On New Year’s Day VSCC members congregate at various venues, to endorse the start of another season’s activity, to the delight of users of modern vehicles judging by the numbers that turn out to rubber-neck. All to the good of the ancient-cars movement.
For instance, at the event Mark Garfitt holds at The Verzons near Ledbury 70 or more pre-war cars assembled last January 1st, for festive celebrations. Festive it was, with a Showground organ playing and pipers parading in the car park. And people, like TV announcers, wishing one another “Happy New Years”, somewhat optimistically, in view of the Gulf situation (which has cost this country £480,000,000 to date), the Trade recession, the resignation of Mrs Thatcher, OM, and starving millions around the world. Just as well there was a fine display of vintage cars to cheer us up. Too many to detail, in fact, but we noted three GP Bugattis, Moffatt’s basket-seated Brescia, the Sima-Violet cyclecar with its Reg No on the forward-protruding flywheel (think about it!), some fine vintage Bentleys of which one 4½-litre displayed a big Union Flag and the number 23b on its nearside racing roundel (search me!), a lot of different type Alvises, Morgan three-wheelers, Talbots and Austins, etc, the Longbridgeians embracing the trio of A7s from Wales in the form of Seymour Price’s trials Chummy, a 1930 saloon and a Gould Ulster Replica of like date and a brace of smart 12/4s, one with holly decorating its radiator, with a two-seater 12/4 further away.
Of Frazer Nashes there were at least three, the car with a late type Lea-Francis engine having twin scuttle fillers, one for the chain-oiling tank. A big Lanchester saloon was flanked by a slab tank MG Midget and a nice BSA Ten saloon which was awarded the bottle of whiskey by The Vernons landlord (who reads MOTOR SPORT) for having come the greatest distance, 90 miles, from Aylesbury, narrowly beating KA Price who had driven his 3½-litre Derby Bentley from Bonvilston, near Cardiff. A covetable open Lancia Lambda was matched by a scruffy Aprilia and an Edwardian closed Lancia, the only other Edwardians being that Hudson tourer and Roger Collings’ perennial Brixia-Zust. Then a Wolseley Hornet coupé, a Rolls-Royce estate-car, Costigan’s long bonneted Riley 9 Special, Garfitt’s Frazer Nash-BMW, a black Model-T Ford two-seater and Keith Hill’s Crouch-Helix, were present, and motorcycles ranged from a Brough-Superior to an attractive little machine, its vintage tank inscribed “The Sun”.
The only car that dared penetrate into the “pre-war only” car park was Rodney Felton’s Ferrari Testarossa (which has a dramatic history); he was absolved, however, because beside it was his road-going Monza Alfa Romeo. The occasion closed with a presentation, and the cutting of a special cake, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the wedding of Mr and Mrs Rainey and the photographing of the aforesaid Ferrari with a modern Testarossa. After which we left for home, getting wetter than we did in 1990, which effectively put thoughts of water shortage and the “Greenhouse Effect” well in the background. WB