Drive It Day final roundup

| 22 Apr 2013

C&SC has been inundated with Drive It Day stories since Sunday's big event in the UK. We've already put loads more reports and pictures in this story (scroll down for the newer material) and will keep adding any more as they come in.

One of our favourites remains the Traction Owners’ Club bringing Chartwell to a standstill as 33 cars celebrated Drive It Day.

Numerous club members met at Denbies English Vineyard and joined forces with other Citroëns on their way to Chartwell House, Kent, the former home of Sir Winston Churchill. Classics out on show included Tractions, DSs, 2CVs and even an Acadiane (a Dyane van).

Two Light 15s were the only cars to encounter problems, one suffering fuel pump issues while the other fell victim to an accidental diesel fill.

Oldest car at the event was a 1938 Traction Avant, while another had the more dubious claim to fame of being commandeered by the Nazis during WW2.

Club member Pete Simper said: “The day was even better than expected with many cars joining the convoy that set off along the A25.”

Meanwhile, Gary Tomkins had his own story. Taking to the road in his 1974 MG Midget for Silverstone Circuit’s VSCC meet, he found a parking spot next to this fantastic 1961 Austin-Healey Sebring Sprite replica.

Tomkins said: “I was exchanging waves with lots of other like-minded enthusiasts enjoying the spring sunshine at last!

“On arrival [at Silverstone], I watched a race meeting of the highest quality with a mouthwatering collection of cars [including the circuit’s largest ever grid of Formula 3 single-seaters]. Drive It Days don't come much better than this!”

C&SC’s special projects manager John Deverell also spotted the brace of Pipers above at an informal gathering on Hayling Island.

Zack Stiling took to the roads in his MG Midget 1500, spotting a host of classics as he went. He not only bumped into the TOC meet in Chartwell, but also spotted a display of Aston Martins outside the George and Dragon pub in Westerham.

Stiling captured Astons covering everything from DB7s to a 1½ Litre MkII and a V8 Volante. Other classics joined the Astons including an Alfa Romeo GT 1300, a Crayford Cortina and a Lagonda Rapide.

While Stiling was in Kent, Julie and Tony Gallagher and other members of the Warwickshire and Leicestershire Stag Owners Club were out on a treasure hunt on their home turf.

Julie said: “Eight cars set out from our monthly meeting point in Coalville at intervals to drive the course and get the answers to the clues along the way.

“They also had some general knowledge questions – I don't think anyone managed all the cars and drivers from Wacky Races! – and a scavenger hunt, too.”

Their day was rounded off in the best Classic & Sports Car tradition with a selection of tea, cakes and scones.

More than 100 classics made it to Hagerty International’s charitable Drive It Day celebrations in Towcester, before setting off on an 80-mile tour of the Northamptonshire roads via Sywell Aerodrome, Castle Ashby and Althorp House, arriving at Silverstone for the VSCC’s Spring Start race meeting.

Hagerty International’s managing director Angus Forsyth said: “There have been some exceptional vehicles, all involved have been remarkably generous with their charitable donations and we are all thrilled to have reached the £2500 mark in one day.”

Kuta the Labrador – who comes from fine motoring stock having been bred by the second-placed finisher on this year’s Flying Scotsman Rally – proved that Drive It Day’s not just for people by enjoying the fine weather in owner Lucy Leigh’s fantastic 1929 Austin Seven Chummy.

But Drive It Day is all about the classics, which must have made Steve Horne’s run particularly enjoyable. The Alvis Owner Club member’s Speed 20 hadn’t turned a wheel since 1967.

Horne said: “Its last keeper had been working on the Alvis’ meticulous restoration, but Anno Domini had caught up with him, so he passed the car on to me last October.

“Since then, I’ve completed the work and got this 1932 SA Series Speed 20 Vanden Plas Drophead Coupé back on the road for him to see the fruits of his labour.”

While out on his travels Horne spotted a two-door Morris Minor, a BMW 319 and an MGB Roadster.

The Daf Owners’ Club held its AGM on Drive It Day at the Stonehurst Motor Museum in Mount Sorrel, Leicestershire.

MGBs were out en masse in Lincolnshire, too, as the MG Car Club hit the road.

Reader Andrew Mundy told us: “We had around a dozen MGs ranging from pre-war cars through to MGAs, Bs, Midgets and MGFs. All joined us for tea and coffee before we went on tour.”

“The Rover SD1 Club also turned out in force and stayed on site until mid-afternoon.”

Warwickshire was another hotbed for MGs as 40 cars met at Arden Grafton for a 35-mile tour up the road to the National Herb Centre, near Banbury. Thanks to Steve Johnson for his fantastic picture from that gathering.

The Sussex Chapter of the Austin-Healey Club completed a 70-mile route from the Nutley Arms, in Nutley, to the Five Bells at Chailey, passing a brace of rare Peerless GTs on the way.

“This had to be one of the greatest and most memorable drives that we can remember having undertaken,” said AHC member Michael Ward-Sale.

In Kent, Canterbury Triumph owners met at Barham Village Hall on their way to a feast of fish and chips at the Britannia pub in Dungeness.

Triumph man Phil Smith said: “Leaving Appledore we found a fantastic road alongside the canal with long straights, sweeping curves and no traffic.”

“There were quite a number of other clubs out and about with Austin A35s, Jaguars, Spitfires (including a real one in the sky above us) and the Morgan Three Wheeler Club, who meet at the same pub.”

Bringing a stunning end to our coverage of this year’s Drive It Day were the 17 machines of the Sunbeam Tigers Owners’ Club.

The Anglo-American muscle cars travelled from the South and South West of England, plus Wales to tackle the roads of the Brecon Beacons and on to the Devil’s Staircase at Abergwesyn.

Sunbeam Tiger Owners’ Club vice chairman Graham Vickery said: “During our stay in Llandrindod Wells we paid our respects to the Pritchard & Sons Rootes Group garage, probably the only surviving showroom in the country showing us how it looked in the 1950s.”

Finally, the Federation of British Historic Car Clubs have declared DID a 'resounding success' and sent us a link through to yet more tales of adventure from Sunday.

The team at C&SC would like to thank everyone for their DID stories – we are already looking forward to next year’s event!