MAGAZINE No 112
The second Sunday of the month in the Winter, the second Tuesday evening of the month in the Summer, at Britannic Assurance,1 Wythall Green Way, off Middle Lane, Wythall, Birmingham, B47 6WG (From J3 on the M42 follow A435 north 1-mile turn left at 1st roundabout then mile turn left at mini roundabout).
Sunday 9th December, 07. 11am till 3pm. Sunday 13th January, 08. 11am till 3pm. Sunday 10th February, 08. 11am till 3pm. Sunday 9th March, 08. 11am till 3pm. Sunday 13th April, 08 11am till 3pm
11th September was warm and sunny for the last evening event of the year, 1000 plus people there well into the dark, 50 plus bikes and 250 plus cars.
Now the meet is Sunday lunchtime for the winter months.
14th October, sorry if anybody turned up and could not find DUFFY and myself. We were at the annual Classic Car & Bike Day on the Seven Valley Railway, Worcestershire. There were 150+ cars & bikes on display at only 3 of the 6 stations on the 16-mile line this year, because as you may have seen on the news the line was swept away in 24 places by the summer floods. It is going to cost 2m+ to repair the damage.
11th November, I was on stand duty at the Classic Car Show so could not attend the meet, but I am told the weather was nice and sunny and a good turnout of bikes and cars.
Now finished for the winter - will resume in April 08 at The Moat House Inn, Birmingham Road (A435), Kings Coughton, Alcester, Warks, B49 5QF.
I have been to 12 shows and events since the last magazine. Below are just a few recollections.
15th Sept Donnington Kit Car Show. I still only rate this show as 25% compared with Stoneleigh Kit
Car Show in May. I would not pay 10 to go in, but as you get in free with a Kit Car I turn up. I met Joe Beswick who in the 1970s owned the ex factory PhaseII demonstrator 4625 DK when he lived in Nelson, South Wales and sold it in 79/80 to Jim Welch. He now lives in Aston-on-Trent close to Jim and Ron Scarfe. He did not join the club at the time so another new name for Derek.
30th Sept This is a local Village Scarecrow weekend and on the Sunday have a Classic Car display. About 30 cars turned up and the weather was warm and sunny, so a good day was had by all. I met an old friend Graham Wood who was a neighbour when I lived in Kidderminster and he owned Phase1 1477 DG in the early 1980s.
I also met a man who in the 1960s worked for Ashmore Bros. in West Bromwich who were the Lotus distributors for Birmingham and area. Chris Ashmore was a well-known quick racing driver and as a young lad in the 50/60s I use to ride my bike the 10mile from home down to Ashmores to look at the racing cars in the showroom and workshop (the good old days). Now this man remembers a young man named? Nurse whose father owned a Lucas agency in West Bromwich called Electromobile and the son built a Red Olympic in the showroom of Electromobile in the early 1960s. Could this be FEA 458D a Phase1 now owned by Aubrey Richardson, or PEA 758 a Phase1 once owned by Mick Wright?
For the members who have been following my ramblings on the Avro Vulcan bombers will me be pleased to know that Vulcan XH558, which is been rebuilt at Bruntingthorpe, Leics, had a successful 34minute test flight on Thursday 18th October 2007. http://www.tvoc.co.uk
NEC Classic Motor Show Report.
After a slow start in members offering cars and help for the club stand and the show organisers moving our stand from Hall 3 to Hall 4 at the last minute I thought we were in for a big disaster, but after a lot of phone calls to the long time show helpers and a few new ones, I think the show for the Rochdale Owners Club was a big success. I think everyone who helped on the stand enjoyed it and we had positive response from the visitors.
Now for the thanks and I hope I miss no one out. The move in hall meant a larger stand, so I took the bull by the horns and went for 5 cars, so thanks for bringing your cars to Roger Coupe (Rochdale MkVI) from near Chester, Tony Wright (Phase1) from near Gloucester, Alan Farrer (Phase II) from near Chichester, Fred Blackmore (Phase II) from Bideford, Devon and a special thanks to Les Brown and his wife who were going on a 12 day cruise before the show, brought down their Rochdale GT from Drewsbury 2 weeks before the show.
Special thanks also to Mark Butler who let us store the GT in his Barn and with his friend Mel provided a tow car and trailer to take the GT to the show. Thanks to the people who helped man the stand: Ron Scarfe, James Farrington, Mark Butler and his partner, Keith Pratt, Jim Welch, Mick Cullen, Aubrey Richardson, Russ Collins, Roger Drinkwater, Collin Ellis, and Paul Hutchings. One big plus with the stand move was Derek Bentley, who did not have far to walk from the F.S.C.C. to help on the R.O.C.
Visitors to the stand included Calvin Rae the new owner of FNN 600C; Peter Ratcliffe 401 FUS; Richard Moffatt 36 GOH; a neighbour of 8896 UP not heard of since 1986 who said it is still parked under the kitchen window of last known owner R Greaves of Bedford; Derek Farrow with nice photos of just returned to the road SNP 23D and a surprise visitor on Sunday all the way from British Columbia, Canada, Bill Coyne HV1X (hope he is not claiming expenses). It was a pleasure to meet an overseas member from so far away, thanks Bill for calling in to see us.
On Saturday a man walked on the stand and went up to Freds car. I know this car 642 JAC, he said. In 1976 it was Blue and had a Auto gearbox and was in Burnley. It seems his girlfriend (now his wife) lived a few doors away from Graham Birley the then owner in Briercliffe Road, Burnley. The number was certainly etched in his mind for 31 years?
