We have regular enquiries through our website with a variety of “old car” related questions. A recent one was quite unusual. Writer Helena Dixon has penned a best-selling series of crime fiction books based here in South Devon in the 1930s and is busy on the latest. In this, one of her characters is given her first car. Keen to always fully research her material, Helena wanted to know more about cars from this era.
Our chairman Julian has two 1930s Morrises and was happy to arrange a suitably distanced private car show for her. Seen here with her husband David, she’s showing great interest in what was once the very latest technology. It was a bit cold to be outdoors but an hour flew by. http://nelldixonrw.blogspot.com/
South Devon Railway Gathering
We had a spectacular turnout for what may be our last show this season at South Devon Railway, Buckfastleigh.
Nearly 30 of our vehicles with their owners & families enjoyed a wonderful day in the sunshine, and quite a few other members came along in their modern cars to say hello.
Several membership flyers also handed out to friends of friends.
Many thanks to organisers Richard & Bryan with all their team for staging the event so well. It was safe for everyone despite being well supported by exhibitors and visitors, and all done in a very friendly and supportive way. (Click Photo)
Smiles all round!
Bicton Park & Botanical Gardens
17 vehicles met up at the Exeter M5 services to drive the 9 miles to Bicton Park & Botanical Gardens for their Vintage Weekend. The oldest today was a 1928 Sunbeam.
Vice Chairman Ian had everything under control, apart from a little blip when his car stalled on the Sandygate roundabout and refused to re-start.
A quick push from fellow member & Vauxhall man Chris and it burst back into life, never missing a beat for the rest of the day.
All had a very enjoyable day in the beautiful surroundings, and it was generally agreed we'd like to come back next year.
There are still one or two events we hope to attend before the end of the season, so why not join our club if you'd like to be part of the fun.
Covid rules have stopped all club activities for six months.
We haven’t been able to hold our monthly club nights since February. Next to go was our annual Treasure Hunt in March. Then came the decision to postpone our Rivera Classic Car Show on Paignton Green until July 25th 2021.
Throughout the summer we would normally meet regularly at shows throughout the region, but so far all have fallen by the wayside.
So once restrictions were eased and some attractions re-opened, our members were very keen to take advantage. Not surprisingly, we wanted to get out again with our old cars and see our friends.
Chairman Julian and wife Sue arranged a day out for us on 9th August. 18 vehicles met at Steamer Quay on the banks of the Dart at Totnes in glorious morning sunshine for the first part of the day. The route was to take us through narrow country lanes so cars were sent off in small groups spaced a few minutes apart. We enjoyed beautiful scenery and views of the river past Tuckenhay, East Cornworthy and Dittisham. Then cross country to Strete and on towards Torcross. The spectacle of Start Bay and Slapton Ley is one of the best in the UK and was looking amazing.
Arriving at Kingsbridge Quay for a planned stop, we were joined by another dozen vehicles, and so a second chance to catch up on news. Soon we headed off towards our final destination, South Battisborough Farm near Mothecombe in deepest South Hams. A further 8 cars joined us there.
The dairy farm has diversified into craft ice cream and recently opened a shop selling its Surfing Cow brand in a wide choice of fabulous flavours. We parked together (suitably distanced) in an area kindly reserved for us and had a relaxing afternoon in the sunshine, eating our picnics and taking it in turns to join the socially distanced queue for ice cream. Some also took our chances in the free Maize Maze.
The day wasn’t without its mishaps, with a few cars misbehaving, 2 not making it to the farm and another breaking down on the way home. For lots this was the first run out this year, and many were relieved once home safely.
The day was excellent, and it was especially good to be able to meet eight new couples who’ve joined TOWC recently and to give them our usual very warm welcome.
First Ciara then storm Dennis had hit us hard over the previous two weekends and the weather was still unsettled. As we wondered what the 23rd Feb would bring, our organisers Adrian & Sue had already been doing battle with the elements. Their planning of this month’s run had been challenging, with routes having to be revised because of flooding and landslides. They’d even been faced with a road closure during a large building fire in Exeter a few weeks earlier.
