Tag Archives: vintage cars

Dear Chattie

Dear ChattieChattieSpitConingsby

I just want to say how wonderful it has been travelling with you on our 7,000-mile journey. 3,181 miles of that trip have been just you and me together, and on the back of the Mercedes Sprinter you have enjoyed at least another 4,000 miles of scenery. You have been on 60 airfields, stayed with friends, made new friends, including two Battle of Britain pilots who loved you at first sight, travelled in convoy with other Singers (including many Le Mans); you have been photographed like a celebrity, and waved and tooted at by children on the streets and cars on the road (remember that grey Ferrari on the way down from Scotland?); and you have have constantly brought close to mind my lovely Dad, as if had been sitting next to me and enjoying the ride with us both. Sometimes, once or twice, it seemed we were both driving you together.

You have been an absolute joy to drive. I confess that, at the beginning, there was a time when I thought we would not get on, and the whole thing would be a difficult and rather gruelling challenge, simply from the driving point of view. How wrong I was! Once Pin had shown me how your crash gear box worked, and he and Ground Control had taught me on the road, it all fell into place, and now one of my greatest pleasures is slipping into my seat behind the wheel, starting you up with that ‘whoomp’ of the engine, and taking you out on the road, double-dee-clutching like nobody’s business and loving those moments when, coming down from fourth to third, that little ‘vroom!’ in momentary neutral clicks your gears down smoothly to take us round the bends.

We have had our moments! As when, coming back through the Welsh mountains, I came all the way down the steep pass without understanding you needed me to hold your gear stick physically in gear down the hills – a hairy moment or two, there! But you never failed me. Well, only once, and the starter-motor cable was such a minor matter, and we managed it to the garage using a piece of string. Hardly worth mentioning. The flat tyre doesn’t count, as that could have happened to anyone.

You have been a delightful faithful companion on the road –  and a complete revelation to me. Chattie, what happens now? Ah, that is the question…

Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under Aviation history, motoring, RAF history

Itinerary Sat 16th – Fri 22 May: Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Essex

My NEW, REVISED schedule for next week (for the whole WTS Calendar go to SCHEDULE page:

Note, this is taken from my working spreadsheet. I am still waiting to hear back from Cranfield.

G10and11web9May15

Leave a comment

Filed under Airfields, Aviation history, Second World War

Fly Llanbedr

FBLlanbedr

Carl, Pin, 1932 Alvis, Gary, Owen, Austin 7, Ed, Elizabeth, Chattie, Ian

What a great bunch of folks at Fly Llanbedr! They were all welcoming, and had arranged perfect weather for my tour, though it was not brilliant for flying today.  Apparently the east wind comes off the mountains having been buffeted into turbulence, and today was one of those days.

Llanbedr_control

Llanbedr Control Tower – original building

Llanbedr was re-opened last year and looks as if it has been lovingly cared for. The cafe on the first floor of the original control tower has clear views, of course, across the air field. It is light and airy and serves all-day breakfasts and light snacks. It’s a lovely place to gaze at the open view and watch the light aircraft movements. Dad landed here a couple of times, and Ian, a volunteer who knows the history of the airfield, told me that today’s cafe used to be where Dad would have come to check in and out. Two slots in the walls were where he would have posted his paperwork for his aircraft, and receive it back after it was checked and stamped.

Night Flying Equipment Store

Night Flying Equipment Store

Out of the window he pointed out another newly-painted building. ‘That’s the NFE Store,’ he said, ‘Your father was a night-fighter, right? Well, that’s the Night Fighter Equipment store, which was where he would have collected his gear and kit before coming here to clear the paperwork.’ Dad – walking in here in his flying gear ready to go – 74 years ago. That’s touching.Llanbedr_cessna

2 Comments

Filed under Alvis, Austin, Singer Le Mans, vintage cars

Stop Press – ‘Dad’s’ Tiger Moth is back!

The Tiger Moth in which my father learned to fly in 1941 is going to be coming to PreWar Prescott again this year – WEATHER PERMITTING.  I am therefore CHANGING MY SCHEDULE TO MEET IT.

I will therefore now be attending the Royal International Air Tattoo on the Sunday only, 19th July.

