Early days of the Chelsea Cruise

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Anonymous

Further to some references on another thread regarding the 'Chelsea Cruise' I thought it may be appropriate to start a new thread about that and see who was there, and remembers what, or which cars. There had been a few running around the Kings Road for a while in the early seventies until someone suggested in the columns of Custom Car magazine that maybe it should become a regular event on the last Saturday of the month. I, and a few others headed off down to meet other car nuts at Battersea Park on May 31st 1975. I think on the first occasion I was a passenger in Larry's 1969 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400 convertible, and I have attached a few photos of other cars there, including a 1955 Oldsmobile Rocket 98 convertible which I subsequently bought. Others included a fabulous 1951 Buick Hearse (and that looks like the famous Ford Pop 'PuddleJumper passing the other way in that photo) a neat T-Bucket and Mike Kason's Olds 'Kerbdozer' which was also his tender for the matching dragster coupe of the same name.

V-8 Woodie has already posted a photo of a yellow '56 Chev Hardtop, but I thnk that may be the same car that turned up a month later in grey primer.

Any others?

Chris Martin

ElliottV
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I really love Chelsea Cruise plus this one the classic one. Love the pictures and thank you very much. It indeed, thrilled my passion on my cars. I admit, I am one of those million of people who love cars but currently, I was annoyed of the declaration of the mid year 2011 Toyota recall. Toyota has announced a recall in excess of 80,000 hybrid Highlander and Lexus RX400h SUVs. The automobiles can turn off while traveling due to a manufacturing flaw in the hybrid drive product. The proof is here: Toyota announces hybrid Highlander and Lexus SUVs recall

GreaseMonkey (not verified)

Try as I might, I can see no connection between the old days up the Kings Road and a recall on Toyota Hybrids. I have been out of London for nearly ten years (in Australia) but have things really got so bad that they now cruise in Prius'?

Glad I am not there to witness that then, things are cetainly going bad for the old country.

Anyway, back on topic, does anyone know what became of 'Pinball Wizard'? And is mooning still practised in public?

Sorry about the quality of my photos, they were scanned from my old photo albums from those funny little fuzzy square snaps one used to get from a cheap Kodak Instamatic, if we get as far as the eighties later, I may have some better 35mm shots. Let's see yours.

Chris Martin

jagnut12
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Agree with you GreaseMonkey.When I go to any classic shows here in the UK I  would never think to myself,well that`s a shame there were no

Hybrids on display !!!!!

GreaseMonkey (not verified)

jagnut12 wrote:

Agree with you GreaseMonkey.When I go to any classic shows here in the UK I  would never think to myself,well that`s a shame there were no

Hybrids on display !!!!!

Well yes, but more to the point, there seem to be some new to the idea of internet forums who do not understand the protocols. If you have a relevant reply, click the reply button below and go for it, but if your mind wanders on to something completely different, don't derail the current thread, start a new one. I have been active on several of these forums and have seen and read some weird diversions, but never a leap as far as from one post about the Chelsea Cruise to Toyota Hybrids, that is as connected as Figoni & Falaschi would be to London Taxis.

Chris M.

V-8 Woodie
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GreaseMonkey wrote:

Further to some references on another thread regarding the 'Chelsea Cruise' I thought it may be appropriate to start a new thread about that and see who was there, and remembers what, or which cars. There had been a few running around the Kings Road for a while in the early seventies until someone suggested in the columns of Custom Car magazine that maybe it should become a regular event on the last Saturday of the month. I, and a few others headed off down to meet other car nuts at Battersea Park on May 31st 1975. I think on the first occasion I was a passenger in Larry's 1969 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400 convertible, and I have attached a few photos of other cars there, including a 1955 Oldsmobile Rocket 98 convertible which I subsequently bought. Others included a fabulous 1951 Buick Hearse (and that looks like the famous Ford Pop 'PuddleJumper passing the other way in that photo) a neat T-Bucket and Mike Kason's Olds 'Kerbdozer' which was also his tender for the matching dragster coupe of the same name.

V-8 Woodie has already posted a photo of a yellow '56 Chev Hardtop, but I thnk that may be the same car that turned up a month later in grey primer.

Any others?

Chris Martin

Fantastic pics GreaseMonkey, great to see some of my old favorites there, including the Church brothers 'T bucket  ROD 5,  the grey primered '56 Chevy owned by "Mr Pastry" (originally yellow as seen at the first cruise) and Mike Kason's Kerb Dozer. That's a super shot of  your '56 Oldsmobile on the bridge! 

Incredible to imagine for the next thirty years or so, Chelsea would become and continue to be the cruiser's Mecca in London.

 

 

 

 

 

V-8 Woodie
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Here's a nice shot of John Went's 1946 Ford 'Pick Up' coming over Chelsea Bridge, John's '46 truck started life as a four door sedan, not content with a sedan body, he removed the rear passenger section and then expertly grafted a '56 Ford F100 pick up bed onto the chassis!

