Cars of our Fathers

A classic day out in the dad's cars that inspired our own automotive enthusiasm

A classic day out in the dad's cars that inspired our own automotive enthusiasm


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<strong>Cars</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>our</strong><br />


A classic day out in the dad’s cars that inspired<br />

<strong>our</strong> own automotive enthusiasm…<br />


It’s a familiar phrase that can be heard<br />

regularly at every classic show, petrol<br />

station and car park around the planet.<br />

‘My dad had one <strong>of</strong> those’. However, while<br />

not all can say it, some <strong>of</strong> us consider<br />

<strong>our</strong>selves lucky to be able to proudly<br />

respond with the line: ‘My dad still owns his’!<br />

With Father’s Day approaching once again, we<br />

decided it would be well worth returning to<br />

the Great British Classic J<strong>our</strong>ney attraction<br />

in Derbyshire to not see how its first year in<br />

operation has been, but also to view the complete<br />

collection. Our last full visit took place during its<br />

final stages <strong>of</strong> completion, so it’d be interesting to<br />

see how the place looked now.<br />

But how to get there? While last year (PC, July<br />

2021), we drove in the cars we best remember<br />

from <strong>our</strong> childhoods, this time we made that<br />

extra special effort to sweet talk <strong>our</strong> fathers into<br />

lending us some <strong>of</strong> the actual vehicles that got us<br />

into cars in the first place. From the sporty BMC<br />

masterpieces owned by the dads <strong>of</strong> Tomkins and<br />

George, to Walshe Senior’s tin snail, the chaps<br />

headed for the Derbyshire Dales to meet with John<br />

Simister to hear about his dad’s Wolseley 1500<br />

and Richard Usher, the Derbyshire attraction’s<br />

owner, in a Morris Minor Convertible just like the<br />

one his father owned. He says it is central to his<br />

love <strong>of</strong> the automobile and why he set up the<br />

Great British Car J<strong>our</strong>ney in the first place.<br />

What started as a simple amble to Ambergate<br />

turned out to be a stirring tale <strong>of</strong> nostalgia,<br />

family values, childhood cheek and teenage<br />

24 JULY 2022 // PRACTICAL CLASSICS practicalclassics.co.uk<br />

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misdemean<strong>our</strong>s. Go on, admit it… if you didn’t steal<br />

the keys to y<strong>our</strong> dad’s car, you must have been<br />

tempted as a teenager? Now we’ve actually done it!<br />


Citroën Dyane<br />

I always knew we were a bit…<br />

different. The slightly shabby 18th<br />

century weaver’s cottage in the Cotswolds, interior<br />

walls covered with macramé hangings with a happy<br />

hippy vibe and spontaneous road trips and rock<br />

concerts. By the age <strong>of</strong> ten, I’d seen bits <strong>of</strong> Africa<br />

and the Mediterranean and had attended a ‘free<br />

Nelson Mandela’ gig at Wembley. There were fancy<br />

dress parties where, next morning, I’d wander<br />

downstairs to find people sleeping on the floor.<br />

On one occasion, I found family friend Mary fully<br />

clothed and fast asleep in the bath. A politically<br />

switched on household, we were also exceedingly<br />

environmentally conscious… and yes, complete<br />

with Greenpeace sticker in the back window, there<br />

was a funny little Citroën in the driveway.<br />

You might imagine this was something <strong>of</strong><br />

a hippy cliché, but in fact my dad put a great deal<br />

<strong>of</strong> thought into his choice <strong>of</strong> transportation. Design<br />

