|The Black Country Living Museum’s premier vehicle
rally, the Festival of Black Country Vehicles,
celebrating the many Black Country-made vehicles, took place on Sunday 25th
July, 2010. The event attracted a large number of
locally-made vehicle owners and their vehicles, and gave
visitors the opportunity to step back into our motoring
||Some of the many cars that
The weather was kind, it was a
beautiful day, and visitors enjoyed the warm friendly
atmosphere, and were able meet some of the many vehicle
owners and enthusiasts.
This year there were more entries
than ever, which were eagerly inspected by the large
number of visitors, who also saw some of them in action
in the unique series of cavalcades, that allowed owners
to drive their vehicles around the 26 acre site.
Mark Longmore's 1914 Crescent
Cyclecar. Its second visit to the museum.
|Visitors could also see the many attractions at the
museum, including the Victorian village, the superb
canal and industrial exhibits, the fun fair, the
recently opened 1930s shops, the coal mine, and the
museum’s own collection of Black Country made vehicles.
Excellent food was also on offer in the Café Bar, the
Canalside Café, and the renowned fish and chip shops.
The line-up of A.J.S. cars.
Attractions included a visit by
members of the A.J.S. 9 Car Club, as part of their
celebrations of 100 years of A.J.S. There were 9 cars in
the A.J.S. line-up, including two from the Museum’s
collection. This must have been one of the largest
gatherings of A.J.S. cars for many years. Only 33 are
known to survive.
There was also a good display of
Clynos. Seven of the Wolverhampton-made cars were on
view, along with the Museum’s 1927 Clyno Tourer. Both
the A.J.S. cars, and the Clynos were designed by Arthur
Gerald Booth, who went-on to become one of the countries
top vehicle designers. This was probably the largest
gathering for many years of Arthur’s early creations.
Mrs. D. Thomas's 1926 Bean Tourer
in one of the cavalcades.
|Other cars on display were made by Bean, Crescent,
Frisky, Jensen, Lomax, Quantum, Rickman, Star, Sunbeam,
Swallow, Turner, Westfield, and Austin (an A40 with a
Jensen body). The entries included Mark Longmore’s
Crescent Cyclecar, the only known survivor, Brian
Rollings superb Star 12/40 Pegasus Sports, Christopher
Vernon Habgood’s impressive Star Torpedo Tourer, Michael
Dancer’s beautiful Sunbeam 14/40 Tourer, Chris Smith’s
lovely Clyno Tourer, and Clive Knowles’ Sunbeam racer.
|There were also many other equally impressive
entries, the oldest being Mark Longmore’s Crescent
Cyclecar from 1914, Christopher Vernon Habgood’s
Star Torpedo Tourer from 1914, and Clive Knowles’
Sunbeam 12/16 racer, also from 1914.
It was also good to see restoration in progress, in
the form of Peter D. Stevenson’s Clyno Royal Saloon
from 1927. When the car first came to the museum for
the 2002 Black Country Vehicle Rally, it was just a
bare chassis on a trailer, today most of the body is
in place. We eagerly await future developments.
Peter Stevenson's Clyno Royal in 2006, and
2010. Both photos were taken almost on the same spot.
The commercial vehicles included
Guy lorries, vans, and a coach, and a new visitor in the
form of Daniel Batham & Son’s impressive Bean lorry from
|As usual a good selection of motorcycles were on
view, including models made by A.J.S., Clyno, DKR, D.M.W.,
Mercury, Sunbeam, and Swallow. Ivan Rhodes entered 5
interesting A.J.S. machines including his ex-Freddie
Hicks R10 from 1930. Rally regular, Arthur Stubbs, and
several family members entered a range of D.M.W.
machines, and Eric Loffman came along with his DKR
Defiant. Sunbeams were well represented with examples
from 1925 to 1936, and two pre-First World War Clyno
machines were on display thanks to Mr. F. Smith, and Mr.
