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Lynda Homer has sent this report on SMC 110 Celebration Weekend.
Congratulations! Standard Motor Company celebrations of 110 years of our cars (and 60 years of 8’s and 10’s)
SMC110@STAR90, a worthy birthday event!
Friday 17 May dawned, another fine day which was full of promise. We had aimed to take two cars to SMC110@STAR90, but this was not to be. The 1921 SLO had a fuel problem associated with the autovac in some way and it would start... but not run reliably. So by 11.30, without solving the issue, we called it a day and decided to take the Flying 12 only. This was loaded up and ready to go, we had solved the “Red Light” coming on by changing a fuse in the electrical cut out box. (See Report of the Anglia Run.)
So off we went, with anticipation of a great weekend. We were not to be disappointed. We followed a non motorway route using the A5, then cross country to our destination, Chesford Grange Hotel. At Leamington Spa we noticed a vibration which became irritating so decided to get the front wheels balanced at Qwick-
“It’s what you can tighten then to! Then be able to undo them when you need to!” having been stuck in the past when a garage had used a pneumatic thingy to put wheel nuts on and I was completely stuck on my own to untighten them,meaning the nice RAC man had to be called. We decided that we’d do the tightening ourselves! The garage bloke seemed to think I’d passed the test and the wheels were rebalanced, which was an improvement.
Soon we arrived at Chesford Grange, there was a buzz of anticipation and we soon met up with friends like Conan Lewis, Peter and Graham Lockley and others. We were warmly welcomed by Lesley Phillips and Vivienne Cunningham, in charge of the welcome desk. After a short break to unpack we met up with our fellow club members in the bar. There was some debate about the dress code for the Gala Dinner, another couple were anxious and we discussed what to wear, deciding that full evening wear was fine, but so was smart casual. I’d brought three different outfits to cover all bases!
The BBQ was brought indoors as the weather turned grey and chilly. We enjoyed the evening as it was a chance to meet up with other SMC members and mingle with other members of other Triumph clubs. A jolly and friendly start to our weekend.
After a night’s rest Phil and I got up early. We aimed to get to Prodrive to complete our cavalcade lap. What lovely countryside we drove through! Once at Prodrive the adrenaline levels rose. We upgraded to having the chance to do limitless laps without a pace car once we had had a briefing meeting and signed our lives away in a disclaimer. The test circuit was 4 lanes wide and we could circuit it at our own pace. The TR drivers were really going for it! The Flying 12 “flew” round beautifully. OK, we hit 55 mph at times but it felt faster on the bendy bits. Fantastic, the highlight, for us, of the weekend. It was lovely to see the good turnout of SMC members and cars, all having a really great time, all the vintage and post vintage cars performed wonderfully and so did the 8’s and 10’s, Vanguards etc. The only sad bit was Robin Wilson’s fan broke and pierced the radiator so he lost the water. We lent him a 2l bottle of water and he did get home, living to fight another day!
After this excitement we were up for anything! We drove to the museum at Gaydon. Peter and Graham Lockley were setting up our stand in readiness for the next day. The only trouble was we didn’t know how big it could be. All my training as a scientist came out. I paced out the space availbale and divided by 8. A dandelion was designated to mark the edge of our boundary and Peter and Graham set up our banner. David Hathaway arrived and with much ceremony measured things out with a tape, only to prove that the Lynda Step system worked just as well being only a few inches different! Once the gazebo was set up we breathed a sigh of relief and planned next steps. So we drove to Coventry where we parked up outside the Coventry Motor Museum in Millennium Square, which had been reserved for the use of STAR cars. There was a lovely atmosphere and a grand chance to talk to people, many of whom had worked at “The Standard” and knew the cars well. The museum has been much improved since my last visit and the coffee in the cafe is memorably good! Lots of mums and dads and children enjoyed our display which provided great publicity.
We returned to our hotel via Kenilworth, stopping for leisurely beer at the Green Man together with the “Lockley Boys”, spotting Steve and Marcia Collins’ Salmons bodied 1934 10hp en route.
In the evening we all got dressed up for the Gala Dinner where most of the 26 SMC members who booked through the club were able to sit together at tables near to the top table. Many of the men sported SMC ties or blazer badges. Everyone had made an effort, it was all very smart. Graham Robson led the speeches after the dinner, he interviewed David Richards, the Chairman of Prodrive and Aston Martin, and Fred Gallagher, (co-
Sunday meant an early start. We arrived at Gaydon in good time as we were one of the cars on the club stand. Though we were limited to 12 on the stand on the grassed area outside the museum there was ample space for a truly excellent display of around 50 SMC cars opposite. There were also a good number of SMC members in attendance in Triumph cars. We had two parades in the morning, one for pre war and one for post war standards. Graham Robson presented the commentary and called on Phil Homer to help, and gave a really good picture of the cars. There was another parade to celebrate the 60th birthday of the 8/10 in the afternoon. We had a great line up! John Huckle, who brought several of his fleet of Vanguards, won an award for the Special Break-
Some have said it was a shame we did not have more of the earlier cars present. As an owner of a 1919 and a 1921 car I can only say that maintenance of a really old car becomes an issue – we don’t have a trailer and we drive the cars everywhere. We have breakdown insurance but prefer to be confident in the car before setting off. I know other vintage owners agree. Even the difference between driving a 1921 car and our 1934 10 is really marked, even though there is only a few years difference. We have to treat the really oldies with oodles of respect!
At 12.30 on Sunday, Paul Newsome proposed a birthday toast for 110 years of SMC. He had organised a celebration cake and sparkling wine. There were around 70 club members and associates on our stand to help us celebrate. It was an art to cut the cake so there was enough for all! We were pleased to welcome Simon Goldsworthy of Triumph World to our Stand. Simon has recently taken on the restoration of a Flying 8.
All in all a great time was had by all. SMC members and cars were made to feel very welcome indeed. Of course there were lots of Stags, TR’s etc present. That’s what you’d expect. It felt a really worthwhile weekend to celebrate an important birthday for our marque. A few “thank you”s from me go to Brian Sparrowhawk for the administration by the TR Register, Chris Cunnington for his valued support and wisdom, Peter Lockley for organising our stand, Paul Newsome for the celebration part of Sunday, Lesley Philips for her good communication skills. Plus all the members of our club who helped us celebrate by attending. Our new regalia officer, Richard Hyde was pleased with sales of keyfobs etc. Oh, I forgot, someone fixed the good weather too, which was super!
Click any of the pictures on this page to see an enlargement.