View Full Version : New Years Day Vintage and Classic Car Meeting

03-01-2009, 04:43 PM
Last year on a tip off me and a friend visited the Railway Inn at Elstead, deep in the heart of Sussex, and found the most incredible selection of vintage and classic vehicles that had braved the cold, damp and grey conditions to meet up on New Years Day for a BBQ and a beer. We rashly promised ourselves that we would be there again this year in our respective steeds, but alas - t'was not to be. But on an equally cold and grey day, this is what we found...


How about this? A race-modified AC428 coupe. AC bolted just 53 examples of this Cobra-based GT in 1970-71. With steel coachwork styled by Carozzeria Pietro Frua (think Maserati Mistral) on a slightly modified Cobra 427 chassis, they had all the right credentials, but the 428 c.i. V8 was a bit of a boat anchor in comparison to the 427 and the steel body rusted like crazy. This one had alloy doors, bonnet etc., and a NASCAR-specification '66 427 side-oiler producing a mere 650 bhp. C6 transmission with a high stall converter. The owner uses it for sprints and hillclimb events...


Rear three-quarter view. Perspex is used extensively and the alloy aero-aids and 17" Halibrands are what you need to be competitive in a 30 year old car today. Amazingly, the owner told us that several AC 428s have been cut up to provide chassis for Cobra replicas! I mean, if you see a Cobra on the street you just think "oh yea, another kit", right? Who in their right mind would want to do such a thing...? Oh well, no accounting for taste I suppose :D


A lovely Alfa 2600 spider, and not two cars down the line...


...An identical colour Alfa Giulia spider. Very nice.


OK kit car spotters, what's this then? I'll give you a clue - Peter Pellandine. Give up? Its an Ashley GT, this one very nicely prepared for the track, with a full aluminium interior and roll cage. Its been lowered (obviously) and the steel wheels are Weller Racing items, same as the Green Machine!

What? You've never heard of the Ashley GT? This was Peter Pellandines first project, marketed in the late 50s for a Ford 10 (i.e. Popular) chassis. The moulds were later acquired by Reliant who combined the modified fibreglass shell with a chassis designed by Les Ballamy for the EB Debonair to make the Sabra for sale to Isreal. Later the Sabra was sold in the UK as the Sabre, which was the precursor to the successful Reliant Scimitar. You can see a lot of the Ashley in the Sabre shape, particularly the ealy Sabre 4. But I digress. I did notice that this Ashley had a Mk1 Ford Escort steering column and a very small diameter deep-dish wheel that would not have looked out of place on an early Nova, so its been steadily upgraded through its life.


Its obvious that this car is the product of a company more well known for their aircraft. Its a Bristol 401 Berlinetta, which makes a nice change from the more common 4-seater saloon. They date from the late 40s, a desperately austere period for British car manufacturing. That old Henry Ford adage "any colour you like, so long as its black" was alive and well...


AC 428s are like buses - you wait for ages and then two come along at once! This time a mint (and unmodified) spider. How amazing is that? 4% of the entire manufacturing total, in the same place at the same time...


How about this for luxury motoring, 60's style? A fabulous Facel II, the best looking Facel Vega in my book, although I do enjoy the 50s musclecar styling of the HK500 as well. Powered by the Chrysler 383 in this final form, with either a Torqueflite (as in this case) or a 4-speed Pont-a-Moussin transmission. What a machine! This one was accompanied by a convertible Facellia with a 383 conversion out of a Jensen Interceptor (it was originally designed for a 1600 cc engine), a real family affair with Dad in the Facel II and No.1 son in the Facellia (top down, of course).


This is what the Elstead show is all about - vintage cars. This is the engine of an unrestored 1915 M.O.R.S. Its an American Curtis 4-cylinder aeroplane engine, usually fitted to the Curtis "Jenny" biplane trainer popularised by the barnstormers in the ealry 1920s. It was driven to the event in the company of an Austin racing car from the same period. I overheard someone saying that the engine was a 10 litre capacity (thats 2.5 litres per cylinder) and produced 500 lb/ft of torque at 3000 rpm. Not surprisingly flying helmets and googles abounded. It was a great show, and I'm determined to get the Green Machine to the next one!


04-01-2009, 10:55 AM
Wow what a fantastic event and very well written up too lauren. Great pictures. I may have to try and get along next year.

04-01-2009, 01:00 PM
Colin, be there next year with the Nova, then we will be impressed :bleh:

04-01-2009, 01:08 PM
Hi Dave,

Alas it is still sitting on my drive. Not sure what to do with it really as I havent got the time. I dont want to get ride of it as I would like to build it one day, too much other stuff on at the moment.

04-01-2009, 04:12 PM
I know the feeling. But I haven't managed to get there with the Green Machine either, so its not a pre-requisite for entry :D

One of these days you will find time to finish what you started - and in the meantime you can still look at the shape. Its the only thing that got me through 15 years of stop-start development!


05-01-2009, 11:43 AM
That is true Lauren,

I do enjoy looking at her when I pull onto my drive. I need to get her under cover though. She was stored in agarage for about 15 years but now out in the open so not good. I guess I need to clear out one side of the garage and pop her next to the Westfield.

05-01-2009, 12:31 PM
The westfield is pretty low, stick the Nova on some supports and drive the westie underneath!