Visit to Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust
MITCAR 2009 – Burghley House
CENTRAL & EAST MIDLANDS SECTION
Happy New Year to all AROC members on our region. We had a terrific time in 2009, and we're looking forward to some tremendous things in Alfa Romeo's centenary year.
Our full events calendar has been published on our local website www.aroc-uk.com/cemids and in our local newsletter, but since our last local news entries on the club's main website and December magazine we've added a few more attractions for the first quarter. Firstly, following on from the excellent vehicle dynamics talk at our November meeting from Peter Cambridge (ex-Prodrive Brera S project), courtesy of Bilstein employee Peter Brailsford from our Section, we have organised a guided tour of their UK Shock Absorbers operation at Broughton Astley in Leicestershire on Friday 22 January. The tour will be rather technical, but will include a fascinating insight into the world of vehicle suspension tuning. Our itinerary will be to meet at Bilstein's main reception at 10am, then touring the various departments concluding at around 12 when we'll then head of for a pub lunch at a local hostelry. Spaces are limited, so if you want to go please contact me as soon as possible to reserve your place – and places MUST be booked in advance. This behind-the-scenes tour is not available to the public of course, but it is another great AROC membership benefit!
Another addition is at the end of February, when on Sunday the 28th we'll enjoy a pub lunch followed by a visit to the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust centre at Browns Lane in Coventry. Entry to the impressive museum will be at a special low rate for our group. Again, if you wish to go, please contact me.
Our other great news for the new year is that our booking for Midlands Italian Car Day (MITCAR), our Sections premier event, is now formally confirmed at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire on Sunday 8 August.
Bryan Alexander has pulled off another cracking deal where entry will cost just £5 per Italian Car with discount admission to house and gardens for all occupants. We will have a prime site on the lawns in front of the house to the right of the main entry road. There's space for 800 cars, as proven by the TVR car club, so we should get on fine!
Looking back, on 9 December we enjoyed a special curry night followed by an illustrated talk from our club chairman Ed McDonough, held in a private room at The Griffin Inn in Swithland. Ed had some fascinating things to share with the 20 plus of us present, from his experiences as a race driver, commentator, journalist and author. Now as European editor of Vintage Racecar Magazine (subscription only in UK), he gets to drive some fantastic machinery and to meet some real racing legends. He got us laughing from the off – officially allowing us to say "You lucky b~stard" whenever we liked – for example – with his starting shot of him driving the Donington Collection's Alfa Bimotore! Of course it wasn't a one way thing, many questions flowed from the floor too which Ed gladly answered and explored.
Ed McDonough in the Donington Collection's Alfa Romeo Bimotore
Some of my own favourite bits were when Ed was describing doing the research for his book on the Alfa T33 racer, and getting to actually drive one – around the roads of an Italian industrial estate! Only in Italy as they say. Another – when getting a tow start driving a '67 Lola Indycar single-seater at the famous Italian Silver Flag hill climb and needing a tow-start from the Carabinieri in a 156, the armed police taking him onto a main road at well over 60 'til it fired and absolutely loving it! Anyway, there are far too many things to list here.. A huge thanks to Ed again for giving up his time for us, especially with his wife Nancy so poorly and who we're all thinking of.
By the time you read on Friday 8 January this we will have had our Section's New Year Meal at La Torre Italian restaurant on the High Street in Coalville. If it was anything like 2009's we'll have had a very good time there too.
One other regular event to be held again will be the Skittles Match against the Ferrari Owners' Club, now in its twelfth year, which will be held at The Griffin Inn on 26 February. Cost for that is £9 a head to include a meal and prizes – this one is payable in advance. Again, please contact me if you want to go.
Before that on 10 February we'll return to our regular meeting venue, the George & Dragon on the A512 near Thringstone. Starting at 7.30pm we'll be having a 'what's it worth' quiz, with a few nice prizes too.
Looking ahead a bit further, and on 12 to 14 March we have AROC@Race Retro, where special advance-booked indoor parking will be available to all AROC members, and a special AROC display of historic racing Alfa Romeos will feature, all at a very attractive price. It's always a very enjoyable show, and with its strong Alfa Romeo flavour this time will be a great start to Centenary celebrations.
As if that wasn't enough for first quarter activities we're also looking to book a mid-week visit to Lotus Cars near Norwich. Phew!
To get the very latest info on all of this and more, plus our full 2010 calendar, please see our local website www.aroc-uk.com/cem. Also, our free monthly eight-page printed newsletter, 'Alfisti', is posted to around 150 local members, and if you'd like to go on to the mailing list as an active member, please contact me by email at email@example.com.
Amberley Classic Car Picnic
Jim Stokes Workshops
At the time of writing this, the end of the club year has drawn to a close. But again, the year for us has been a very successful one for the section, with good attendances at all the monthly meetings and at which, we have also welcomed some new members which is always pleasing.
The first event of the year was in March, when we had Sunday lunch and a Skittles match at The Spur, a country pub in west Sussex. We were pleased to have Tony and Jane Powell join us for this event, which was a bit of a surprise. Tony had retired as our secretary to take up a post in the Ukraine, where they are at present living, but had come back to England for two weeks leave.
In May, many from our section did go to Spring Alfa day which we all thought was an excellent venue. Whilst entering the grounds and parking was chaotic for many visitors, most from our section got there reasonably early and had no problem.
One of the events we hold every year is the ever popular ' Bangers and Mash evening at the Good Intent pub in Petersfield. This year was no different as an enjoyable event, which we had in June.
