Posted in Essex Section
Submitted by Rob Rands on Mon, 02/01/2017 - 10:36
We ended 2016 at Crofters for our Christmas Dinner on the 7th December. It was the usual very good meal and service and we almost filled the back room. I hope you all enjoyed the event.
2017 started on the 11th at Ashwells and the 18th at the Shoulder of Mutton. These were both be New year Get Togethers and the opportunity to show off our Christmas presents. We had some interesting discussions at both venues, the Shoulder being very well supported.
Ken's slide show went well at Ashwells on 1st February, some excellent pictures of some excellent Alfas. The New Zealand NAD looked great and Ron and Andra both looked very well. I enjoyed the Angouleme pictures, brought back memories for me. But it wasn't so good at the Shoulder on the 15th, the laptop decided it didn't want to play so we had a chat evening instead.
On the 1st March at Ashwells there was to be a Games Night - darts and pool, but the six of us decided to sit and natter. At the Shoulder on the 15th, we had a Models, memorabilia, books and pictures evening.Nigel brought a picture of John Surtees' Hondola F1 car in memory of 'Big John', David T. brought volume 1 of Practical Classics magazine, Dave Ward brought several Giulia SS models (I hope he isn't using these to rebuild his car), Ken had a new book, TZ-TZ2 and his (huge) Centenary Commemoration book, and I showed my father's scrap book from his 1947 visit to the Utah Salt Flats with John Cobb on the successful Land Speed Record Attempt. And Ken and I were driven to the meeting in David's new Giulia - very impressive, thanks David.
We started April on a high note at Ashwells on the 5th, Jon Dooley joined us to give his illustrated talk on his life racing Alfa Romeos and working with Alfa Romeo, it was really interesting. I was disappointed to have to close the meeting but the 'Questions and Answers' were getting slightly political - and it was getting late! Thanks to Neal Franklin from Chris Knott Insurance for coming along too. If he can be persuaded to come again, we will make time for him to talk about insurance. And thanks to all of you who came to make it a great evening.
At the Shoulder we just had a 'Noggin and Natter', but Neil Murray was in his 4C Launch Edition and Angus Doe in his Giulia Quadrifoglio. They made a great sight in the car park and even better sounds as they left!
n the 23rd April, Spring Alfa Day was at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, a bit further for us this year. I couldn't make it as I was on holiday but I believe it was a good day.
May Section meetings were the Peter Raymond Trophy Quiz nights. Ken set an excellent quiz as he won last year. I won this year at Ashwells, Angus won at the Shoulder but as I got more correct answers, I keep the trophy and set the quiz next year.
At Little Totham Car Show on the 27th May, I was disappointed by the small number of our cars that attended. We were outnumbered three times by Austin Sevens from th 20s and 30s! The show was as usual a pleasant little village event with some intesesting vehicles on display but it would be good to have some more Alfas there. My thanks to Dave and Eleanor, and Geoff and Christine for coming along. The weather was great after the early morning rain, thunder and lightning!
At Ashwells on the 7th June we should have had our Section Vehicle Display and Fun Concours, but the seven of us stayed inside. Alan Beadle would have won the dirtiest car as he hasn't cleaned his this year!
Then on the 21st at the Shoulder, Richard Leggett brought his Alfetta GTV Rally car to show us. We spent a long time looking at the car and asking Richard about the modification and his experiences on the rallies. His son, Daniel, who is the navigator, came with Richard to give us the navigator's point of view. Areally interesting evening, or am I being biased owning an Alfetta GTV and having rallied when I was younger?
In between Section meetings on the 17th June, Kent and East Sussex organised a return visit to Hever Castle. Several of us from Essex attended and I actually toured the castle for the first time in many visits. Good to meet some membersI hadn't met before and I look forward to meeting you again. There were about 150 Alfas there which was an excellent turn out.
Finally for June, on the 25th we had a Sunday Drive to a late-ish lunch. Ken arranged an interesting route along the lanes of Essex, starting at the Bakehouse near Hylands Park, passing the end of Ken's road in Great Baddow, avoiding my home in Bicknacre, to our first stop at the Wilkins Jam Factory in Tiptree - Norman and Louise could have joined us there! Then more lanes to Layer Marney Tower, another historic building we will have to visit in the future. We ended at the Shoulder of Mutton for lunch. Norman and Louise won the prize for counting (or guessing) the number of pubs passed en-route. Well organised, Ken, and thanks to those of us who participated.
