On the train from Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness on a chilly but gloriously sunny morning – I was full of anticipation. Not only was I collecting my repaired car but I’d also be able to have a look at ongoing projects at Sportwagen in the far east of Essex.
Nick and Ed Pike – organisers of the London Region 20 faction of Porsche Club GB really have really excelled themselves in finding a vibrant alternative venue for the monthly London Region get-together.
The 3rd Saturday in the month “Smithfield Meat” gathering was great but it was sadly traffic-wardened out of existence. It’s been replaced by the 3rd Sunday in the month “Out East” gathering which I think should be renamed “Art East” both in deference to the cockney accent but also to the astonishing display of vivid and endlessly evolving graffiti on the walls along the streets used for the gathering.
A rather annoying and inconsistent recalcitrance to rev has afflicted my old 911 for a some weeks. Having adjusted the choke and swapped the CDI box to no avail – Steve opted to swap the ignition coil on my latest visit to Jaz Porsche in St Albans as symptoms suggested insufficient spark.
A two year wait since the last Hedingham Porsche bash and the limited availability of my old 911 this year (due to further improvement work) left me with a major sense of anticipation for this year’s Classics At the Castle event.
An early, sunny Sunday morning start and a thankfully absent intermittent misfire were positive omens for a good day out but this didn’t stop my usual jitters about whether I had the right day, whether any mechanical gremlins would thwart the trip etc. etc.
My fears were calmed when just beyond Stansted airport I swung my ’71 2.2E behind a lovely tangerine 2.7RS for a joyous two-car-convoy blast towards Hedingham! The start of a perfect day.
For the Endurance Racing Experience to really work – fans have to share the endurance challenge in some way in order to legitimately bask in the triumph of their achievement alongside that of their driving heroes.
At Le Mans – the fans challenge is staying awake for as much of the 24 hour race as possible. There’s also the equally difficult challenge of remaining just sober enough to work out which car whanged past at well over 100 decibels. NB: Working out relative positions of cars in a 24 hour race is a pointless task and should not be attempted for fear of confusion.
At Silverstone in April – the challenge is entirely thermal.
A 6AM start saw me blasting out of London in the old 911 along the M40 before hitting quiet country roads North of Oxford. Well they would have been quiet but for the fractious popping and banging of my engine!
Undeterred by fog, the aftermath of a nasty crash on the M40 and an inordinate number of flattened foxes and the odd two-dimensional deer littering the carriageway – I pressed on.
Moving on from reflections of 2015 – it’s time to look forward and consider how to indulge my motoring interests in 2016. What events should I attend and what improvements can I make to my ’71 2.2 L 911E? Decisions, decisions!
With a bit of careful planning – it would be easily possible to spend most of my weekends attending one form of motoring activity or another but this would certainly be a fast-track to divorce. Instead I need to carefully select those events that:-
a) Stand-out in terms of their quality, variety and spectacle,
b) Present an opportunity to meet up with old mates,
c) Provide new motoring experiences.
On the car front – my aim is to continue gradual improvement of my 911 with some mechanical and cosmetic upgrades as time, money and availability of parts & services allow.
So here are my thoughts on car events I could attend and car improvements I could make during 2016.
The winter months present something of a challenge to British motoring enthusiasts as it’s a motoring Dead Zone as far as races and classic car jaunts are concerned due to the poor weather and lack of daylight.
With precious motors consigned to winter hibernation – it leaves car enthusiasts dangerously prone to the onset of ICDS – Interesting Car Deficiency Syndrome!
To counter the debilitating effects of this affliction it’s important to reflect on the past year’s motoring highlights and to start planning for petrolicious pleasures in the year to come.
It also allows time to muse over the improvements you’ve managed to make to your classic car over the past year and fantasise over other reassuringly expensive ways of further improving its performance or looks.
NB: The featured image shows my Dad (on the left) and his colleague in the late 1940s just after they’d dug their way through a truck-high snow drift on their daily round to collect milk churns from remote farms around Appleby, Cumbria.
My trip to Hedingham 2015 started well as I drove passed Stansted Airport to find myself accidentally sandwiched between two 2.4 911s. We managed to pick up another 2.2E along the way to match mine and to bring our noisy convoy of early 911s up to 4, much to the delight (or possible consternation) of other road users!
This year’s Hedingham Porsche gathering delivered an enormous and varied turn-out of classic Porsches which confirmed the burgeoning popularity of the event, further enhanced this year by the inclusion of a Classic Porsche Auction run by Coys of Kensington.
The Porsche Museum, Porsche Cars GB and some very trusting private owners enhanced the already great turn-out with some extra-special cars including beautiful and rare 356 Carreras, 550 Spyders, a 904 and an iconic Gulf liveried John Wyer 917 (as used by Steve McQueen in his film Le Mans).