Sunday, July 26th, the Amberlley Museum and Heritage Centre in west Sussex held a classic car and picnic day for cars built between 1955 and 1983. Some of us went to this and four entered their cars amongst the exhibitors. Gordon and Sue Stephenson came in their Giulia, Derek and Pauline Preston in the Spider, David and Jennifer in their GTV and Lauren Proctor in her eye catching Nova.
On Thursday 1st October, we were invited back to the Jim Stokes Workshops. His mechanics all come back in for the evening to answer questions and with the array of different priceless cars there, it really is a marvellous evening. This year was no exception for a real treat. For those who were at this years Goodwood Revival, you may have seen the recreated 1961 Ferrari 156 F1, otherwise known as the Sharknose.
This has taken 7 years of study, designing drawing and building for a client, getting expertise help and acquiring many original parts. The engine was fired up and several fast runs were made up and down the service road outside the workshops. That engine note, ricocheting between the other closed industrial units was marvellous. Just to remind you, Jim Stokes also recreated the 4 Lancia D50 F!'s and two Lancia Ferrari F1's for clients.
Christmas Lunch at the Pub With No Name
To finish our year off, we have just had our Christmas lunch on Sunday the 13th. Again this year, we held it at what is known as, ' the pub with no name '. Its isolated in open country and is really the White Horse, but the frame that should have its sign in, has been missing for decades. It really is an old fashioned pub as they were always once, but the food there is excellent, the parking good and they look after us very well. The reason its the fourth year we've had it there. The line up of Alfa's looked good from the 38 members who came, although a pity two had to park in the overflow field out of site. Everyone enjoyed themselves and it really was a grand finale to the year.
NORTH WEST SECTION
22 members and guests attended our November meeting at the Whipping Stocks. The roaring fire in the Whipping Stocks is always very welcoming at this time of year. The price of the beer is also very reasonable too!
Interestingly there have been many cars changing hands amongst fellow members recently.
Bruce McLaren has sold his 166 3.0 Lusso to Neil Curran. Neil is Mitch Clayton's stepson. This car has a very interesting past. It is an ex Alfa Romeo press car, registration number S628LJB. This car featured in the Autocar road test of the 166. It also appears in the Alfa Romeo Calendar as 'Miss Feb 1999'. Bruce was not using it as much as he liked and so rather than leaving it stored in the garage he decided to sell it. He has bought a very nice, 1 owner, low mileage (33000 miles) 156 1.8 Lusso to replace it and help soften his withdrawal symptoms.
In order to help finance the purchase of Bruce's 166 Neil sold his 155 to Darren Ward. This will keep Darren's two Alfasud project cars company, one of which is nearing the reassembly stage. Darren is now rapidly selling or swapping his stock Alfa 33 parts in order obtain parts for the 155.
They always say 'don't sell cars to friends and family'! Let us hope they are still all friends next month!
It was nice to see John Greatorix again. John is in charge of the workshops at Mangoletsi's and is always interesting to talk to and he gives helpful advice freely. John also specialises in Ferraris. It is pleasing to see John' s determination and hard work to make 'Mango's' workshop and the customer satisfaction it gives equal the so called premium brands such as BMW, Lexus, Jaguar etc. If you read the positive comments on some of the Alfa internet forums it is clear that it is paying off.
Dave Armstrong, Darren Ward and Graham Coates took the opportunity to visit the November monthly meeting of The Central & East Midlands Section. A guest speaker at the meeting was Peter Cambridge. Peter was a senior developer at Prodrive and worked on the Brera S project. This was a very interesting and informative talk.
The Cholmondeley Pageant of Power 17th & 18th July 2010
Roy Kelsall brought it to our attention that the section had been invited to display our cars at the 'Cholmondeley Pageant of Power' which takes place on the 17th & 18th July 2010 at Cholmondeley Castle and Gardens, Malpas, Cheshire SY14 8AH. Entry to the show is by free pass, applied for in advance. The pass admits the vehicle and its driver. They will make up to 20 free places available to us on each of the two days, making a potential for 40 cars to attend. Passengers are admitted at a discount. Children are free.
They have a track around the site, which is used for cars, bikes etc to do an exhibition drive, and is organised by the marshals. Entry to the track is by invitation only from Lord Cholmondeley. Anyone wanting to do the drive must apply, in advance and with photos of the vehicle, and Lord Cholmondeley picks the ones he wants to do the drive and then sends a personal invitation. There is no extra cost for this, but it is by his personal invite only. There appears to be no pattern to the cars he chooses. He appears to pick a wide cross section, some scruffy, some exotic, some ordinary!
The North West AROC Annual Dinner will be held on Thursday, 21 January 2010, 19:30 for 19:45.at the Legh Arms, The Village, Prestbury (near Macclesfield), Cheshire SK10 4AL and will cost around £22 per person for an a la carte three-course meal. The event is open to all members their partners and friends. If you wish to attend please contact Marinus by the first week in January (AlfaMailbox@aol.com).
WEST MIDLANDS SECTION
As mentioned last time, our annual dinner get-together has been booked for Saturday 30th January 2010 at the same venue as last year, The Granary at Shenstone near Kidderminster. We shall follow the same format as last year also, choosing from the regular Saturday night menu, this year priced at £18.50. We shall gather from about 7pm for sitting down to dinner at 8pm.There are some hotel rooms provisionally booked, so make sure you state you are part of the Alfa group when you make your reservation. Doubles will be £70 and singles £60. The Granary's telephone number is 01562 777535.
Please let Audrey know by mid-January if you are coming – you can telephone 01785 812859 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org if you prefer. About 30 people enjoyed this event last year and I expect rather more this time. A number of us also enjoyed a very pleasant walk in Stourport on the Sunday morning before returning home.
John & Audrey Watt .