Posted in Essex Section
Submitted by Rob Rands on Fri, 02/02/2018 - 09:31
Our January meetinge were New Year Get Togethers and very well attended, with ten of us at Ashwells and sixteen at the Shoulder. The Shoulder staff were a little 'put out' by our numbers! Let's hope for good attendance at our next meetings.
We revised our calendar for the 7th February as Ken could not attend at Ashwells and had a 'Models and memorabilia' evening. David and I showed each other the books we had brought and went home disappointed with just the two of us attending.
Our meeting at the Shoulder was also 'Models and Memorabilia'. After I had asked for suggestions for answers to some agenda questions coming up at the Section Secretaries meeting, we were almost inundated with books and models. A couple of highlights were Nick Eden's model of his 6c as it was originally in 1939 and Ken's TZ3 model but all the books and neville's car brochures were great. Thanks to everyone who brought something along.
This year the theme for Ken's Slide Show was the 'Andiamo a Milano' tours. We have done five since 1994 and the final one will be next year. For me, one fo the best things to happen on these tours has been the friendships we ahve made with other members all over the UK. That's as well as the great visits arranged by Ken over the tours. Next year the final tour will be from Saturday 22 June to Sunday 7 July so we can enjoy the Silver Flag Hillclimb. I hope the shows wetted some appetites for the final tour.
Then what an evening we had at Ashwells on the 4th April! John Norrington with his friends Ian and Will came to talk about different aspects of driving. John has been racing for many years and instructing for about 15 years. He is a highly qualified race driving instructor as is Will, who also drives in histiric races. Ian is a rally school instructor, so we had virtually the whole range of motoring experience talking to us. The enthusiasm of our guests was very obvious and made it a great evening.
Then at the Shoulder on the 18th it was a 'Noggin and Natter' evening with Il Capo while I was in the sun at Cromer.
Spring Alfa Day, Duxford, 22nd April, another great day! Nick Wright had done his weather dance so that was fine and the East Anglia Section arranged everything else! Over 600 cars, although unfortunately I didn't see any prior to 101 series. There was a huge collection of 4Cs, an 8C (excuse my dribbling), and Mitos, Giulias and Giuliettas were out in numbers, even Stelvios came along. I am disappointed that some members hadn't read the advertising regarding 'no dogs on an active airfield', it doesn't help our relationship with the Duxford authorities. And Ben's 147 GTA won a prize, well done, Ben! It was good to see so many Section members, I saw many of you in the distance but didn't get to talk to some of you.
In May our meetings were the Peter Raymond Trophy quiz. Ken won at Ashwells and Alan B. won at the Shoulder. I hope I didn't get too anoraky with the questions! As Ken had more correct answers than Alan, he keeps the trophy for the year (again) and sets the quiz next year.
On my way to the Little Totham Car Show, 26th May, it rained almost as hard as last year but no thunder and lightning. Fortunately, like last year, it stopped before I reached the show field, the sun came out and it was a great day. Our five cars looked good and attracted loads of attention. We weren't outnummbered by the Austin 7s, although it was close!
In June we had our normal Section meetings and despite having nothing organised, we ahd good attendance at both venues and interesting discussions.
Five of us visited Jim Stokes Workshop near Portsmouth on the 24th June for his Open Day. We were all blown away by the facilities, the cars and the enthusiasm of all who worked there. It was so amazimg to see the quality of the workmanship in all the departments and especially to be shown round by Jim Stokes himself. A highlight for me was the !%* they have almost finished. The engine looked fabulous with the air intake that had been made in-house. What a fantastic place!
National Alfa Day was at Weston Park, near Telford; a long hot journey for us but it was a good day. I thought the attendance was lower than usual but what do I know. The concours cars looked fabulous but there were many other cars that looked just as good, all a real tribute to their owners. We went in my Sportwgon with a/c to keep us and our dog coolish rather than the Alfetta where we would have had all four a/c units wound down!
On Saturday 14th July, Dave Ward had his Open Day at little Maplestead. Progress on the Giulia SS is remarkable, it is looking like a car now. I really had my doubts when I saw it the first time as a pile of rust.
Our Twilight Drive seemed to be well received. Despite the clouds looking ominous at the Shoulder, the weather was very warm and no-one admitted getting lost. We had some new faces and cars out for the evening and I hope we will be seeing you all again soon. We finished at the Halfway, kelvedon, where the food seems very good.
