New Year’s Day Meet – “The Frog Mill”, Andoversford – 1st January 2013

The winter months are rather lean times for the car enthusiast, with precious little in the diary between the NEC Classic Car Show in mid November until Race Retro at the end of February. However, it had not escaped my notice that there are a growing number of New Year’s Day meetings springing up across the country, and my resolve to attend one strengthened massively when the weather forecast predicted that January 1st 2013 would see a change from what has felt like weeks of rain and grey skies to lots of winter sunshine and clear skies. The largest event would seem to be the one at Brooklands, and I did consider going to that, but in the end settled for something much more local, travelling just 46 miles to the Frog Mill at Andoversford, just east of Cheltenham at the point where the A436 and the A40 meet. The event there, organised by the Cotswold Classic Car Club proclaimed that it is the largest such New Year’s Day gathering in the South West. The forecasters turned out to be right, and whilst a few clouds did form, it turned out to be a lovely winter’s day, and was not even particularly cold. Accordingly, plenty of people brought their classics out from winter hibernation, and even more turned up to see what was on show. Officially the event started at 11:30am, and by the time I arrived just before mid-day the car park around the pub was packed, and the off-site car park was also pretty full. I was warned that this latter would be locked at 2pm, which turned out not to be an issue as by this time most of the cars had gone. In the 2 hours that I was there, I was treated to an eclectic mix of old and interesting vehicles, the majority (but not all) of which are depicted in this report. Enjoy!


This rather stately TC21/100 Grey Lady started off in the off-site car park, but later moved into the main display area.



Definitely one of the more unusual vehicles of the day was this, the Amphicar, a brave attempt to build a car that could be taken into water. Based on Triumph Herald mechanicals, this German design found few buyers and only about 300 were ever made. Survivors are rare.


Not convinced that the wheels exactly suit this A35 van.

The A40 Farina in Mark 2 format, a car which arguably was the first true hatchback, beating the Renault R4 by a couple of years.


No meeting like this is complete with at least a couple of Big Healeys, and this one was no exception.

It was this little Frog Eye that seemed to be capturing people’s hearts, though. I lost count of the number of people I heard saying how cute it was, or reminiscing over the one that they had once owned.



One of the most elegant cars of the entire event was this lovely Mark VI. It was while I was admiring this that I was approached by the photographer from the Gloucestershire Echo who wanted to take some pictures of me taking pictures of it.


This Tourer was parked up on the verge across from the main display and a rather earlier one was also on show.



Only one BMW on show, but what a beauty, this E9 3.0 CSI, One of the most elegant BMWs ever made, and just lovely


The very rare Allante. This was an ill-fated venture between Pininfarina and Cadillac, with the former making the bodyshells and then shipping them to the US for the addition of the mechanical bits. It was not a commercial success.


I recall seeing this fabulous ’57 Bel Air at Prescott where it stars among the American machinery at the Season Finale every year.



A simply splendid DS21. I watched as the owner started it up, how the rear suspension gradually rose, then the front, then he could drive off. What a fabulous machine even now.


Late model Traction Avant.

A 2CV was parked on the verge opposite the venue, but clearly was part of the proceedings.


Curses! There was a scarlet red 33, albeit rather tatty, but it clearly escaped before my camera captured its presence.


One of only a couple of Italian cars, this lovely 500L was very cute indeed.


One of the most unusual vehicles of the entire display was this one, based on an Escort van. Such vehicles had a certain appeal when new, as they were a lot better to drive than the larger motor-homes, but they were probably not much fun to live and sleep in with limited space.


Other British Fords ranged from an 1950s Prefect through the rare Consul Classic to Marks 1 and 3 Cortina.


From the other side of the Atlantic was this mid 1960s Thunderbird and a Mustang Grande dating from 1971 by which time the lovely lines of the original car had been somewhat lost.



An Invader, the only Welsh car marque to date.


I did not catch this splendid Avenger Tiger until the owner was heading off, hence the rather rushed and ill-composed photo. Not particularly noticed when new, Tiger models like this one are highly collectable.


Two Humbers, from near the beginning and near the end of production. The latter was a rather nicely presented Sceptre model, and the former had no clues apart from the badge on the radiator grille to tell me what it was.