We didn't have our usual Section meetings in July because we had our Twilight Drive on the 19th starting at either Ashwells or the Shoulder on the 19th, and ending at the Angel and Harp in Dunmow for dinner. I believe we all enjoyed the drive and and no problems, apart from my exhaust losing three nuts and not being held together. The group of cyclists I overtook must have been deafened!
National Alfa Daywas fairly local this year at Knebworth on the 9th July. I apologise to any Section members I didn't see to speak to, it took me over two hours to walk from my car to Ed McDonough's atll and back, about 100 yards, meeting and chatting to friends old and new. Then after lunch, more meeting and chatting before driving home. I had good journeys both ways with very little traffic, unlike some of you, I understand.
On Saturday 15th Dave Ward had an Open day at Auto Dent Services. Sports and Classic Cars was open next door with a varied selection of vehicles, sadly no Alfas. Dave is making good progress with his Giulia SS. His workmanship is excellent and the car will be superb when it is finished.
Our Section Barbecue or Eating festival was on the 23rd July at Hempstead. The weather was kind to us, although one or two of us drove through rain on the way there and back. The food was super, as usual, our thanks to Dave, Claire, Sophie and the boys for their hospitality and hard work preparing such a feast.
At our July Section meetings, we featured the 105 Series and discussed any modifications members had made to improve their cars. At the Shoulder, Neville expressed the very valid opinion that for suspension, the factory settings are best for road use. Good shock absorbers, springs and bushes make the cars handle as they are intended. Obviously for competition, the situation is different, although too much lowering doesn't allow the suspension to work effectively.
The hedingahm Castle Classic Car Show was on the 20th August. We had a good selection of cars on show and our display attracted loads fo attention. There was a Fiat interloper among us, Bob brought his original Fiat 500 along. I had seen it at Dave's Open Day and asked Bob if he would bring it as it looks so cute. The show is attracting more entries each year and we are getting squeezed into 'our' corner more than before.
The format for the Southend Italian festival on Saturday 2nd September was the same as last year, meet at Chalkwell, parade along the front, and park in the High Street. The pararde was led by noisy Ferraris, noisy Maseratis and very noisy Lamborghinis, followed by our (mostly) refined Alfas and some Fiats. The weather was good and again our display in the High Street was well received by all who passed by.
September Section meetings were to be Film Shows but at Ashwells the six of us spent the evening putting the World to rights. It was better at the Shouldr, and we saw the story of the Targa Florio, unfortunately very quietly. We will have sound sorted out sometime.
What a day at Southern Alfa day at the Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey on the 24th September! The weather (arranged by Nick Wright) was great, the venue was great and we had around 220 cars on show. Paul at Chris Variava brought four cars all the way from Nottingham after Couty Motors lost their Alfa and jeep franchise, the 2018 BTCC Giulietta road version looked very impressive, and Justin and Joan came in their 1930 1750 6C 1750.The 6C was my personal favourite on the day, and it was greta to meet Justin and Joan at last.
The Italian Market was busy all day. I kept seeing people carrying pizza boxes from Nonna's Pizzas and the Mills cafe was open so nobody went home hungry.
We didn't have a concours, we voted for 'the car you would most like to take home'. The 6C, the BTCC Giulietts and the Variava cars were excluded from the vote, which was won by Dave Ward's 101 Spider, with Sergio's GTV Cup and a beautiful Sud as runners up.
We had arranged parking with somw 'special' cars at the front, then we featured 916s and the Modified Register, before every one else. It was a spectacular display and there will be a full report and pictures in the December Club magazine.
In October we had our Section AGM in two parts on the 4th at Ashwells and the 18th at the Shoulder. Unfortunately there wasn't a coup and you're stuck with the same committee for another year. I will not be standing again next year for the reasons I tried to explain at the meetings. We had suggestions for differnet events which we will be looking into for next year.
November is 'Pasta Brain' month. Alan Bryant set an excellent quiz this year with a different appraoch. It must have suited me because I won at Ashwells and Alan Beadle was the 'Pasta Brain' with fewest correct answers. There was only six of us at the Shoulder so we just did an informal quiz, not counting marks. This means that next year I will be setting both the 'Peter Raymond Trophy' quiz and the 'Pasta Brain', serves me right for being so smart!
We had our Christmas Dinner on Friday 8th December at the Shoulder. Judging by the amount of chat and noise, we all had a good time. We took over the restaurant side at the pub and the twenty eight of us filled most of it for a great evening.