Parked on the left is Mike Hall's Green & White  '57 Ford Fairlane, he had literally just bought the car a week before the first cruise, it was a RHD model shipped from South Africa, its previous owner had used it in a couple of saloon car races in the UK,  a photo of the Fairlane racing at Brands Hatch appeared in Autosport magazine just before Mike bought it.  Pictured alongside the car from left to right is Pete Devlin and Maggie  (1946 Ford)  Alex Szczepanski (1947 Ford Woodie) Mike Halls (1957 Ford Fairlane).

 

 

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I don't want to go to Chelsea..........

GreaseMonkey (not verified)

I well remember all those mentioned, and more. That '46 pick-up had a cartoon on the tailgate - I have a photo of that too somewhere, I will have to see if I can dig out the old photos and scan them. Those above I just found in an old album accidentally, but I know there are many more stashed away from the seventies and eighties. Lots from the old drag races too that I will post one day. Then the nineties and oughties were occupied with 'proper' racing until I got back into old cars more recently.

Anyone remember Al from Wandsworth, what happened to that Plymouth Superbird? Or Gary's Shack, he moved from Battersea to Mitcham I think, I remember buying a 66 Mustang convertible from him with minor accident damage, but including replacement front 'guard for $200. And Pete Darwell was known for some clever paint jobs, do any survive?

Another Chelsea memory coincides with Mick Walsh's column from last May. I had arranged to meet Al and a couple of others at the Chelsea Potter on the Kings Road and drove down from FInchley in my Sit-Up-And-Beg Pop (neat flake paint job, not much else to recommend) and searched the side streets nearby for a parking space. I found one, coincidentally next to a nice copy of the American Grafitti '32 Coupe, and walked round to the pub, to find a few blokes around the tables outside, some I knew, some I didn't. Al was there, Larry too, as was a chap in a turban from Harrow (sorry, can't remember your name) who had just collected his Trans-Am from the aforementioned Pete Darwell in Rochester where it had been airbrushed and decorated beyond all recognition. I got my pint and sat down; "Hey guys, there's a real nice '32 Coupe 'round the corner, just like John Milner's" I said, "Yeah, it's his" someone replied pointing to this scruffy greasy mechanic nursing a lager opposite. Torn jeans, dirty t-shirt, black greasy fingers, he looked a real mess (even I made some effort on cruise night) but went on to explain why he had been up all night to finish a few things as he was determined to bring the car to the cruise. It was only after chatting for a few minutes that I recognised his face and thought here is one of the world's best guitar players busting his hands up to get his rod ready for a drive. I was already a big fan of Jeff Beck then and still am, but hindsight now shows he actually had a lot more to offer than his better known buddies Clapton and Page and he has sustained a career of constantly improving and changeing while the others keep recycling their one trick. Also, Jeff seemed to have been a more normal 'bloke', not getting the headlines of the others for the more obvious showbiz cliche reasons. A good bloke then. Go back and read Mick's column again, that sums him up exactly.

Chris M.

V-8 Woodie
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That's a great story on Jeff Beck, if not un typical of the man, whether it's in his music or building hot rods, modesty is definitely another one of his great qualities!

There were several 'Al's' from Wandsworth, including yours truly, however you mention the Plymouth Superbird so I would imagine you're referring to Alan Gould, who at that time owned a purple Superbird, (originally yellow). Coincidentally, Stewart and Milton Homan who run and own Dreamcars recently held a film night at their Surrey based premises, invited were all the 'original' guys from that era who owned classic American cars, including Alan Gould and Gary Healey Jnr- of Gary's Shack fame. Many more guys who participated in the early Chelsea cruise days and  were instrumental in supporting the American car scene some thirty five years ago turned up to make this a great memorable event. We were treated to a tremendous evening of some great film footage and video etc from the early cruises including Chelsea, it was a real nostalgic trip down memory lane!

 Incidentally, there was always an abundance of super machinery that regularly congreated in South London especially in the Wandsworth area.

V-8 Woodie
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GreaseMonkey wrote:

Anyway, back on topic, does anyone know what became of 'Pinball Wizard'? And is mooning still practised in public?

Sorry about the quality of my photos, they were scanned from my old photo albums from those funny little fuzzy square snaps one used to get from a cheap Kodak Instamatic, if we get as far as the eighties later, I may have some better 35mm shots. Let's see yours.

Chris Martin

The first time I saw  Pinball Wizard was in the Kings Road, this would have been about 1974 prior to the first 'official' Chelsea Cruise, I was in my '47 Ford Woodie with a few other cars, we were just cruising around when we saw this wild Ford Pop rumbling past, bright yellow paint job, black perspex windows and American Racing mags, with sign written 'Pinball Wizard' on both doors, that car definitely made an impression on me, later the 'Wizard' would become an iconic piece of UK Hot Rodding history.

Its builder, Mickey Bray sadly died a few years ago, the Pinball Wizard lives on and has now been totally restored by its new owner.