engineer, you see.<br />

He has always appreciated great engineering,<br />

having been a Saab, Audi and Citroën man for many<br />

decades. Previous cars on the driveway included<br />

a Saab 96, 5-cylinder Audi 100 and a range <strong>of</strong> Visas,<br />

CXs, XMs and more recently C5s and a C6.<br />

It was the Dyane that had the most impact on me<br />

as a kid, though. While other children were ferried<br />

around in what, at the time, I perceived to be bumpy<br />

and boring saloons, my brother Nik and<br />

I were sat in comfy deckchair seats, ro<strong>of</strong><br />

rolled back with an endless sky above.<br />

The sound <strong>of</strong> that tiny twin-pot bounced<br />

around my ears throughout childhood –<br />

especially as I was playing in<br />

HURRAH!<br />

Full length<br />

sunro<strong>of</strong> is just one<br />

<strong>of</strong> the things that<br />

adds to Dyane’s<br />

character.<br />

The PC convoy wends<br />

its way through some<br />

<strong>of</strong> the Peak District’s<br />

many picturesque and<br />

twisty roads.<br />

ABOVE Fun in the sun for<br />

Walshes Senior and Junior.<br />

ABOVE Our James loved to<br />

draw Dyanes, too.<br />

the garden each evening,<br />

when I’d be able to hear dad arriving<br />

home from some distance. It was<br />

a happy sound that still makes me<br />

grin. Even on <strong>our</strong> frequent trips<br />

to see grandparents in London,<br />

stop-start near Hanger Lane on<br />

the North Circular Road on a drizzly<br />

Sunday evening, the Dyane felt like<br />

a special place to be.<br />

It’s a brilliant place to be now,<br />

too. My parents, Jeff and Janet, have owned<br />

this Dyane for years and it has transported them<br />

effortlessly around the country, these days<br />

providing joyful post-retirement adventures.<br />

I managed to steal the keys <strong>of</strong>f them for <strong>our</strong> trip<br />

to the Great British Car J<strong>our</strong>ney, a j<strong>our</strong>ney which it<br />

completed without drama.<br />

As with the 2CV it was meant to replace, the<br />

Dyane’s extraordinarily robust air-cooled 602cc<br />

engine shrieks delightfully as you float over the<br />

cruddiest <strong>of</strong> road surfaces. Compared with my 2CV,<br />

the directional vents and larger windscreen are<br />

welcome additions.<br />

Positively decadent! Better aerodynamics<br />

also mean the Dyane will cruise happily at 75<br />

flat-out, too – something these clever little cars<br />

are designed to do all day without the slightest<br />

complaint. Unlike this driver, who will admittedly<br />

grumble when he must give the keys back and<br />

downgrade to his 2CV…<br />

‘Dad had achieved<br />

his own dream<br />

<strong>of</strong> owning a red<br />

British sports car’<br />


MG Midget<br />

I’ve loved classic cars ever since<br />

I can remember. As a child, my dad would take me<br />

on days out to museums, to Silverstone for Classic<br />

and Vintage Sports Car Club racing, and I would<br />

regularly beg my mum to walk the long way back<br />

from primary school in the hope that the garage<br />

door <strong>of</strong> vintage car racer Frank Lockhart would be<br />

up and I’d get to see him tinkering with his vintage<br />

Bentley or single seat racer. But in 2008 when<br />

I was 15 years-old, everything changed. Classic<br />

cars became something more than just things that<br />

other people owned when my dad purchased the<br />

1974 MG Midget you see here today.<br />

Fresh from total restoration by a chap who’d just<br />

moved from Abingdon to rural Wales where the<br />

narrow roads, high walls and fast-moving tractors<br />

put him <strong>of</strong>f enjoying the fruits <strong>of</strong> his lab<strong>our</strong>, Dad<br />

achieved his dream <strong>of</strong> owning a red British sports<br />

car with wire wheels; he was smitten, and so was<br />

I. I remember the drive back vividly. It was a baptism<br />

<strong>of</strong> fire, very nearly literally. A smell <strong>of</strong> petrol and a<br />

steady drip by the time we reached the Cotswolds<br />

resulted in the first AA call <strong>of</strong> classic ownership.<br />

It turned out that a piece <strong>of</strong> spider had become<br />

lodged in the carburettor needle valve, resulting<br />

in the steady stream <strong>of</strong> overflowing fuel that was<br />

bouncing <strong>of</strong>f the hot exhaust.<br />

This was the first opportunity I’d had to get<br />

A PIG IN…<br />

Dad’s Midget<br />

introduced Matt<br />

to the world <strong>of</strong><br />

classic fettling.<br />

The rest is<br />

history!<br />

LEFT AND BELOW A young Matt was as smitten as his<br />

Dad when the Midget joined the Tomkins family.<br />

26 JULY 2022 // PRACTICAL CLASSICS practicalclassics.co.uk<br />

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up close and personal with a classic car, and I was,<br />

