CANTERBURY ALL BRITISH DAY
Words and photos: Trevor Stanley-joblin
The 29th annual All British Day was held on Sunday October 29, 2017, as usual starting at the Vintage Car Club Canterbury Branch grounds at Mcleans Island. The weather was as perfect as one could wish for — starting off cloudy but breaking mid morning into a bright sunny day with virtually no wind. This helped to entice out a huge variety of around 170 vehicles — the best turnout that’s been seen for the last few years. An added bonus was that the Vintage Car Club’s (VCC) annual Veteran Rally was being held on the same day, with both rallies coordinated to use the same start and finish venues, making the variety and ages of the vehicles more interesting for everyone taking part in either event.
The event was conceived 29 years ago, and now here we are in 2018, and it’s still going strong. I remember the day well — it was back in 1988. I was sitting in my conservatory / spa room, reading. The phone rang. I answered, and heard, “Colin here, what are you doing?” My reply, “Actually, I’m reading a story about an all British day in the Australian Restored Cars magazine. Colin replied, “That’s a great idea. I’ll start one here” — and so the Canterbury All British Day was born. And 29 years later Colin Hey is still at the helm.
The oldest car present this year was George and Sue Lee’s 1905 Alldays. This twin-cylinder veteran won the restoration of the year award back in 2000. George is now restoring a single-cylinder 1904 Alldays.
As has become the tradition for the event, a series of three runs departed the VCC grounds, consisting of a short, medium, and long route. These all finished at the Kirwee Recreation Reserve about 20km away, with the longer routes circumnavigating the district before finally finishing in Kirwee. The grounds themselves were in perfect condition, and, being surrounded on three sides by large trees and with excellent facilities, it would have been hard to find somewhere better to be on such a nice day.
Two lightweight motorcycles caught the attention of other entrants after lunch, on the traditional walkabout. A fully restored 1954 Power Pak, which was a genuine one-owner vehicle — the restorer had purchased it new! Surely this would be the only one-owner 1954 Power Pak left in the world? The other was a 197cc 1954 Francis Barnett. Barrie Walker has owned this bike for 55 years. Now here’s a coincidence: I bought my first 1936 Ford V8 roadster from Barrie in 1956 (my, how time flies!).
At 2pm, a brief prize-giving was held, with the winners of each of the rally routes decided using the closest to the average time for all who submitted their rally sheets at the end. The Best of British Trophy was also awarded again — this being decided by people’s choice voting.
A huge variety of makes and models attended this year. One very rare car was the 1969 Fiberfab Jamaican, in red. This year, I steered away from the ‘modern’ British vehicles to focus on (mostly) pre-war and immediate postwar (see photos).
The event organizers, Colin Hey and his family, mentioned at prize-giving that 2018 will mark the 30th anniversary of the event, and that they would like to see a turnout would at least match the first event back in 1988, when 350 vehicles attended. The event motto has always been, “if it’s British and roadworthy, bring it”, so if you have any British vehicle that meets that criteria, mark Sunday, October 28, 2018 in your diary now, and look out for a special and bigger Canterbury All British Day next year.
The 2017 event raised $1005 for van Asch Deaf Education Centre, located in Sumner, Christchurch.