On Sunday we had a visit to look at the Olympics by Barrie Whizzo Williams. I have certainly been meeting Barrie a lot over the last 2 years. I will see if I can sell him an Olympic? Also Derek and I had a long conversation with David McCallan who for many years worked for Boon & Porter Ltd and was involved with building BPL 125 for Penelope Porter to race.
On Saturday James Farrington EWT 219H who was helping us on our stand for the 3 days and also helping his father in-law David Allen ex EWT 219H on the Bristol Owners Club stand in Hall 1 came on to the stand with news and a photo of an ex Rochdale owner John Lawley helping on the Bristol stand. So on Sunday Derek and I walked over to Hall 1 to meet John and David. It seems John was the 2nd owner of Phase1 829 JOP from 1964 to 1969 and lived in Polesworth Staffordshire, but he worked with the 1st owner-builder Brian Ralph from Hodge Hill, Birmingham, at B.M.C. Drews Lane, Birmingham.
Now Brian bought the car from R.M.P. in 1962 (Derek has found the car in the factory ledger R1755 ) as a complete Morris Minor kit less steering swivel pins. Now Drews Lane produced the suspension parts and other bits for the Morris 1000 (we all know the stories of cheap parts smuggled out in lunch boxes). John also knew the 3rd owner Roman OConnell who lived in Driotwich, Worcestershire. So in the last 5 months we have traced 6 early owners of 829 JOP; that makes 13 owners of this car so far.
Close down on Sunday night was probably the quickest yet; the stand equipment went into different club cars and we were out of the hall in about 1 hour, so a big thank you to everybody who helped to make it a successful show.
Rochdale Owners Club stand NEC Classic Car Show 2007
John Lawley with Phase1 829 JOP in 1968
The highlight for me on Friday at the NEC, was midday when the calendars arrived. Considering the problems I had getting photos for the calendar it has come out really well; over the next 2 days I sold 31, some members buying 2 or 3 and one member had 4. Now with over 100 members in the club if every member buys one I will need to order more. So get your order in to Jane Devons straight away if you wish one for Christmas (see For Sale and Janes contact details on page ii).
There has been talk recently of a 3rd Olympic in Australia; the following appeared on the F.S.C.C. website. We wait with bated breath?
The Olympic appeared at a GEAR (Golden Era Auto Racing) day. It apparently came to Australia with Campbell's Bluebird attempt at Lake Eyre. It has had a "cut and shut" after an accident and is shorter than normal but still runs 1172 running gear (I think!).
I will get full details and post them after our next GEAR day on Nov 28. My EM is having a ball driving fast around Qld Raceway and will receive a full paint job over the Xmas break. Les Whelan
In my search for the lost Olympics in America & Canada I am very active on a website over the pond for
British Car owners. The forum has over 3000 members and I have posted articles and photos of Rochdales on the site. last week I was surprised to find that DUFFY is the star of July on their Calendar for 2008. http://www.britishcarforum.com (just type in Rochdale Olympic in the sites search box)
This will remind all you fellow oldies of the good old days when we went to the cinema and saw 2 films - a feature film and a B film (not like now just 1 film for your money) and between the films came the adverts and PATHE NEWS. Now you can see all these old news reels in movie and stills on http://www.britishpathe.com and see 50/60s cars at the Motor Show or the Racing Car Show or racing at Brooklands or Silverstone; this website will keep you occupied for months. Start by typing Falcon in the search and see in colour a Mk1 being built from an Austin 7 and in B/W a 515 being assembled, then type Fairthorpe and see a film of a Fairthorpe Atom on road test, then type what ever you fancy, then see if you can stop.
For about 5 years I have had a B/W photo of a Dragster taken at the first Drag meeting in England at
Blackbushe airfield in 1964 and in the background obscured by a bystander is the rear end of a Rochdale Olympic (and in 5years he has not moved so that I can see the whole car) but a few months ago a member on the britishcarforum found a photo of the next dragster in the line up and the Olympic is in full view. A few weeks later Derek was on the Pathe News website (this was before Derek told me about the site), typed in Blackbushe 1964 and came up with a colour news film of the meeting and parked in the Paddock is a Red Olympic parked nose to nose with a Dark Grey Olympic, can anybody identify these cars?
And a note to end on:
Tony and DUFFY wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you, God willing (and the government), on the road in 2008.
From Jason Hoffman to Roger Drinkwater
Having just purchased a Rochdale Olympic Phase 2, I think it only proper if I could be considered for membership of the owners club.
For a good few years I have worked on many Rochdales, having worked for Keith Hamer - I think your car has been one of them. So after breathing lots of fibreglass dust I needed one to work on of my own. Reg No PAX 44 was bought from Dr Rouse in Carmarthenshire early this year. The car is complete and after some minor work (do you like that one: Minor work) have had it running. It is unusual in that it has torsion bar suspension like a Phase 1 and runs an A-series engine (tuned).
Dr Rouse collected the car from the factory in November 1971 and used the car for the next 14 years. The Dr then needed something bigger and the car was garaged for the next 20 years. I got Keith on his laptop to give my details of annual membership and your new appointment so I hope they are correct.
I look forward to being part of the fold.
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From Derek Bentley
Now that, after nearly 27 years my Turner is on the road I can concentrate on getting the Olympic rebuild under way. This cannot take as long, otherwise I will never be able to get into it to drive it again.
