Lured by a blend of catching up with familiar faces and the promise of tea and cake, the Brabazon Fender-Broad Open Day in Bristol really was a surprisingly enjoyable bash.
As with comedy, the secret to a good event is timing. Given October is breathing down the necks of many old car owners, many of whom were frantically looking for an excuse to take the old thing out for one final blast, before conceding to the inevitability of winter hibernation. Throw in some gloriously warm sunshine, the city centre being closed for a ‘car-free’ day and the turn out of machinery must have exceeded the organisers’ wildest hopes.
Intended to advertise their presence, facilities and to show off the latest developments at the premises – perhaps most notably, Fender-Broad’s move to Brabazon Motors’ site on Eastgate Road BS5 – the place was groaning with an eclectic mix of old machinery.
Be it, mainstream classics – such as Jaguar XKs, Triumph TRs and MGs – to the more rarified tin such as a Rover P5 convertible (a period conversion carried out by FLM Panelcraft) and a Britannia GT. The latter being an under-developed GT – one of just six built – powered by a Raymond Mays’ Zephyr-based 2.6 ‘six’, featuring a GRP body and John Tojeiro-designed chassis.
Car of the day? Well, we’re hoping to show you that in more detail sometime later – but there were two other cars which did tickle my fancy. Cars which really demonstrate the catholic appeal of the old car movement – a gorgeous 101-series Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider glinting in the sun and an unashamedly ‘oily-rag’ four-seat MG PB Midget. Sadly, I missed the owners of the MG, but the PB did look like a car which I used to spy out and about in all weathers in and around Redland 15 to 20 years ago – yet never with the sidescreens in place…
All in all, it was a grand day out and I hope that the day did everything its organisers hoped of it. Indeed, if the boost in business was anything as sizeable as the boom in my post-cake waistline, well, they’ll be laughing.