AFN Diamond Jubilee
To celebrate AFN Limited’s 60 years of motor trading and the retirement of its popular MD, John Aldington, a very enjoyable party was held at the Brooklands Museum in March.
It bristled with well-known AFN characters, including Don Aldington, Mrs HJ, and many VSCC “Chain Gangsters”. A wonderful display of AFN-associated vehicles occupied the paddock, from which even Ferraris were excluded, and 146 guests and 84 staff-guests lunched in the enormous Clubhouse restaurant, to period jazz.
The cars ran from three GNs (Stafford East’s ever-popular “Kim II”, Ridley’s BSA-GN, and Mrs Skinner’s i o e vee-twin) to the latest Porsches. I counted eleven “proper” Frazer Nashes, from John Aidington and Hare with their 1925 cars, to David Holland’s once-supercharged ex-JOC Samuel Blackburne-‘Nash, which I must often have seen racing at the Track.
This was but one of three Blackburn-engined ‘Nashes present, and Holland kindly gave me a brisk Test Hill ascent in it, at around 3200 rpm. “Kim II” crackled up slowly, as it was on high-ratio sprockets. John “Aldy” also had his 1951 FN Tony Crook brought the first production Bristol 400; and the Bill Roberts ex-Ken Wharton Bristol-engined F2 single-seater, and even the ill-fated TT FN-DKW were present.
BMWs ranged from immaculate 328s and a 1935 319/45 drophead, to a big 327 dh coupe; and where else would you have seen together an Isetta 3-wheeler, an immaculate single-cylinder Porsche diesel tractor, and a DKW scooter? Freddie Giles rushed back from the VSCC Wessex trial to make a dashing ascent of the Test Hill in Janet’s Porsche 944, Michael Bowler drove his well-known 1934 Frazer Nash, and there were Porsches from a 1951 356 to the latest 911 Turbo SE.
Nostalgic photographs from DSJ’s AFN archives adorned the restaurant walls, and helped make this a most enjoyable day. Similar club gatherings will be held at Brooklands Museum throughout the year, so it seems Locke King built more durably than even he might have expected! WB