The intention is to undo some of the modifications made during 37 years of ownership and return it to a more standard looking phase 1. That is not to say no modifications are to be incorporated, but hopefully they will be reasonably period with the car, but will nevertheless produce a vehicle more in keeping with modern driving conditions (and an ageing owner!).
Externally, the cut away rear arches will be restored to original shape. Hopefully, this can be achieved, but still allow clearance for the, slightly wider (4.5 rather than the original 3) Morris Minor Van wheels. These have been drilled to the original phase 1 pattern, but will allow a better profile for the 155 x 14 tyres.
Replacement of the door hinges will be a necessity and Alans rose joint arrangement seems to be the way to go. A modified MM stainless steel window frame, to match the drivers side, will hopefully sort out wind noise. Anti-burst type locks will hopefully give a more secure closure. The only other body modification planned is a Webasto roof, ex Duffy which should assist with the summer cooling of the occupants.
Suspension modifications are to be limited to optimising the settings of the Minor front end, plus of course the obligatory new bushes. At the rear standard dampers and 90 lb springs will be retained with wider Silentbloc bushes in the trailing arms to avoid the frequent replacement or rear wheel steering that was a feature of previous regular use.
A full width Panhard rod, la phase 2, will probably be fitted to further control the axle location and avoid wearing away the replaced arches by the tyre sidewalls.
Brakes will stay as Riley 1.5, but with the addition of a servo to bring pedal pressure down in line with what has become expected whilst driving modern cars. Aeroquip hoses will be retained. I have never experienced brake fade with the drums, so do not see the need for discs.
The Riley engine is to be replaced with an MGB, in fairly standard tune, except for a HRG crossflow head (a period modification). Hopefully this will produce some more power and considerably more torque. Stronger half shafts, which are available from some Minor specialists, may be a wise precaution to cope with this extra torque.
As the carburettors will then overhang the distributor an electronic replacement will be used. For the same reason, a remote oil filter may be needed. It is likely that some lowering and additional joints in the column may be necessary to clear the carburettors and the alternator (another modification, but necessary to keep the battery charged in modern traffic conditions, with cooling fan, lights, wipers etc. doing their best to discharge it).
An overdrive gearbox and 3.5 differential will hopefully give more relaxed main road cruising. Unfortunately, this gearbox will require modifications to the tunnel. I am considering increasing the thickness of the GRP in this area, which may allow partial removal of the bottom of the tunnel, perhaps to be replaced with a removable, well drilled alloy plate. Hopefully this would not only improve access, but more importantly allow for the additional escape of hot air from the engine compartment and further improve summer cooling of occupants.
Inside the cockpit the 70s homemade ply dash will be replaced with an original style instrument binnacle, which will lead to the need for a complete rewire. Two column mounted stalks should take care of most functions and bring them to hand.
The original seats have always been comfortable, so will be recovered and refitted. Inertia reel seat belts would be a nice replacement for the static ones that have previously been fitted, but these details have yet to be worked out.
No doubt as works progress slight changes to the plans will emerge and I am sure dozens of additional items be added.
Timescales? Well, start will be in 2008, with completion hopefully by the 40th anniversary of it coming into my ownership or, at the least, well before the next Olympic Games. Watch this space.
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Before I forget.
What a great line up of Rochdales on the Club stand at the NEC. Well done Tony, I know from my own experiences how much effort goes into organising a stand at such a show.
I must also thank Tony for all the snippets of Rochdale history that he is uncovering and passing onto me to update the club records.
Drove my Olympic up on set-up day in mostly fine weather. Approaching the NEC saw large black cloud ahead. I mile to go and the rain started. By the time I reached the NEC turning it was so dark and the visibility so bad due spray I couldnt read the gantry sign and missed the exit. Bah! It was hard to see the road at all and I had to drive another few miles before I could turn round. Not the kind of experience I want to repeat too often.
Following an open Turner for display on the Fairthorpe stand, the heavens opened, the hail came down and visibility became so bad I couldnt see the Turner ahead. Fortunately I didnt run into it when it parked up to wait for the conditions to improve. Driver got a bit wet, though.
Attended the show on all three days, but on Sunday, when driving to it with friend, came to roundabout and stopped to wait for a gap in the traffic. Unfortunately an approaching car lost it and decided to join me in my Civic. The good news: the door side impact beams work, the airbags work and I was OK. The bad news: my passenger was not so lucky whiplash injury. By the time he had been taken to hospital and I had organised a replacement hire car there wasnt much Showtime left.
Les and Pat Brown, Tony Stanton and his model Olympic (fashioned from a Porsche 356 kit!)
As ever, this event gets bigger and better. This year there was a large display of aircraft from between the wars and of caravans and matching tow cars up to 1966, the latter organised by Malcolm McKay. Although I am not an aircraft buff I still found the array of machinery fascinating and wonder how the organisers are going to better it next year for the tenth anniversary event.
The Pre-66 car park was full of interesting metal (and glass fibre) and a high proportion of the visitors arrayed themselves in suitable (and unsuitable) costume. The ladies in particular seemed to enjoy dressing up in frocks and high heels, the men mostly sticking to jackets and trousers. I felt I needed a straw hat to complement my striped blazer, but the prices there started from 76! Perhaps I will get a tweed jacket from a charity shop for next year to go with my old flat cap.
