Category Archives: Geoff Thompson Writes Reviews

The Rover P6 National Day and Why We Love Old Cars

This post was written by Geoff Thompson, a person who is in no way affiliated to, on the pay roll of, related to, involved with or even known to Good Shout Media. Sort of.

Guest Post:

The Rover P6 is an iconic British saloon car introduced in the late 1960s and supported by a number of well-established car clubs. The P6 Rover Owners Club is one of them, and their collective love of this four-door sedan peaks at the P6 National Day, held at Rufford Abbey Country Park, in Nottinghamshire. Tasked with reporting on the event from the inside, a classic car insurance company gave me a rental car, a pen and a free ticket. The gig was on.

Armed with nothing but a McDonalds coffee and the very best press credentials; I opted to bypass the queue of traffic that had already amassed along the A614 and instead drive the incorrect way down the English Heritage Property’s one way system. I intended to sneak past the waiting classic cars and talk my way into the staff car park – after all, when you’re documenting an event for a prestigious publication (and I was), there are liberties to be taken.

As soon as the car park attendant saw me, I knew the plan was flawed. The poor chaps mind was blown. No one had ever tried to drive the wrong way down an English Heritage Property’s one way system. I slowed to a crawl and dropped the passenger side window, leaning forward to address him as he stepped out of his booth. He locked eyes with me, waiting for the moment of glory when this sunglass wearing, rental car driving psuedo American would stop the car and experience a verbal dose of British car parking etiquette the likes of which Rufford Abbey had seen before.

I leant further forward and opened my mouth to speak… then cruised past him with the window down at 3mph. The look on his face said it all; there wasn’t any training for this. No one had ever lowered the window to talk and then gone right by without saying a word, it simply wasn’t the British way. He started to slump to the floor but the access road kinked to the right and with trees on both sides, I soon lost sight of the scene.

Continuing the wrong way down the access road, I abandoned the rental in the staff car park. Panicked looking green uniformed park wardens were sprinting towards the main road and clutching handheld radios, so I hid the car in a bush and continued on foot.

Rufford Abbey is a 16th century monastery, which was converted into a residence at some point in its I oh didn’t really care, the sun was shining, the cars had arrived and the cafe was open. One black coffee later and I was amongst over 50 classic Rover cars, blending into the crowds with my sunglasses and straw hat.

I’d been sent to Rufford Abbey by a British motoring title to write about the history of the Rover P6, but my main interest in the article was ‘Rover people’. What makes them tick? What is it about these rusty, badly made yawn boxes that make people want to join owners clubs? I’d also been asked to nominate a car for the ‘Visitors Choice’ award, although after what happened at the Land Rover show I was under strict instructions not to nominate the rental car.

The long access road leading down to the Rover P6 cars and the Abbey itself was lined with all manner of classic and modern show cars. Although the array of vehicles on display was impressive, it was nothing compared to what was going on behind the cars – the deck chair and picnic display.

Lightweight, folding camping chairs took precedent, with a smattering of older, wooden framed canvas deck chairs in for good measure; but the concours worthy folding chair with optional roof was a sight to behold, so I promptly made a note of the make and model on my piece of paper and nominated it for the ‘Visitors Choice’ award.

No darling, they’re not all the same” a well-dressed man replied to his equally well-dressed wife as they browsed the Rover P6 display. At this stage I thought she had a valid point.

The P6 fraternity were congregated in the main arena, where 50 or so of the seemingly identical cars were gathered, but my prey were all lined up along the main entrance road, parked in the shade of the trees. Ah ha, I thought. Here we go… The Real Rover People.

Nearest to the P6 circle were a trio of Rover 75s, four MGFs and two Rover Coupes. I got chatting to one of the owners.

Well I’ve got a Coupe, a 75 and a 25, but I’d really love a 45 quipped one, when asked what his dream car would be. Dream car. A Rover 25. Who are these people?! The Rover 25 was a hashed together design job based on an ancient platform and leftover running gear. The Ferrari F40, on the other hand, wasn’t.