The rest of that weekend will be as follows:

Friday 17th July – Kemble Airfield to meet Tiger Moth, (followed by pre-Prewar Prescott get-together)
Saturday 18th July – Prewar Prescott + evening Battle of Britain Victory Party and BBQ with flypast: not only ‘Dad’s’ Tiger Moth but also aerobatics display from a venerable Battle of Britain Hurricane aerobatics – see http://www.prewarprescott.com/

Last year the heavens opened for Prewar Prescott and the Tiger Moth couldn’t make the journey from Norfolk. This year it’s bound to be a beautiful weekend, and therefore all being well I look forward greatly to what will be a touching occasion for me.

Tiger_M_6276130_origThis is a photograph of the actual Tiger Moth in which my father flew in 1941, now owned and flown by Paul Harvey. Amazing! I have taken it from the Prewar Prescott website – please let me know if there is a problem with my using it here.

4 Comments

Filed under Aviation history, Prewar Prescott

Hotting up

Things are hotting up now with the beginning of the Where They Served tour only about six weeks away. I drove Chattie back today after the excellent time she had at Brightwells Classic Car Auction, where she was guest of honour. The place was full of interesting people and interesting cars. I’m biased, but I still think Chattie looked one of the best.

Today Ground Control and I collected Chattie from Brightwells and for the first time in six months I was able to drive her. After all the work Crispin Thetford has put into her, she is driving very differently. The steering is firm and stable, the wheels are better balanced and hold the road brilliantly, and the brakes are sharp. I think I’d had the feeling that vintage cars wandered around the road and had brakes like sponges, but that was only because Chattie had been very much in need of the overhaul she has now received.  It was a lovely warm sunny day, very like the day I drove her back home when we bought her from Brightwells exactly a year ago, but the experience was quite different. I still crunched the gears coming down from fourth to third, but for the rest of it the gear changes went very smoothly. Next on the agenda is a lesson from Pin Thetford at Thetford engineering workshops near Malvern, where Pin is going to lay out a crash-gearbox so I can have a look at it, and see the moving parts and how it actually works; then out on the road for a driving lesson in Chattie. Can’t wait!

Leave a comment

Filed under vintage cars

Sponsored by Brightwells Classic Vehicles

I am delighted to announce that Brightwells Classic Vehicles are generously supporting the Where They Served tour of UK wartime airfields, in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund.

I bought ‘Chattie’, the 1935 Singer Le Mans sports car, from a Brightwells classic and vintage vehicle auction last March and Chattie will be on show at this year’s auction on 3rd and 4th March (viewing and sale days). If you are going to be there, please come and say hello and find out about my fundraising tour.

See Brightwell’s own website page all about ‘Where They Served’ HERE. You can also find it on a link from Brightwell’s Classic Vehicles page under ‘NEWS’Classic_Vehicles_Logo_12K

2 Comments

Filed under classic cars, classic vehicles, vintage cars

Thetford Engineering work on Chattie’s brakes.

Ground Crew sent me over to Crispin Thetford, of Thetford Engineering, today, with our new brake cylinder, which needed modification to fit Chattie, even though it was the right part (in theory) for the car.  Pin bored out the inlet port on the cylinder to make it a bit larger and machined the banjo bolt to 1 thread difference, so it should now work and Ground Crew are ready to try again and fit it.  I hadn’t appreciated how individual vintage cars are; each one needs bespoke engineering in so many different areas.  This is a challenge all round, but Thetford Engineering will be giving Chattie a thorough and complete overhaul later this summer to prepare her for the airfields visiting next year.Image

2 Comments

Filed under car

Pre-war Prescott spectator tickets!

The organisers of Pre-war Prescott hill climb have donated 50 spectator tickets to the vintage sports car hill climb event on Saturday 19th July 2014 to raise money for the RAF Benevolent Fund and the RAF Charitable Trust.  These are in my care and I would love you to buy from me and visit this great event, where I will be stationed with Chattie Chu Chu and other early Singer cars at the heart of the Paddock, next to the entry to the hill.  

The tickets are £15 per car for any number of occupants. Spectators park their cars in the Orchard (accessed from the main gate, where marshals will direct traffic), which has pedestrian access to the Paddock, the hill and all facilities including the restaurant, snack bar and licensed bar which will be open all day. 

If you would like to buy a ticket from me direct, all the money will go to the two charities (split 50/50):  

To order your ticket call me on 01544 267350 or mobile 07795 324 575, clearly leaving your number for me to call you back if I do not pick up the phone straight away when you call.

Image

Yes, I know it’s in sepia, but it really was only taken last year – by Phil Jones at Pre-war Prescott, and ‘borrowed’ from the Prewar Prescott website, with thanks.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized