All British Day 2012

The All British day is probably South Australia’s largest annual gathering of British cars, trucks and motorbikes. I’d never really considered myself much of a fan of British machinery so have never really made much of a point of going to this show in the past. Sure, there were a few makes and models I admired, but then I actually sat down and thought about the British cars I liked. I’m an obvious fan of Lotus. I appreciate the eccentricity of TVR’s, and the rugged simpleness of MGA’s and B’s and early Land Rovers. You can’t go past the stunning looks of the Jaguar E-Type and it’s predecessor the XK120, or the modern technology in the turbocharged Cosworth Ford’s. The stately elegance of early Bristol’s and Bentley’s can’t be ignored, and then there’s the legendary and inspiring stories of the works Aston Martin and Jaguar teams running the DBR’s and D-Type’s in when the mechanics drove them to LeMans to compete in the 24hr in the 50’s and 60’s, back in the days when the state of the art LeMans winners were still road registrable.

With all that in mind I put on my Ben Sherman shorts and Kooks T-Shirt and headed up to Uraidla in the picturesque Adelaide Hills to take in the best of automotive Britain – with the Beatles and 60’s Rolling Stones playing through the stereo on the way to get properly in the mood, of course.

I might as well start with my car of the show, this Aston Martin DBR2. I’m not completely sure if it’s a genuine example – it certainly looked legit to me, but then again the way it was just parked in the lineup and left makes me think it isn’t.

But then again, who really cares if it isn’t a real DBR2? For me, the attraction in something like this is the driving experience. Very light weight and a big, torquey, powerful, lumpy engine breathing through a brace of big carbies to propel you through the wind at a surprisingly alarming rate is what I’d own it for. In fact, you could probably enjoy a close replica (assuming it had a proper Aston 6 in it) more than you could an original.

The other standout car for me was this Bristol 405. There were only 268 of these built by the Bristol Aeroplane Co. from 1955-1958, which means it was a rare privilege to see two side-by-side.

Just look at it, can you imagine owning one of these in 1955? A notable feature was found in the front wings, just behind the front wheels. The panel between the wheel and door opens up in a gullwing fashion, revealing a large storage compartment containing the spare wheel and jack on one side, and the battery and fuse panel on the other.

What a perfect vehicle to drive to a late 50’s high society picnic.

I was first introduced to the 405 when I saw the film ‘An Education’. It’s a bit of a coming of age chick flick, but I’m man enough to put it here that I enjoyed it. The 405 was cast perfectly, and the film does a brilliant job in helping the viewer to understand England during the late 50’s. The 405 features heavily in the movie, and whilst it doesn’t feature terribly much in this preview it’s still worth watching.

I can’t actually remember the last time I saw a genuine Lotus Seven. It’s only when you see a real one that you realise how diminutive they were.

Luke belts are a must on a real Seven.

Even indicator stalks would have added weight, so this Seven was fitted with toggle switches for everything – even the reverse lights!

Cosworth lust.

Event organisers came preprepared with cardboard to collect the oil dripping from each and every one of the 800 British cars entered!

Times may change, Land Rovers rarely do. Just look at this G4 – what a perfect tool for the job. Speaking of tool’s, I discovered that you can order your new Defender with a bonnet mounted axe straight from the factory!

Jaguar lust.

The series 1 Elise provides what is widely regarded as the purest and best driving experience you can buy, which is why I’m such a fan. The number plate is probably technically accurate, but still….

It’s interesting to note that prices of S2 Elises are pretty close to those of similar condition S1’s. I’d take either in a heartbeat…

… or a Europa in such original condition, a rarity these days.

The world is so obsessed with the Cobra that it’s sometimes easy to forget the car that spawned them all – the AC Ace. This one was powered by a 6 cylinder Bristol engine.

Plenty of Mini’s, as expected.

Call me a trainspotter, but I really enjoy seeing the different stickers on the imported cars. This sticker, on a Talbot Sunbeam Lotus, is from the Castle Combe circuit in Wiltshire.

I can’t think of a cooler sounding car name than this.

Moking is good for your health.

There’s something slightly badass about cafe racers from the 60’s and 70’s that I like.

I can’t really see myself getting a motorcycle anytime soon, but if I did it would undoubtably be a Triumph, probably an old Bonneville.

I’m not really in to ‘these’ sorts of classics in a big way. I can appreciate the time and effort that has gone into their restoration and I don’t doubt that it would be a whole lot fun to own one and cruise around in it, but when given the choice at shows like these I still prefer stuff like E-Types and Elan’s.

This Capri wouldn’t be a terribly exciting drive with it’s combination of a 2 litre Ford Pinto engine and automatic transmission, but it looked like it just rolled out of the showroom! It was unbelievably and eerily perfect.

Rolls’ of different generations.

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1 Comment

  1. Brian Kuerschner January 10, 2013 Reply

    Hi Andrew, I left a message a few days ago about updating your web page relative to the date and new venue of our All British Day event at the Echunga Recreation Ground this coming 10th February. As motorcycles are also featured at this event might I suggest you include more motorcycle images on your web page please.
    My kindest regards
    Brian Kuerschner Media Liaison Officer. For and on behalf of the All British Day Committee 2013

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