“7” replied his friend, when asked how many Rover Coupes he currently owns. “And I’m always on the lookout for a bargain Coupe”. Knowing full well that a taxed and tested Rover Coupe can be bought for only slightly more than I’d just paid for a Panini and chips, I silently wondered what he considered a bargain, and why anyone would deliberately buy one of these cars, let alone seven of them.

A man in a hat was talking to a man with a beard about why the Rover 800 was better than a BMW 5 Series, whilst stood next to a Rover 75 with a plastic BMW badge stuck to the engine cover. This new world of appreciation of the mediocre was confusing me, so I slumped into a late model, wooden framed, canvas deckchair to ponder my findings.

How can there be so much love for these seemingly mediocre cars? How can it be that cars that were so average develop such a cult following years after the presses have stopped?

Longbridge, (the spiritual home of many of the cars on show at Rufford Abbey) was originally built in 1895 and made cars on and off for over a hundred years. For over a hundred years, ordinary lives of ordinary people have been touched by the Longbridge legend. The legacy of British Leyland, Austin Rover, Phoenix Consortium or whatever it was called at the time is huge. The amount of cars that come under the collective banners of the companies really was monumental. Maybe your schoolteacher drove a Montego. Perhaps your family holidays were in a Marina, or your first company car was an Austin 1800, or you learnt to drive in a Mini. Somewhere, at some point in your life, you’ll have come across a Longbridge car.

The point is, when it comes to buying, driving, restoring and cherishing classic cars, we don’t just want to re-live and cherish moments from the past; we want to relive and cherish moments from our past. The Ferrari F40 was the poster car of my youth, but I can’t relate to it – it never reached me. On the other hand, when Uncle Martin arrived at our family home in his dark grey Rover Coupe around 1994 my eight-year-old self thought it was the coolest car in the whole world.

For all of their pitfalls, for all of the head gasket rumours and unreliability and build quality issues that are part and parcel of the British Leyland and Rover cars; the fact of the matter is that they reached a lot of people. Yes, some were rubbish cars, yes, they probably still are, but the sentimental value of a memory can’t be bought for love nor money. There are so many classics out there that the glossy magazines skip over, “but Grandad had one as his last company car and kept it until he passed away, and even though it’s a worthless Rover 216 saloon, to our family, it’s priceless”.

With all the glamour and grandeur that is so prevalent in the classic car scene, with constant updates on the latest seven figure sales and stories of vintage race cars being found in barns it’s as though we’ve forgotten why we love the things in the first place.

Over a hundred people gathered to watch the P6 Rover Club Prize Giving and raffle, and it was at this point, looking around at the crowd of assembled owners in front of a circle of 75 of the same car that I realised the well dressed gentleman had been right – they’re not all the same.

Having reattached the numberplates of the hire car, I reflected on the day. The reason we feel so attached to these rubbish old cars is because they’re memorable. Yes, it broke down, yes, the doors fell off, no it didn’t have any window winders, but at least it had character.

It’s not just the build quality and reliability that make modern cars so forgettable, we live in an age of cheap credit and for many drivers, it’s easier to finance a brand new car every two years than to keep the old family wagon on the road through successive MOTs. To so many people, the car is no more special than the cooker, or the toaster, or the freezer… just another expensive item that works until it breaks and then gets replaced.

As I let that thought linger, I stamped my foot into the carpet as hard as possible, desperately trying to coax some character out of my rented toaster. The little car didn’t moan, it just did what it was told, sped up, and took me away from Rufford Abbey. There was no drama, no tappet noise, no smell of leather, no hint of petrol in the air, and ultimately no lasting memory of the journey or the car. Was this a sign of things to come?

Only time can tell, but right now I’ve got to get on eBay to find a Rover P6 before the values hit seven figures or the park wardens bust me for breaking the cardinal rule of the Rufford Abbey One Way System in a rented toaster.

A journey into the heart of darkness – a morning in the Marrakech souk

This post was written by Geoff Thompson, a person who is in no way affiliated to, on the pay roll of, related to, involved with or even known to Good Shout Media. Sort of.