The racing was keen - even over keen at times, Martin Stretton suffering a broken arm when his Iso Bizzarini crashed heavily at Madgwick corner and the thrill of seeing cars sliding, spinning and overtaking never wears off. Eat your heart out F1. The ticket prices are high, but when you see the huge effort that goes into the show ...
Amanda Stretton prepares to interview Charles March for the camera, while the sound man fixes a glitch.
Nigel came in his TR2A as his Olympic was not quite ready for the long journey after its Alfa engine transplant, but I hope we can get this, plus a few more Olympics here next year to establish more of a Rochdale presence than my lone Phase 2. How about it chaps?
I only started hearing about Angoulme three or four years ago; something to do with old cars racing around the battlements of a town in deepest France, like Monaco but without the glitz. I seem to remember it was while we in France for the Historic Le Mans races and Derek Bentley remarked that his cousin lived nearby and that perhaps we should go there one day. Last July we stayed in a B&B close to Silverstone for the Classic race meeting and our hostess showed us a photo of her brother in a K-type MG taken at Angoulme last year. That was it we had to go. Derek spoke to his cousin Pat, who was only too pleased to accommodate us as she hadnt seen Derek for years. Derek and I struck a deal: I provided the car and booked the ferry and Derek did the route planning and supplied the accommodation.
Angoulme is about 150 miles due south of Le Mans, so the route took in the ferry from Portsmouth (handy for me) to Caen and then routes nationales or motorways for most of the way, some 300+ miles. So that we travelled in the daylight we got the 7am ferry on Friday 14 September, a Fastcraft which took less than 4 hours for the channel crossing. This is a bit like travelling by air, but without the hassle, highly recommended. We landed before midday local time, so had plenty of daylight left, especially as we were due south of Portsmouth (although the sun set at 7pm at home it set at 8pm local time).
This time the car behaved itself on its continental journey, the drivers door remaining latched and the sump remaining well clear of the tarmac, so the journey was trouble free. I had taken the precaution of redesigning the engine mounts and also fitted new club AVO shocks at the front, so the ground clearance was over 4. More work is still needed on these dampers, but that is another story.
A week or so before we were due to leave Pat rang to say they had moved house! Her husband Andy is a builder and they had decided to move into the bungalow they had just (nearly) completed as they had sold their existing house. It was still close to Angoulme and a little easier to find too. Apart from a short excursion off-piste in Angoulme itself the navigation went perfectly and we arrived at 7pm having taken it easily. This part of France is very pleasant, with rolling hills and plenty of woodland, somewhat like England but with a lot more space. It is easy to see why there are so many ex-pat Brits there.
The weekend was organised with various activities on the Saturday, including Concours dEtat and Elegance and a tour round the local countryside for historic cars taking in much food and drink (this is the Cognac region!), and practice and racing on the Sunday. On the Saturday we went into town to get the feel of the place and parked in an underground car park right in the centre (about 2 all day!!). Needless to say there were plenty of British cars there, including a D-type Jaguar among the MGs and TRs. Inevitably the Olympic attracted the attention of one of the cognoscenti!
There are in fact no actual battlements, but the old town sits on a hill and the circuit takes in some sharp turns, a couple of straights and a sequence of three hairpin bends on a steeply uphill section. In all it is less than a mile round. Armco protects the worst bends, but the circuit is very unforgiving of error. The organisation that goes into this one day of racing is impressive: the pavements have sockets into which the armco and spectator protection barriers are fitted, and all side streets have to be closed with barriers and guarded, yet one is still free to wander about and the atmosphere is friendly and easy-going. The pleasant weather helps, though last year there was much rain, which still didnt spoil the proceedings by all accounts.
Entry cost 10 to the spectator areas only or 20 to include the paddock/pits, a no-brainer for petrolheads and the programme (in French and English) only 2. The main paddock area was in a tree-lined park, very picturesque but dusty, especially when the formula junior cars blew the dust up in clouds with their low exhausts. Here the abundance of historic British sports cars could be seen: Lotus, Cooper, Elva, Keift, Riley, MG, HRG, Alvis, Lea-Francis, Austin, Jaguars, Bentley, Tojeiro, Healey, Austin-Healey, Triumph, TVR, Peerless, Reliant (Sabre Six) - deep breath - apart from: Delahaye, Amilcar, Alpine, Porsche, Innocenti and a large contingent of Bugattis. There was even an unusual front wheel drive, single-seater, 1936 Adler (the same company who made typewriters) driven by a Brit!
In another area of the town was a display of vehicles in the Concours. These ranged from a Bugatti type 57 Atlantic Coupe to a Lambretta scooter via Ford Mustang, Riley and Rolls-Royce. The crowds milled around snapping away (me included), the owners seemingly not bothered by the possibility that their immaculate coachwork might be scratched. The winner was the Bugatti which had just been restored - a stunning example of automotive art. The same bloke (a Brit naturally) won last year. He had inherited the car from a friend who had died before completing the restoration, and so finished the job. I hate to think what it must have cost.
(The distortion is due to the picture being stitched together from 3 separate pictures taken with a wide-angle lens)
We sought out likely areas to view the action for the racing, which ideally were in the shade but in sight of the racing most of the grandstands were in full sun, so only suitable for hardened sun-worshippers. Then we returned to the car and joined the traffic to get back home. At one point a lad with an SLR camera sighted us as we were crawling forwards, so we waited for him to finish, but he seemed to be having trouble so his mother grabbed the camera and got a shot before the toots could start from behind.
