it brought back memories for me, this time of punting a friend's 911 turbo that had been tweaked to put out nearly 600bhp. It was 'nippy'. I will leave it at that!

Also in the German corner was another returning member, Denise in her vibrant red Scirrocco. This time her partner Gary wasn't riding shotgun but had brought his superb Toyota Supra along. The last generation of real Supra, the new model is essentially a BMW. Now nearly 30 years old but still magnificent and super quick. It was good to see an example that was essentially near stock...'The Fast and the Furious' has much to answer for...

The Minis were thin on the ground this time, I expect that they were at the big Mini 60 event at Gaydon today, but joining Richard's late model was the perfectly turned out Riley Elf of Kevin Taylor. He has been to a previous meeting at the Duke William, but this was my first chance to speak to him and have a proper look. Again an interesting car, a Mini made 'posh' with an imposing grille and even little fins and a boot. The body panels were pressed at the plant that is now home to Jaguar cars and once produced the mighty Spitfire in WW2. While final assembly was undertaken at Longbridge, once 'The Austin' but also a builder of aircraft in WW2, notably the Battle and the Lancaster. So much history in such a little car. I am saddened note that the Chinese owners of the once proud works, SIAC are now running down operations there, meaning it is ever more important to keep the cars that represent our history alive for future generations

I was also pleased to see more people come along just to see the cars and give us some support even if they were in 'moderns'. My former colleagues Sean and Debbie enjoyed themselves and their AMG Merc drew admiring glances. Another gentleman rolled in serenely in a brand new electrically propelled Jaguar I-Pace...World car of the Year no less. These are the kind of cars that will be gathering for meets in 20 years times I have no doubt.
The atmosphere was convivial and it was great to see people mixing easily and chatting around the cars.  The golf club were amiable hosts and I enjoyed a drink on the terrace overlooking the greens as did many others from our little club. Many members of the golf club took time out to admire the cars too, and I suspect some of them may have some interesting machines they could bring along to one of our meetings.

We really do need to get a run out organised so we can enjoy our cars where they should be, on the road, so watch this space for news on that. In the meantime a big thank you to everybody who came along and made for such a pleasant Sunday afternoon.

I hope to see you all again soon! 

Next meeting Sunday September 1st, 3pm at Wharton Park

The Bewdley and Wyre Forest Classic Car Club on Facebook:

Wharton Park Golf and Country Club
Italian tackle / Re: Fantic 500 Caballero - brief imprssions
« Last post by Radar on August 04, 2019, 08:41:36 AM »
How does that work?

I subscribe to Bike so I get it about a week before it is the shops, but still barmy
Italian tackle / Re: Fantic 500 Caballero - brief imprssions
« Last post by HippoDrones on August 02, 2019, 12:03:15 AM »
How does that work?
Italian tackle / Re: Fantic 500 Caballero - brief imprssions
« Last post by Radar on August 01, 2019, 11:21:27 PM »
Reviewed in BIKE magazine this month (Sept 2019), gets a great review

Barmy that you can get the September edition in late July
BikeMeet Cafe / Re: Getting a fix even on a family holiday!
« Last post by Radar on August 01, 2019, 10:50:31 PM »
Can't beat bikes and a brew, especially if accompanied by a "salad" :-)

You really can't, one of the great combinations!
BikeMeet Cafe / Re: Getting a fix even on a family holiday!
« Last post by HippoDrones on July 30, 2019, 09:59:33 PM »
Can't beat bikes and a brew, especially if accompanied by a "salad" :-)
BikeMeet Cafe / Getting a fix even on a family holiday!
« Last post by Radar on July 30, 2019, 09:53:26 PM »
Just enjoyed a pleasnt week away in Northumberland with all of my family: my wife, my daughters, their partners, my lovely granddaughter and even the dog. Not much scope for motorcycles in there you would think....however while I didn't get to ride I did get a chance to sneak off family duty for a bit and pop into a local bike shop and cafe in the charming market town of Morpeth.

Morpeth Motorcyles has been about for years in various forms and it now boasts a little, friendly cafe too. So off I sneaked while the family were checking out the local shops and sights. Once inside I found that they had an interesting stock of bikes, a mint  Yamaha XS250, their answer to the Superdream, a very tidy Suzuki GS450E twin and the highlight and extremely tidy Yamaha RD250LC, which I fell immediately in love with. Thankfully for the state of both my bank balance and marriage the LC wasn't for sale! Checking out the cafe only seemed polite so I enjoyed a 'salad' roll and a cuppa whilst reading one the old bike mags provided in the cafe area...not bad  for £3.50

Yamaha's response to the Honda CB250N Superdream, the XS250...good looking bike but I seem to remember they were not well liked at the time. Stunning nick for a 40 year old bike though

Suzuki GS450E, not seen one in years, especially on this tidy

Varied stock

Not for sale sadly...RD250LC

If you are ever in the area check the place out!

