Oldtimers get into festive spirit

| 5 Dec 2017

Blackheath Village Day featured an excellent turnout of classics – spanning the 1950s to the ’90s – on 2 December. The group, organised by Dave Webster of the Mean OldTimers Classic Car & Motorcycle Club, featured several American rarities. MOT regular Charles Adams brought his 1952 Studebaker Champion Starlight Coupe (second from left). “It’s a 2.8-litre ‘six’, in largely original condition, although the air filter started to disintegrate so I had to replace that but have kept the unit.”

Nearby was Peter Freeman’s fabulous, recently acquired ’62 Ford Thunderbird convertible. “I was looking for one for two to three years,” he recalled, “for a green one, but this one came up and my wife rather like red with matching red upholstery so it had the seal of approval. It fits in the garage but doesn’t leave a lot of room for anything else. When cars have been restored, that sometimes means they haven’t been finished and I’ve had to do up various things and replace bits of trim.” In the background is the ’59 Zephyr 6 that organiser Webster bought about five years ago.

A trio of late-model proper Minis included the Cooper that serial car restorer Ray Edwards bought for 300 quid as a burnt-out shell. “It took about £4000 to refurbish it,” said Edwards, who also has several ’50s Ford and his latest project is an Austin A60 pick-up.

An excellent Triumph turnout included the 1975 Stag of TSSC Herald 13/60 register secretary Phil Willson. “It has been converted with a more recent Jaguar four-speed automatic gearbox, which transforms the car. My invoice was 275, so they must have done about 300 cars by now.”

Lowland Rescue volunteer Daniel Towler brought the much-travelled ex-RAF 1985 Land-Rover Defender that he takes to various military shows, including Mildenhall and the War and Peace Revival. “It was originally yellow, which you can see in places, having first served at St Athan and then glider support at Henlow,” he explained. “It had been in MoD storage for about five years before I bought it two years ago. I’m never going to repaint it or repair any of the dents, because that’s all part of the character.”

VWs were out in force, too, including the immaculate ’66 Beetle that Alan Simpson bought new. “It was my everyday car in the early days,” he recalled, “but these days it only comes out for shows. I didn’t keep that long because it was great to drive but it never let me down, even in the middle of winter.”

Julian Hough’s super-rare 411LE Variant had been in a lock-up for 19 years when he bought the car. He had it retrimmed but the carpets were unavailable, so he had the originals dyed and re-beaded.

Michael Kither was in his ’57 Austin A35, which looked cool in black with red Minilites “I’m not sure about the wheels,” he said, “but people seem to like them. It has a tuned 950 engine and I’ve just fitted a roll-cage, but don’t intend to race – it’s just a bit of fun. A couple of local scallies tried to pinch it, but they didn’t know what the choke was so fortunately it didn’t start. They were disturbed after a neighbour heard the engine turning over.”

Tom Thompson brought another recent acquisition, his immaculate Brooklands Green Dolomite Sprint, which he’d swapped for a TR7 with Jonathan Harley, who runs Delacourt Motors by the Sun in the Sands roundabout. “I had one of these when they were new,” he explained. “There’s a chip on the windscreen, which will probably need to be replaced but it still has the Supercover sticker so I don’t really want to.” Alongside was his beautiful ’64 Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider.

Several mates from the Afro-Caribbean Classic/Sports Cars Club attended, a couple with mint Mk1 Cortinas, while founder Ray Blackwood brought his wonderfully original, ex-California Datsun 260Z.

The event featured a lunchtime parade for the first time, thanks to the local police, which kindly arranged a road closure and provided an escort for two circuits of the village. The next Mean OldTimers Club meeting is Park it in the Market in Greenwich, from 2-6pm  on New Year’s Day. See more at https://www.facebook.com/MeanOldtimers/

Here are a few of the other classics, the owners of which evaded our roving reporter – apart from my own!