A few yards (imperial here) further on a man rushed out from a roadside cafe and asked me if I was Derek Bentley! Unfortunately we could not stop to speak further, so hoped we would see him the next day. We wondered who he could have been (he was English), but then Derek realised it must have been David Turner who was mentioned in the last magazine and is now living in France; he had once owned an Olympic and was thinking about getting another. In the event we did not see him on the Sunday, so Derek hopes he will call again and re-establish contact.
On race day the timed practice was in the morning, with the races in the afternoon; being France there was a good time set aside for lunch, the organisers hoping the drivers would be at least reasonably sober for the racing!! It was also in the lunch period that a Subaru Impreza and an early BMW 3-series race car gave one lap joy-rides. The BMW driver was particularly lairy in the hairpins, tail out and tyre smoke every time, until the car cried enough and limped in. It must have been hard work for the driver too, in full race kit, in full sun on such a twisty circuit and he was not in the first flush of youth either, to coin a phrase.
The races were quite short, being limited to 17 laps or 26 minutes. We found a spot in an avenue of trees atop the ramparts, where some of the hairpins could be seen, plus the start/finish straight. Not bad at all. There were two races for Bugatti and one for Jaguar, fielding up to 16 cars in each race, so quite congested. What to remember? The unlikely sight of a tiny Austin 7 Ulster running away with the race for vintage sports cars, which included Frazer-Nash, Lea-Francis, Bugatti and Amilcar-Riley special; the whole grandstand opposite us standing to cheer the driver of a Porsche 911SC who came from well down the grid to run away from the field in the race for saloon/GT cars (one assumes he was either famous or local or both Michel Langin anyone?). I seem to recall a TVR Grantura Mk3 came second; a Jaguar E-type coupe and a Lotus 7 both perished.
There was even commentary in English.� I think this is what makes Angoulme rather special: not only is it almost unique in being a street race, but the town embraces even Frances historic rivals the English. Vive lentente cordiale!
On the way home we met the father-and-son owner and driver of the Amilcar-Riley in a layby (it was the son's car, but he let dad drive it!). Also a couple in a Teal (Bugatti-styled kit car) which was going home to Luton or thereabouts via Calais. That's about 450 miles in a small open car - not for the faint-hearted.
Our own journey was completed comfortably, the car cruising easily at the French speed limits (70-80 mph), all in all a relaxing time. Back in Portsmouth, in the dark and the rain, it seemed like we were on another planet, and so we were Planet Rochdale is miles away.
No sign of Nomex here!
There are relevant topics from two FBHVC newsletters this time, as they are published bi-monthly Ed.
From time to time I hear of cases that have been deferred or that present an unusual set of problems. One cautious club representative approached me recently regarding a model that was outside the remit of his club. As soon as the registration mark was mentioned I realised that it was a case that was the subject of an ongoing DVLA investigation. When another club not normally dealing with a model is approached it usually indicates a disappointed applicant hunting around until he finds a friendly supporter. We do ask that club representatives advise DVLA and ourselves if they suspect such activities.
In this particular instance the applicant had been sent to the club by his local DVLA office who had consulted the V765/1 list of recommended clubs. It is unreasonable to expect non-informed people to understand all the nuances of makes and models from generations past and in this I include most DVLA staff. I hope that at the next revision of the V765/1 list that we may be able to insert reference to the dates/periods covered by specialist clubs whose titles may not be sufficiently explicit.
I have had feedback from some drivers who had lost entitlements upon a renewal, usually from age 70 onwards. They had followed the advice given in the last Newsletter (to submit an application with supporting medical certificate) and had received an amended licence with restored entitlements quite promptly. Similar positive feedback was obtained from drivers who were about to submit their renewal and had followed the advice.
At the time of writing we have just received a new Consultation on the subject of Driving Licence Fees.
This seems to have been triggered by the impending renewal in 2008 of the first of the 10-year Photocard Driving Licences. At present DVLA has different fees for different renewal requirements (exchange/endorsement removal/loss) and one of the objectives seems to be a measure of harmonisation. On first reading, we believe this is unlikely to have special impact on historic vehicle owners, but we will study the detail and respond accordingly.
DVLA is keen for more vehicle keepers to use EVL as it offers considerable cost savings and a more accurate data base (so I am informed). FBHVC has received a growing number of observations and complaints from historic vehicle owners that they have not been able to obtain a licence via EVL despite being invited to use the service on the V11 renewal form. It appears that the system refuses to proceed on the grounds that the records do not contain a specific date of manufacture and thus cannot determine requirement for a MoT certificate. This seems rather ridiculous since I have not yet come across a vehicle that was manufactured after it was first registered! (I am sure that a diligent reader will advise me about certain competition vehicles.)
Members have complained that they cannot tell from scrutiny of their documentation whether their vehicle meets EVL criteria and assume, quite correctly, that an invitation to use EVL upon the V11 renewal document implies compliance. A clue may lie in section 3 on the front page of the V5C certificate. A modern vehicle will have a notation declared new at first registration, or similar wording if it was imported referring to a specific year of manufacture. (Vehicles unable to offer a specific year of manufacture are now allocated a Q suffix mark.)
A check on www.vehiclelicence.gov.uk will confirm whether the year of manufacture is recorded; many historic vehicle entries will have n/a on the relevant line. Personally, I have two vehicles both over 50 years old that have no notation in V5C section 3, yet the year of manufacture is recorded on the website data. However, I could not use EVL for them since both vehicles have not been used for many years and pre-date SORN.
