The Bewdley & Wyre Forest Classic Club – Another monthly meet in the Rain! 02/06

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    I am beginning to think that even firing up my long suffering Lotus is some kind of rain dance as yet again one of our meets was 'blessed' with somewhat damp weather! I had just got the interior dry too, oh the joys of classic car ownership!

    This month we had new venue and start time too so I was a little worried that I might be the only one there. The new venue is the rather plush Wharton Park Golf Club, they have a big car park and are little closer to Bewdley. I would like to say at this point a big thank you to Emma and the team at the Duke William who supported our first few meetings so well and I hope that get attendances for the meet they are going to carry on running going forward.

    Anyway I rolled into the large car park and to my great relief there were other folks there, Luis in his 2003 (BMW)MINI Cooper next to a delightful and very late build 'proper' Mini Cooper Sport. The Sport had been treated to a silver roof to bring it up to near Sport 500 spec by owner Richard. What a lovely example and it rolled off the production lines at Longbridge only a couple of months before Mini production ended there altogether in October 2000. So sad that the plant doesn't even do final assembly on the Chinese MG3 and 6 anymore. I saw pictures of the inside of the plant a few months after the collapse of MG Rover in 2005, heartbreaking. But at least people are keeping the memories of that fine engineering tradition alive by keeping these cars running. People tend to be-little the British car industry. They should reflect on the millions of cars and engines the plant once built, the thousands of workers it supported the aircraft it produced at our darkest hour.

    Anyway the Mini representation was strong this month…the 'naughty-twins' were here again, the vivacious bright orange Minivan 'GENERAL LEE' and this time it wasn't the purple convertible keeping it company, but an 84 Mayfair painted in a WW2-esque style, including star on the door and kill markings! I got chatting to owners finally having missed them at previous meetings and they are big into their little Minis. General Lee has been tweaked and puts out no less than 124bhp at the flywheel. It has a fibreglass flip front too, so getting at everything to work on it is a doddle. Steve the owner of the Mayfair only has three Minis in total and when they are less than 11ft long I am sure there is always room for another one! Completing the Austin line up was the Minor pick up driven by Keith which is now a regular at our meetings. At one point we had them lined up together and it looked the Minor was a proud dad with his two naughty kids.

    I was rather amazed that with approaching 100 different cars attending over the meets now that not one Beetle has been in evidence, which is weird when you consider over 20,000,000 have been built and the size of the 'Bug' scene here in the UK. Well we finally got one; a '72 1300. What was also surprising is that, apart from the natty whitewalls this one was bog standard too. Looked great in pastel blue too, just like the example of my primary school teacher used to drive back in the day. It was not the only air-cooled VW to rock up though as a rather magnificent 21 window, clap doors, camper was also in attendance. Originally sold in San Diego in the USA, God knows what the poor thing must think of Worcestershire weather! It started life as a Microbus but has been beautifully converted to a camper, although I was rather disappointed that the owner Mark didn't fire up the cooker and make us all a brew! 

    We also honoured by the presence of gleaming white Triumph Stag. That V8 has to be one of the best sounding engines ever. Why honoured? This was the first time in 12 years the Stag had deliberately been taken out in the rain! This was owners Gary and Jude's 2nd Stag, their first having been stolen and trashed many years ago in one of the less salubrious parts of Birmingham. So it clearly means a lot to them, so thanks for making the effort to come along.

    Perhaps one of the most underrated cars of the 1980's was the MG Maestro, especially in 2.0i form in which it could show a contemporary Golf GTi a clean pair of heals. But what rolled up to the meet was no ordinary MG Maestro, this one of only 505 Turbo models. These things flew…150bhp, 0-60 in well under 7 secs, 130 mph top end….This particular example. the 172nd built has been treated to a ground up restoration by proud owner Jamie. This like the Minivan has been worked on a little and now puts out 171bhp….impressive stuff. It brought back fond memories for me of driving a friends earlier example with R series 1.6 engine and carbs rather than fuel injection. Also the many journeys between Norfolk and Brum I undertook as a passenger in a mates 2.0i. As I said an under rated car and no mistake.

    More modern stuff was represented by group admin Matt and his 2001 Td5 Discovery, looking very purposeful with what  looked like a suspension lift and modified front end for better exit angles off road. The Td5 was the last engine designed by Land Rover until the recent 'Ingenium' family surfaced a couple of years ago. I used to walk through engine shop at Solihull when they were being made. A proper beast of an engine.

    Our attendees were rounded off by a couple of late comers, Colin in 99 Mercedes has been to all of our meets and I had a good chin wag with him about classic motorbikes. Last and not least to show up was another VW….appropriately in light of our new venue, a Golf. This one the VR6 is fiited with that stonking and sweet sounding V6. I didn't get the owners name, but his delightful spaniel who came with him was called Bailey and seemed really happy to be here! Brought a smile to my face.

    We almost had one more roll in.. the Lancia Delta Integrale that was at our first meeting. I don't think he spotted the cars as he nosed up to the entrance and turned away! This brings me neatly to our new venue…it does boast a big car park, but we will try and organise so we are more prominent next time and can line up the cars together better,

    So we had 15 cars if you count the shy Lancia, slightly more than last month and thank you once again to all those who came, I really enjoyed talking to as many of you as I could about your cars. Again we had a diverse entry. We had a lot of other events on in the area to compete with so thanks for choosing us and braving the less than ideal weather. Finally Thanks also to Wharton Park Golf Club for allowing us to use the car park. See you all next  month!       

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