Queen Square Bristol Breakfast Club – December 2014

By December, the events diary is looking pretty empty with a combination of unpredictable weather, a shortage of daylight and the fact that everyone seems to want to spend all the wakeful hours in the shops getting ready for the Festive Season, so there’s not a lot for the car enthusiast. Or so it used to be, until the Breakfast Clubs came along. So, for what I suspect will be my last event of 2014, with just 17 days of the year left, I headed out soon after sunrise for Bristol’s Queen Square for the last of the monthly gatherings, hoping that the forecast of a chilly but dry morning would encourage a good turnout of like minded enthusiasts. Sure enough, the Square started to fill up within minutes of my arrival, and by 9:30, most of the places on the inner side of the Square, and plenty of the outer areas were full. There was a good mix of cars that make regular appearances and some that I had not seen there before, so this along with a number of people to talk to meant that the morning passed by rather quickly, and when I next looked at my watch it was 11:45am. Here is what was on display:


Some months, there are 3 or 4 Abarths present at this event, but this time there was just mine.

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A strong showing of Alfa, as often happens as this event. All of them were nice (you were probably expecting me to say that!), but if I had to pick just one, then without question it would be Darryl Staddon’s fabulous 164 Q4. It looks pretty good as it is, but he said that during the winter months it is going to have some money spent on the paintwork dealing with a few dimples and stone chips, after which it should be absolutely stunning. He did reassure me that he still plans on using it even if that means that it picks up the odd future chip (or worse!).

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There were several example of the 916 series cars here, with GTV and Spider both in evidence.

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Also rather nice was this 33 Veloce.

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David Roots braved the cold weather and came over from Frome in his much admired Alfa Special. Work underway for the winter includes revising the “boot” (reached by folding the seat backrest forwards, revealing a surprisingly spacious stowage area) and replacing the seats with something with more padding.

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Nice to see an example of the DBS, the first iteration of the William Towns designed Coupe which ran from 1967 through to 1988, but more often seen in V8 guise.

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Sole Austin present was this A35 Saloon.

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None of the Big Healeys this month, but there was a nice Frog Eyed Sprite, complete with hardtop.

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Plenty of M3 models to represent everyone’s favourite Bavarian’s brand, ranging from the lovely E30 model which appears here regularly, through some of the later generations.

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Probably rarer than any of the M3s was this Z4 Coupe.

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One of the rarer cars of the event was this a 2 litre Equipe Convertible. This model started out as the plain Equipe GT, the first 4 wheeled Bond car made. Launched in 1963, this was a glass fibre bodied Coupe based on the Triumph Herald. A revised version appeared in 1967, using the mechanicals from the more potent Vitesse including its 2 litre 6 cylinder engine, and with a less rounded body shape. The Convertible was added to the range, to join the Coupe. Production ran until 1970.

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Possibly the stand-out vehicle for me, of the whole event, was this fabulous El Camino. Dating from 1966, this one looked like it had received a complete refurbishment or restoration, looking as good as new.

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Larger. and older, was this Pick up from the 1950s.

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This one has been at the event before, a 1956 210 2 Door. Just look at the amazing mascot on the centre of the bonnet. Can you imagine the legislators approving something like that these days?

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Two lovely historic Citroen this month, both of them painted black, and both of them generating lots of interest. The earlier of the two cars was a DS21, that splendid Godess like car that topped Citroen’s range at launch in 1955 and which was produced for 20 years. Elsewhere around the Square was an example of its successor, a CX, seen in GTi Turbo guise. These cars have yet to see the massive rise in value of the DS/ID models, and with fewer survivors and even more complexity, one wonders whether their time will come.

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Three Ferrari models, all of them red, and showing the evolution of the 8 cylinder range, with a 348 ts, the later F355 GTS and the current 458 Spider.

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There were lots of Fast Fords from the past 30 years or so, with a Sierra RS Cosworth and a number of RS Focus cars being the highlights.

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A duo of mark 3 Capri were parked up, initially one behind the other.

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A late arrival was this Consul Classic.

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US Fords were represented by this nicely preserved F100 Pick Up.

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A couple of Avengers were parked next to each other. A regular GL and the desirable limited edition Tiger.

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I caught this Imp Super just as the owner was departing the event.

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I saw this one arrived before I saw Dan Grazier, well known for his love of pickups in general, and bound to have gone weak at the knees when he saw this. Sure enough, he had managed to speak to the owner, who it turns out buys Maloo ‘Utes like this from a relative in Australia, brings them over, converts them to run on LPG and keeps them a few years before moving them on.

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This late model NS-X is an event regular.

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One of the first to depart was this fabulous XK140 Coupe.

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Parked up near it was an even more sporting Jaguar of the same era, a C Type.

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In 1967, Jaguar revised the long running Mark 2 models, deleting some of the standard equipment, and fitting new and thinner bumpers, to cut their cost, creating the 240 and 340, which then sat in the range below the new XJ6 which was announced a few months later. This is one of the rare 340 models.

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Oldest car at the event as this fabulous 1924 Lanchester.

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Two nice Lancia models here, both of which are event stalwarts, a Thema Turbo and a Delta Integrale.

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This was a very neatly turned out classic Range Rover. I suspect that it has been repainted in the relatively recent past, as the finish was pretty well perfect looking. It had leather seats, which surely would not have been an original fitting.

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Among the handful of Lotus models present were a couple of Elise sports cars.

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A 3200GT, a car with the lovely boomerang rear lights, which to my mind look far better than the rectangular units which came in the follow on 4200 model.

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There’s always a good showing of MX5 cars at this event, and this was no exception, with a good half dozen of the model, a mix of different generations, gathered in one area around the Square, including at least one of the rare BBR Turbo conversions.

