Bewdley &WFCCC Oct 19 Meet – A Taste of America

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    Oct 19 Meet – A Taste of America

    The weather had been lousy all week and as I pulled the sodden covers of my Lotus to get the old girl ready for its' little outing to Wharton Park for our monthly meet I genuinely wondered if I would be the only one to turn up.  Well I needn't have worried as when I rolled in I was greeted by the sight of small but distinctive line up of classics cars. Tom was back in his A30 and was even wearing a period Aston Villa shirt…all was good with the world! It was a 1957 FA Cup final shirt, for those of you interested! We had the Moggie pick up too, so I was happy and the weather was playing ball after all. Over the next hour 15 or so classics rolled in, but the best entrance has to go the burbling V8s of the stunning 440 RT Magnum Dodge Challenger and Pontiac Firebird. The Challenger obviously brings to mind that fantastic 71 road movie, 'Vanishing Point'…one of my favourite films that tells the tale of  a Vietnam vet and ex-cop just pushing himself to the limit to hit an arbitrary deadline as the police gives chase, he becomes a cult hero as a radio DJ follows his blast across the states. It ended up in glorious fireball with two bulldozers as the driver just decided to hell with it all. Great film. Better car!

    440 RT Magnum Challenger…

    Meanwhile back in sleepy rural Worcestershire the meet was taking on a very American feel, which seemed to be fitting as we met the day after the 'High Street USA' day in Bewdley itself, when I had joined my brother riding shot gun in his 59 Apache pick up as part of a parade of American classic cars.  As well as the 70 Challenger, driven by local US car specialist Jim Smith we had the ' 73 Firebird piloted by Ian Guest , a 58 Apache pick up and  a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air four door. The later pair were driven by Ben and Guy who had attended last month in a Model A Ford and Morris 12…..lucky folks to have more than one stunning classic. Guy was joined by is charming wife Kerry. I have to say the Bel Air was extraordinary. He has owned it for the last 30 years I believe and Jim, the owner of the Challenger has maintained it for him since he was a mere 15 years old! Well he has done an amazing job.  Ben's Apache still runs its original 6 cylinder lump and three speed column shift manual gearbox, although the 6 has been pepped up a little. His Apache has careworn patina and looks simply fantastic. I would love to see it parked up next to my brother's example! Rounding off the American contingent was another of our regulars, Mark.  This time he was at the wheel of his stunning 61 Buick. He had also taken part in the parade through Bewdley the day before. Mark is another chap with a few wheels in his collection having rocked up to previous meeting in a XJS-C and a VW Type 2 camper….variety is the spice of life! There is something about American cars from the post war period to the around the mid 1970's that is just cool. They are not always technically the finest, but they just have 'something'. Jim let me sit at the wheel of his Challenger and that was a special moment for me, for a few seconds  there I was Kowalski, out running the law, fighting my demons . Also, who can't see a Firebird and not think of Cannonball Run or Jim Rockford doing tyre smoking 'J' turns? The Bel Air is a copper bottomed icon and the Buick is huge expanse of pure US style… the very embodiment of American excess. Superb, and thanks to all of you for bringing them along. 

    Not exactly like Mr.Rockford's…but you get the jist…

    Two of Chevrolet's finest

    Big enough for an Skyraider to land!

    Team America!

    The Brits were not to be outdone, and well as Tom and Keith in the A30 and Minor we had Anne Milner along in her unbearably cute Austin Metropolitan. Interesting even this little car, built at Longbridge in Birmingham and powered by the venerable A series has a strong US connection as it was designed in conjunction with US manufacture Nash and sold under their brand in the States. Anne's example looked amazing in two tone Yellow and White.  She brought her Morris Eight last month, so another member with a multiple vehicles to show off!  Perhaps the head of the British section though was Gary's immaculate 61 Series Land Rover. Owned for many years and beautifully restored, great to see such a lovely example of the brand 71 years on from its original. Meanwhile his wife Jude brought along their Panda 4×4, just to show the other end of the 4×4 spectrum!

    All powered by the A series

    4×4 extremes…

    Remarkably this month was not the only person in a Lotus Excel, as mine was shown up by a rather tidy 84 example. The owner has wrapped his Excel, an interesting option and it gives the car a much more modern look and the interior of his example has been beautifully re-trimmed by his own fair hand. It smells new in there! Mine doesn't….let's leave it that! This one is for sale too if anybody want s really nice, swift and practical classic….this could be ideal!

    See, there is more than one..and it's for sale!

    The classic car world is a wide one and encompasses all sorts of cars from the once mundane to the more exotic they all have their place. Which brings me to the 98 Starlet, driven by a friend of Luis. This was, and remains a ordinary car.  However it is 21 years old and when did last see one? The Minis. Minors, Imps, Cortinas, Escorts etc that we revere now were once considered mundane and tossed away in their thousands at the end of their useful life. So it was good to see an uncelebrated car being looked after by a young enthusiast. He probably wants a Celica, but hey it's all he can afford for now. Today's street furniture is tomorrow's classic.  Keeping him company in the Japanese camp was Paul in his 2005 Civic Type R, who had come along with all his family again to admire the cars, he seemed particularly smitten with  Challenger, but hands off that's mine!
    Also a quick hello to Suzie another multiple classic owner, but just popped in for a look today. Good to see you and I hope you bring along one of your cars next time for us to see.
    With winter nearly upon  us I need to talk to Luis and the wider membership about how we deal with the meetings over that time. Just keep having our normal meets or maybe shift time and venue over the winter? I would welcome people thoughts and opinions on this…film nights, talks by classic experts, social evenings, breakfast meets? Let me know folks

    Thanks to Wharton Park for hosting us again:

    Find us here:

    So you know what I was on about:

    Vanishing Point

    The Rockford Files

    A-1 Skyraider

    The 1957 FA Cup Final


    WOW some lovely cars… including the Panda!
    I was having a moment of nostalgia myself earlier and started looking at targa topped Toyota MR2's


    WOW some lovely cars… including the Panda!
    I was having a moment of nostalgia myself earlier and started looking at targa topped Toyota MR2's

    We had TWO Pandas at meet a couple of months ago! Also the MR2 is powered by an engine designed, developed and built by Yamaha…

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