2013 Club Events
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VW Expo Show - Stonor Park
2nd June 2013
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Oh yes, oh yes! After the appalling weather of last year, Stonor Park returned to its traditional sunshine, to follow last month’s best Stoneleigh Park for 10 years! And what a difference it makes to a show when you can spend all day with the hood down and can stroll around looking at cars and chatting to their owners, without worrying about getting wet!
Stonor is without doubt the finest event we attend, in terms of its setting. Lord Camoys’s magnificent estate in the Thames valley provides a stunning backdrop for the hundreds of aircooled cars that line the hillside and our club cars were in their element again this year.
As usual, a number of us met at 8.30am in front of the nearby Crown in Pishill, a mile up the road from Stonor. Upon entering the show, we were escorted to our pitch in the very middle of the concours area, by the event’s organiser. Noticing that Gerald Rigby’s Speedster was already parked in a prominent position nearby, I shouted “we’ll go over there”, only to be met with the reply “no, you’re with the replicas, he’s a real one!” This, of course, made Gerald’s day and just goes to show that, if you load your car with enough original parts, you can fool some of the people all the time!
We were soon joined by several other members, giving us 8 cars in all, plus Simon Hambly, who, accompanied by Eleanor and Harry, had to settle for a more accommodating vehicle than his Speedster! “Usual suspects” like David and Jane Room, Len Raynsford, Paul Smith and myself were parked alongside more recent members, who included Tim Slocombe, up from Blandford in his superb M&W Speedster with its original 1957 Porsche aquamarine paint colour, and Jason Rule from Southampton in his gold 2013 Speedster from Chesil, resplendent with white-wall tyres.
With the club pennant flying proudly above us, the club cars, as always, attracted more attention than most. There were, however, many other stunning cars to see, the most unusual of which was a drastically slammed Rometsch, one of only 31 ever built and the only road-going example in the UK (there is apparently one other, which is off the road). This car was bought online by its owner from two brothers in Arizona and may have looked like a battered and rust-coloured heap, but was one of the rarest cars I’ve seen for some time. (I’m told there are just 16 still in existence in the world).
Also present was Ian Willett in his GP Spyder, the car which stole Gerald Rigby’s crown for “longest-ever build time”, having taken Ian 22 years to complete (3 years more than Gerald!)
Other fine vehicles to admire included, of course, all manner of Beetles and Camper Vans and an unusual VW 182 Trekker, bought as a wreck and lovingly restored to original condition by its owner.
Cool Flo’s Bay-window Caravan was another interesting vehicle and I was also much taken by a bonnet mascot in the shape of an exotic bird.
Alongside Gerald Rigby (now famous as the owner of a “real” Speedster!) were two 356 Coupes, a beautiful white 356A and an immaculate chocolate brown 356C.
The show was absolutely packed with stalls selling everything from food and drink to clothing and every car part imaginable. There was also the usual thriving auto-jumble with everything a petrol-head could wish for (chemical toilet, anyone?)
My favourite dealer was also there, the guy who sells thousands of different tax-disc holders and stickers, featuring every known cartoon character, also many humorous ones (how about a picture of a guy with a wicked face wielding a machete and saying “you can’t have manslaughter without laughter”? Or a picture of a car with the legend “built from 100% genuine stolen parts”?) and some terrific retro car-related ones I bought a tax-disc holder with a 1930s-style Chevron advert on it, plus one or two of my hero Topcat!
Unlike so many shows last year, when we left early in dismal weather, we all stayed at this event until well into the afternoon and the club pennant was finally lowered at nearly 4 o’clock, with the sun still shining brightly.Yes, this is what it’s all about let’s hope for more of the same at Castle Combe (still a couple of free tickets left, for those who haven’t contacted me yet!)
Tony Tucker - Events Co-ordinator