<strong>of</strong> c<strong>our</strong>se, watching closely as the AA patrol got us<br />

going again – so the next time it happened, I was<br />

the one orchestrating the repair.<br />

With the fuel system now arachnid-free, I was<br />

hooked by the classic car bug (geddit?). Dad would<br />

let me check the oil and water, polish the bodywork,<br />

and check tyre pressures before each outing<br />

(hang on a minute!), then I’d join him as passenger,<br />

perched atop a cushion so I could see over the<br />

dashboard, on trips out to car shows, on road runs<br />

or just to the shops – any excuse really.<br />

The Midget even helped introduce me to<br />

the wonderfully eccentric world <strong>of</strong> classic car<br />

club meets, where I met an amazing variety <strong>of</strong><br />

enc<strong>our</strong>aging and enthusiastic MG owners, all<br />

too happy to share wisdom and advice on classic<br />

custodianship.<br />

Driving the Midget today, then, is a little odd.<br />

Although it’s a car I’ve been around for 14 years, it<br />

was only recently (for another PC shoot) that I first<br />

got behind the wheel. It’s a fab little car to drive,<br />

the 1275cc A-series pulling strongly and low-slung<br />

driving position giving the sensation <strong>of</strong> far greater<br />

speed than the clocks suggest, but as we blast<br />

towards Derbyshire I find myself thinking <strong>of</strong> all<br />

the things I’d do differently if it were mine. A 3.7:1<br />

differential for more relaxed cruising, perhaps<br />

a set <strong>of</strong> K&N filters and maybe even the new Suzuki<br />

Jimny-based five-speed gearbox conversion from<br />

Barratt Engineering. But that’s not the point.<br />

It’s this car, in its standard form, and my dad’s<br />

The George family TR hasn’t changed much over the years…<br />

thankfully Matt’s dress sense has improved!<br />

enthusiasm for it, that helped mould me into the<br />

classic car enthusiast I am today – and <strong>of</strong> that I am<br />

incredibly grateful.<br />


Triumph TR6<br />

My dad, Keith, can trace his own<br />

roots as a Triumph enthusiast back<br />

to a high-speed run across his native South Wales in<br />

a Triumph 2.5PI in the Seventies. Then, inspired by<br />

trips out in a TR6 belonging to a work colleague, he<br />

bought his very first TR in 1984, the year before<br />

I was born. I attended my first classic car event –<br />

the North Yorkshire Triumph Weekend – at the<br />

tender age <strong>of</strong> just six months, strapped safely into<br />

my carry cot on the passenger seat. Clearly, I didn’t<br />

stand a chance!<br />

The Great British Car J<strong>our</strong>ney<br />

From Sierra to<br />

Granny, they’ve got<br />

them all on show.<br />

One year on, team PC returns to the museum for a second visit to see how things have developed…<br />