Guest Post:

A journey into the heart of darkness – a morning in the Marrakech souk

I sit drinking American Coca Cola and eating an Italian pizza on the balcony of a French restaurant in Morocco. The upper terrace is tranquil compared to the scenes below. I take advantage of the peace to hide from the relentless street traders and use the afternoon sun to simultaneously dry my swim shorts, bronze my skin, and charge my smartphone.

I’ve returned from the heart of darkness. A cold Coca Cola in the wide open square feels like truth and beauty amidst the melee.

The restaurant sits on the bank just south of the entrance to the jungle. From my second storey vantage point I can see the wonderings of those who venture further into its depths, the ebb and flow of the human traffic, all with looks of trepidation and anticipation, knuckles white from holding their chest mounted rucksacks as they prepare to enter the souk, hoping to buy bangles and delicacies but ready to reach for the antibacterial gel at the first sniff of trouble.

They enter cautiously, keeping away from the sides so as not to be snared close to the entrance. They set a central course at a steady pace and gradually leave the sunlight behind and progress into the darkness of the souk.

They navigate the marketplace with a nervous awe, looking, touching, holding, smelling, tasting, lusting and browsing stall after stall of products, each one a literal Alladins cave of endless opportunity, everything attainable for the right buyer, everything available from the right seller.

They won’t look the same when they return from the depths of the darkness. The ‘returners’ are a different breed. The madness of the Souk can change a man.

On their return the pace is slow and pointless, their gaze fixed yet distant, the excitement replaced by loss and bewilderment. They leave the souk drained and stripped of purpose. They drift from side to side, no discernible heading to their course, no ambition in their step, ambling toward the light like drunks towards a sunset, laden with treasures in bags and in hands, armfuls of wondrous mysterious plunder.

Two Australians wear woolen hand made tea cosy hats and looks of utter despair in the thirty five degree heat. A lanky Swede sports a Rolex wristwatch and a Touareg ceremonial war mask, yet has no idea why. A family of Norwegians confusedly clutch wooden camels, polished shades of teak and walnut burr, beautiful yet pointless, handcrafted yet worthless. A skinny German in his mid twenties wears a satchel of fine leather, having never in his life considered purchasing such a product.

The stench of confused consumers reeks in the afternoon heat, dirhams are exchanged indiscriminately – what enters as hard currency exits as worthless tat.

Oh the horror!

What terrible confusion in this, the heart of darkness.

Having escaped from the depths of the souk I think of England, the land of the pure and true, so many miles away from this land of plunder, this savage wilderness where Trading Standards never surfaced from beneath the vicious rolling tide of today’s ‘special price’. The western concepts of chip and pin, receipts and the description of goods act all drowned in an ocean of the unnecessary and the bizarre.

This jungle of consumption is a dangerous free-for-all, trade without limits, sales without scruples.

England, land of the free, home of the brave.

You won’t be locked in a traders stall and forced to exchange your currency for cut rate tat in England.

You won’t have to fight off hordes of salesmen all anxious to pry the pennies from your pockets in England.

You won’t have to buy a bangle of bone for every minute with a monkey in England.

The dark, brutish commercial practise of the souk is abhorrent to us enlightened westerners – it is savage, primal, prehistoric and dangerous.

Us enlightened westerners are far above all that.

We like our salesmen to be impeccably presented with a script well rehearsed.

We like our products to be arranged with clinical precision, symmetrically placed under artificial lights beneath the knowing glare of giant, beautiful, airbrushed idols.

We need our Rolex watches to be presented in photoshopped glory on the inside cover of glossy magazines.

We need our tat to be spread over a two minute segment between airings of our favourite television program.

We need the monkey to be clean and talkative and selling toilet paper.

We don’t have time to barter over price, just give it to us marketed and branded and gift wrapped so we can ignore the 75% profit margin.

Oh the horror, the horror!

I order another Coke, then leave fifty euros and the shirt off my back to make up for a morning of haggling over prices.

We come from the West and oggle at the complexities of business relations in the souk, blind to the fact that the connection between trader and client, between product and price, between value and worth; the central pillars that hold up the purchasing process are entirely lost within western consumer society.

We come here to barter with poor men over pennies to return home and be ripped off by rich men over pounds.

We work jobs we hate to finance products the television told us we wanted, to put in the house we won’t own for decades.