Perversely, my taxed and tested vehicles lack the all-important year data. EVL is a complex subject and the difficulties that historic vehicle keepers are experiencing must have roots in an IT programme that was developed to cater for modern vehicles and databases.
Members contacting DVLA have been advised that they could have the record amended provided that they obtained a dating certificate from the manufacturer. In many cases this will be impossible, in others it will incur an expense that may be considerable. When most of our vehicles were current it was not a requirement for a date of manufacture to be inserted upon an RF60 or VE60 registration logbook; the assumption was that most vehicles when first registered were new. The EVL checking process lacks the flexibility to take account of earlier procedures.
This is frustrating for those who thought that EVL would be an answer to the problem posed by Continuous Licensing and SORN to people with an active lifestyle involving frequent travel. We have taken the issue forward with the Agency as we consider it unsatisfactory, if not discriminatory, that keepers of older vehicles may be required to incur significant expense in order to use EVL, a system that is in essence designed to save money for DVLA!
A couple of club magazines had picked up a story about over-zealous NCP staff, working under contract to DVLA, clamping and then, two days after admitting the mistake and removing the clamp, seeking to take away a SORNed 1970s Triumph car that was parked, awaiting restoration, apparently on private land. The situation was saved by a neighbour who refused to move his vehicle to give the NCP tow truck access. FBHVC wrote to NCP seeking an assurance that this was a one-off error, that staff were properly trained about the circumstances in which they may clamp and remove untaxed vehicles and that there was no financial incentive that might encourage action to increase the count of clamped vehicles.
The response, from the Operations Director of NCP Services, explained that the tow truck had been booked at the time the clamp was applied, but (for some reason) had not been cancelled when the clamp was removed. It also suggested that the car in question had one pair of wheels on the public highway (which usually includes any pavement and/or verge). There was reassurance that NCP places great emphasis on getting thing right,and a subsequent letter confirmed there was no financial incentive.
Worryingly, though, the letter contained this: Currently we (on behalf of DVLA) are unable to enforce against untaxed vehicles that are on private land. It is hoped this will be addressed in forthcoming legislation. Not by FBHVC it isnt!
We are in the process of submitting our response to the consultation on amendments to the regulations governing the supply of number plates. This is primarily intended to define and control those nonstandard designs that are known as show plates and to require that they are specially marked to deter use upon the road. We have made representations to try to obtain authorisation for replacement reflective plates in 1973-2001 styles and fonts as the current ban on their supply is anomalous and illogical. We are aware that there is sympathy for our point of view but whether this translates to active support by the
powers that be is another matter.
We had two pieces of feedback following our warning about the risks associated with older tyres in the last issue. That warning had been triggered by the death of the driver of an MGB that had overturned following a blow-out.
First, the Tame Valley Vintage and Classic Car Club, of which the unfortunate MGB driver was a member, wrote to say that the deceased had been a tireless worker for the Childrens Adventure Farm which provides free holidays for under privileged and special needs children. This year the clubs 2007 annual A6 charity run was in support of, and ended at, the adventure farm where a bench commemorating the drivers life was unveiled.
Second, a reader gently took us to task for not explaining how we were certain that it was the age of the tyre that had caused the catastrophe, and not some other cause, such as picking up a piece of debris or overheating due to underinflation that might have caused a new tyre to fail in the same way. The quick answer is because thats what the official reports said and it matched with experience - but the point was well made so we looked a little further.
A large section of tread had parted company from the tyre. The police recovered this missing section of tread and matched it to the remains of the tyre. It was found in the verge some eight metres before the first indication of any tyre scuff marks on the carriageway. The report did not specifically state there was no evidence of contact with debris and there was no way of knowing what the pressure in the tyre was prior to the accident, but it was noted that the pressures in the remaining three tyres were above manufacturers recommendation. The effects of the burst tyre might have been exacerbated by the fact that the wheel spinner on this wheel was not fully tightened.
Car tyres are made from a synthetic styrenebutadiene rubber which is easy to manufacture and has a significantly lower cost than natural rubber, but it does have the disadvantage that it is more prone to oxidisation. To counter this, tyre compounds contain anti-aging additives as well as extender oils that improve grip and elasticity. Unfortunately, the chemicals that provide these properties are themselves harmful to human health and the amounts that may be used are strictly controlled at a level that provides a compromise between the need for the tyres to last a reasonable time and the requirement to minimise the health risk. The reasonable time is around ten years, which in the context of tyres for vehicles that are in regular use is more than adequate. The oxidisation means that the character of the compound is deteriorating from day one, but the effect is barely perceptible in the first few years if the tyre is looked after or stored properly.
If a tyre has been in regular use beyond that period there should not be a problem provided the tyre is kept at the correct pressure (to avoid risk of over heating). But if the tyre has been standing for months on end, the oxidisation of the compound means a stiffening of the tyre walls so that when it is next used the unaccustomed flexing will cause heat to build up more rapidly than it would in a newer tyre or one that was used regularly. When the tyre warms to a critical level, the natural degradation of the compound increases rapidly causing the long molecular chains that give the compound its flexible properties to shorten, and ultimately causing the tyre to start to break up. The tyre failure on the MGB was consistent with that picture.
Remember - next years Drive It Day will be on Sunday, 20 April. Do let us know if your club has any plans for the day so we can put a note on the website.