Changeable weather<br />

didn’t spoil the fun.<br />

Big smiles all round as<br />

the guys hit the road<br />

together once more.<br />

Vanden Plas fans will<br />

enjoy this little beauty.<br />

The PC boys enjoyed<br />

taking a look around.<br />

As illustrateded by its loud and<br />

proud tag line ‘when Britain ruled<br />

the road’, The Great British Car<br />

J<strong>our</strong>ney is an unashamedly<br />

nostalgic j<strong>our</strong>ney through the<br />

history <strong>of</strong> homegrown motoring.<br />

In fact, if Practical Classics<br />

magazine was a motoring<br />

destination, this would be the<br />

physical representation.<br />

Crammed with all the most<br />

popular classics, the former<br />

factory in Ambergate is a feast<br />

for the eyes, as well as the nose.<br />

More than a few visitors have<br />

been known to stick their heads<br />

through the open windows for<br />

a sniff <strong>of</strong> their past. This is one<br />

big festival <strong>of</strong> vel<strong>our</strong>, vinyl and<br />

British wood and plastics.<br />

PC’s first full-on visit took<br />

place last year, just weeks<br />

before the opening ceremony.<br />

At the time, the main hall <strong>of</strong> the<br />

former industrial complex in the<br />

Derwent Valley was still empty<br />

and under refurbishment, with<br />

the exhibits in nearby storage<br />

and still under dust sheets.<br />

It has since been transformed<br />

into a dreamland for car<br />

enthusiasts. Following on from<br />

a high-pr<strong>of</strong>ile launch in 2021 and<br />

a successful first season,<br />

Richard Usher, entrepreneur, and<br />

brainchild <strong>of</strong> the Great British<br />

Car J<strong>our</strong>ney, is thrilled at the<br />

response. ‘We had 2000 visitors<br />

in the first week and since then,<br />

35,000 more have turned up!<br />

Five-thousand <strong>of</strong> them have<br />

driven one <strong>of</strong> the cars as part <strong>of</strong><br />

<strong>our</strong> Drive Dad’s Car initiative.<br />

People who come just seem to<br />

love it – they tend to stay all day!’<br />

After getting the full<br />

interactive t<strong>our</strong>, the PC team<br />

went for a run around the<br />

stunning local countryside,<br />

Richard taking the lead in the<br />

GBCJ’s Morris Minor Convertible.<br />

‘This is my personal choice as the<br />

ultimate ‘dad’s car. My late<br />

father had a succession Minors,<br />

including a supercharged<br />

version! For that one, he earned<br />

himself a car show trophy, which<br />

I still have! Driving a Minor always<br />

makes me think <strong>of</strong> my dad. He<br />

was just such an inspiration to<br />

me.’ Find out more by clicking to<br />

greatbritishcarj<strong>our</strong>ney.com<br />

Richard Usher (below) and the entire GBCJ team can be<br />

rightly proud <strong>of</strong> what hads been achieved in the past year.<br />

➽<br />

28 JULY 2022 // PRACTICAL CLASSICS practicalclassics.co.uk<br />

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After previously owning both a TR4<br />

and a UK-spec TR6, he eventually<br />

bought this US-spec TR6 in May<br />

1990, not long after it had been<br />

imported back into the UK from<br />

California. It was soon pressed<br />

into action and saw plenty <strong>of</strong> use<br />

over the next decade. My most<br />

evocative memories <strong>of</strong> childhood<br />

involve the two <strong>of</strong> us spending large<br />

parts <strong>of</strong> the Nineties attending TR<br />

Register events across the country.<br />

There were a number <strong>of</strong> events that we<br />

considered <strong>our</strong> ‘regulars’ and I looked forward<br />

to them all in equal measure.<br />

I can still remember the excitement and<br />

anticipation <strong>of</strong> packing the car – top down,<br />

naturally – with all <strong>our</strong> gear and getting ready to<br />

head <strong>of</strong>f for a weekend <strong>of</strong> adventures with likeminded<br />

