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"Dedicated to the preservation of Standard Cars 1903-1963"

Dedicated to the preservation of Standard Cars 1903-1963

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The Standard Club stand at Killerton 2016 – or The Tale of the Standard Flying Gazebo

The Devon group met up on Sunday 15th May for this popular spring rally.  We had been allocated a pitch for our cars and gazebo, which everyone was welcome to use throughout the day.

It was a fine sunny day, very little wind and we arrived early in our 4/8A with Ray and Julie Horne in their 1955 Vanguard Phase II to set up our gazebo and we were soon joined by John Rowe in his 1935 Standard 9.

Before long we were very pleased to be joined by Nick Jones with his 1952 Phase 1A Vanguard and Tony Smith from Bideford in his 1956 Standard 8 with automatic gearbox and rack and pinion steering, John and Brenda Worby in their Truimph 2000, Ray and Diane Ferris with their 1958 Standard Pennant (the Worby’s and the Ferris’s had found accommodation local to the National Trust property) and Chris and Marlene Perry-Smith in their 1946 Standard 14 Drop head Coupe.

And to complete the display John and Julia Pine with their 1933 Standard Little 9, John and Elspeth in their 1946 Standard 4/8A Tourer and finally Dennis Brown in his Triumph Dolomite, all the way from Wales.

It promised to be a busy and entertaining day, as the Killerton Trust were expecting 550 cars.  Little did we know it was also going to be quite such an unforgettable one too!! We set up our tea and coffee making facilities and all settled back to enjoy the lovely display of cars, catch up with friends and visit this delightful National Trust house and extensive gardens.

It was also great to catch up with Diane and Ray Ferris, Dennis Brown and John and Brenda Worby who we have not seen for several months, although we are looking forward to seeing them all again at the Standard International Rally in Worcester. That is one of the great things about this club, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.

After looking around at the various displays, Chris and I sat down to enjoy our lunch in brilliant sunshine, along with several members of our group.  

I had just started to make another pot of tea, when suddenly without any warning the side screens of the gazebo began to shake and billow madly and within a few seconds, one side of the gazebo ripped out of the guide ropes and flew up into the air and crashed back down again.  Several of us reacted by diving towards that corner to grab at ropes and loosen the clip on the sides.  Chris’s own dive took him straight into the washing up bowl but it was all to no avail, as another strong gust took the whole gazebo straight up into the air, where incredibly it appeared to hover for several seconds before crashing back down and rolling straight over a lovely Morgan Aero 8 parked in a display, behind our pitch.  

Fortunately, before the gazebo could take off again, several members of the public grabbed and held on to the now mangled mess of frame and cover.  Thankfully no one in the vicinity was hurt and the owner of the Morgan has been very understanding about the whole incident, although we have been very grateful that we notified the club that we were holding a club event and had the benefits of club insurance.

On a lighter note, while everyone was milling around, loads of the public came over to tell us that they had seen the whole thing, two chaps wandered up to our now exposed club’s own tea facilities and stopped to enquire if we were still selling teas, and on reflection I wish I had sold them a couple!!

Whilst we were all shocked by the suddenness of the incident we felt we had got away relatively unscathed and Ray Horne didn’t even lose one of those chips he was enjoying!

On one interesting note a chap sat on his own stand just behind us, told us prior to this incident, he had watched the pine needles around the bottom of a nearby tree start to spin rapidly, rise and then shoot off across the site towards our pitch.  Freak weather conditions, well I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Despite all the excitement we all continued to enjoy our visit to this lovely venue, the vast variety of cars and the pleasant company.  Several of us stayed to enjoy the last of the sunshine, whilst other entrants left for home in the usual crush.  A memorable day for all the right reasons, good company, a nice venue and lots of interest in our variety of Standard cars. Thanks to everyone who attended.

Linda & Chris Bowden