Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Back on the buses (back on the blog!)

Some kind of record...
Goodness me!  Over a week since my last post?!  That must be some kind of record!  Not a good one, though, and I apologise again for it.  A concatenation of events, including a rest from my previous monster post (which I hope kept you all asleep entertained during my absence), couple with a distinct lack of blogworthy news and a little thing called "life" intervening conspired to keep me away.

Now I'm back - not from outer space - having recently attended the annual Castle Point Transport Museum Open Day Show in the old home town on Sunday.  A yearly pilgrimage, I can hardly believe it's come round again so soon.

Just as last year I initially feared the worst for the weather, as advance forecasts during the week had predicted rain and barely double-digit temperatures.  Once again, though, the seaside spirits of Canvey Island flexed their muscles and despite a cool wind the sun was high in a cloudless sky as I arrived at 11'o'clock.

1968 Eastern National Bristol Lodekka
(In the picture above you can see all that remains of a set of pre-1953 steps leading down to the sandy beach, which was completely covered by a high tide barely 3ft from the path.  Sometimes the water even makes it over that, as the piles of shingle next to the sea wall testified.)

Into the museum and I must admit one of the first things that I noticed was that the event seemed slightly smaller this year.  Certainly there were fewer stallholders and vehicles inside but I think 2011 was an exceptionally good year display-wise, so anything less would be bound to suffer slightly in comparison.  Even so there were some new faces among the old in the yard area outside:

1950 Bristol L (left) and 1953 GPO Maudsley Mogul MkIIIA

After a scout around the museum to pick up the lay of the land it was off next door - the grounds of my old primary school, in fact - where more goodness awaited me.  One of the first when I walked through the gate was this gorgeous Jaguar, featuring the flowing lines of the imposing Mark IX.  I have only just discovered that this particular car was bought at auction not one year ago, in what was quite a rare opportunity.  The original lot details are still available here.

1961 Jaguar MkIX

Swiftly followed by a beautiful 1928 Alvis 12/50 "Beetleback", one of only 319 left in the world.

A pair of Morris Eights and a later Oxford:

1937 Morris Eight SI
1937 Morris Eight SII
1953 Morris Oxford
1935 Rover 10
1950s Standard Eight
One of the more major attractions for this year was a selection of vintage speedway motorcycles dating from 1929 to 1931.  Although motorbikes are more in father's purview than mine I always appreciate a classic two-wheeler (or three if it has a sidecar!), especially if it is fitted with the wonderful JAP V-twin.  Some of these speedway racers were beautifully restored, others were still in original condition.

I'd like to take a moment to draw your attention to one of the exhibits you can see only part of in this photograph.  GNB 792D - visible in the top left drawing quite a crowd - is a 1966 Beardmore MkVII Paramount taxi, which was one of the last attempts to provide an alternative to the now-traditional London black cab that we know and love today.  It proved to be so popular that unfortunately I could not get a decent picture of it and it had left before the end of the day, so I shall have to keep my eyes open for it at future events.  It was even more of a shame because this recently-restored example was now plying for hire once again, this time in the world of special events, under the name of - Tickety Boo Taxi!  Of course I immediately thought of our own Tupney, travelling about in her very own taxi(!).

It wasn't the only taxi there, either:

1937 Austin 12/4

Once again doing some digging I find that this car also sold recently and moreover has a famous history - it appeared in a Carry On film!  Not any Carry On film either but one of my favourites, 1963's Carry On Cabby.

I was also delighted to see a 1971 Buick Riviera taking up one corner.  At the 2010 event there was a '64 Riv, the version which (not entirely undeservedly) tends to garner the most compliments but for my money the '71 boat-tail model is the more beautiful.  Keeping with the TV and film theme, it also helped that it happened to appear in one of my favourite TV shows of the '90s(!).  My word, it was huge, though - a lot bigger than I thought it would be.  No wonder it used a 7½-litre V8! 

American cars were well represented, as usual:

1946 Chevrolet Fleetline
1950 Ford Sedan
1953 Ford Crestline
1958 Chevrolet Yeoman
As were our attempts to emulate them(!):

1958 Vauxhall Victor Estate

1960 Ford Consul
There were plenty of other traditional British cars in evidence as well:

1930 Morris Cowley
Including my old favourite the 1934 Singer Eleven, once again complete with its period accessories:

1939 Rover 12

1941 Morris Z-Type, the sole example restored to its original GPO livery
1946 Austin Eight
1947 Ford Prefect
1947 Wolseley 14/60 SIII
1950 Ford V8 Pilot
1950 MG Y-type
1953 Ford Popular
1953 Morgan Plus Four Roadster

1950s Austin-Healey Sprite
1954 Austin-Healey 100-4
1959 Ford Popular
1960 Ford Prefect
1969 Marcos 1800
1970 MG Midget
1972 Volvo P1800S

Some microcars (bubble cars) from the 1950s, when the Suez Crisis was at its height, were also on show this year:

Messerschmitt KR200
1960 BMW Isetta

1971 Mercedes W111
Then it was off to the main showground by the seafront, where all the buses were on display.

This (below) was my transport back to the museum after I had had a good look around and a walk along the seafront.  Last year I missed riding on this 1953 Bristol KSW, which has served the local area for all life (having been converted to an open top in 1966 after which it ran the seafront route in Southend and Clacton), as it only arrived late in the afternoon just as I was leaving.  This year it was on much earlier and although I wasn't able to sit on the top deck, which proved to be extremely popular especially with the children, it was a lovely ride back to the museum (and smoother than some modern buses, I might add!).

There was just time for one last tour around the museum, including the model railway room (which I'm sure features some of my old set pieces that I sold to a local chap some years ago):

Plus the depot office, complete with some typewriters for my fellow typosphereans to identify(!):

Imperial 65 wide (VERY wide!) carriage

Despite the smaller number of stalls this year there was still plenty of things of interest to catch the eye.  With money and space being tight at Partington-Plans Towers I plumped for this little model of a 1939 Austin 18 ambulance in Civil Defence Corps colours as my memento for the day.

As I waited at the bus stop for a scheduled service back home, this 1953 AEC Regal IV that had been pressed into passenger-carrying service from the seafront turned up to disgorge more visitors.  I love the arrow-style indicators at the back!

So another annual show has been and gone, and jolly good fun it was too.  I'm sorry for throwing two heavy-going posts at you in succession; rest assured that normal service will resume shortly!  Maybe I'll do a one-line blog next to balance things out(!).  Until next time, all aboard!

1 comment:

  1. These are just so lovely! Thanks for posting them. My brother & his sons are major car buffs - I've sent them the link to this post so they can enjoy them too.


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