enthusiasts. These trips instilled in me both<br />

the enjoyment and appreciation <strong>of</strong> classic cars,<br />

but also gave me a love <strong>of</strong> camping. As a young kid,<br />

I was in my element sat next to <strong>our</strong> tent in a field in<br />

the Lake District for example, eating tinned stew,<br />

potatoes and peas that me and dad had warmed up<br />

on <strong>our</strong> little camping stoves. Staying in a hotel was<br />

never an option… plus, you’d miss out on all the fun<br />

taking place on the campsite!<br />

A few years later, we even managed some trips<br />

to the 24 Heures <strong>of</strong> Le Mans, an idea that had been<br />

talked about for years among club members and<br />

finally came to fruition in 2001. By then I was<br />

a 15-year-old classic-mad lad (and avid Practical<br />

Classics reader, I might add) very much looking<br />

ABOVE The Great<br />

British weather makes<br />

an appearance!<br />

ABOVE Minor<br />

Convertible holds<br />

memories for RIchard.<br />

Riley looked<br />

resplendent,<br />

despite the rain.<br />

Our fav<strong>our</strong>ite GBCJ cars<br />

and why we love ’em…<br />

James Walshe Reliant Scimitar<br />

My school, Katherine<br />

Lady Berkeley’s in<br />

Gloucestershire, was<br />

founded in 1384. About<br />

600 years later, Princess<br />

Anne turned up to unveil<br />

a refurbished school bell.<br />

I was there too, but while<br />

my school chums gazed<br />

starry eyed at the<br />

princess, I was busy<br />

gawping at her car.<br />

She’d occasionally be<br />

spotted around the area,<br />

living as she did at<br />

nearby Gatcombe Park,<br />

and the sight <strong>of</strong> her<br />

Reliant was always<br />

a thrill. The Great British<br />

Car J<strong>our</strong>ney is a trip<br />

though time and a riot <strong>of</strong><br />

nostalgia. I see a Mini and<br />

recall my nan’s City<br />

version, always<br />

inexplicably full <strong>of</strong> shoes.<br />

I also remember grandad<br />

furiously gesticulating<br />

under the bonnet <strong>of</strong> his<br />

Morris 1100, (using the<br />

kind <strong>of</strong> words I’d never<br />

heard before). While<br />

I admire every single car<br />

in the collection, in the<br />

understandable absence<br />

<strong>of</strong> French, Swedish or<br />

German tin, I choose the<br />

sensational Scimitar.<br />

The Princess Royal’s car<br />

had such an impact on<br />

me in 1984, a tidy SE6 still<br />

a model I fancy owning<br />

one day.<br />

John Simister Sunbeam Alpine<br />

Why this car? Because I’ve<br />

always been a fan <strong>of</strong><br />

Rootes Group products,<br />

and the Alpine not only<br />

celebrated Rootes’ early<br />

post-war rallying<br />

successes, but added<br />

a list <strong>of</strong> its own. In 1953 it<br />

scored f<strong>our</strong> Coupes des<br />

Alpes (Stirling Moss,<br />

Sheila Van Damm, John<br />

Fitch and George Murray-<br />

Frame were the drivers),<br />

and Van Damm also won<br />

the Coupe des Dames.<br />

B<strong>our</strong>nemouth dealer<br />

and Rootes tuner George<br />

Hartwell was the driving<br />

force behind the Alpine,<br />

and the museum’s MkIII<br />

example features the<br />

louvred bonnet first seen<br />

on the rally cars. At 80bhp<br />

its 2267cc, f<strong>our</strong>-cylinder<br />

engine isn’t exactly<br />

stressed, but the central<br />

gear lever adds sporty<br />

spice to the wonderfully<br />

Matt G Vauxhall Cavalier<br />

BUT WHY?<br />

‘This Alpine is<br />

something <strong>of</strong> a<br />

forgotten hero,<br />

but really<br />

shouldn’t be!<br />

ornate juke-box styling <strong>of</strong><br />

the dashboard. There Is<br />

even a connection with<br />

my father: among the<br />

many Dinky toys he gave<br />

me in the Fifties was an<br />

Alpine just like this one.<br />

Richard U Bentley Continental T<br />

My dad was a great<br />

Bentley enthusiast who<br />

passed his passion for<br />

cars on to me. The<br />

Continental T was the<br />

last coach built British<br />

Bentley, and the last<br />

blast for the venerable<br />

V8 that powered the<br />

Silver Shadow. Bought<br />

new by Elton John, this<br />

car is fitted with a rather<br />

impressive sound<br />

system. Bury the throttle<br />

and it really shifts, too –<br />

mighty impressive for<br />

something that’s the size<br />

<strong>of</strong> my living room!<br />

Matt T Morris Minor saloon<br />

A year or so after my<br />

dad bought the<br />

Midget, I bought my<br />

first car – a 1970<br />

Morris Minor twodoor<br />

saloon. Aged<br />

sixteen and unable to<br />

drive it, I took it apart<br />

and started poking.<br />

My uncle, Ivor, helped<br />

me get it on the road<br />

and the rest is history.<br />

So, the car that<br />

speaks to me most<br />

from the GBCJ is the<br />

recently restored last<br />

ever Morris Minor<br />