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More unusual was this Mark 2 RX7, one of few surviving examples of Mazda’s rotary engine sports coupe of the late 1980s.

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There was a good representation of MGB models, with more GTs than Roadsters – perhaps not a surprise for this time of the year!

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Also present was the B’s predecessor, the MGA.

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A nice example of the current, and very long-lived Morgan, the Roadster.

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Left over at the end of the event was this Juke Nismo. I’m not sure whether it was actually an event car or just someone using the Square for regular car parking, but it qualifies as being that bit different, and so worthy of photos.

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No question about the merit of including this Skyline GT-R, though.

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Another showing for one of the few surviving Paramount models. This was a British marque, founded in 1950 by WA Hudson and S Underwood from Derbyshire, the Paramount had an aluminium over wood frame body with a BMW like grille and was mounted on a separate tubular steel chassis with front transverse and rear semi elliptical leaf springs. It was originally intended to have Alvis engine and suspension but to reduce cost the production versions used Ford 10 components including the 1172cc side valve engines, but fitted with twin SU carburettors, which resulted in poor performance. The car was however well built and equipped and was listed in both 2 and 4 seat versions. In 1953, the company was bought by Camden Motors and production moved to Leighton Buzzard and the Ford Consul 1508cc engine was an option in a longer chassis as also was a Wade or Shorrocks supercharger. The price was now an uncompetitive £1009 and production ceased in 1956 after about 70 cars had been made, of which it is believed that just 8 survive and only 3 are roadworthy, 2 of them, the duo that are often seen at this event, being owned by the same family. This one is unique, a one off sports prototype made by the factory but not finished. It was bought by the current owner in 1971 as spares unseen over the phone as spares for the Roadster which he already owned (the red car often seen) but when he went to collect it realised it was special. Paramount made several one offs and prototypes over the years but this is the only one to survive. The car was restored in the mid 1980’s which included making doors and sills from scratch. It has been on the road ever since being used for shows, holidays and just fun motoring.

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One of a number of Kit Cars present, this one had a bit more protection from the elements than some.

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One of the last of the Firebird Trans Am cars. By the time this, and the very similar Camaro, were made, the car was struggling in the market place, and sales were low, causing GM to abandon the genre until the relaunch of the retro-inspired Camaro, which came about after they saw how popular the 2004 Mustang, with its styling homage to the 1964 original had been. It was too late for a new Firebird, though, as the Pontiac brand was axed, a casualty of the 2008 Credit Crunch.

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911s are usually well represented at this event, and this month was no exception with several different models from the 50 year history of Stuttgart’s favourite sports car.

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Also on display were examples of the less potent junior stablemates, the Boxster and Cayman.

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This 928 arrived very late in the morning, well after the vast majority of people had left.

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A Scimitar GT, the Coupe predecessor of the better known GTE. This one was also based on Ford componentry, with a 2.5 litre V6 engine under the bonnet.

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The 1.5 Saloon was the top of a range of cars which had been planned to replace the Morris Minor. The Morris version never happened, leaving just Wolseley and Riley saloons which were made between 1957 and 1965, this ending production some 6 years before the car that the design was intended to replace.

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Another of the late arrivals was this Mark 1 Silver Shadow.

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Not yet really with “classic” status, but starting to get rare as the cars age, is the 900/9.3 Cabrio and a couple of these open topped models were on display.

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Although it was always the plan that the Subaru BRZ would sell in small quantities compared to the sister Toyota GT-86/Scion FR-S, no-one really expected the sale of both to be so pitiful. Only a couple of thousand of the Toyota have found buyers in Europe, year to date, and  just 534 of these BRZ models. Considering the euphoria with which the model was received, that has to count as very disappointing.

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The GT6 was Triumph’s answer to the MGB GT, but rather tackling the in-house rival head on, it was based on the smaller Spitfire, a Midget rival, and with a 6 cylinder engine, it offered more refinement than the Abingdon product. It was not a big seller, though and was phased out in 1973, some 8 years before the Spitfire ran out of steam. There were a couple of them at this event, this Series 3 car and an earlier Series 2 which I saw drive past me, but failed to photograph.

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There were also a couple of examples of the TR6, my favourite of all the TR sports cars. This is the one which was styled by Karmann and was a clever restyle of the TR4/5, keeping the central section of that car, but with a completely different look thanks t new front and rear ends.

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Among the TVRs present were a Chimaera and a Cerbera.

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I recall seeing this mark 2 Cavalier GL Estate earlier in the year and talking to the owner, who had seemed surprised that anyone would take a photo of it.. But just when did you last see one? These are probably even rarer than Sierra Estates, the car which was the main (and inferior in the opinion of many, me included) rival.

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I don’t remember seeing this one before, a 1500 Saloon. This is the original Type 3, produced from 1961, only offered as a 2 door saloon initially, but with the better known Variant model joining it in 1963. The 1966 facelift created the Fastback version, which then replaced this Saloon in the UK market, though this body style did continue to be offered in Europe for some years after that.

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Far better known, of course, is the Beetle, and this is a 1300 model from 1969.

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One of the cars that everyone hopes will reappear, in modern guise, is the Corrado, a front wheel drive sports coupe which was much loved when new in the early 1990s. This is the supercharged G60 model.

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Another showing for this pastiche 1930s Mercedes replica. It was already parked up when I arrived, so you cannot accuse the owner of not being enthusiastic, even if he does then sit in his car for the entire event.

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A nice event, then, as always, and a god chance to catch up with a number of friends and fellow enthusiasts. The next event here will be on January 11th, but I already know my diary has me elsewhere in the country, so it could be a couple of months before I get to sample the delights of this gathering again.

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