It was nice to see a piece in this issue of the FBHVC Newsletter covering the Historic Specials Day at
Burford, with a picture on the front cover of a Peregrine 1000 Sprint and another inside of Rogers Rochdale Mk VI Buckler. An article from the ROC magazine was also quoted. Ed
This issue has a picture by Malcolm McKay of microcars taken at the 2006 Goodwood Revival meeting on the front cover and also mentions the Liege-Brescia-Liege rally for cars under 700cc that Malcolm is organising for 2008 Ed.
Tight against this Newsletter deadline was our final 2007 meeting with our contacts at DVLA Swansea. As usual, this was a productive meeting with a full agenda at which many topics were discussed and a number of cases resolved.
In general this scheme for the recovery of lost numbers continues to function well and the move to a dedicated team has been to the advantage both of DVLA and applicants in improving turnaround. The continuity has enabled the team to notice some trends, one of which is the increasing frequency of, no to the question of whether an inspection of the applicant vehicle has been conducted.
When the last significant revision of procedures was undertaken a few years ago, FBHVC strongly recommended that a physical inspection should be made of each vehicle unless there were very compelling circumstances why this was not necessary. It was also recommended that the rationale for not conducting the inspection should be briefly explained. At the time, FBHVC received very strong opposition to this procedure from a minority of authorised officers who considered that it was unreasonable. When it was explained that the request was intended to reduce the chances of fraud or use of clones and did not specify that the inspection had to be conducted personally by the counter-signatory most opposition evaporated. DVLA agreed that the inspection report need not be submitted with the V765 application but could be retained by the relevant counter-signatory.
I suppose that with the passing of time and the inevitable changes in authorised club officials that these requirements may have become distorted. Certainly I have been informed by a number of contacts that inspections are no longer required. Not so! For the avoidance of doubt I will repeat that good practice requires: 1) an applicant vehicle to have been inspected; 2) this need not be undertaken by the countersignatory but may be done by someone experienced in the marque/vehicle concerned and trusted by him/her; 3) the inspection report should be retained by the counter-signatory; 4) if an inspection has not been conducted then an explanation is required why this was not considered necessary.
The V765 team will review the reasons put forward for omitting an inspection and may decide, considering all the facts and information presented, to ask further questions or even to request an inspection by a Local Office official. This is not a change in procedure but rather a re-emphasis of what was agreed some years ago as an important anti-fraud measure intended to uphold the integrity of the V765 Scheme. I trust that all counter-signatories will co-operate in obtaining a pre-submission inspection.
A considerable number of new and ongoing cases were discussed relating to individual V765 applications that had been deferred or refused for a variety of reasons, or that had involved Local Office vehicle inspections. Some had been as a result of MoT identity mis-matches and many had emanated from owners who had not been informed about (or had ignored) our frequent entreaties to check documentation to the vehicle before submitting it to its first computerised MoT. In many instances the document discrepancies dated back decades, sometimes to initial registration. I repeat the advice to check documentation to your vehicle on each occasion that a new document is issued.
Other appeals had clearly stemmed from inadequate presentation of the case, particularly when reliance was being placed upon nonofficial sources such as service records, private or published sources (books or magazines) or even personal documentation. My experience has always been that DVLA staff are willing to give the benefit of doubt but they are invariably not old vehicle enthusiasts and cannot be expected to sort out the nuggets of relevant information from a pile of documents. Applicants must show a coherent link and written explanation to evidence why circumstantial information is relevant to their case. In many instances this may require explanation of long-distant economic or social factors to link the elements together. Not every case will be agreed using this approach and it would be unreasonable to expect success based solely upon a passionate appeal which lacks concrete information.
Many of these appeals were for vehicles that had not been inspected prior to the V765 submission. Had these occurred some would have been found to be ineligible for recovery of the original mark, others would have shown the need for additional investigations. The foregoing indicates why we consider a vehicle inspection by a marque-experienced individual to be crucial to the V765 Scheme procedures.
In previous Newsletters there has been comment regarding difficulties experienced by those trying to use EVL for older vehicles. The system uses date of manufacture as one of the security tests, but this date was not required when our vehicles were first registered. DVLA would like to extend use of EVL to all vehicle keepers and intends to amend systems accordingly, but this will not happen overnight and it may be some time before budget and resources are allocated. Until this occurs, if acceptable dating information (manufacturer or club sourced) is presented this will be added to the database, but manufacturers or clubs supplying the necessary confirmation may make a charge for doing so.
A comment in a club journal to the effect that a member had had a brush with the law as a result of being in the habit of towing his rally car to and from events on an A-frame has prompted this note, which relates only to towing by cars and light commercial vehicles. Different rules apply for agricultural vehicles, motor tractors and road locomotives.
Regulations 19 and 22 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations of 1986 (as amended) make special provisions for the recovery of vehicles that have broken down during the course of a journey - they may be recovered using appropriate equipment, including A-frames. The Road Traffic Act imposes a speed limit of 20 mph on ordinary roads and 40 mph on motorways for vehicles being recovered in this way, and that applies to broken down vehicles being towed by rope, solid bar, dolly or A-frame.
Other than such breakdown recovery situations, the C & U regulations treat vehicles connected by a rigid coupling as towing vehicle and trailer. The use of an A-frame thus means the towed car becomes a trailer in the eyes of the law, and must therefore comply with the normal requirements of a trailer.