On Sunday 22nd July, we held an Italian Cars and Coffee morning at the Halfway. Around twenty cars arrived, mostly various models of Alfa but there were two Maseratis and one Ferrari. Nicole from D. Salmon Cars in Colchester brought along a white Stelvio which looked very smart and had several members giving it the once over. I hope we can get more involved with Salmons as they are the only Alfa Dealer in Essex now.
The Section Barbecue at Hempstead, 29th July - our annual eating festival. If you missed this, you really missed out. A four course meal that would put many a restaurant to shame, great company, Alfas on the drive, what more could anyone want? Many, many thanks to David, Claire and the family (which is extending!), we really appreciate your hospitality.
Our Section meetings in August featured the 916 Series cars. David taylor told us the tale of his GTV purchase - in Germany, Keith and Richard Gidley talked about the car they have passed between them and Ken McLean told us about stainless steel air cleaner straps and the easy way to replace a window seal. At the Shoulder, Mark, David and Phil Gotts spoke enthusiastically about their 916s - all V6s!
A new event for us was the Thaxted Meander on the 5th August. It was a walking treasure hunt around the old town of Thaxted (the clue is in the name). We started from the Margaret Street car park and meandered arond Thaxted with our maos and question sheets ending in the Swan Pub for a swift cooling half. We were taken to parts of Thaxted I didn't know existed with all sorts of interesting facts in the questions. 'My' team, Paul, Jeanette and myself, managed a 100% corect score and took home the magnificent trophy. Many thanks to Mark and Kate for organising this so well.
We were at Hedingham Castle Classic car Show again on the 19th August, the weather wasn't quite as warm as usual (I didn't consulkt Nick) but our display attracted loads of attention. We were complimented by the organiser and her manager. A surprise addition to our display was Dominic's yellow Montreal.
Then to Southend on the 1st September. The routine was the same as the last two years with the parade along the front - before our adoring crowds - then parking in the High Street. The parade was led by a load of Ferraris, some Maseratis and Lamborghinis, a Lancia Spider, then the cream, our Alfas, followed by modern Fiats and Abarths. There was also a tiny AutoBianchi which looked really great. Our cars were a varied selection of models, the oldest being Dave's 101 Spider, the newest either David's or Criag's Giulia. There were even three 116 Alfetta coupes, my GTV, Stuart's GT and Nick's GTV6. It is unusual to see of of these models these days, let alone three together. Paul's SZ and Phil's 75 completed the transaxle models. 105s were represented as coupe and spiders, along with the 916s, Cup and Spider, and modern saloons, all looking splendid in the sun. Thanks for making an excellent display, folks.
Section meetings in September were film nights, with sound. At Ashwells we watched a short film, The History of Alfa Romeo - the Definitive Story. It is an American produced film so only lasted half an hour and as it was produced in 2006 only went as far as the 916 cars, but included some great old racing film. Ron and Andra Smith had arrived from New Zealand and Ron told us about the NZ motor scene. He left us a couple of NZ Classic Motor magazines and a copy of their Alfa Club magazine. The Car mags were very American and japanese car related but the Club mag was a very friendly one as, with a small membership, everyone knows everyone, despite being spread over a very large area. We showed the same film at the Shoulder, then, as light relief, car chases from James Bond films.
In October we had our AGM in two parts. Both meetings went well and there were several suggestions for events next year. In my report I stated that we have 185 members currently but I only know just over 60 of you, so need to know how to get the other 120 of you to come to our meetings and events. Our Wine Circle keeps us in funds but we do have some wine left from this year and last year so we have reduced the number of rows of vines we lease. My personal disappointment with both parts of our AGM was that no-one volunteered to take over a Section Secretary so I'm continuing on a temporary basis.
Our November Italian Trivia Quizzes aka 'Pasta Brain' went well although not too many of you came along to show your lack of knowledge. It is only for funand the real prize is the title of Pasta Brian (and the packet of pasta!). Nick Foster played a blinder by bringing Kate along, and won at Ashwells, similarly Dave Dash brought Eleanor to the Shoulder and she won. Is there a message in this? Norman was Pasta Brain at Ashwells and Neil took the title at the Shoulder. As Nick and Kate scored more points than Eleanor, they will be setting the quiz next year.
Our final meeting for this year was the Christmas Dinner at the Cucina Italiano in High Ongar. Thirty eight of us sat down. Unfortunately we filled the back room and had to spread into the main restaurant, but, from the noise, we all had a good time and the food was pretty good.
And I'm pleased to report that Ben Cook has taken over as Section Secretary!