Great Western Ford Show – February 2012

When the snows arrived in February 2010 and made many roads of Britain treacherous or impassable, the organisers of the Bristol Classic Car Show were forced to make a last minute postponement of the event, rescheduling it for May. This proved so popular, as manifest by a significant rise in the number of visitors that in 2011 and again in 2012, the traditional February date has been foresaken. However, mindful of the gaping hole now in the calendar both for the event and the venue, the organisers have taken full advantage and scheduled something else with a motoring connection to fill the rather unwelcoming concrete halls at the Bath & West Showground just outside Shepton Mallet: behold, the Great Western Autojumble. Not something I would normally choose to attend, even having being deprived of motoring events in a “closed seasons” which seems to last an eternity in the dark days of winter, but my attention was drawn to a line in the publicity material which referred to the “Ford Show”, suggesting that this could be one of the largest gatherings of Henry’s cars in the UK. Fords are indeed popular, but this can also mean that many of the cars that appear at shows like this can be, erm, “modified”, and hence not really to my liking. However, a ticket price of just £5.50 and a desire for a fix of motoring event saw me head south of Bristol on a particularly grey Sunday, with camera batteries freshly charged.
FORDAs well as a good few cars parked up outside, two complete halls were dedicated to displaying Ford products, provided by a number of marque and local clubs, and whilst neither hall was exactly packed full, the quality of the display cars was high, and there were representatives of almost all model types from the last 50 years, with a few older vehicles added for good measure.

Model T

The first of these Model Ts was attracting a lot of attention as it had starred in the recent second series of tv’s Downton Abbey. Equally notable was the 1915 taxi model, one of just 6 which was converted at the time, of which this is believed to be the only survivor. A third car was on the Atwell Wilson Motor Museum stand.


1930s V8s
A duo of American V8 models from the early 1930s.

1930s British Fords
In complete contrast to the American V8s, Ford of Great Britain was making cars more suitable for the recession hit era, with the Model Y, an 8hp car being introduced at the very bottom of the motoring stack. A combination of volume of sales, and improvements in manufacturing efficiency meant that this car was eventually offered for under £100, the only car ever to achieve this.

The 10hp Model C looked similar, but was larger in every dimension.
Prefect/Anglia E94 and Popular E93
There were examples of each of these, and gosh do they seem basic. They were intended to serve as affordable motoring for the masses, and not to undertake long journeys, so nothing was intended to last in the way it does now. The Prefect was the four door car, and the Anglia the two door. When these cars were replaced by the 100E cars in 1953, the body style was retained for the E93 Popular, which was fitted with even less equipment – a single wiper for instance, and smaller headlights.

Prefect 100E
In 1953, Ford announced a new duo of Prefect and Anglia, and there were a couple of Prefect cars on show.

Anglia 105E
This Anglia 105E was fitted out with a large number of options to make it suitable for touring, including such novelties as a special attachment for a picnic tray that clamped to the passenger door casing.

Only a couple of these cars from the 4 generations of model that ran from 1950 to 1972, a second generation Consul and a third generation Zephyr.

The Consul Classic and its sportier Capri coupe had short lives, as these cars were long in gestation, being designed in 1956, but held up by the pressing need to get the Anglia 105E to market first. Less than 2 years after their 1961 launch, the Cortina arrived and this far more modern car took most of the sales away from Ford’s mid-sized family car almost overnight. It struggled on until 1964.

2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Cortina, for many year’s Britain’s best selling car, which at its peak claimed what now appears to the impossible feat of 15% market share for a single model type. All four generations were represented at the show.

Among the many Mark 1 cars were representatives of the extremes of the range: the fleet model Consul Cortina which was basic in the extreme and the highly prized Lotus Cortina that appeared a year after the cooking models were launched, the facelifted cars, with their Airflow ventilation sported a less primitive looking cabin, but these are still very basic compared to what we expect now, with seats which look like a sure fire recipe for back problems!

All the Mark 2 cars on show were from the top of the range, with the 1600E being well represented.
The Mark 3 ran from 1970 to 1976. The dark green car sported a Savage conversion which endowed it with a far greater performance even than the top end 2000GXL and 2000E production cars.
Representative examples of each generation of Escort from the first generation Mexico model, through later front wheel drive RS1600i cars were on show.

There were a few examples of the “car you always promised yourself”.

A rather forlorn first series Granada Ghia was joined by a couple of examples of the second series car in the outside displays.

Not many Fiestas were on show, but I did photograph this pair of XR2 models, from each of the first and second generation model ranges.

Even the newest Sierra or Sapphire is close to its 20th birthday now, and the oldest will be 30 later this year, so it is no surprise that not only are these cars now quite rare but that they need restoring. This XR4i was acquired by Practical Classics magazine a while ago and a lengthy restoration is almost finished, though they are desperately seeking some trim items to complete the task. A second car was on show outside.

Rather more pristine looking were examples of the Cosworth variants of both Sierra and Sapphire, along with some other Sierra variants.
Fordson E83A
One of the stars of the show was this, a beautifully restored delivery vehicle from 65 years ago.

Part of the automotive landscape for more than 45 years now, the Transit has been through a number of distinct model iterations. This duo were from early and late in the life of the first Transit type. The early model sports the extended front end that was required to accommodate the diesel engine.

This pair of Tractors show just how it is not just cars that have increased in size. Farm machinery has done so on a far grander scale.

This 1972 car was in the outside display.

A 1962 car. So very American!

Neither was an original, but this duo of GT40 replicas were the cars that were creating more interest than most in the main hall, and that is hardly surprising, as they are very striking designs even now.

Clearly I was not the only person in need of an event, as many others had decided to dig out their classic vehicle, and there was quite an array of rare and unusual stuff parked up outside, of which these are but some of the highlights.


A TD21. Very nice.

One of the last of the Austin Maxis in period Russet Brown.

An A35 saloon.
A well preserved E30 model 318i, from the era when BMWs did not sell in anything like the quantity that they do now.

An Avenger – I heard lots of people say not only that they had not seen one of these for a long time, but also that they used to own one. Rust was the enemy.

This is an early Imp.
Several E Types, of course, as ever, at any classic meeting.

There was also this 420 model.
The Elan +2, in not original JPS livery.

This Excel was really rather nice
This 1000 Special was the first of the limited editions that then appeared with ever increasing frequency in the 1980s and 1990s. It was produced to celebrate 30 years of Issigonis’ baby car.

A mid 1930s Ten.

Also dating from the 1930s was this Z Van.
Several Minors were on show, of course.
There were a number of Scimitat GTE and GTC cars on display.

One of the last of the first generation R5s in GTL format.

A very nice P2 model

A classic V4 engined 96

A Phase 2 Vanguard, a rather stodgy large family car from the early 1950s.

A number of different cars here from a Herald Convertible to a variety of Dolomites. The Russet Brown Sprint model was for sale at a whisker under £8,000. Top money and the wrong colour for me to feel tempted, even though this is a car I have always really liked.

The 2500S was another favourite from my youth. Think of this as the 5 Series of its day, as people who have such a BMW now would probably have had one of these 35 years ago.
This Ventora belongs to motoring journalist Dave Richards and has featured in the various publications for which he has written over the years.

The rarely seen 66GL, a model that was inherited as part of the DAF acquisition.

The 4/50 was a post war luxury family car, aimed at those who wanted better than a Morris Oxford.

Despite my apprehensions, this was definitely worth the £5.50 admission fee and a drive down to Shepton Mallett. It was a diverting start to the 2012 season. Only a couple of weeks to wait before the next event, and then the calendar gets very busy indeed. Just as I would want!
2012-02-14 21:08:23

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *