In recent weeks I have, for one reason and another, done a lot of travelling between home, in the Forest of Dean, and Cheltenham, 30 or so miles North along the old Roman road that is the A48. After the first week it struck me how many classic or generally interesting cars I had seen on the way. The Welsh border counties (Gloucestershire, Monmouthshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire etc) are something of a hot spot for classic and vintage vehicle activity. Half the Vintahge Sports Car Club appears to reside in the area for a start and while Vintage Bentley are still a rarity it’s not at all uncommon to find yourself tagging slowly along a country road behind a 90 year old traction engine on route to a Steam Rally, or an elderly Fergusson tractor (aren’t they small compared to the modern ones!?) which might still be doing daily farm work after 6 or 7 decades. Likewise there is many a Morris Minor still taking someone or other down to the shops and MGBs, original Minis and Mk1 Ford Escorts by the handfull in daily use. I used to run a Ford 100E Popular (1172cc, side vale with 3 speed box and vauum wipers that stopped when you went up hill…) as my daily driver, even in mid winter, and before that a Reliant Scimitar GTE. Even my current Peugeot estate is a venerable 18 years old but I would not claim any ‘classic’ status for that one.
On my recent journeys the selection has widened considerably so I started keeping a note. After another week I spotted a real rarity, an early Healey (pre “Austin…” ) and didn’t know which model so remembered to would be on my car dash-cam. That led to the sudden realisation that you can sometimes get a fairly reasonable snap-shot from the digital film it produces and check out exactly what that fleeting glance of something interesting actually was. In this case it was a Healey Elliot Saloon (above left) , only 101 of which left the factory betwen 1946 and 1950.
Not long after this a Fiat 124 Spyder appeared out of a side turning (above left) the following day I tailed an extremely smart red Triumph TR3 on the alternative route to Cheltenham via Ross on Wye and the M50 (above right)and in town saw a Rolls Royce of the 3-box school of car styling which I guess (I am not much up on Rolls Royce model types) would be late 1980s ? Terrifyingly that would make it 30 years old already.
Untill seeing the Healey I’d let the camera (intended to exonerate the owner in case of road-traffic accidents or speed traps) do it’s thing and just ‘loop’ record over the top of earlier material after about three days. Unless it was something different had been worth re-watching, usually wildlife…we get a lot of that round here, like this deer (below) that suddenly appeared in front of my in road daylight recently . As a result I saw, but hadn’t bothered to rewatch the footage at all those classics noticed earlier, which had now been recorded over.
The cars seen included (but are by no means all of them):
- Lotus Europa
- Land Rover Series 1
- Jaguar XJ6 (the sort “Arthur Daley” drove on TV in MINDER
- Modern day Ford Mustang
- Pre war Morris Minor,
- 2 Austin A35s ( one towing a trailer!)
- Pre-war Aston Mark Mk11
- Morgan Aero JAP 3 wheeler
- Austin 7 Ruby
- 1959 Chevy Pick-Up
- Morgan Plus 4
- Dodge Challenger
- TVR Tuscan Speed 6
- Triumph Herlad Estate
- Bond Bug 3 wheeler
- Mk1 Escort Mexico
- Mk4 Cortina estate (that one lives locally)
- What may have been a BMW 328 (Didn’t get a good view)
- Ford Model A Hot Rod (with no mudguards…)
- Jaguar XJS, numerous XK8s and some F Types
- Several modern Bentleys
- Early 70s Porsche 911 (no spiler, no big arches)
- Several modern Ferraris
- Several modern Astons (gone are the days when they were so rare you remember every one…)
Aside from what was on the road there’s a lot parked up alongside. There is a yard with a Triumoh Herald and no less than three unrestored Morris Minors parked up. A little spray shop with an MGB GT , a VW Beetle, an early bulbous-style Austin A40 and something else I could not make up under a sheet inside the open door. This has all been seen within three weeks, and mostly before the ‘summer holiday’ season really began.
By far the oddest thing captured on dash-cam, and this is one I did think to keep a still of, was a tiny 49cc French “sans permit” MINI COMTESSE minrocar (left) which is a mid 1970s 3 wheeled single seater that French youths and those already banned from driving were allowed to potter around in without having first passed any kind of test or even bought a licence… Unfortunately it was raining that day so the picture is rubbish but I have never seen another one on the road!