The same C & U regulations require trailers over 750kg gross mass to have brakes that are either operated directly from the towing vehicle or that operate on the overrun. Unbraked trailers may not exceed 50% of the gross mass of the towing vehicle. A device that applies the brakes on the trailer if for any reason it should become detached are required on trailers above 1500kg gross, but below that limit secondary couplings (such as chains) may be used.
A-frames can really thus only be used legally for towing cars if (a) that car is being recovered after a breakdown (b) the gross weight of towed car and A frame is below 750 kg or (c) there is some fail safe mechanism to apply the brakes of the towed car. The lights on the rear of the towed vehicle have also to comply with other regs for trailers, including warning reflective triangles and towing vehicle registration plate.
Information on Olympics turns up out of the blue. Malcolm McKay received an email from a Cecil Logan, enquiring about a GT he had owned in the 60s. He also mentioned that his brother had owned an Olympic at the same time, but this had been written off in an accident. Subsequent correspondence, from Brother Dick, indicated that the Olympic was registered 8008 DZ and he had owned it from about 1964 to 1968, when it was replaced by an E type.
Looking through my records it would seem that this Olympic was supplied by Easy Built Cars of Belfast, who were Rochdale agents for Northern Ireland. The factory ledger indicates that it was for a Mr Wray of Hillfoot Street, Belfast, which would tie up with the chassis No RJW 6015.
Dick does not remember Mr Wray as being the person from whom he purchased the Olympic, so there may have been another owner between 1962 and 1964. He thinks that the previous owner must have either rallied or autocrossed the car, as the handbrake had been welded such that the button was inoperable. This is borne out by a letter from later owner George Muir that the Halda Speedpilot was still fitted when he acquired the car.
During Dicks ownership the car suffered an accident, but was rebuilt. To quote Cecil: Although it was damaged when he came over a blind crest to find a parked MG TC in his path, he was able to pick up the pieces and drive home. The MG having a strong steel rear bumper was scarcely marked! He repaired it himself and used it for a while before changing it for an 'E' type Jaguar in 1968! He subsequently sold it to a Derret-Smith, who lived in the south of England. By the mid 1970s it was with a Jonathan Weelan in Camberley, Surrey. In 1977 it travelled north to Orkney and for the next 10 years was in the ownership of George Muir. George then sold it to a neighbour, a Mr Walsh.
By 1993 it had been left in a field and was in a parlous state. George retrieved the Olympic and it was sold to a George Wilson of Cumbria. The tale of its recovery, by adding an A frame to effectively make it into a two wheeled trailer was told in magazine No 57. George Wilson then moved house and the Olympic was put up for sale in 1997. The trail then goes cold and it was at that point it disappeared from view. I wonder where it is now.
Even with access to some of the factory records this can produce frustration. I currently have over 80 Olympics that appear in the factory records, together with the original owners name, but which I cannot relate to cars that I have listed by registration number.
Over the last year or so, when time permits, I have therefore been writing to registration authorities where records still exist for any details they hold on cars for which I know the registration number, but not the original owner. This has been modestly successful and has allowed updating of my records. There are however many more to go when time permits. Usually the authorities are helpful and charges modest, although generally the information held relates only to the date of registration and name of first owner.
As an example, 1523 DF, back in the 70s and 80s was a well known car in the hands of Stan Hanks, who worked in Jaguars experimental department. Stan had bought it in 1978 from a colleague, who also worked at Jaguars. During that period Stan rebuilt a number of Olympics for family members and his home in Hopwood near Birmingham became a Mecca for Rochdale owners.
The Gloucestershire authorities produced a copy of their registration entry for 1523 DF, but someone had obviously tried to improve it by overwriting the details, such that the name was illegible! Fortunately, the address was just legible and could be found in the factory ledger. Once you knew what the name might be it was just readable. The documents were passed to Warwickshire in 1963, presumably when the car was bought by Stans work colleague. It has recently changed hands and is now owned by Ros King from Salisbury, who bought it on ebay
Gloucestershire also produced details for another phase 1, 1477 DG. I actually already knew of the original owner, but the surprise was that it was registered with them as a Railton Special! This car passed through the hands of Brian Easton some years ago.� Do you remember it not being registered as a Rochdale Brian?
This is another Olympic that has disappeared from the radar in recent years, the last recorded owner being a Chris Dinnis, from the Birmingham area, who according to my records seems to have had several Olympics over the years. Tony Stanton subsequently managed to contact Chris, who confirmed that he sold the car some years ago, possibly in the early 80s, but unfortunately cannot remember who to. Another lost car.
BPL 125 is a phase 1 now owned by Simon Brindle. The car was originally built by Boon and Porter Ltd (hence the registration number), who were well known Riley dealers in Barnes, southwest London.
It was supplied as a bare body/chassis unit, not surprisingly, as the mechanical parts were obviously available in their stores.
At the recent NEC Show I had the pleasure of having a long conversation with David McCallan, who as a young lad worked at Boon and Porter and well remembers the car being constructed in the workshops. The Olympic was primarily built up for Penelope Porter, daughter of the owner, who was then in her 20s. She competed in the Olympic, I think primarily in hill climbs and sprints, although I do have a photograph taken at the 1964 Brighton Speed Trials, where the Olympic is shown alongside a Ginetta G4.
I recently received an email from Wim Groot in Holland, telling me that he still has the phase 2 that he has owned since the 70s. By a strange co-incidence Tony Stanton sent me details of a Classic Car show held recently in Holland and there, looking immaculate was Wims Olympic.
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