British Car Day
Trentham Memorial Park, Upper Hutt
February 13 2011
by Bryan Lawrence
Despite some indifferent weather forecasts, Sunday 13 February 2011 proved to be fine, sunny, hot and with very little breeze to worry the sun umbrellas gazebos and other portable shade that was very welcome on the day. It was good to see 5 Leyland P76s line up in the allocated space (thanks Paul, Merv, Rob, Brian and Ron), although it would have been nice to see a few more cars from a bit further afield. Including a few people who travelled to the show "by other means" I counted 17 people gathered at the club site.
As a member of the British Car Day organising committee, I didn't get to spend much time with the group, but I did manage a quick bite to eat and to see wee Baby Jack Walker being presented with some cool infant-sized Leyland P76 T-shirts. I'm not sure he'll still be able to wear them by the time he inherits Great-Granddad Ron's Targa replica, but I guess by then he'll be buying his own T-shirts!
It was interesting to see the reaction of the visiting British High Commissioner, Vicki Treadell, who, despite being a confessed British car fan, had never encountered a P76 before. She was intrigued by the 44 gallon drum in the boot of Brian & Colleen Francis' car.
The British Car Day organisers were quite chuffed to get Vicki (and her Jaguar XF Diesel Turbo - Rego DC1) to our show. We have been visited in the past by carriers of Rego DC1 (also Jaguars), but it hasn't happened for a while, and this is the first time the British High Commissioner has visited in person. They along with the Governor's General send their chauffeur along with the car generally.
We had hoped to organise a parade of silver-painted British cars to commemorate this, the 25th running of British Car Day, but alas, trying to organise a disparate bunch of car enthusiasts is like trying to herd cats, so we gave up and instead had an "all comers" parade around the park, lead by the British High Commissioner's Jaguar XF. I'm probably biased, but the sight (and sound) of our 5 Leyland's driving "line astern" was the best part of the parade!
Don Ryder's D-Type Jaguar replica was the deserved recipient of the "People's Choice" award, and the Wellington MG Car Club took away the "Best Club Display" award. A few spot prizes were dished out, and in keeping with recent tradition a P76 club member won a prize. This time Brian Francis won a T-shirt (which I think Colleen snaffled.) A couple of weeks previously in Dannevirke, Merv and I won spot prizes. Rob is beginning to think there is a conspiracy out to deprive him of spot prizes! Tough. Suck it up, Man!
The number of cars on display again exceeded 400 (said to be 429) and the resulting gate takings and other donations mean we expect to make a donation to Wellington Free Ambulance as good as, or better than last year.
Many thanks must go to Rob Jones for waving the banner and persuading so many British car owners to make the journey over "the hill" to attend our event.
Many thanks, too, to the Central Group Club members who attended. This is a fun event to help organise. We always have a good time, and to be able to make a reasonable donation to Wellington Free Ambulance as a result is just "icing on the cake".