Whitstable Classic Music and Motors

Kent & East Sussex
14 July 2019

One of the most popular car shows in the South East has got to be the Whitstable edition of the Classic Music and Motors Season on the Tankerton slopes in North Kent. This show regularly attracts over 600 historic and club vehicles. Again, this year it was completely sold out. Tankerton, undoubtedly, has one of the most attractive panoramic views of the Thames Estuary and is home to many of the wealthier in this part of the county. Rumour has it that this will be one of the last shows here as the only income to the organiser, Chris West, is the price of exhibiting your vehicle. Those on foot that come to see the fantastic array of historic vehicles do not pay and attendance is free to the public. Not surprisingly, it is very popular and increasingly not very cost effective to the organisers. So those attending club members were quite keen to make it one to remember.

In attendance was Jeff Kaby in his newly acquired red 159 TBI, lots of discussion determined that TBI probably meant “Turbo Benzina Injectione”, and really is quite a pleasing vehicle that Jane can comfortably ride shotgun in.

Then we had one of our stalwarts and human encyclopaedia of everything car related – John Dray, in the attention grabbing 4c. He let quite a few people try out the driver’s seat experience and, incidentally, is now known to be the mystery donor of the Berlina 1972 Spider rear drive and suspension assemblies to my newly acquired S4 Spider. This knowledge will make life easier when I get out, get under and realise none of the parts match the standard schematics. Luckily for me many of the mechanicals for the classic spider series have not changed through the four marks of the vehicle except, amongst others, the ratios within the limited slip differential on the rear wheel drive.

Also attending was Andrew Craker in his GTV6 that was originally painted in silver but now sports a rather eye-catching blue. Those of you attending Hever 2019 will remember it being parked next to our Chairman’s, John Third, GTV6. I really must put Andrew Craker together with Tony Twyman and his Alfetta at some stage.

Next was Paul Lodge and Ali Jarman’s Giulietta QV 1750 and a right “thug” of a vehicle as Paul described it. The Giulietta sports 240 BHP from a 1750cc engine boosted by a turbo.

It is very likely to acquire lining for the boot to house their five month old puppy, “Aric,” a rather bouncy and friendly little bundle of energy  who is destined eventually to grow to the size of a house in a year or so (seen here being looked after by Jeff Kaby). Even the most steel hearted of us would admit he looks gorgeous (Aric not Jeff) and I’m sure destined to become the club mascot. I tried to grab a picture of Ali as well but she had to go to work and I missed the opportunity.

I was also pleased to have the chance to get to know both David Dilaway and Kim (there’s got to be dancing) Dac with their left hand drive S4 Spider a little bit better. This couple know how to party and enjoy an afternoon on the slopes with a really envious picnic.

You may well remember them from the Hever event earlier in the year winning runner up for the best “Style and Elegance costumes.” I could not decide which photo of them was best so I included all of them….

The next photo I unashamedly nicked from our official photographer Chris Francis because it’s so good. I’m sure he won’t mind.

I really hope we will see a lot more of Kim and David in the future and talking of “there has got to be dancing” that would be a good thought to have for the upcoming Post Christmas Dinner in the New Year.

As usual we all went for a bit of a wander and Jeff filled me in on the history of the vast numbers of vehicles on display but there were three vehicles which really brought me back to my childhood. They starred in films I saw as a child, which really made an impression on me and which I have repeatedly watched more times than I care to remember.

Firstly, the iconic 1968 Ford Mustang (photo below). This version was the GT variant that has more “bling” on the grille than the film version but is essentially the same car.

Few movie cars are more recognisable than the1968 Ford Mustang, as was driven in the film “Bullitt” by Steve McQueen The film version was painted in Highland Green and took on the 1969 Dodge Charger through the streets of San Francisco in, arguably, one of the best car chases of all time.

There were two cars used in the film and one was extensively used as a stunt car and was sold to a salvage yard. The other was sold to a private collector and for decades the original “Bullitt” car was thought to have been lost. However, 40 years later after the owner, Robert Kiernan, passed away in 2014, his son, Sean, contacted Ford to let the company know the whereabouts of the car. McQueen had repeatedly tried to buy it but the family refused. The car was apparently driven by Kiernan’s wife, a teacher at a school in New Jersey. The car’s clutch died in 1980, and it was moved to a garage for a much extended stay. At the time, it had 65,000 miles on the odometer. The car followed the Kiernan family to Ohio, Kentucky and eventually to Nashville, Tennessee.

Looking at the photo, it’s obvious that the car has been parked for a while. The bright work is pockmarked with rust spots, and the paint is flat and faded, although apparently some of that was intentionally done to give it the same flavour as McQueen’s character in the film. All of the age is made even more apparent when parked next to the new 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt. The original now is thought to be worth around $4.6 million and worth slightly more than James Bond’s original DB5 which is valued at about $4.1 million.

The next car, and a stalwart of a Sunday night before my children’s inevitable school on Monday in the form of the T.V series “Morse”, was the Jaguar 3.8 litre Mk2. The same as featured at Whitstable and had manual overdrive, all the bits and wire wheels. In the words of Jeff Kaby, “the one you would want.”  The difference between the two being, that if I remember rightly Morse’s car had solid wheels rather than wire ones, but I’m sure I will get corrected on this point?

The last car of the trio of memories was the iconic Lotus Esprit. As a child, one of my neighbours owned one and today saw one displayed in full white glory on the slopes at Tankerton.

The car starred in the 1977 Bond film “The Spy who Loved Me” and the original was auctioned at Bonham’s for £80,000. The logo apparently making the difference in price between what other MK1’s are sold for. The car is famous for the end of chase underwater scenes as a submarine. Barbara Bach was the Bond girl on this occasion and the background for the show picture was rather appropriate.

The actual footage of this part of the car chase can be seen here on youtube at:

Here’s a publicity shot of the car, including Bond and Bach together. Sadly the registration number is covered and not known.

Having walked round the show, and having had my age reduced to about ten years old, I looked down from Tankerton Hill, where we were all displayed, and saw just how large the show was – stretching the complete length of the slopes – as well as Jeff offering advice to a member of the public who had approached the club stand with a particular Alfa related problem.

I do hope this won’t be the last year that we get to experience these Kent seaside shows due to commercialism as they really are a feature of the show calendar in terms of vista, experience and sheer volume of variety as everyone gets a different experience. Mine was memories of sitting in the cinema with my father watching a car chase that made my stomach go all funny – the same as when you drive a car fast over a humpback bridge.

This was a really good show and it would be a shame if it was the last one! On that subject I’m taking a bit of a holiday and the next show by the seaside is at Herne Bay on the 11th of August and I hear it is also fully booked. That said if you contact Jeff Kaby there will always be the odd cancelation if you fancy a bit of nostalgia and the chance to experience what could possibly be the last seaside classic car show to be organised around Kent for the foreseeable. That said, The Bonnets and Wings show offers similar experiences atop the unprotected chalk cliffs at Capel-le-Ferne on the 1st of September. That also offers spectacular views as well as the odd Spitfire buzzing the site. There are, I hear, still places available and to find out more you should contact our ever hard worked Secretary – Jeff Kaby.

Epilogue –  I thought I’d just mention that to get the picture in the article featuring Aric and Jeff posing nicely together, I had to take 32 pictures of Jeff demonstrating that you should never try to photograph children, animals or combinations of  either singularly or in combinations of the two.

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