saloon, on loan from<br />

the Morris Minor<br />

Owners Club. I was<br />

proud to play a part in<br />

this car’s restoration<br />

j<strong>our</strong>ney, assisting<br />

close friend Tom<br />

Morris in fitting<br />

windscreens to the<br />

car at the club’s<br />

Derby HQ between<br />

lockdowns.<br />

This last saloon is an<br />

incredibly important<br />

part <strong>of</strong> the story <strong>of</strong><br />

the Morris Minor, and<br />

its restoration<br />

represents<br />

everything that I love<br />

about these cars<br />

today; from club<br />

support, parts<br />

availability, friendship<br />

and teamwork to the<br />

importance <strong>of</strong><br />

preserving history<br />

and sharing it with<br />

the wider community.<br />

May such values<br />

continue to live on for<br />

many years to come.<br />

In the late Eighties/early<br />

Nineties, my parents also<br />

owned an X-reg Vauxhall<br />

Cavalier MkII like the one here<br />

at GBCJ. It was a 1.6 L, too,<br />

but in a less fetching shade <strong>of</strong><br />

beige. My most lasting<br />

memory <strong>of</strong> that car isn’t<br />

perhaps the most positive,<br />

but I do remember it vividly.<br />

After attending a ten-pin<br />

bowling event in Leeds<br />

organised by <strong>our</strong> local TR club,<br />

we made <strong>our</strong> way back to the<br />

multi-storey car park with<br />

some friends, ready to go<br />

home. Having lagged behind<br />

the group, I still recall<br />

rounding the corner to where<br />

the car had been parked to<br />

see my mum and dad, plus my<br />

little sister standing there,<br />

the latter in floods <strong>of</strong> tears.<br />

The family Cav had been<br />

stolen! It was eventually<br />

returned to us, latterly being<br />

replaced by a Ford Mondeo<br />

MkI 1.8TD, which thankfully<br />

never suffered the same fate.<br />

The things you remember…<br />

30 JULY 2022 // PRACTICAL CLASSICS practicalclassics.co.uk<br />

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forward to learning to drive and getting a car <strong>of</strong> my<br />

own. Spending that time with my dad and his fellow<br />

TR-owning mates, while being treated as a peer and<br />

equal, created memories that I still recall fondly to<br />

this day, over two decades later.<br />

I’m now a TR owner myself, so am very familiar<br />

with how this car drives, but it is the experience <strong>of</strong>,<br />

once again, sitting in the passenger seat alongside<br />

my dad as he navigates <strong>our</strong> way through the leafy<br />

Derbyshire lanes that really brings a smile to my<br />

face. The sound <strong>of</strong> the glorious straight-six engine<br />

up front, the smell <strong>of</strong> the fresh air on the breeze<br />

and (cliché alert) the feel <strong>of</strong> the wind in my hair all<br />

come together to create an experience that is as<br />

enjoyable as it is familiar.<br />

Following the rest <strong>of</strong> my colleagues in <strong>our</strong> mini<br />

convoy brings memories <strong>of</strong> all those great trips <strong>of</strong><br />

years gone by flooding back and I feel very lucky<br />

to have been able to enjoy such delights from an<br />

early age. Plus, we even end up having to pull over<br />

and put the hood up when the skies cloud over and<br />

the great British weather sends us a dose <strong>of</strong> that<br />

familiar phenomenon – drizzly rain. Another huge<br />

dose <strong>of</strong> nostalgia!<br />


Riley One Point Five<br />

There’s a bit <strong>of</strong> unfinished business<br />

here. The cars my father had<br />

between 1957 and 1962 were actually Wolseley<br />

1500s, two <strong>of</strong> them. He was denied the sportier<br />

Riley version because it was deemed too flashy<br />

for his recently-started role as a medical advisor<br />

to a pharmaceuticals company. But the Riley is<br />

what he really wanted, and the way he drove the<br />

SCOUTING FOR BOYS ‘Jam Roll’, a 20hp Rolls<br />

Royce that was originally presented to Lord Baden Powell<br />

by the Scouting movement at the 1929 World Jamboree,<br />

has just gone on display at the museum.<br />

Wolseleys (indicated 97mph on the Sidcup bypass,<br />

for example), they could easily have had twin carbs<br />

and 63bhp.<br />

The first Wolseley, a more luxurious ‘Family’<br />

model with leather trim, was black. In that car were<br />

all the things that set the template for learning<br />

about and loving cars, reference points ingrained in<br />

me from the age <strong>of</strong> three. So my mental car-design<br />

home page included a dished steering wheel with<br />

three wire-sprung spokes, a short remote-type<br />

gear lever, tuneful intermediate gears, a shiny<br />

wooden dashboard and a bonnet release handle<br />

formed from a black wire loop.<br />

It was a small car, <strong>of</strong> c<strong>our</strong>se, having evolved<br />