An example of the S Type Invicta.


A real mix of Jaguars, with all the most popular classic models represented – so, E Type, XK140 and Mark 2 saloon, along with an (undepicted) XJS Convertible.



This lovely Esprit was parked in the off-site car park. Very nice indeed.  It was joined by an Elan, which really does appear petite these days.



Two very lovely Mercedes: a 230SL “Pagoda” and in some ways the even nicer 220SEb Convertible.



Lots of MGs, of course, as befits Britain’s most popular classic sports car. For a start, there were plenty of MGBs.

There were also several of the earlier MGA

Earlier than that were the T series cars, and there were a few TDs and a TF present.

This Y saloon was really rather nice. A sporting machine in its day which would have been bought by the sort of person who now buys a 3 series.



Although each of these would be badged Morris or Austin, it is easier to group them together. The Damask Red Clubman Estate was particularly nice, and a rare survivor of this body type. There was a less well presented one in Russet Brown, as well as an early Super de Luxe model.



“Classic” Morgan, a Plus 8.


Lots of Morris Minors, of course, including a couple of early cars.


Not what everyone thinks of as a “classic”, perhaps, but this Marina 1300 Estate is a rare survivor of a car that was once common on our roads.


This Oxford would have had my father casting his mind back, as he had one of these soon after my parents were first married. It was so heavy to drive that my mother could not manage it, and had to wait til they got something lighter (an Arrow model Hillman Minx) before she got behind the wheel.



Both convertibles: the 205 CTI and the earlier 304 model.



There were several 911s, all of them different, which is hardly a surprise considering the vast number of variants of this model. With 2013 marking the 50th anniversary of the first cars, expect to see a lot of 911s at lots of events this year.



A nice SE5 version of the Scimitar GTE before the change to black plastic bumpers in the mid 1970s.


The 3500 (strictly speaking, the Three Thousand Five Hundred) was held in the same esteem when new as people have for the 5 Series these days. Early cars only came with an automatic gearbox, but after the 1970s facelift modernised the details, Rover saw sense and put a manual box the 3500S which made for a rapid motorway cruiser. This is a pre-facelift car.

There was also a much earlier model. I did not ask, but think this is a pre-war P2.


There are enough clues on this to tell you that once upon a time this was a Studebaker Champion, but it has been heavily modified since it left the South Bend, Indiana works, for sure.


Another favourite: the Sunbeam Tiger. I heard this one pull up and the rumble of that Ford V8 engine is rather pleasing indeed.


Rather rarer than that was this Harrington Alpine. A small number of these cars were made by Harrington, who put a roof on the open top sports car, long before MG did the same thing to the B, creating the B GT. This is an early car as evidenced by the grille and the larger tail fins.



Oldest, and rarest Triumph, without a doubt was this Mayflower, Triumph’s small car from the early 1950s which copied the razor-edged styling from the bigger Renown model.

Most numerous model type at the event, of you count all the different variants was the TR, with examples of every different model from TR2 through to a TR7 convertible.


There were also a good number of Stags, that oh-so-elegant grand tourer that always promised much and delivered patchy reliability when new. Most of them are sorted now and are really rather desirable.


There were a few Heralds as well, with both saloon and convertible on show


The Spitfire was not forgotten, either with both a Mark 1 and a Mark 3 car present.


Final Triumph was this rather nice 2.5 PI model. I always preferred these to the P6 Rover with which it competed in the marketplace.


There were only a couple of TVRs present, which was a bit of a surprise, as I would have thought that the sunny weather would have encouraged a few more owners to come along.



A very rare survivor of the FA series Victor, this one being the even rarer estate car. A local car, bought from Haines & Strange in Cheltenham, it had many years resting in a barn and many more years undergoing restoration.


The 1500 first appeared in 1957 in Riley and Wolseley guises, with a plan that a lesser version would replace the long running Morris Minor., In the end the Morris outlasted this bodyshell, which ran only until 1965. These cars were quite luxurious relative to other models on sale at the time, even if now they look ever so basic.


This was a splendid start to the Events of 2013. Weather permitting, I know that I will be perusing the schedules in 12 months time for another New Year’s meet.

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