CAN­TER­BURY ALL BRI­TISH DAY

Words and pho­tos: Trevor Stan­ley-joblin

New Zealand Classic Car - - Contents -

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.

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