The Black Country’s premier vehicle rally was held on Sunday 29th July, 2007 at the Black Country Living Museum, Dudley. The Black Country Vehicle Rally is an important annual event at the museum, attracting many enthusiasts and their Black Country built vehicles. Entries included cars made by Bean, Jensen, Lomax, Quantum, Rickman, Westfield, and many Wolverhampton made vehicles. There were Clyno, Frisky, Star, Sunbeam, and Turner cars; Guy lorries and buses. The large number of motorcycles included machines made by A.J.S., D.K.R., D.M.W., Sunbeam, and Turner. There were also Lea Francis and Lagonda cars with Meadows engines, and Sunbeam bicycles.

Some of the many cars on display.

Visitors could also view the museum’s fine collection of Black Country made vehicles in Exhibition Hall 2 which includes cars, motorcycles, and bicycles.

There were also several indoor displays. Ray Jones put on an excellent display about the Sunbeam record breaking cars featuring two of his excellent models and some interesting photographs.

Frank Sharman and myself put on a display about Wolverhampton vehicle manufacturers and their products, local vehicle component manufacturers, and visitors could also view this website. Wolverhampton Archives and Local Studies also put on a display about vehicle manufacturing in the City, and David Evans of the Star Register displayed photographs of the Star works.

As usual it was a warm sunny day, and even though heavy rain had previously been forecast, nearly all of the exhibitors were there on the day.

The many visitors enjoyed a good selection of Black Country made vehicles.
The display of cars included James Thomas’s excellent Clyno “Royal” from 1928, Christopher Habgood’s impressive 1914 Star “Torpedo” tourer, which he brought all the way up from Swindon in Wiltshire, and Terry Bouncer’s Sunbeam 14/40 from 1925.

A selection of the motorcycles that were on display.

Brian Shaw and his interesting Turner By Van.

The motorcycles included a surprise entry in the form of Brian Shaw’s Turner By-Van, which attracted a lot of attention. Other motorcycles included an A.J.S. model ‘D’ from 1913, Robin James’ immaculate A.J.S. combination from 1927, Geoff Booths’ 1938 Stevens machine, which he brought all the way from Whitby, and Alan Jones 1926 Sunbeam Longstroke.

The commercial vehicles included Bob Duffill’s Guy Arab 4 double deck bus, Keith Ball’s Guy Wolf van from 1949, and Chris Huffer’s Guy Otter from 1950.

After lunch the visitors enjoyed seeing some of the vehicles in action during several cavalcades, each catering for a different type of vehicle. The vehicles travelled on a circular route through the museum, which allowed the many spectators to view the impressive machines at their best. Visitors also enjoyed looking at the museum’s many attractions including the canal-side village, the pub and fish and chip shop, the Newcomen steam engine, the fairground, the coalmine, the exhibition halls, and a meal at the excellent café. The museum also engaged a traditional jazz band for the day.

The motorcycle cavalcade.

The traditional jazz band.

As ever it was an extremely enjoyable day with a warm and friendly atmosphere. There were old friends to meet and much to see and do.

Everyone enjoyed their time at the museum, and the rally was a great success.

The rally was ably organised by Hamish Wood (the museum’s Operations Manager), Brian Rollings, Ray Jones, Trevor Davies, and Brian Watton. Many members of the Museum’s staff were also involved including Fiona Carding (publicity), Hamish Wood’s assistant Jane Allcock, several volunteers who acted as marshals, and Derek Beddows from the transport group. Last but not least the team from the Marston Wolverhampton Heritage Trust made it all work on the day. They were David Beere, Trevor Davies, Stan Davis, Ray and Beryl Jones, Ken and Margaret Norton, Ray and Anne Salisbury, Audrey and Derek Spencer, and Brian Watton.

The exception to the rule. Sadly Brian Rollings, one of the organisers had a problem with his Star 'Jason' car and so for once only a non Black Country made vehicle was allowed into the rally. This is a Derby-built Bentley.

The 2008 rally will take place on Sunday 27th July at the Black Country Living Museum.

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rallies section