Rare Breeds at Haynes Museum – September 2008

The “Rare Breeds” event, which Dan and I attended today was a new one for the calendar, so I was not quite sure what to expect. The publicity had promised that support from a number of car clubs, including Bitter, Gilbern and Tornado was promised. Full of anticipation for seeing some really really unusual machinery, we left Bristol under grey skies, fearful that the event could be a washout, but consoled in the knowledge that the Haynes Museum would provide either an excellent alternative source of entertainment, or at least a shelter from any downpours. In the end, we did resort to the museum almost as soon as we had arrived, and the rains really poured down, but after inspecting most of the museum contents, it dried up, and while hardly sunny, it was at least decent enough to venture outside and see what “rare breeds” were waiting for us to see. There was a really mixed collection of cars, which according to the event commentator had been carefully screened to make sure all met the rather vaguely defined criterion of “rare”. He did not expound further on this, and it seemed that in some cases, “rare” should have been qualified with the word “now”, whereas some of the vehicles were always rare.

A splendid display of 7 cars. Two of them had come over from Germany, and made an early exit for their long journey home. We had a long chat with the proud owner of the gold-coloured SC model. Among many things, he told us that 32 right hand drive SC Coupes came to Britain in the 1980s, and 31 are known to survive. I was surprised to learn that about 50% of these cars originally went to the USA, and most of the rest were spread between Germany, UK and a couple in the Netherlands. He also told us that only 5 of the 4 door cars were ever made, and one was destroyed by fire. Of the remainder, 1 does live in the UK, but the owner, a private collector never shows it. He explained the difference between 2 of the cars, which were notable for a different grille, as these only had a 2 litre engine, whereas the later ones had a bored out to 4 litre version of the Opel Senator 3 litre block.

There were a couple of examples of the earlier CD model to see, too:
A good showing from this little known Welsh manufacturer. These cars were popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but like many “kit cars” were finished off by the introduction of VAT.
The Invader Mark 3:
This is the Mark 2 version
There was also an Estate version:
An English manufacturer from the late 1950s. I was surprised to learn that more than half of the production of these cars went to the USA.
This nicely restored car is an original Octavia, in Combi form:
Once popular in East Germany, this reasonably tidy looking van sounded rough……. doubtless the consequence of its 2 stroke engine.
Well known in Germany, these cars are little known here. This Isabella coupe was just gorgeous.
A late arrival was this stunning W116-based 350SE. Hard to imagine Mercedes selling a car in this colour these days, but it suited this “S” Class surprisingly well.

A definite case of “rare now”. This Marina 1.3 Super was also endowed with an automatic gearbox, which must have made it particularly lethargic. The vinyl roof is even more reminiscent of the late 1970s than the Sandglow paintwork:
The Ant, dating from 1969, was intended to be a successor for the Moke. Of the few that were built, most went to military customers. This example, acquired by its current owner in 1992, was absolutely pristine. The whole car was immaculate, and for me this was one of the “Cars of the Show”:
Made me feel quite old to see an MG Maestro on show. However, although these cars were once quite common, just think back to when you last saw one! This one was in pretty good condition, with the exception of the steering wheel, and a few other plastic fitments that looked very “dried out”
A couple of cars that did not even make the camera – a 200 Coupe and Convertible, both in Nightfire Red. Also, we saw these: 3500S
2600 SD1
The Avenger Tiger was a very limited production car, dating from 1973. Most of them were finished in this brilliant yellow, or an equally bright red. Never formally offered to the public, this car appears to have been secreted away for most of its life and only recently bought by an enthusiast
Later, an ordinary Avenger 1.3 Super automatic arrived.
This Ami 6 Estate is believed to the last remaining survivor in the UK of this model.
A special bodied 2CV certainly comes in the “rare” category:
A Dyane 6 made a brief visit to the show:
Three examples of the last car made by this innovative French maker, the 24CT:
A stunning example of the XT model. We had a long chat with the very enthusiastic owner of this car – believed to be one of the 2 best left in Britain, and who has owned it since 1987. He explained the many advanced features of the car which were almost too early for the market (and the motoring press) to appreciate:
A dimunitive Beat turned up in the afternoon. It does look very small.
Two NS-Xs were later arrivers, too. This one was the rare “Ayrton Senna” badged limited edition model
A second generation Thunderbird. Not, in my opinion, the finest styling hour of this long-running nameplate!
A 1941 Special de Luxe.
There was a rather nice 308. Not perhaps as “rare” as some of the other cars, but nice to see.
The same reasoning applies to this, the Tuscan, which looked stunning in its bright blue finish, but which on closer inspection, appeared to be painted in a pearlescent paint that was flecked with green and pink specks.
I’d never heard of this marque. Most intriguing feature seemed to be that it had a continuously variable transmission, though the exposed mechanism that we could see below where the rumble seat cushion would go left us baffled us to how it really worked!
Look carefully at the Bug, and you will spot that it has a fourth wheel! Converted in 1973 from one of the original three-wheelers, this was a one-off prototype:
SS (Jaguar)
This model was badged SS2, and was a smaller brother to the better known SS1 model. Very elegant.
Another little known British marque from the mid 1950s. Two different cars were on show: The 1958 Tornado
The later Tempest
This was one of two examples of a British car – the name has escaped me. It began with an “M” and ended “dez”
One of 17 cars built, this rather novel styling was based on a Mark 1 Ford Granada.
A small display of these racers, which made a couple of sorties out on to the Haynes Track:
And finally………….. a rare treat hiding in Haynes’ own workshops. According to the technicians there, this car is still a challenge to keep running, with particular problems associated with the electronic dashboard.
2009-12-20 20:21:33

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