On Sunday 21 July it was the historic car rally which toured around the Wirral organised by the Wirral Classic Car Club. Last year I took some photographs of the cars en route around Thingwall and Barnston near to where I live. This year I went down to Fort Perch in New Brighton where the cars were on display before they departed on their morning run. There were quite a few people out looking at the cars.
This year there were 71 cars entered, the oldest dating back to 1907 and the most modern being from 1972. The drivers and their passengers were encouraged to dress in period fashion to the age of the car in which they were travelling in. Some were in the 1920s and 1930s.
Many cars were from the 1960s. Kenneth Massey driving a 1963 Porsche 356 Super was re-living the ‘swinging sixties’.
Ken O’Brien driving a 1965 Lotus Elan S2 was wearing a ‘Gold Leaf’ Team Lotus jacket. This was the Lotus Formula One racing team in the early 1960s.
And as the badges on the side of the Lotus Elan testify the team were World Grand Prix Constructors champions in 1963 and 1965.
Malcolm Brewer and his passenger were convincing Chicago gangsters in their 1938 Buick Century along with a ‘tommy gun’.
Michael O’Donnell and his family were dressed as ‘hill billies’ in their 1915 Ford Model T.
Others were more refined in their ‘Sunday best’ ready to take their 1935 Daimler Sportsman for a spin.
The cars at the display were parked in ‘age order’. The oldest car a white Paterson 30 was parked in between a 1928 Rolls Royce 20 horsepower and a 1925 Chrysler Tourer 4. They all had a tale to tell. Richard Gardner found the Paterson in a field in the US and he brought it back to the UK and put it back on the road in May 2011. Graham Moore bought the Rolls Royce from a car mart in 1963 and restored it over the next 30 years. The Chrysler Tourer was built in Canada in 1925 and was then shipped to Australia and then taken to New Zealand until 1970 when Jopie Lang bought it and her husband restored it.
There was a real variety of cars from all ages. A Morris Oxford from 1928. Like many of the other cars being displayed this car was bought in a neglected state in 1989 and was restored by Richard Gardner in eighteen months.
A rare Brough Superior from 1936 was a particularly interesting vehicle. It has eight cylinders and is one of only thirteen of the eight cylinder cars known to still exist. It was built on a Hudson chassis and assembled by George Brough of Nottingham who was better known as a motor cycle manufacturer. The driver and owner, Nick Brough, is George Brough’s sixth cousin three times removed.
And there were cars which offered more modest motoring such as the 1931 Austin 12/4 saloon and an Austin 7 from 1933. Austin 7 saloons were the most popular British car of the 1920s and 1930s.
A 1949 Triumph Roadster was a popular post war sports car. A similar burgundy Triumph Roadster was driven by Jim Bergerac in the 1980s ‘Bergerac’ TV detective series set in Jersey.
A particularly rare car was the 1929 Singer Porlock which was named as it was so successful in the Porlock hill climbs on the edge of Exmoor. This was one of the longest hillclimb courses in the UK..
More modern cars included a Morris 1100 from 1972 which were very popular in their day as cheap family motoring.
A workhorse from the 1950s was a Ford Thames small van. Very few of these cars have survived through to the present day.
There was a lot of interesting detail on the classic cars that you don’t get these days. The well recognised Jaguar ‘big cat’ on a 1950 Jaguar Mark V.
They had matching jaguars on the back seats as well.
To the less well recognised such as the silver eagle on the bonnet of the Alvis TD21 drophead. Alvis was a British manufacturing company in Coventry founded in 1919. After becoming a subsidiary of Rover in 1965, car manufacturing was ended but armoured vehicle manufacture continued until this was sold off in 1982.
And an eagle bonnet mascot on the 1954 Riley RME Cabriolet. Riley was a British motorcar and bicycle manufacturer from 1890. Riley became part of the Nuffield Organisation in 1938 and was later merged into British Leyland. ln July 1969 British Leyland announced the immediate end of Riley production. Today, the Riley trademark is owned by BMW.
Cars had pressed steel wheels before alloy wheels and the chrome hubcaps on the MGA were highly polished. Like so many other British cars The MG Car Company which was founded in the 1920s became part of British Leyland which eventually became MG Rover which went into administration in 2005. The Nanjing Automobile Group purchased the rights to the MG brand and the assets of the MG Rover creating a new company MG Motor.
The 1967 Morris Minor convertible proudly displayed a Morris Centenary badge celebrating 100 years of Morris Cars which was founded in 1913. Morris merged into larger organisations and the Morris name remained in use until 1984 when British Leyland’s Austin Rover Group decided to concentrate on the more popular Austin brand which itself eventually disappeared in favour of the MG Rover name. The Morris trademark is currently owned by the China-based automotive company Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.
The last car I photographed was one of the marshal’s cars. It was a 1974 Morgan 4/4. The Morgan 4/4 was the Morgan Motor Company’s first car with four wheels. It appeared in 1936. Its model designation “4/4” stood for four wheels and four cylinders. Earlier Morgans had been three-wheelers with typically V-twin engines. Apart from a break during World War II (and the period March 1951 to September 1955) the 4/4 has been in continuous production from its debut right up to the present day. This version was in bright yellow with its foxy lady emblem.
The cars set off mid-morning on their tour of the Wirral. We will probably see some of them again this year at the Wirral Festival of Transport in September which is held in Birkenhead Park.