Queen Square Bristol Breakfast Club – November 2014

With the 2014 Events season pretty well into Closed Season, there was nothing in my diary to take me away from the Bristol area for the second weekend of November. That cleared the way to pop down to the popular Queen’s Square Breakfast Club meeting, which I have not managed to fit into the schedule since May, and when I saw a weather forecast that predicted lovely blue skies, I expected that I would be far from alone in putting this into the diary. Sure enough, the forecasters got it right, and once I had defrosted the car, for only the second time this autumn, I set off, hopeful of a good turnout. And that is exactly what I got. Lots of cars, so by not long after 9am, the Square was full, and then a steady coming and going meant that whilst it did not get as crowded as I have sometimes seen, there was plenty to look at, much of it stuff which I had not see at the event before, all of which kept me diverted until just around 11am when the guns were fired at the Cenotaph in the nearby Centre, to remind us that exactly 100 years ago to the second, the World went to War. A chilling reminder that without the sacrifce of so many brave (young) men, we would not be free to enjoy events such as this one.


Two Abarths here, and for once, mine was far cleaner than the other one! Indeed, the owner of the 595 Turismo that was parked around the perimeter of the square was a contender for dirtiest car of the event.

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As always, there were a number of Cobra style cars, all of which made loud entrances and exits. Subtle is not the middle name for these popular cars.

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Far rarer was an example of the 1990s Ace Brooklands. Launched in 1993 following two previous concept cars of 1986 and 1991, the Brooklands Ace was produced on a small scale, with a 5.0 litre Ford V8 engine for motive power, which it shared with the AC Cobra, producing 225 bhp. The final version included an electric hood mechanism but the pop-up headlights from the earlier prototype had been abandoned, but the aluminium body was kept. Production ended in 1996 as AC went into receivership, with just 46 cars having been made. Under new ownership, the Brooklands Ace underwent a significant redesign and re-engineering, with a relaunch at the 1997 London Motor Show as the Ace V8, dropping the Brooklands name. The external changes included a significant re-design to the bumpers, grille, lights (now rectangular instead of round), and a new bonnet. As well as production of some elements outsourced to South Africa, final assembly was undertaken in Coventry. A change of some manufacturing techniques to reduce cost and weight was also included in the refreshed design. Sales started in 1998, but despite the changes, production reached only 12 units before ending in 2000. The car shown here is one of the original 46 models.

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A number of Alfas were present, as you might expect. None of them were particularly rare, but they were nice all the same. Cars ranged from a 916 series GTV to the earlier 105 series Mark 2 2000 Spider and a nice 33 Veloce.

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There was a yellow B5 model S4 that had been desecrated, and which my camera flatly refused to look at, so you’ll have to be content with this S8 version of the first of Audi’s aluminium space framed luxury car.

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Perfect weather for an early Seven, when the solution to your air conditioning and heating needs is to open the roof!

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Although most will freely admit that BL cars of the 1960s to 1980s are not necessarily the most obvious classics, the Austin Allegro and Morris Marina have found their fans and the Owners Clubs of both are replete with lots of cars and enthusiastic owners. The oh-so-practical Maxi, by contrast, is largely ignored, so it was nice to see a pair of these cars arrive. The model changed little from launch in 1969 to the end of production in 1981. The Russet Brown car is a Maxi 2, from the final months of production, but apart from a few cosmetic updates, it is remarkably similar to the Glacier White 1972 car that was parked with it.

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A couple of Austin Healeys were present, a Mark 1 Sprite and a late model 3000.

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One of the rarest cars of the morning has to be this, a fabulous little Bianchina. These cute little cars were based on the Nuova 500, but had a style all of their own.

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Not one, but two of the much admired E30 model M3 were here, both finished in Zinnober Red, a popular colour which suits the car.

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This E28 model 5 series sported a spurious Alpina badge on the back, and had undergone a number of other modifications from standard.

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I gather this machine has been seen here before, but it was the first time I had come across what may have started out as an 02 Series, but which has been heavily modified. There’s a modern V8 under the bonnet, for a start!