We walk around shopping malls knowing the clothes are substandard and overpriced yet we queue up at cash registers like lemmings off a cliff.

We pay good money for crap products made by poor workers and marketed by well paid geniuses because ‘that’s the way it is’.

The true heart of darkness lurks not within the seedy confines of the old world souk but within the veneer and sheen of everything that motivates and controls humans within the western capitalist machine.

It is vile to its core yet the developed world carries on regardless whilst the poor nations attempt to play catch up, ensnaring the people with the enchantment of exported status symbols and brand names, selling the bandwagon of unreality, until all nations tear down the forests and rip up the grass to build shopping malls and parking lots so humans have somewhere to spend thier wages on worthless products that they use to impress their wealth and prominence upon others.

Oh the horror, the horror!

I consult my €20 Breitling wristwatch and rush to catch my plane, towing a suitcase full of wooden camels, bronze bangles, counterfeit Calvin Kleins and replica Rolexes; gifts for friends and family who will laugh at what they see as the amusing unreality of a counterfeit product – when the reality in which these status symbols and brand names actually exist is a more bizarre illusion than a penniless Arab riding a stinking donkey through a sewage ridden city whilst wearing a Rolex Submariner.

Wake up, world, it’s time we all stopped living in Disneyland and started thinking about doing something worthwhile as a species.

Or we could carry on exactly as we are and wait for everyone to own a Range Rover and a Rolex but what’s the point in that…?

Bristol Classic Car Show 2014: Alternative Report

This post was written by Geoff Thompson, a person who is in no way affiliated to, on the pay roll of, related to, involved with or even known to Good Shout Media. Sort of.

Guest Post:

‘Trouble at the top… Conflict, Fear and Loathing in the competitive world of professional car club exhibiting’

Car enthusiasts enjoyed a sun drenched weekend at the Bristol Classic Car Show, which is cunningly titled to make customers think it’s in Bristol when it’s actually in the middle of nowhere.

Around 300 classic cars filled the main auditorium, three huge event marquees and even the vacated cow sheds of the agricultural Showground.

Owners Club Displays lined the halls, with only a few clubs complaining about the smell of urine in the cow sheds, although the Riley Owners Club insisted that the smell was fine before the Jowett Drivers Club arrived.

Over 70 car clubs were competing for a plethora of awards, which included ‘Best Display’, ‘Best Car’, ‘Best Hat’, ‘Baldest Head’, ‘Least Coordinated Outfit’, ‘Highest Combined Member Age’ and of course the coveted trophy for the ‘Club That Promotes The Least Interesting Type Of Vehicle’, which the Rover 200/400 Owners Club has proudly held since the car was launched.

Out in the public classic car car park the car snobbery was rife. Some of the car clubs thought the general public ought not to be allowed to judge whether or not their car is a classic, and tried to implement a judging system to “wheedle out the crap” .The Riley Owners Club caused trouble again by joining with the Alvis Owners Club, Early MG Club and the Jaguar E Type Club, who were all reprimanded by event staff for trying to roll a 1990s BMW 3 Series Cabriolet into the path of the Bath & West Railway train.

The Riley Owners Club weren’t the only club to be cautioned by event staff. The Imp Club received a severe talking to for bringing the classic car world to a standstill by starting a rumour that Mike Brewer had been found dead. Their antics were only discovered when event staff became suspicious and drove to the nearest pub to use the internet, because no one in the history of the world has been given the WiFi password for Bath & West Showground.

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Sunday’s classic car auction was full of surprises, when a Vauxhall Calibra actually sold to a customer who had deliberately and consciously placed a bid. “I couldn’t believe that my Calibra only sold for £300, I bought it for £2000 and it’s recently had a £7000 restoration” said Mr S Hitcar from Somerset, who said he was using the funds to purchase a Rover 400.

The autojumble was the noisiest area of the show, with the sound of hands rifling through boxes of MG door handles and window winders only drowned out by the constant booming of drum and bass music that was coming from the Ford RS Owners Club stand.

