This is our third time at the Paris Motorshow for us. We did it back in 2006 where we first saw our Opel GT and in 2012 just before we took delivery of our MINI Coupé JCW. This time we were there purely for fun with no new car purchase in mind. We concentrated on cars that we could afford or aspire to in the main and yes we checked out the Ferraris and so on but did not linger on those. What follows then is a few cars that caught our eyes in various car sectors and for different reasons. It is not a comprehensive review of the show but the cars we liked that we would probably add to the virtual want list.
Shelsley Walsh – Autumn Speed Finale
Even though the season is drawing to a close, there has been a capacity entry received for the final two meetings of the year at Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb this weekend. (20/21st SEPT)
Entitled ‘Autumn Speed Finale’ the two separate one-day events saw the usual mix of sports, classic, saloons and racing cars taking part, as well as nearly 30 motorcycles, with several championships reaching their final crucial stages.
Saturday hosted the BARC SBD Speed Championship, The HSA Speed Championship, the SSCC Championship, the Revington TVR Championship, the Service Hydraulics Speed Championship and the Classic Marques Handicap Challenge, while Sunday saw extra classes for an entry of 11 Morgans, 13 Austin Healeys and a dozen Ferraris.
We had the opportunity to go as press photographers courtesy of our local camera club Beacon Camera Club in Great Malvern. This gave us free entry to the event and access to the areas the press can use to photograph the event, so it really was an opportunity not to be missed.
This day out at Goodwood revival was another event we had promised ourselves we would do, so today was the day. We set off early as it is quite a long drive, but Peanut had planned an alternative route as we anticipated heavy traffic and queues as we approached Chichester. It turned out that we only queued on the approach road to the racetrack but we will never know what we missed.
It wasn’t a very long walk from the car park to the show and by then it was already a lovely day, a great improvement on the fog we had driven down in. We walked into a variety of stalls selling all manner of things, vintage being the overall theme rather than cars, so lots of retro style clothing which appealed to Peanut enormously. Shortly after we arrived we were treated to a fly by of Classic World War Two fighters – Spitfire, Hurricane, ME 109 and Mustang. In truth this was a very stirring sight and probably the stand out highlight of the day for us.
I was hungry almost as soon as we arrived, so we stopped for a burger and a drink. The burger was delicious which indeed it should have been for £7. Shortly after we bumped into Beggsie and Jayne which was a nice surprise and the second time we have run into them at a show, the other being at Santa Pod, which was a very different day, pouring with rain until we left.
They told us that the main show was over the bridge and we duly set off to explore.
To anyone who is thinking of going I must stress that it is definitely a dressing up affair and you will not be overdressed. In fact you would feel very odd there dressed in the normal scruffs that people wear on days out. It was quite a pastime in itself just looking at how people were turned out, some even with vintage prams for their children. We meandered around until we found ourselves near the paddock area where all the preparation was going on for the racing and grabbed a few photographs here. We soon stopped for a sandwich and a drink then walked some more right around the track and back to the main entrance. By this time we were both getting footsore and weary so we decided to head back to the car park taking in some of the things we had not already seen, and having an ice cream as well.
It was a lovely day, both weather-wise and enjoyment-wise and we were very glad we went, but it is a very expensive day out with high entrance fees, burgers at over £7 each, sandwiches at almost £6, and a lot of memorabilia stalls that were also a million miles away from resembling a pound shop! But it was a very nice treat for us and if classic cars are your thing then you have to go. Inevitably, we made comparisons with the Le Mans Classic which is every two years and which we went to in 2012 and 2014. The Revival is as much about the dressing up as it is about the cars and it really is a spectacle to see but Le Mans is more of a pilgrimage for people to take their classics to. The dressing up hasn’t caught on yet at Le Mans and it has a feel of a breakfast club meet with knobs on and it is all about the cars. My revival highlight was a Spitfire, my Le Mans highlight was the plethora of car clubs to see, I’m not sure if that says anything or not. Put simply then – you have to do both!
Driving the Dolomites with some crazy Germans in May 2014. This was a blast and many thanks to my friend DaisiAmSee on YouTube for making this video.
