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Our 2023 National Weekend at Peterborough and the Baston Classic Car Show


This year’s National Weekend was another great success. Read on to see what you missed or to
relive some wonderful memories. 

Our base hotel was the Holiday Inn at Peterborough. Our rooms (considerably discounted!) were
comfortable with views over the grounds, while the ca r park was ideal – huge. As usual, the hors d’oeuvre for the weekend was our AGM. It passed smoothly and quickly without any contentious issues. Peter Sheppard, our membership secretary, told us that our membership number has slightly reduced again, but this is only to be expected as our cars get older and become less fashionable than the cars of the 1970’s-1990’s that attract many younger enthusiasts today. Margaret Campbell, our accountant, revealed how much the establishment of the Armstrong Siddeley Centre and the expense of moving our stock of parts from Conkwell to Pentre has cost so far. She also reassured us that we are not destined for Carey Street thanks to the generous donations given by many members and the hard w ork of our volunteers who have assisted in these endeavors. When the dust settles these improvements to the club and the running of its parts operation will benefit all of us. By now there were thirteen Armstrong Siddeley’s in the car park and members spent a convivial evening in the hotel.

SpecialRadOn Saturday we motored out to the Nene Valley Heritage Railway where our cars made an impressive line up outside the station. Andrew Braban, Chris Palframan and David Welch stayed with the 18 Armstrong Siddeley’s ensuring no owners need worry about going off for the day. People headed up and down the railway line, stopping en-route to sample the tea rooms and go off for a walk before returning to collect their cars and head back to the hotel to prepare for the annual dinner. But one car was suffering from a puncture and because the wheel in question was resting in a slight pothole there was insuffcient space to insert a jack. Instantly the assembled drivers and mechanics split into various teams – there were those who supported building an A frame to hoist the car into the air, whilst others thought excavating a trench under the car so that a giant lever could be inserted would yield the best solution. Others made helpful suggestions or watched from the sidelines, whilst a couple of us took advantage of the photo opportunity presented by the episode. Meanwhile the car’s owner and a couple of our club directors set about changing the wheel.

Our annual dinner was well received, the food was good as was the service by just five young girls. Conversations flowed continuously and the well supported raffle following the meal raised just over £300 which went a good way to covering the costs of the weekend. It was a warm evening but the air conditioning in the dining room kept us comfortable and there was a welcome open air terrace outside as well.

National Day called for an early start for all of us as we had to be on site at the Baston Car Show some 20 miles from the hotel well before the public were admitted. Our hotel began serving breakfast that day from 6.45am just for us. Some members travelled direct from their homes and had much longer journeys, so all credit to those intrepid souls. Our reserved space was admirable, being situated at the top end of a long avenue of exhibitors cars, right outside Grimsthorpe Castle. We had just under 30 cars on our stand and the overall effect was certainly impressive. Space prevents mentioning every car but three that caught my attention particularly were the beautifully presented ex-Bryan Mcgee 17hp Sports Foursome now in the ownership of new member Angus Vinicombe, the Australian bodied 12hp now in
the hands of another new member Paul & Eryl Roberts, and certainly not least the characterful
12hp drophead campaigned by Mel and David Cowley. Doubtless everyone had their own favourites and to make a fair assessment you had to be there to see the selection of cars for yourself. But it is not just the cars that matter, the social side of the event is just as important, and the mixture of members made
for a delightful occasion. There were members of more than 50 years standing, new friends in their first year of membership and a whole cohort of folk who have spent the last year working on our new centre and moving the spares – this latter group thoroughly enjoying a ‘weekend off’. You could not have wished for a better mix of people, giving a wonderful garden party atmosphere.

234Just as Saturday’s puncture repair had provided light entertainment, so too did Sunday’s running
repairs. Rob & Sheila Pinner arrived in their Siddeley Special which was uncharacteristically noisy as their exhaust system had decided to start dismantling itself on arrival at the castle. Many legs were seen protruding from all sides of the car during the day, as the system was re-mantled! If left the stand somewhat quieter in the afternoon and we trust it arrived home safe and (subdued) sound.

All too soon it was time for our prizegiving as once again our collection of pots and trophies were re-distributed for another year – and this year the list of winners was truly international with trophies going to Belgium (Wim and Chris van Herwegen) the Netherlands (Edwin Bos and Sylvia Cats) and even Canada (Roddy Sergiades) as well as within the UK. Our thanks go to Iain Campbell as Chairman of the A/S Heritage Trust for presenting the awards in the absence of our President.

It was a wonderful day from start to finish – and I have not even mentioned the hundreds of other cars on display but I must mention the awe-inspiring moment when the Avro Lancaster of the RAF Memorial Flight made three passes over the show. Look at our Facebook page for coverage of this fine aircraft coming low over our cars.

David Welch

Posted in National on the 22nd September 2023 at 1:48pm.

Tags: National, Events