But the fans turn up any­way!

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Front Page -


Pride of Long­bridge’s 10th an­niver­sary took place un­of­fi­cially out­side the plant it hon­ours be­cause freak weather con­di­tions put a stop to the of­fi­cial event.

Heavy rain and snow overnight meant the Cofton Park venue was un­us­able, forc­ing the or­gan­is­ers to can this year’s event at 6am on the day of the show. Gemma Cartwright and hus­band Andy say that although can­celling the gath­er­ing was a bit­ter blow they did it to pro­tect its fu­ture and to en­sure clas­sic own­ers stayed safe.

‘Any other choice would have led to the end of the event and none of us wanted that,’ says Gemma. ’Although POL is a very in­for­mal day out our prime fo­cus is the safety of those at­tend­ing and the sec­ond is to work with Birm­ing­ham City Coun­cil, the park’s own­ers. We made ev­ery ef­fort to in­form peo­ple via so­cial me­dia, lo­cal ra­dio and other out­lets but many were on their way, or al­ready in Birm­ing­ham.’

As a re­sult a spon­ta­neous show erupted at the gates out­side MG Mo­tor UK’s cur­rent plant. The man­u­fac­turer al­lowed show­go­ers to park their cars

on its land, and even gave free tea and cof­fee to vis­i­tors, some of whom had slept in their cars since the early hours in or­der to take part. By 10.30am the weather had bright­ened up and those ar­riv­ing found some­where to put their cars, parked up and wan­dered around, ex-work­ers mix­ing with clas­sic fans.

The spon­ta­neous gath­er­ing out­side the fac­tory and the splin­ter events else­where in Birm­ing­ham more than made up for the of­fi­cial meet­ing’s can­cel­la­tion. Pride of Long­bridge 2016 was a suc­cess – even if it never of­fi­cially hap­pened. John Lakey

While sev­eral im­promptu events took place af­ter Cofton Park’s clo­sure, the main ac­tion was fo­cused on the area im­me­di­ately out­side MG Mo­tor UK’s fac­tory. Isabel Pearce from Sevenoaks in Kent is a Pride of Long­bridge stal­wart with her 1958 Austin Cam­bridge A55 MkI, which she has owned since 2001.

Among the clubs was the Fylde branch of the MG Own­ers’ Club, who’d driven down from Black­pool and weren’t go­ing to let the weather spoil their fun.

Rob and Hazel Thomas with daugh­ters Jes­sica and Olivia. The MG ZT 160 V6 is a fam­ily car and although the 1973 BGT is of­fi­cially Rob’s it had been driven to the event by Jes­sica.

Si­mon Holt and Jo Jones from Sus­sex-based MG spe­cial­ist MG Re­vival at the gates of Long­bridge. Si­mon’s MGF Tro­phy 160 is the press car used by Top Gear in a road test in 2001.

Tony Os­borne from Red­ditch with his 1938 Austin 12 New As­cot which he has owned for more than 16 years. Tony has re­built the en­gine and re­done all the chrome­work.

Cam­bridge Ox­ford Own­ers Club mem­bers Colin White­head and Ge­orgina Pow­ell brought their Austin A55 MkII from Ch­ester to the un­of­fi­cial Pride of Long­bridge gath­er­ing.

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