from a Morris Minor’s platform, but a deceptively<br />

airy one. My sister and I squeezed happily into<br />

its back seat, sitting on top <strong>of</strong> sleeping bags<br />

and surrounded by paraphernalia, as we set <strong>of</strong>f<br />

on another camping holiday to Wales. We rear<br />

passengers had armrests in <strong>our</strong> doors, but the<br />

grown-ups in front didn’t, which meant we were<br />

special. The shapes <strong>of</strong> the side windows are etched<br />

in my mind, as is the mesmerising pattern the wiper<br />

blades made on the windscreen: right blade making<br />

an angled column <strong>of</strong> water, left blade knocking it<br />

‘Armrests for us<br />

rear passengers<br />

meant that we<br />

were special’<br />

ABOVE John enjoyed his<br />

Riley driving experience.<br />

ABOVE Little Riley took the<br />

hills in its stride.<br />

down again, and again, and again.<br />

Now I’m in another black car <strong>of</strong> identical shape<br />

and, yes, it’s raining. In this 1958 Riley the dials<br />

are sportily arranged in front <strong>of</strong> the driver instead<br />

<strong>of</strong> spread symmetrically across the dash, and<br />

there’s a rev-counter. There are other small trim<br />

differences, notably outside with extra chrome,<br />

but more significant is the extra 13bhp over the<br />

Wolseley and bigger brakes to match. It makes<br />

the One Point Five a lively, punchy thing, all the<br />

better to exploit this very compact car with its<br />

precise, quick-witted rack-and-pinion steering and<br />

chuckable demean<strong>our</strong>. I can’t imagine anything<br />

else <strong>of</strong> the Riley’s size, pace and seating capacity<br />

feeling this sharp back in 1958.<br />

Before today I had driven 1500s (or steered them<br />

while sitting on my father’s lap) but never a One<br />

Point Five. Now I fully understand what my father<br />

was missing. ■<br />


Looking for somewhere to enjoy some bonding time with y<strong>our</strong> dad on Father’s Day, which this year is on June 19?<br />