Outside in the traders zone a full schedule of well attended demonstrations took place, including ‘how to replace a head gasket on a Rover using nothing but an old coat hanger and an egg’ and ‘how to strip a 1970s Escort for parts when you need to be very quiet, don’t have much time to spare and can’t find the keys’.
Many of the vehicles in the main arena were for sale, although a white 1978 MGB failed to garner any interest at all “I keep asking if anyone wants to buy an MG” said Jayne Smith, of Bath “but it’s like I’m selling AA Membership, people just say ‘already got one thanks’. How can everyone already own an MGB? Even the caterers say they have one at home”.

The awards ceremony presented few surprises, with the Pre War Morris Society taking the ‘Best Hat’, ‘Least Coordinated Outfit’ and ‘Highest Combined Member Age’ all at once. No one could touch the Rover 200/400 club in the ‘Club That Promotes The Least Interesting Type Of Vehicle’ award.

“It’s been a great event” said Geoff Jefferson of the Triumph Tiara Club “Next year we will be better prepared, there’s a committee meeting on Monday and the chairman wants silverware, so we’re hoping to be the first car club to send a man into space”

And with that, a horde of classic cars left Bristol Classic Car Show for the long journey back to Bristol.

NEC Classic Motor Show 2013: Alternative Report

This post was written by Geoff Thompson, a person who is in no way affiliated to, on the pay roll of, related to, involved with or even known to Good Shout Media. Sort of.

Guest Post:

The Classic Motor Show at the NEC is a big event in the Classic Car Enthusiast calendar, and being from Birmingham, we were looking forward to it. The NEC is a 45 minute drive from home and I figure that my younger brother Jake won’t appreciate the cold if I turn up with the MGF’s top down, but when he jumps in the car he immediately asks “is the roof broken or something?” So we drop the top and hit the road.

At 27 and 22, Jake and I are on the younger side of classic car enthusiasts, so we’ve developed a set of rules for attending classic shows. It’s important to note we love cars, we love driving but we can’t stand dull car talk – we are more ‘Fast and Loud‘ than ‘Wheeler Dealers‘. We don’t care if the indicators aren’t period correct or whether it’s the original factory colour; we want to know if it’ll smoke the tyres going sideways or get down Broad Street in under a minute on a Saturday night.

The rules we’ve created are as follows:

1. Don’t join an owners club
2. Don’t buy anything
3. Don’t talk to anyone

We also rack up a points system for overheard conversations, 5pts for ‘you know, I had one just like this‘, 10pts for ‘although that’s not a factory colour’, 15pts for ‘of course the later models were fitted with the 3.2‘ and so on.

Our plan is to get in, oggle fast sexy cars (and maybe some hot promo girls), get some free loot and get the hell out before anyone offers us a thirty quid chamois. We ditch the MGF next to a Corvette and a Monaro and instantly forget where we parked it. We’re still 200ft from the show entrance when I score the first points. An MG Midget scoots past and the chap behind us used to have one just like that.

Vauxhall Cavalier

After being fleeced for forty quid at the gate we are consulted by a host of Vauxhalls, a company that’s number one on my list of ‘companies whose cars I definitely don’t want to own‘. Don’t get me wrong, some of their cars are excellent – I’ve recently driven three of their cars, two of them were incredibly fun and had 6.2 litre engines and the other one was a hire car. Vauxhall are celebrating 25 years of the Cavalier, which seems to me like celebrating having a wart for a very long time. I’m offended by the beige F plate atrocity on the stand, I don’t want to see a Cavalier covered in polish and shining I want to see it in a canal and sinking or on fire, ideally both. It makes me feel sick. It’s not even an SRi. When we see a group of males admiring a Nova I start to think we don’t belong here. I owned an SR Nova – I got it free and sold it for a tenner. It broke down between junction 3 and 4 of the M5 in the same spot every day for a week. We abandon the Vauxhall stand in search of real cars.

Vauxhalls aside, there are some seriously tasty cars at the show. Anyone who’s grown up loving cars will always appreciate a supercar like an F40 or a Countach, and seeing these calendar cars in the flesh is always a treat. I get the same excitement seeing an XJ220 in 2013 as I did watching it on Top Gear in 1992, before Jeremy lost his hair and became bitter. Only these days at £169,000 it seems like a bit of a bargain.