Le Mans Classic 4/5/6 July 2014
We had promised ourselves another trip to Le Mans Classic as we had had such a great time when we went two years ago. We were a bit late booking and there was nowhere close to Le Mans for us to stay, so we decided in the end to book a hotel in Bagnoles de l’Orne which is about an hour and a half from Le Mans but also a very pretty little town that we had stayed in before.
We started our weekend on Thursday with an overnight crossing from Portsmouth and we had a cabin with a window this time, which was quite a treat for us. It was a very calm crossing and we both had a good night’s sleep. We had a well organised exit from the ferry and started on our way about 7am.
We stopped off on the way for breakfast and then carried on to Le Mans. There wasn’t too much in the way of queues and we were soon parked up, it was a beautiful day, in fact it turned out to be the best of the three. After ambling around for an hour or two we began to feel a bit peckish and we found a spot near the Morgan stand for a cheeseburger and chips and if not a bargain, it was a great deal cheaper than some of the other places.
We got chatting to some Morgan owners and admitted shamefully that although we live in Malvern we don’t own a Morgan. Some more walking, a spot of watching the racers practising and then at about 4 o’clock we felt we should go and find our hotel. By the time we got there Mrs P had an awful migraine which had been brewing all afternoon and she felt so wretched that I had to find a meal for myself and eat it alone – a very poor state of affairs.
The next morning she felt quite a bit better and we had a leisurely breakfast and made our way back to Le Mans. Again we took a relaxed tour of the grounds and enjoyed exploring the many stalls. There were some very tempting holdalls at not very tempting prices but in the end we settled for a few momentoes of the race such as a key ring and some decals for our new Paceman, and a small clock for the Coupé. We watched the Porsche owners take their babies out on the track and made a promise to ourselves that if and when we get ours, we too will take it round Le Mans.
Mrs P took the opportunity of trying a Porsche for size later and learnt the importance of choosing the right seats as some of the sports seats cannot be raised. That is not a satisfactory option for the smaller lady.
Lunch beckoned and we made our way back to the burger joint we had used yesterday but the queues today were massive and I was very hungry and tired. So Mrs P joined the line to pay and it soon became obvious to her that the burger queue was very slow, and this was after you had waited to pay. So she opted for a hot dog as that was a much shorter wait. On the face of it this seemed a good idea but the hotdog turned out to be one of the most awful things we had eaten in a long time and probably not properly cooked either, something that came back to haunt us both later, although the wise Mrs P only ate half of hers!
So we left there not at all satisfied and feeling vaguely queasy. After a bit more of a walk around we decided to go back to Bagnoles as my feet were getting very sore. As we headed home the weather looked grim ahead and sure enough after about 30 minutes the rain started. It poured and lashed down in torrents, so much that cars were pulling over on the road and one had even slid into the ditch at the side. We had thunder and lightening, the full hit. We were very pleased that we had left Le Mans when we did as it was heading their way and it was not a place to be stranded in a deluge. Back at the hotel we treated ourselves to a lovely bubbly bath and had our meal in the hotel restaurant which was very pleasant and had a lovely view.
The next day it was a wet start but we made the effort to go to Le Mans again, and we were glad we did as it was much better weather when we got there. By now we had seen everything there was and as there were no seats and the grass was too damp to sit on, our stay was quite short this time. We returned to Bagnoles for a late lunch and explored the shops, had an ice cream and walked round the park. it was a beautiful afternoon and indeed the whole weekend had been a great break for us.
We packed up and left Monday morning, heading up the motorway to Calais and the tunnel. It’s always exciting to drive these roads with others who are also leaving Le Mans and if you set your speed right you get to overtake all sorts of interesting acts on the way home. The only downer of the whole weekend was that we managed to pick the day the Eurotunnel broke down to go home, so we had a four hour wait at Calais. But the weather was gorgeous and we were surrounded by nice cars, life was good and Mrs P was by my side where she belongs.
We had stayed overnight at my Mum’s in Buckley to be nearer to this event as it was a long way from home. We had gone to this last year and enjoyed the venue although the weather had not been too kind to us, and we were promised a fine day this time.
So an early start, although not quite as early as we had intended as my phone had run out of juice, the alarm had not gone off and we were still sleepy from our sunrise adventure the day before. But we were away by 7.30 and arrived at Lytham Hall at about 9.00am. We parked up on the Total Mini stand and soon met up with RVW and Storm who we hadn’t seen for ages. A brew and a bacon bap was in order so we made our way to the little café at the back of the Hall, and took time to catch up.
