Bromley Pageant triumphs despite qualms over its new direction

| 14 Jun 2013

Despite misgivings from Bromley Pageant of Motoring regulars that the show is going rapidly downhill, the annual one-day spectacular in Kent still proved a hit with visitors on 9 June.

One outspoken Pageant old hand said: “It was dreadful. Seas of moderns, few clubs catering for even pre-1970s machinery, the autojumble wasn’t much cop and access was by a car-breaking rough track.”

Complaints about Bromley, and especially access to the Norman Park fields, are nothing new, but the event does seem to have changed in recent years.

Where there used to be dozens of pre-war cars and lots of commercial vehicles, they’ve all but gone.

And there are far fewer three-car club stands with the show’s focus now on bigger displays that have brought in more recent machinery.

The new direction does seem to be popular with younger visitors, however.

A massive Aston Martin Owners' Club group – with noticeably fewer classics than last year – featured the first V8 Vantage built (see C&SC October ’06).

Despite the protests, there were some fine displays of classics to be found, such as a 40-plus turnout from the Stag Owners Club and an enormous array of Mazda MX-5s.

The Jensen Owners’ Club (main image) brought everything from an original Interceptor, via 541 and C-V8 to FF and SP.

The Renault Classic stand has become a Bromey favourite, too, spanning ’60s models to Avantimes and Sport Spiders – even four R6s.

They all belong to Lee Modica: “I drove one around Ireland for years and it never missed a beat. So when I came over here, I thought ‘what I haven’t seen for a while is a Renault 6’. And there happened to be one on eBay.

"It had been in a Beckenham lock-up for seven years, but had only done about 10 miles every year when the owner’s nephew took it to be MoT’d.

“The French-registered [darker green] car is one of the earliest made, and my most recent acquisition I only bought for parts but it was too good to scrap. I went over to the Isle of Wight to buy a second-hand engine for it and was still working to finish it last night.”

Car of Show went to Bob Bridger of the Crayford Convertible Car Club for his exquisitely restored ’63 Wolseley Hornet. “I’ve owned it since about 1993,” he said, “but it was just a bag of bits back then. Only three were made. They predate the 57s, using a different design because a clause in the Heinz contract stipulated a unique vehicle.”

And talking of Heinz cars, CCCC chairman Barry Priestman showed his superb 57 over with the Elf Hornet Register.

There were lots of rare or unusual vehicles around the One Make Parking area, albeit over a lot fewer rows.

Citroën Car Club stalwarts Chris Salter and Rushton Aust brought a pair of now-scarce models: Salter’s Visa Super E and the lovely G Spécial that Aust has been restoring over the past few years.

“I thought it was going to be a cheap car,” said Salter ruefully, “but it’s cost me £2000 over the past year to get it sorted. There are only three Visas left in this colour, though.”

There was plenty of modified machinery, too, often alongside all-original examples, such as the sympathetically uprated Triumph 2000 of Dave Picton – brought back to everyday use after languishing in a lock-up for 13 years. It packs a balanced 2500S engine running a sprint cam (c130bhp), sits on lowered suspension and is equipped with Triumph power steering.

American cars were thin on the ground – no doubt because of the meeting at Brands the same day – but a couple of Cadillac Eldorados drew the crowds. One was a late-’60s coupe while the other – a even bigger ’59 Biarritz – featured the original 1960 Peel P50 prototype riding piggyback!

As always at Bromley, Fords were out in force, from fabulous ‘Three Graces’ models via ’60s and ’70s tin-tops to a mint Mk1 Fiesta with Essex Classics.

The two-door MkV Cortina in the centre packs a 2.8-litre V6.

Mini Coopers celebrated the model’s half-century: this group included a MkI and a MkII flanking a dark blue MkIII.

Nearby was a varied line-up of Austins opposite two smart TVR Vixens and these fab Landies.

Continental rarities featured as well, such as this funky Datsun Fairlady, plus a small but perfectly Fiat group including an 850 Coupé and a 5000. The outstanding Alfa Giulia (below the Fiats) took pride of place with the AROC.

C&SC's David Evans picks his favourites: being fond of French and German machinery, I fell for this Peugeot 104ZS, liked these distant cousins (NSU and quattro), and, as a former Golf owner, wanted to take home this stunning Oak Green Mk2 GTI.