Around 11am the inevitable happens – we’re on the MG Owners Club Stand. Jake is laughing and telling me to sign up already while I’m reading the 10 reasons why I should join and trying to find a reason I should join. I try on an MG sports jacket and secretly quite like it – though I could never do that to myself. We leave without even buying a keyring and no one mentions head gaskets.

At this year’s show there’s the option to take a 10 mile passenger ride in a dream car, starting at £10. It’s all for charity and looks like a laugh. Though we’re tempted by a thirty quid spin in an Escort Cosworth, we have more fun debating how much trouble we’d get in if we bailed the owner into the boot and took the Cossie on the kind of joyride that sent insurance premiums through the roof in the 1990s. We decide the Cossie terror run is more trouble than it’s worth, drool over a fleet of De Tomasos and then call lunch time.

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The ‘King Donut‘ is the long wheel base model of the popular Filled Donut; has a v8 sized cream centre and is finished in chocolate icing with optional caramel trim. It’s the muscle car of the pastry world – it’s huge. We tick all the options and plump for the King Caramel. Values are strong at the show, with variants consistently changing hands for around £2.

The King Caramel is intense. Jake actually finishes his gargantuan pastry but I’m not even half way through before considering a return to the Vauxhall stand to throw up inside the Cavalier. Maybe I can pay them thirty quid for the pleasure.

I’m still feeling nauseous when Mike Brewer’s voice starts booming from a sound system. He’s spouting nuggets of wisdom about ‘lubbly jubbly bargain bangers’ whilst sporting a leather jacket he borrowed from the 1990s. Celebrity or not, I’ve no idea why anyone would buy a car from this man. Mike is with his best mate Ed who is predictably wearing his patented combo of too many T shirts and bed hair. What a stylish pair. We head off in search of coffee somewhere that Mike’s voice can’t reach.

Near the Meguiars stand we find two seats and two coffees and sit down to review the day so far. I’m in love with a ’70s Opel GT with non-original wheels and aftermarket mirrors, whilst Jake is trying to work out if he can finance a 1989 Guards Red 911 or a 2013 Quattroporte. I point out he’s not a 1980s stock broker or in the mafia, but he shares my view on classic car ownership – he doesn’t care, he just wants the car.

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A couple in their mid-sixties approach and ask if anyone is using the two spare chairs at our table, so we invite them to join us. I try to work out where they sit in the classic car spectrum, and finally conclude that they probably drove here in a Triumph of some sort and are card carrying club members. After small talk we ask the gent which car he would take of all the cars in the show, stating the two of us had unanimously agreed on the F40. He says the insurance and parts cost would be too high on that car, and that he’d probably take a Triumph Stag. He missed the point entirely, but then confirms my suspicions: he already owns a Triumph Stag. The Stag is in the garage right now, they do 1500 miles per year in it and the only stand they’ve visited so far today is The Triumph Stag Owners Club stand. We finish our coffee and I wonder how much Vauxhall would charge me to hit the Cavalier with a hammer. Heck, I could probably get a cheap hammer in the autojumble.

It’s important to remember the rules when at the autojumble:

1. Don’t join an owners club
2. Don’t buy anything
3. Don’t talk to anyone

We both own cars that work. They don’t need hand crafted carpets or monkeywax polish, we don’t collect toys and have outgrown neon lights. Back when I had real classic cars I would have searched for hours through indicator housings and inlet manifolds but the MGF has these things. Jake drags me away from a pair of leather driving gloves and I point out that a wooden steering wheel will add nothing to his Suzuki Bandit. I try on a set of Jaguar overalls for the same price the Phoenix Four paid for Rover and Jake tries a leather jacket worth more than a high mileage MGF. I can’t make a satisfactory deal on a hammer so we go in search of more coffee and freebies.

We come up trumps at the Classic and Sports Car stand, where they’re giving away a tool kit with magazine subscriptions. I think we can talk our way into the tool kit without signing up but Jake insists we do it properly, so we both walk off with new screwdrivers. Well, it is fun getting stuff in the post isn’t it?!

