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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 42 - Autumn / Winter 1980 / 81

The Micro-car Rally - Tim Stevens


On 29th June the first Micro-Car Rally was held at Quainton, but the planning started in November 1978, when I suggested to the Committee of the Berkeley Enthusiasts Club that a rally similar to an event held at Burford, Oxon, each September should be organised and held at Quainton.

For the uninitiated, micro-cars are the small economy cars or bubble cars of the late fifties and early sixties. In recent years these cars have become collectors ' items and are often restored by enthusiasts to a very high standard of mechanical and bodywork condition.

The problem of organising a rally is a large one for a small micro-car club of only one hundred members, so I made a suggestion to our Open Days Committee that the event should be held at Quainton during the summer on one of our Steaming Sundays. The idea was accepted, but all the 1979 Sundays were booked, so it was agreed to reserve the June 1980 Sunday for the day of the micro-car rally.

From January 1980 I attended the Open Days sub-committee meetings to establish proper liaison between the Societies and I undertook to send out publicity material to all the relevant car clubs and motor magazines. It was also agreed to grant free entry to the Quainton Centre to all rally cars and their occupants and to present 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes for the Concours d' Elegance or the Best Car of the Show. Altogether, 150 publicity sheets were sent out and received due notice in national and club magazines, although coverage was, unfortunately, adversely affected by the printers strike in May.

Happily the Sunday of the event proved to be a warm and mostly sunny day. Micro-cars started to arrive soon after 10 O'clock and we had a total of eighteen cars with examples of the three and four wheeled Berkeley, several Bonds, a Messerschmidt, a Trojan and a Scootacar. This last vehicle was actually built by Hunslet and featured a small Villiers petrol engine under a central seat, driving the rear wheel. The body was of fibreglass, topped by a large front and rear screen, which made it look like a top-heavy egg! The example at Quainton had been totally restored and won the Best Car of the Show award. Pictures were taken of it standing alongside another good looking vehicle, Coventry No. 1, although they come from different stables. Perhaps Trym can be made ready in time for the next rally.

Between 10 am and 1 pm the rally entrants could take part in a Treasure Hunt, with a route through Quainton Village, North Marston, Granborough, Oving and Pitchcott. From a series of crossword-type clues and instructions, the drivers were led from one village to the next and the winner actually scored 62 points out of a possible 66. Each competitor also had an emergency-use-only sheet (giving the best way back to Quainton if lost) and these sheets also had a series of questions to answer on the locomotives at our Centre. Some of the entrants got lost after the first village and, as soon as the pubs opened, they retired for refreshment and eventually returned to Quainton in convoy!

During the afternoon the cars were parked along the driveway of the up yard and there were stands selling micro-car parts and other auto jumble - all very interesting and popular with visitors.

The Concours d' Elegance was judged by Roger Jordan, who is well qualified for this task, as he usually organises the Historic Commercial Vehicle Run to Quainton. The choice was not easy, but the awards went to:

Best Car of the Show   Scootacar     T Marshall
2nd                                 Berkeley B95  B Sleaman
3rd                                 Bond 3-Wheeler  M Stacey

The Berkeley Enthusiasts Club also awarded prizes: 1st to B Sleaman, 2nd to D Green and 3rd to S Coxtin, while the Treasure Hunt was won by T Marshall and M Thomas, 2nd - Derek and Sue Green and 3rd - M Rounsville-Smith.

The BEC were particularly glad to welcome to the rally Mr Charles Parker, the former Managing Director and designer of the Berkeley car, who came to this rally, his first, after 24 years persuasion. We believe the event was a success for the Berkeley Enthusiasts Club and for our Society and we hope it can be run again in 1981.


Notes:
The text in this Quainton Railway Society publication was written in 1981 and so does not reflect events in the 33+ years since publication. The text and photographs are repeated verbatim from the original publication, with only a few minor grammar changes but some clarifying notes are added if deemed necessary. The photos from the original publication are provided as scans in this internet version of this long out of print publication.

Reference:
The Micro-car Rally - Tim Stevens - Quainton News No. 42 - Autumn / Winter 1980 / 81


Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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