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Stow Maries Aerodrome, one of my favourite places in the UK, would be the finishing point of The Great War Run; a charity fun run organised by the Charity Classic Vehicle Club (CCVC) and Billericay Rotary Club to raise money for Help For Heroes.
I have covered Stow Maries Aerodrome briefly in a blog post before which you can find here: Stow Maries Aerodrome. I didn’t show too much then and I won’t now either as honestly it’s a place I’d like you all to visit. It’s really interesting, has a lovely atmosphere and it’s the last surviving WW1 aerodrome in existence and we need to show our support to keep it going.
There are a couple of bits that were new or that I missed that I would like to show you though. In the museum was a piece of covering from the Zeppelin L32 which was shot down over Great Burstead in Billericay, my home town.
The 11 crew members were sadly burnt to death as the colossal vessel fell from the sky. Their graves are at Great Burstead church should you wish to visit them.
There were also a few new aircraft in the hangers. Most notable for me was the Fokker Eindecker.
A Nieuport is awaiting an engine rebuild.
Bristol B.E.2. This particular one is an exact replica built in New Zealand. One of the volunteers at the museum was saying that the original to prone to fuel leaks after flights which this one also has. That’s how close of a replica it is!
Finally in the end we have a Sopwith Camel:
There were a few aircraft outside too! I’m not exactly sure what this French monoplane is. If anyone knows please let me know!
Here we have the Bleriot XI which was the first aircraft to cross the English channel!
There were a couple of civilian aircraft too. I’d imagine this is a tonne of fun to fly and offers a great deal of visibility.
The aerodrome also has an interesting collection of ground vehicles. My favourite by far is this electric ambulance truck “Ingrid”
It’s powered by a big electric motor that sits underneath the drivers seat.
That sends power via the prop shaft to a big reducer gear attached to the differential which drives the rear wheels.
The section at the front of the truck where the engine would usually be is now where the batteries are housed.
It’s pretty crazy to think that as a society we are only really beginning to develop electric cars for mainstream use when the technology to make them has been around for over 100 years.
We’ll get to the stars of the day now though which were the cars. There were a wide range of marquees attending with some rather unusual cars.
I’ll start with the cars from across the pond. There were two stunning pre-war American cars in attendance, the first of which was this Piece Arrow:
The Packard Eight is also quite a rare beast. Looked stunning!
There were a few other American cars in attendance but not a huge amount. Here we have a 2nd generation Pontiac Firebird.
There were a couple of U.S market Fords including a couple of Mustangs:
The highlight of the American Fords was this hotrod though. Check out the size of the rear wheels!
There were surprisingly few European Fords. The ones that were there were quite unusual though. Here we have a Mk1 Escort van:
And finally an original Mk3 Cortina:
Those that follow this blog or know me in person will know that I’m always on the hunt for the old Mercedes at these shows and this was no exception. There were a few R107 SLs, a favourite of Mercedes enthusiasts:
Along with an earlier Pagoda. The blue with red interior isn’t exactly what you’d check off on the options sheet but it actually looked really good!
Finally we have a W108 saloon. I’d love on of these stacked headlight Mercedes!
Mercedes weren’t the only German car brand in attendance. Porsche had quite the turnout! Personal highlight for me was this 912. An 912 is an early 911 but with a four cylinder engine instead of a six. Many had been converted to run a six cylinder engine but this one retained the four making it super rare!
Of course there were a couple of Caymens and various generations of 911. Very popular driver’s cars and for good reason! A ’90’s 911 is on my list of cars to own.
There were only a couple of BMWs. The first was an ’80’s 6 Series! So much cooler than the current 6 Series!
The 2nd was an i8. An electric sportscar. I think this is the first time I’ve seen one up close. You can just about see my electric truck Ingrid at the back!
Of course, most of the cars were British. There was a huge presence from Triumph. There was a range of cars from a Vitesse to a TR7.
The other majority brand were MG. There were a plethora of MGBs with a few As, Cs and Midgets thrown into the mix. There were a couple of pre-war cars too!
Along with the more modern MGs. These are fast becoming collectable.
The MG and Triumphs bigger brother; the Austin Healey also had a few examples on show.
There were a few ‘normal’ Austins too. An A40, which I always thought was bigger.
Along with this stunning Austin A90 Atlantic. I’ve never seen one before! They were produced from the late 1940s to the early 1950s, absolutely stunning little thing!!
Morris also had a fair showing. There were a handful of Morris 8’s present.
The black car above has only had a handful of owners in it’s life and all of them have lived within six miles of the garage from which it was originally sold. That’s crazy!
There was also a pre-war Morris saloon car.
The best pre-war car in my opinion though was this 1913 Sunbeam. It looked amazingly comfortable inside and there were some spectacular details on it including the pinstriping and embroidery on the insides of the doors.
There were a couple of pre-war Bentley’s and Rolls Royce’s as well.
the Bentley was interesting. It looked as if it had a shorter wheel base than most of the other Bentley’s I’ve seen of the era. I know at the time you could just buy the chassis and then have a coach builder make you body, maybe that’s what happened here.
There were a fair few post war Bentley’s and Roll Royce’s to be seen too. Here are the Bentley’s:
Now for the Rollers!
Check out this little brush to clean the headlights! Super posh!
Jaguar were also there for the posh British car!
Jaguar have also made some rather posh sports cars over the years. The E-Type is an obvious favourite but I think that the XJ120 coupe with wheel spats has got to be one of the most elegant looking cars of all time.
There were some classic Rovers. The Rover P4 and P5 I would consider to be proper Rovers. Big and luxurious! They lost their image when British Leyland was formed in my opinion.
Of course we couldn’t talk about British cars without mentioning the Mini. A fair few turned up! Mini’s are brilliant! Very successful and have a great history as a road car, successful in just about every type of motorsport they entered, they look really cute in stock form and amazing with a few simple modifications! What’s not to love?!
There were a handful of exotics. The Ferrari 400/412 is actually one of my favourite Ferrari’s. A V12 luxury cruiser that doesn’t look like a Ferrari. Those who know what it is will appreciate it but non-car people won’t hate you for owning one.
McLaren’s 540C. The “entry level” McLaren. I’d love to have a go in one of these.
The De Tomaso Pantera. An extremely rare Italian sports car!
All in all it was a superb day out at one of my favourite places. There was a great turnout of cars too and hopefully lots of money raised!
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By Richard Francis