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The Richardsons rally around Europe


A report by Bob and Val Richardson

An early Vanguard hiding in a corner at Autoworld Brussels

Our feet have finally touched the ground after being away for the best part of the last few weeks. We meet up for time away with several groups of friends each year, some with classic cars and others are old work colleagues. Most people wish to go away as soon as the schools are back for a quieter time, being the age we are, and while the weather is still relatively warm. We have been very lucky this year with the weather.

Our first break was with the Standard Club on the Cotswold Tour organized by Phil and Lynda Homer. The company was excellent, the food good and we visited some very interesting venues as described in a previous report. We had a great time and Hattie, our 1934 Standard Ten Avon Tourer, behaved immaculately. We are not fast, but will tick along all day at a steady pace.

No sooner were we back home than we had to run round to get ready for our second holiday. For the second time we joined a group of friends for a coach tour to Europe, taking in car museums and collections. Our first day travel, via the Shuttle, took us to Brussels where we were to spend our first night. That evening we did some sightseeing, the Grand Place and the Mannequin Pis, after an excellent meal. It was a beautiful balmy evening too.

Next day was our first Motor Museum, Autoworld Brussels, which is situated on a hill overlooking the city, housed in a magnificent historic building surrounded by parkland and fountains.


A great many of the cars here were part of the Mahy collection (which we were to visit later on), and went right through the history of the motor car. Minerva models were plentiful, it being a major manufacturer in Belgium. Imperia got a mention too (whatever happened to the lovely Imperia which was shown in Bristol quite a few years ago?). There were quite a few British cars, Austin, Swallow, Jaguar and tucked away in a corner two Standards, a fifties Ten and a Vanguard. I did my best to get photos, which I will send with this report, not sure they are worthy of publication though, as they were in awkward situations. n fuel was at a premium, there is nothing new!

One surprise was seeing a small electric city car made in 1947. We also went to the Daf Museum in Eindhoven, I didn’t realize they made such a variety of vehicles from their well-known little saloons to amphibious and military models, all using the unique variomatic transmission.

We travelled on to Amsterdam visiting the Ford Museum, 170 vehicles from 1908 to 1948. We were given an excellent guided tour by an enthusiastic volunteer who spoke fluent English. They even have a replica of the very first vehicle built by Mr Ford in his shed, apparently he had to dismantle the shed to get it out! The collection went right through all the models made by Ford, including a very good collection of commercials.

After a day off from cars visiting a diamond factory, (no he didn’t buy me one, but I did try on some rings costing many thousands), and doing the obligatory canal boat trip, we travelled back to Ghent for an overnight stay (broken by a group of drunken Frenchmen, it isn’t only the Brits who have a hooligan element).

We went on to visit the Mahy collection. This collection consists of 750 vehicles collected by one family! I cannot begin to list the marques of vehicles here, from 1894 Rochet-Schneider to a 1992 Honda NSX. All I can say is that by this time I was beginning to feel a bit car-worn! It was then back home in our luxury coach, by far the best way to get around and see a lot of places. Visits were well organized and we were just dropped off by the door and picked up again at the end.

The Ford Museum

Our final trip away was with a group of classic car friends who we met up with on the "Automobile" magazine rallies. We travelled to Great Malvern where we were staying for the duration. On our way up we saw a plethora of VW Caravanettes, it was the big annual Vanfest on the Malvern Showground and these were people departing from there to make their way home before the rush! We again travelled in the Standard, which behave well, although I was a bit nervous of the hilly geography in that area, but she manages well. We did avoid the worst hills in the town. Highlights for Bob were the visit to the Morgan factory and the TVR specialist in Inkberrow.

After this I have plenty of "brownie points" to use up for what I would like to do; now where shall we go ….?

Val Richardson

Below, The Standard 10 in Autoworld

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