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A nice 403.

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This spectacular 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville is from the year when the famous tail fins reached their most extreme. It makes quite a change to see one of these cars as the Coupe rather than the Saloon and not painted in pink. This one was for sale and would appeal to an extrovert buyer (you can’t help but be noticed with a car like this!) who has a large space to keep it in.

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You always get a profusion of Caterham and wannabes at events like this. This one was the real deal.

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There were a couple of Chevrolet Pickups here, from the 1950s and an S10 from the early 1970s.

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Also here was a nice early example of the Corvette.

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Not one, but two Goddesses here, today. A D Special was one of the early arrivals, and then later on I found another DS car parked up around the other side of the Square.

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I’ve seen this Challenger at the event a number of times before, but as it is a nice example of the American Muscle car, there’s no harm in seeing it again!

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Rather less subtle was this Viper GTS

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Another event regular is this F355 GTS.

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In addition to a number of the regular old Fords, there were quite a few here which I do not recall seeing before. Highlight for many would be this immaculate Escort Twin Cam. Effectively an Escort Lotus, but never badged that way, this was a very expensive and hence specialist version of the Mark 1 Escort, made in small quantities for a couple of years before Ford found the recipe for more affordable sporting Escorts with the Mexico and the RS2000.

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The Mark 2 was represented by this lovely RS1800.

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Top of the Mark 3 Escorts range was the RS Turbo and there were examples of both the short lived first and second generation cars here.

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Like all the white Escorts, the owner of this Sierra RS Cosworth had clearly spent a lot of time keeping it clean and in pristine looking condition.

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There was also a four door version of the car, the Sapphire Cosworth.

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Far earlier than this was a Consul Classic 315. This car looked absolutely pristine inside.

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Replacement for the Consul Classic was the Corsair. Although this model was in the catalogue for twice as long as the Classic, it also enjoyed only moderate success, struggling in the shadow of the slightly smaller Cortina.

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An information sheet in the front screen of this Model Y revealed that the owner bought it in 1968 for £5, and he had it on the road in 1973, and has used it almost daily ever since.

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Slightly later than that car is this, a “sit up and beg” E93 Popular. Basic is almost overstating the level of luxury in these cars.

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Ford’s American products were well represented, too, with a number of examples of the Mustang present.

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Bringing things uptodate was a Mountune version of Ford’s well regarded Fiesta ST

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I’m not quite sure why this NS-X was displayed with the headlights raised.

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One of the most splendid cars at the event was this, a 1953 XK120 Coupe. Subject to a fastidious restoration, with a few modern changes very discretely incorporated to make the car that bit easier to drive in modern traffic, the car looked absolutely fantastic. It was offered for sale, though there was nothing so vulgar as a price tag. I don’t think you would get change from £100,000, though.

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Sole Lancia was this rather nice Delta Integrale which arrived mid morning.

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Early Land Rovers are highly collectible these days, so it was perhaps not a surprise to see three of these at the event.

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There’s growing interest in first generation Range Rovers as well, with stupid money being paid for the pre-production “Velar” models. This was a nice Vogue from the late 1980s.

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The very square Town Car from the mid 1980s.

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So, this is what a 600bhp Exige looks like.

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Also on show were a number of Elise models.

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Also present was the very low mileage Esprit for which the journey to this event is about as far as it ever goes in one day.

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This is one of a pair of nice 4200 Coupe models that were present.

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This pair of R107 model SLs were both from the final couple of years production of this long running classic. Very nice.

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It looked like this W108 Model 280SE had been lowered, but I caught the owner saying that it has air suspension and because the car is not used much, it tends to sag.

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A number of MGBs were gathered together at the event.

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There’s a lot of interest in early Minis now, with some astonishing sums being paid for cars from the first few months of production. Neither of these were quite that old, but were still early examples of the long running Issigonis masterpiece.

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This 1930 Cowley is a regular at the event.

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Another car that appears here quite frequently is this Figaro.

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This Monza GS/E is a regular at the event. It was the only Opel present this time.

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1969 Firebird. Very nice.