The BMM hosts many<br />

events each year and is<br />

always worth a visit.<br />

Then why not treat him to<br />

a drive out to one <strong>of</strong> the 10<br />

motoring museums listed<br />

here, all around the<br />

country? Although most<br />

<strong>of</strong> them aren’t doing<br />

anything specific to mark<br />

Father’s Day, they’ll have<br />

more than enough to keep<br />

you entertained.<br />



MUSEUM is surrounded<br />

by scintillating driving<br />

roads, so blend the<br />

j<strong>our</strong>ney there with poring<br />

over as many <strong>of</strong> the<br />

30,000 exhibits as you<br />

can, including cars,<br />

automobilia, caravans<br />

and pedal cars. There’s<br />

nothing special taking<br />

place on June 19, but you’ll<br />

easily fill the day all the<br />

same, and it’s top value at<br />

£10 for adults. (lakeland<br />

motormuseum.co.uk).<br />



The newest destination<br />

here (it opened only last<br />

year), the focus <strong>of</strong> the<br />

GBCJ is ordinary<br />

cars that you<br />

can relate<br />

to. Sure<br />

there’s<br />

the odd<br />

Bentley<br />

or<br />

Daimler,<br />

but this is<br />

a place that<br />

pays homage to<br />

the Allegro and the<br />

Cortina. Even better, you<br />

can drive some <strong>of</strong> the<br />

exhibits and there will be<br />

a drive-in on Father’s Day.<br />

Adult tickets are £16 each.<br />

(greatbritish carj<strong>our</strong>ney.<br />

com).<br />



Created privately and now<br />

owned by Boundless<br />

(previously the CSMA),<br />

this museum oozes charm<br />

as it’s based in an old mill<br />

in B<strong>our</strong>ton-on-the-<br />

Water. There are<br />

50 or so cars<br />

on show,<br />

along with<br />

period<br />

caravans,<br />

but the<br />

automobilia<br />

– and the<br />

drive there – will<br />

make it a great day<br />

out, and cheap too, at just<br />

£7 for adults. (cotswold<br />

motoringmuseum.co.uk).<br />



There’s something on<br />

most weekends this<br />

summer at Beaulieu.<br />

On June 19 the annual<br />

hot-rod and custom<br />

show is taking place, but<br />

if that doesn’t float y<strong>our</strong><br />

boat, there are almost<br />

300 vehicles to see in the<br />

museum. It costs £26 per<br />

person for entry (£23 if<br />

booked in advance), with<br />

family tickets available for<br />

£69 (£59 in advance).<br />

(beaulieu.co.uk).<br />


MUSEUM Although<br />

there’s nothing specific<br />

taking place for Father’s<br />

Day, a visit to the<br />

Bubblecar Museum is<br />

guaranteed to put a smile<br />

on y<strong>our</strong> dad’s face – and<br />

y<strong>our</strong>s too. There are more<br />

than 50 pint-sized classics<br />

on show, including Bond,<br />

Isetta, Reliant and Frisky.<br />

Even better, it costs just<br />

£4 per head to get in, or<br />

a measly £1 for children.<br />

(bubblecarmuseum.<br />

co.uk).<br />



almost 400 cars to ogle,<br />

the fact that there’s<br />

nothing specific taking<br />

place on June 19 shouldn’t<br />

be too much <strong>of</strong><br />

a disappointment.<br />

There are lots <strong>of</strong> displays<br />

including the famous Red<br />

Room; this summer there<br />

are also exhibitions on<br />

Williams F1 and Ferrari.<br />

Adult entry costs £17.50,<br />

children are £11 and there<br />

are concessions available.<br />

(haynesmuseum.org).<br />


MUSEUM Little remains<br />

<strong>of</strong> the world’s first<br />

purpose-built banked<br />

racing circuit, but this<br />

historic venue is still<br />

fabulous to visit, along<br />

with Mercedes-Benz<br />

World next door. With the<br />

cars the focus is very<br />

much on motorsport, and<br />

there are also loads <strong>of</strong><br />

historic aircraft that you<br />

can get close to, including<br />

Concorde. Adult entry<br />

costs £19. (brooklands<br />

museum.com).<br />



Gaydon has more than<br />

400 cars for you to<br />

explore, including racers,<br />

concept cars and<br />

prototypes. New for this<br />

summer are exhibitions on<br />

West Midlands’ motor<br />

industry and Vauxhall’s<br />

heritage; on June 19 up to<br />

500 classic motorcycles<br />

will set <strong>of</strong>f for the annual<br />

Banbury Run. Prices start<br />

at £9 for kids and £14.50<br />

for adults. (british<br />

motormuseum.co.uk).<br />



There are no special<br />

events taking place for<br />

Father’s Day, but you<br />

won’t feel short-changed<br />

by the 250 cars and<br />

commercial vehicles, 120<br />

motorbikes and much<br />

more on display. Home to<br />

the world’s two fastest<br />

cars (Thrust 2 and Thrust<br />

SSC), £14 per adult to get<br />

in (including unlimited<br />

entries for the next year),<br />

is a bargain. (transportmuseum.com).<br />



We’ll finish with a venue<br />

that’s below the radar for<br />

many car buffs. With 100<br />

or so vehicles spanning<br />

1927-1967, this small<br />

museum is full <strong>of</strong> unusual<br />

cars, but there are plenty<br />

<strong>of</strong> rare motorbikes too;<br />

a particular highlight is<br />

the recreation <strong>of</strong> a Thirties<br />

garage. Nothing special is<br />

planned for Father’s Day,<br />

but at £9 entry for adults,<br />

it’s great value. (atwell<br />

wilson.org.uk).<br />

32 JULY 2022 // PRACTICAL CLASSICS practicalclassics.co.uk<br />

To subscribe to PC go to greatmagazines.co.uk/practicalclassics<br />


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