The drizzle which welcomed us on the day meant that many of us used our modern cars, but we still had 4 or 5 old vehicles turn out. Our route took us through Berry Pomeroy to Totnes, then out to Newton Abbot and the Teigngrace road towards Kingsteignton. The previous deep floods had subsided leaving just some large pools at the roadside. Taking the new road past the claypits towards Chudleigh we then headed up the Teign Valley which always looks fabulous.
I did wonder when the directions said Dunster instead of Dunsford. A little slip by Sue Linscott gave me the chance to tease her in the thank you speech later. She and Adrian had in fact organised a club run quite a few years ago to the real Dunster near the north Somerset coast of the Bristol Channel.
Luck was with us when we reached the B3212. A large tree had fallen in the night and damaged the bridge. The road closure was just feet away from our route so we were able to climb the long hill up to Longdown. Clearing weather allowed some good views before we dropped down towards Exeter, passing the major landslip at the Exonia chalet park which had made the regional news. A couple of buildings still teetered on the edge way above us.
Through Exwick, we headed for our coffee stop at the Bernaville Garden Centre, Cowley. Sue and I had never been there before, and what a surprise it was. It’s huge in all directions, very well stocked, and the prices seemed very reasonable. At least, that’s what Sue said as she returned to our Land Rover clutching her purchases.
Back on the road as the drizzle returned briefly, we headed to Crediton, then took the turn off to Tiverton. On the left was the now closed Marlin Cars centre where we bought our Morris 8 Tourer back in 2002 (a different story). Adrian had warned us about some very dodgy road surfaces on this section so we drove with extra care as our passengers were able to enjoy some superb views over towards deepest mid Devon including the famously named Woolfardisworthy (Woolsery).
Everyone arrived safely at the Fishermans Cot at Bickleigh Bridge for an excellent carvery lunch and the usual friendly chit chat. There must have been over 100 cars there so the place was packed, but the Linscotts had organised a private room for us and we were able to sit comfortably together.
I did mention the urban myth that the Simon and Garfunkel classic “Bridge over Troubled Water” was inspired by Bickleigh. It is true that Paul Simon stayed there before the song was written, and a notice in the pub tells us that the river did flood at that time. Art Garfunkel later denied that this was the inspiration, but maybe the River Exe did indeed leave an impression. It did for us today, looking magnificent and behaving once again.
It’s not true that it rains for every Linscott run - just most of them. Many thanks to Adrian & Sue for another excellent day out which we all really enjoyed.
And the weather could have been much worse!
At our annual lunch at the Redcliffe Hotel earlier this month we announced the winner of the Ian Hannaford Trophy. Sadly, Phil Haste wasn't present to accept the cup. At last night's club meeting chairman Julian Smith was pleased to make the presentation to Phil.
The trophy in memory of our founding chairman goes each year to the person who members voted has contributed the most to club life. Phil is our webmaster and graphic designer (as well as repairing members' clocks!!) Well done Phil, you deserve the appreciation.
Awards lunch at the
On Sunday 19th January around 70 of us were at our annual awards lunch at the Redcliffe Hotel, Paignton. Wall to wall sunshine greeted those who joined in the morning car run first. Bill & Val Rhodes had arranged a very scenic route through Ogwell up on to Dartmoor and back down to Paignton via Ashburton and Totnes.
The sun continued to shine and we had the usual excellent silver service meal in the Redcliffe’s Paris Singer room with its panoramic views over Torbay.
The Points Trophy is awarded for the highest number of events attended in an old vehicle. Runners up were Bill & Val, with Colin & Cathy Wills taking first position.
The premier cup is the Ian Hannaford Trophy, given in memory of our founding chairman. It’s been awarded since 1995 to the member who has contributed most to TOWC life over the year. Chosen by secret ballot at our November AGM, this year’s very worthy winner was our Webmaster and graphic designer, Phil Haste. Sadly not present on the day, his cup was presented (tongue in cheek) to Phil’s photograph by Chairman Julian together with last year’s winner Harry Kuehling, our Social Secretary.
New Year’s Day
A drizzly day with hill fog meant that our old cars stayed safely sleeping at home, but around 40 of us welcomed in 2020 at the Old Smokey, Marldon. An excellent meal was enjoyed at the pub where TOWC was founded in 1992. Thanks to our organiser, social sec Harry for organising the day and taking the photos.