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There are usually lots of different 911s at this event, and whilst there were a few here today, it was nothing like the scale that you sometimes experience. They were mostly older models.

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This pairing of Caymans, in very bold colours showed nicely the differences between the first generation Typ 987 and the current Typ 981 cars.

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I was chatting to Martin Broadribb, who owns the dark green Boxster that was parked next to me when we spotted a couple of Boxster Spyders arrive. He knew the owners of both, and that they were both coming, this being a good day for taking out an open topped  car with a roof that takes a good 5 minutes to secure should you need it. He headed to go and talk to the owners forthwith, and in due course I got a close up view of both cars as well. They turned out to be surprisingly different in detail, with not just different wheels, but one had regular shaped red leather seats whilst the other had very thing black seats that were no doubt a costly extra.

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There were a number of the earlier 4 cylinder Porsche, too. 968s are not that common, but you might find that hard to believe based on the number attending this event.

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The Scimitar GT Coupe was the precursor to the better known GTE model. Sold from 1964 to 1968, this fibre-glass bodied car used a Ford 2.5 litre V6 engine.

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Nice to see a 900 Turbo Carlsson. The Carlsson versions were renowned for having vicious torque steer as they had more power to transmit through the front wheels of this front wheel drive car than technology really knew how to handle.

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Newer of the two Subarus at the event was this, a BRZ, Subaru’s version of the rear wheel drive Coupe that everyone said they wanted but which surprisingly few people seem to have bought.

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Far more dramatic was this Impreza 22B from the glory days of Subaru’s rallying heyday.

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One of my favourites of the day, the Tiger. These V8 Ford powered cars celebrate their 50th anniversary this year. They are still unfairly ignored by most people.

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One of the oldest cars at the event was this, which had a small sign to advise that it was a 1921 Talbot Light car.

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The Talbot name was reused in 1979 when new owners Peugeot-Citroen of what had been the old Chrysler Europe business needed a new name to separate themselves from the Chrysler Corporation. All the models in the range were rebranded Talbot overnight, giving us cars like this Talbot Avenger.

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The Lotus engined version of the little Sunbeam hatch was produced to enable the car to be homologated for what turned out to be a very successful rally career. This is car has the slightly revised grille which was introduced in 1981, but the colour scheme and the registration suggest it was an earlier car than that.

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With Tesla Model X cars only recently starting to appear on our roads, perhaps it is not surprise that quite a few people did not know what this, let alone have a clue that it is an electric vehicle. Everyone seemed to think it elegant and well built, which it is, though of course it is a rather large, and costly car for our roads and budgets.

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The 1990s Supra that I followed down the M32 en route to this event was not here, but there were a couple of classic Toyota, a previous generation Supra and the third type of MR2 that was made.

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A nicely presented example of the famous “Trabbie”, the P601. When this car headed off round the Square, there was no doubting that this one had the old putt-putt two stroke engine and not the later 4 cylinder VW Polo motor that was fitted to the last couple of years production.

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There were a number of the Karmann designed TR6 cars here, and one of the earlier TR4s which arrived late and escaped before I pointed the camera at it.

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Also on display was an example of the large Triumph saloon that was popular as an executive car in the 1960s and 1970s, the 2000.


Two examples of the “wedge” era car, both 350i models.

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And two of the later Tuscan cars.

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A rare Turbo version of the short lived VX220 sports car.

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This was a very nicely presented mark 1 Golf GTi. Parked up next to a second generation Prius, it looked tiny in comparison, a reminder of just how bloated cars have become in recent years.

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Definitely not something I’ve seen at this event before, and I have to confess that I’m not sure what make it is, but this old Tow Truck was certainly getting lots of attention once it had been parked up on a corner of the Square. This sort of vehicle typifies the event – a mix of the familiar and the unusual, with at least one thing which has everyone scratching their heads unsure of what they are looking at.

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Everything came together for this event: nice weather and an interesting array of cars, some of which I have seen here before, but plenty of which I have not. That’s just why it is worth getting out of bed early on the second Sunday of the month and heading down to see what is on show.

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