Kent’s Classic Car Show, Aylesford Priory 2019

Kent & East Sussex
8 September 2019

There are two things in September that give end-of-season character to a classic car show and that is early morning long shadows and intense sunshine during the day. Fortunately, we had both at the Aylesford show, with over 600 cars attending. The section met up early to arrive in convoy and set up our stand near the entrance where we watched the endless convoy of classic treasures arriving. Reasonably priced bacon rolls really set you up for this sort of show that combines every kind of classic known to the South East combined with rare trade stands and memorabilia stalls. The Priory had its own attractions, although the monks, adhering to their vows, did not have much to say on the subject.

Aylesford Priory was founded in 1242, when members of the Carmelite order of knights, as well as the whole of the crusade, were given a bit of a bloody nose in the folly that was the occupation of the so-called “Holy Land”, and one of the three crusades that ended in disaster. It is the subject of a film, starring Orlando Bloom, entitled “Kingdom of Heaven”. You can have a bit of a peek of the action before the tides turned against the crusaders in the attached link:

Those that were left and made it back to England were granted a parcel of land at Aylesford, next to the River Medway. These days, The Friary has the best collection of religious modern art in England including sculptures, paintings, stained glass and ceramics. The site was restored in the 1950’s after the austerity of WWII. The Priory is famous for its working pottery, founded by David Leach in 1954, and The Shrine to the Virgin of the Glorious Assumption by Michael Clark.

Attending members were:  Chris Francis in the launch 4C; Jeff Kaby in the ever rare 159 petrol (250 left in the U.K); Phil Davis in the recently acquired Giulietta; Giovanni D’Avanzo in the GTV 2 litre 105 Bertone; Peter Lampe and Ruth in the 156 Selespeed (one of 26 left in the country); John Dray in his red 4C and myself in the series 4 Spider.

There was a huge display of over 600 classic cars and looking across the show area it was obvious there was going to be a lot to look at, as well as many temptations to our wallets by the surrounding stalls.

Old friends exchanged views, opinions and memories and moved on to take in what appealed to each of them, having caught up from previous shows and events over the past year.

As always, there are other vehicles that really take your fancy and from the many vehicles that attended two really got my juices going – the first was the Foden S20 1959 20 ton heavy goods vehicle dated 1959 that gave 11 MPG. This beast is otherwise known as “Lazy Lucy” and is really prevalent in the vintage truck show scene.

But the vehicle that stood out amongst all the others was the NSU TT 1200 Prinz, which was subject to a complete restoration and only one of six left roadworthy in the country. This little beastie was to find notoriety in hill climb competions but is more famous for the company that produced the first Wankel engine.

This NSU was completely rebuilt by its owner Dick Cordery over a one and a half year period six years ago and was last shown at the Old Timer rally at Folkestone. It has twin Webber Carbs, a TTS cam, which holds the ports out for longer, and a free flowing exhaust.

Originally it would have had air filters over the intakes but this model didn’t. A few bits of grit in the bottom of the engine bay really would have motivated me to fit them to the design of the original model, but each to the capacity of their own preference and wallet. This was, however, a magnificent vehicle! I did find a picture of the same engine with the air filter unit fitted and I have to say I agree with Richard that it is far more impressive looking and striking without the filter unit.

Well it’s almost time for one or two of the last events of the season in the form of “Pistons and Paws” at Tenterden and The Classic at Headcorn on the 29th of September (for details see our Facebook page). You may be able to get in if you turn up and pay on the gate and certainly can at Headcorn… but being one of the last potentially “sunny” shows it’s going to be well booked up. After that it will be the committee planning for next year to give you all a part in next year’s events. We will still have section bowling, the Post Christmas Dinner (that really requires a lot of organisation) and quiz night. Details, as always, will be circulated by Jeff Kaby both on e-mail and our Facebook site….. so watch those spaces!

That said, there is always a few shows and events in October for the diehard amongst us. Personally, I will be using the last of the heat of the year after September to do those jobs on my cars to prepare them for next year.

Remember you do not need to own a classic Alfa to display as a club car at the majority of the years events.

Ciao for now and happy club membership.

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