I have been interested in
old cars for many years but like so many I have only been able
to indulge myself once our children were 'off hand' and
My first purchase was a
1972 Gilbern Invader Estate . a fairly rare car as only 68
estates were produced and not many of those survived. The car
had been totally rebuilt but not used so some re-commissioning
I changed the Gilbern
for a much more exotic BMW 3.0 CSL , the lightweight version of
Again this was a rare
car only around 500 right hand drive cars being made. It needed
a fair amount of 'finishing' to bring it up to scratch but
fortunately all the bodywork had been restored. These cars did
not have any underseal so they rusted away in no time. The
bodywork being aluminum did not always show the problems!
I kept the car for
sometime but really wanted a much older 'vintage' car.
I was pointed towards a 1932 Sunbeam Speed 20
that had been with its last owner since 1955.
The car is the first
production Speed 20 and was exhibited, by Mann Egerton who
designed and built the body, at the 1932 Motor Show. You will
see the picture of the car when it was on the show stand,
complete with its ME 1933 show plate.
The car was registered
on the 3rd January 1933 JJ1620.
The car has been in
continuous use since new but has required considerable
expenditure to bring it back to its original specification.
Like all owners of old
cars one never seems enough , so the next arrival was the Morgan
three wheeler. This was , for me , an awful car and I kept it
for only a short while . I never mastered the gear change or
came to terms with the awful quality of the car. Needless to say
they hold their price and I sold the car on at a small profit.
I really liked the idea of
a small , light car that perhaps could be used for Hill climbs
and maybe the odd sprint. This was the start of my problems!!
I found , by chance , a
Riley 9 special that seemed to fit the bill. It had been
constructed from a number of parts , but basically around a 1928
What I did not realise
then was that this was quite a serious competition car and in
the hands of its creator had been quite successful.
Needless to say I bought
it and then had to decide how to best use it. I decided that I
best get a competition license so that I could enter VSCC race
meetings as well as Hill climbs and sprints. So off I went to
Thruxton and went through , the not to difficult ARDS test.
With license in hand I
entered my first event at Silverstone and what a disaster.
I finished last having found every wrong gear and racing line
BUT it was great fun.
You can see the
development of the Riley 9 on the appropriate page.
I then thought, after many
events, and some little improvement , I needed something bigger
( faster) so along came the Talbot 105, a fantastic car and if I
say so myself the rebuild turned out to be most successful.
It is a really stunning
looking car in the flesh and without doubt must be one of the
nicest looking Talbot specials around ( Head growing in size )
However despite this I
have never really enjoyed the car as much as the Riley 9 and
again came back to the basics of small, light and quick.
Hence the Caterham , well
away from my normal interest but a friend bought one and let me
drive it at Rockingham. The bug bit and I went on the search for
a suitable , track orientated, car.
I still could not get it
out of my mind that I needed a small , light quick VSCC eligible
car , but quicker than the Riley 9 . The obvious choice I felt
was a Riley 12/4 special built along the same lines as the 9 and
when I received a serious offer , from Holland , for the 9 a
decision was made.
So, the Riley 9 went and
the 12/4 idea was born.
The Talbot has now been
sold and has gone to a new enthusiast in Germany and after
much thought I sold the Sunbeam. This was a difficult decision
as I knew it was unique and could never be replaced. The car now
lives in Vienna and the new owner has already covered more miles
in a few months than I did in the past three years !
My love of the Caterham
did not faulter but I came across the MGA and I decided that
this was the way to go. The Caterham was sold and the MGA now
takes its place in the garage. There is some work to do to
enable me to enter the car in a few low key historic race
meetings but that will take a little while.