Later in the week, back in the harbour town of Amble where we based we were enjoying a late evening drink by the harbour when I heard the roar of a barely silenced air-cooled four. Sure even in rolled an 84 Kawasaki GPz1100 Unitrak, just like my old mate Loz used to ride. Fast old bus. Keeping it company was a lad on a Thundercat.

The Gpz and Thundercat enjoying the stunning sunset over Amble harbour

They parked up near us so I got chatting to the riders and the lad with the GPz even offered me a go...but I was in shorts and sandals and half the way through my third pint so I respectfully declined.

Anyway, good to get a fix of bikes and bike chat even while on family duty!

The bike shop:

The town of Amble

The town of Morpeth

Amusing tale of my adventures on a RD250LC
Members' bikes / Re: My 550 cafe racer 'Tony'...Update
« Last post by HippoDrones on July 19, 2019, 11:15:28 AM »
All very valid reasons :)
BikeMeet Cafe / Blasts From my Past - Yamaha RD250LC - Autumnal Adventures
« Last post by Radar on July 19, 2019, 09:13:14 AM »
Having passed my bike test back in the days that merely returning from your ride with a pulse was sufficient to get you through I graduated from my cute, but somewhat beleaguered Honda CB100N to a much cooler (and quicker!!) Yamaha RD250LC. Picking one manic ride from the many I enjoyed on this fabulous bike is tough, but here goes...

A superb week blasting around Cornwall in company with a mate on a Suzuki GS250T almost made the cut but in the end I have decided to go for an epic ride back from Welsh border country to my home in leafy suburbs of Birmingham in the bone dry autumn of 1984. I had been to a club rally (whatever happened to The Centaurs MCC?) and I decided to ride back to Brum in company with a couple of mates...Neil on his 3 1/2 Moto Morini and Loz who piloted the then 'King of the Hill' Kawasaki GPz1100A Unitrak, Thinking about it now, thirty five years on, we must have looked an odd bunch to a knowing eye...a water cooled 2 stroke parallel twin, an air-cooled V twin and an across the frame DOHC four. At least all three were varying shades of red!  We headed back to the midlands with Loz leading, me in the 'tail-gunner' slot on my LC and Neil forming the salami of this particular sandwich.  For Neil and I the pace was hot and we were working furiously to keep tabs on the powerful GPz. I was having great fun really stretching the LC on an enticing mix of A&B roads. My memory is a little hazy, but I think much of the route was on the A5 (the answer to the that great out joke of how do you get two whales in a Mini...on the A5 of course). The Roman's knew how to build a road in a straight line, so it is not exactly the Stelvio, but I had not long passed my test and the pace was very hot. Much of the detail is lost in the swirling mists of time, but what I do remember is that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you riding hard in company with good friends at pace, three bikes as one as we sliced across the countryside, flashing past any traffic we encountered, swept around bends and attacked islands blipping the throttle as I changed down, the spindly front forks squirming as I leant on the single disc brake, praying that I could shed enough speed to make the island, , before sling shooting out the other side, working the Avon Roadrunner R2  as hard I dared and trying to keep my peaky little stroker 'on the pipe'....fanbloodytastic!
 Up front Loz on the GPz was I suspect just stroking it along on a wave of meaty four stroke torque and wondering what was for tea, whilst Neil and I were on the ragged edge do our level best to keep him honest and gain a few yards on the bends and islands! These days I dutifully (& correctly) rigidly maintain speed limits through villages, but when I was a 19 year old yob I wasn't so considerate and one memory that remains fantastically clear from this day is the three of us blasting through a sleepy village at 7am like an express train line astern at God knows what speed. It was autumn and piles of golden leaves were piled up everywhere on the roadside and as we hammered through the village we sent thousands of them spinning in a vortices in  our wake, I clocked them still swirling in my mirrors as we sped on towards home. The locals, just rising from their slumbers must of wondered what the hell had hit them. All very silly, but somehow glorious all the same.
However only a few miles up the road our fun was brought to an abrupt halt....we were just barrelling past a line of particularly slow moving traffic when the reason for their tardiness became all too obvious...there was a 'Jam-sandwich' Police car at the head of the line! Traffic cars in 1984 were white with a big red stripe around the middle, hence the nick name 'jam-Sandwich', a phrase I use to this day, even though plod mobiles have long ceased to be painted in such a style. There was a gap at the front of the line, behind the Police Morris Ital (remember those!) and all three of us desperately piled on the anchors and tucked into the gap behind the Police. The crew of the car were no doubt smiling at the sight of three 'fly-boys' on their bright red bikes bunched into the gap! No harm done, all good fun and the next few miles were covered at a somewhat more sedate pace!     
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