On the way out we have another look at the Morgans before collecting our coats and heading into the cold. As we exit I offer Jake a thousand pounds in cash if he can tell me the name of the car park where we last saw the MG. He can’t, and neither can I. I approach a staff member who doesn’t crack a smile when I say “excuse me have you seen an MG?”. I consider asking him to put out a lost person announcement for Geoff, twelve years old with black mohair and a silver coat.

We eventually find the MG exactly where we left it, not before drooling over a Mercedes 280 in the car park, which has aged far better than the ’99 E55 AMG next to it. The car cranks into life, so we drop the roof and try to find an exit that doesn’t involve paying the £10 parking fee. We fail, and screech away from the NEC looking to spend our remaining cash on Sunday lunch, long before the crowds start to crawl out of the huge car parks.

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On the way home we debate the cars at the show, the people and the classic car ‘thing’ whilst I get us hopelessly lost and we decide Solihull is a good place for food. The show has been great, it’s fun for all the family and really does offer something for everyone – sure, we can be cynical because we’re still young enough to enjoy a good poke with the right foot and don’t yet care for part numbers but that stuff will come with age. The show has been well attended and considering the newspapers are saying everyone is broke, the traders all seemed happy.

I make a last minute decision to leave the roundabout one exit early and hit the sweeping bend a little faster than I would have liked…. The back end gets loose and the rear wheels decide they’d like to have a go at being at the front. With such a short wheelbase and rear engine/rear drive, it’s easy to see why these little MGs aren’t used as drift cars… Thankfully the roads are empty because everyone in the world is trying to find indicator housings and chamois cloths for less than thirty quid at the autojumble; so I catch the drift, then deal with it biting back the other way and get Geoff back in a straight line. Crikey, that was a big one! We both nervously kill ourselves laughing and Jake points out that if I hadn’t caught that slide then the MG would have been in the river. I tell him if that was the case then we would have left it there, dried off and gone to buy another one.

I love owning a cheap MG, I’ve been there and done that but I’m not quite ready to buy the T-shirt.

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Eastnor Land Rover Show 2014: Alternative Report

This post was written by Geoff Thompson, a person who is in no way affiliated to, on the pay roll of, related to, involved with or even known to Good Shout Media. Sort of.

Guest Post:

Land Rover lovers from around the country descended on Eastnor this weekend so they could all get stuck in the same field, tug each other off and then drive home.

The show, which was attended by around 300 wellies has been running for over 40 years. The two day event offers plenty to see, including Land Rover displays, Land Rover parts for sale, Land Rover demonstrations, Land Rover clothing and other Land Rover related things.

Rain hammered down throughout Saturday but this only served to excite the Land Rover community who proudly paraded around in wellies and Land Rover branded clothing, happy as pigs in shit, saying things like ‘a bit of mud never hurt anyone’ and ‘we love a bit of rain, that’s why we drive Land Rovers’.

Also on sale were the famous Land Rover ‘One Live. Live It’ stickers, which can be seen on most of the vehicles that had driven to the muddy field and not moved for 2 days whilst the owners got drunk and talked about Land Rovers.

Over 4 people gathered to watch the Winching Demonstrations in the main arena, where Lord Mauricethwaite of Thistlehampton talked about rope, different ways to use rope, different types of rope, how to tie your rope to your Land Rover and how to tie your Land Rover to your rope without accidentally killing yourself.

On Sunday the awards ceremony caused quite a stir when the Best in Show award was controversially won by a Land Rover.

After 2 days of rain the Land Rover fans were ecstatic to find that the field was muddy enough to warrant tugging each other off, and the roar of V8 engines could be heard around the field as Land Rover owners realised that thick, claggy mud often meant that the maxim of ‘You can go fast, I can go anywhere’ doesn’t always apply.

The event that pulled the biggest crowd was watching a Range Rover attached to a Defender attempting to pull one of the traders vans out of it’s muddy patch, which in Land Rover circles is the same as watching a threesome with two buff men and a fat girl.

All in all the event was a positive experience, and leaving the show there were smiles all round, particularly from my car, as we effortlessly cruised down the perfectly smooth tarmac of the motorway past a convoy of noisy, muddy, slow moving Land Rovers.

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