F. W. Harrison.
Some of the locally made D.M.W.
motorcycles that came along.
|Other entries included John Fairclough’s Mercury
Grey Streak, and Paul Webb’s interesting 1950 Swallow
Gadabout, one of only 3 known survivors.
A few of the many Sunbeams that were on
|Entrants came from as far-a-field as; Berrien,
Powys; Bristol; Caerphilly; Llanfair Caereinion; London;
Newport, Gwent; Oswestry; Romsey; Rotherham;
Southampton; and Swindon. The longest journey was made
by Mark Donnelly of Rasheen, County Cork, Ireland. He
came with his A.J.S. 2-seater Tourer, which has an
important past. It belonged to Alec Stevens, whose
father Joe was one of the four Stevens brothers who
founded A.J.S. in 1909.
Christopher Vernon Habgood’s
impressive Star Torpedo Tourer.
|One of our rally regulars, Chris Habgood had a
terrible journey to the event. He travelled from just
outside Swindon in Wiltshire, and carried his car, the
1914 Star Torpedo Tourer on the back of a lorry.
Unfortunately it broke down on the motorway when an
inside tyre blew-out. He attempted to jack the lorry up
in order to change the wheel, but was foiled when the
seal on the jack failed.
|He then walked half a mile to the nearest motorway
phone to get help, but discovered that the phone was out
of order. Eventually the police towed him off the
motorway, and he managed to borrow a trolley jack. He
arrived around lunchtime, such was his determination to
|A number of the visitors and guests had direct links
with the vehicle manufacturers.
Around 12 members of
the Stevens family, of A.J.S. fame, held a reunion.
Charles Weight, whose father owned Briton cars was
there, as was Peter Lisle, whose family founded Star.
John Meadows, grandson of Henry Meadows came along,
as did Keith Peckmore who worked for Kieft, and Frisky.
Another visitor, Jan Jeavons, is the granddaughter of
Sunbeam racing mechanic Tom Barrett.
Music was provided by the
excellent Dennis Mowatt Dixie Syncopaters.
Many of the visitors and entrants
lined-up to view the magnificent spectacle of the
cavalcades, which as usual were a great success.
Everyone seemed to have enjoyed
their day in the heart of the Black Country.
Sadly, all too soon it came to an
end, and by 5p.m. the site began to empty.
Indoor displays about
locally-made vehicles, and vehicle manufacturing were
provided by David Evans, and Bev Parker.
|The museum has now hosted 9 vehicle rallies in
succession (10 if you include the Star, Starling, and
Briton Rally from 2001). They have become a popular
attraction for local vehicle enthusiasts, and
so we hope there will be others in the future.
Sunbeams, Stars, Clynos, and a Bean.
A few of the vehicles from the 1920s.
|Thanks must go to the dedicated team of volunteers,
and members of the museum’s staff, who made it all
Especially Brian Rollings the event organiser, Hamish
Wood the museum’s Operations Manager, Jane Allcock the
museum’s Assistant Site Officer, Fiona Carding the
museum's Media Relations Officer, Ray and Beryl Jones,
Trevor and Angela Davies, Audrey and Derek Spencer, and
the other members of the Marston Group. Thanks must also
go to Keith Andrews, secretary of the Jensen Owners
Club, who ably organised the Jensen display.
Brian Rollings and Peter Lisle in
Brian's Star 12/40. Peter is the grandson of Star's founder, Edward Lisle.
||Chris Smith's 1926 Clyno
Chris is the grandson of one of
the Clyno founders, Ailwyn Smith.
Mark Homer riding his Sunbeam Lion
The pace car, a Turner MK2, driven by Stan
Davis. Passenger, Trevor Davies organised the cavalcades.
Part of the Jensen display.
The end of the day, when everyone prepared to
Festival of Black Country Vehicles will be held at
the Black Country Living Museum on Sunday 31st July.