We were greeted by some Star Wars characters as we came out and and i was really impressed with the uniforms. The helmets had a built in voice changer which sounded really cool. I asked but Peanut said no to me getting an outfit. We then took some time to prowl around the trade stalls. Me and Mrs P were both drawn to The Speed Factory stand where there were some white alloys for sale at a very reasonable price. We wanted our new Paceman to have white wheels from new but they are no longer an option, so we thought this would be a good opportunity to fix this. Sadly he had none in the size we needed, so we shall have to search harder.
As we walked down the driveway of the Hall and admired the cars, we realised an old friend from our European MINI jaunts was coming towards us in his new coupé. It was Spaci from Switzerland who was visiting friends in Birmingham and thought he would drive up for the day and It was a lovely surprise to see him after such a long time. Storm, RVW, Spaci, Peanut and myself Beastmaster – all legends in the MINI community and we knew so few of the other people at the event!
After lunch we browsed a bit more and got chatting to some Paceman owners and the afternoon became very warm and sunny, so we had an ice cream and then a rest in our new padded chairs. A few more photos, this time Peanut’s thoughts turned to more artistic creations, although some of us took the whole thing more seriously than others, as you can see below!
We had a long journey home and so we bid farewell to Lytham Hall, said goodbye to the legends and with our MINI love satiated for the time being, set off on our way home, just noticing in the nick of time that we were about to drive off leaving our new chairs on the grass behind us! To have lost them only a day after buying them would have been a sad end to a lovely day. This is a lovely venue for a MINI Meet and we really hope it establishes itself as a regular feature on the MINI calendar.
This weekend just gone saw us revisit the Shelsley Walsh Breakfast Club, held monthly at the world famous Hill Climb centre. In a nutshell we really enjoy these events, they are just so jolly well civilised and a marvelous variety of old and exotic automoblie machinery turns up. It was very hard for us to choose a favourite from the cars on show. There was a glorious classic Maserati to ogle, Ferraris in abundance, E Type Jaguars and oh well, it was hard to choose the favourite. Until… The Willys Jeep turned up, well actually it was the machine gun mounted on the back that did it. We snapped a boy looking at the Jeep and he loved it and I though, that boy could be me, because I loved it just like he did.
If the cars on their own aren’t good enough, then there is a fantastic breakfast on offer in the clubhouse and I enjoyed a very tasty full English at a very reasonable price. The other thing that Shelsley Walsh offers us is a glorious drive there and back from our home in Malvern. The run is through some of the finest countryside England has to offer, and with the Opel GT with the roof down and the scarves on, then the fun begins from the minute we set off!
Finally we always bump into old pals here. This time we had breakfast with old MINI friends Chris, Christine and Ava and it was fun catching up with the news and stuff. Later we bumped into Libby and Lucky Dave and got the inside story on Lucky Dave’s latest car projects. This man always has his finger in a pie, he is always up to mischief and nothing has changed – can’t wait to see his latest project completed. Then at the last knockings we had a chat with a cool guy called Trigger and that just about completed a wonderful morning at Shelsley. It really was another great day there looking at some very special cars.
May 2014 saw us undertake a rather special road trip in our 2008 Opel GT. Our trip consisted of 5 nights in the South of France at Port Cogolin, 4 nights in Brescia, 3 nights in Venice and 4 nights in the Dolomites in the South Tyrol region. On this trip we were watching the Monaco Grand Prix Historique and the famous Mille Miglia race from Brescia to Rome and back. Finally we were meeting 9 other car enthusiasts in the Dolomites who also had Opel GTs to do some driving and exploring of some passes in the Dolomites. It proved to be a simply marvellous holiday and you can read the full holiday diary on our sister site PhotoBeast here. Here though are some photographs and recollection from our time in The Dolomites with our Opel GT friends from Germany. The pictures tell the story of a fantastic few days in The Dolomites exploring the roads and passes in our Opel GTs. Days we will never forget, stunning scenery, unbelievably fun and exciting driving and great company. A massive thank you to our good friend Norbert for inviting us along on this adventure, one we are so glad not to have missed.