Southern Classics Society is a friendly and informal, all-marque club for classic vehicle enthusiasts in the south of England

Social & Drive It Day Reports 2018

In addition to our formal shows we hold various social events and Drive It Days. Below are reports of these events hoping you will see how much more belonging to Southern Classics Society means.

2018 social event reports will appear here as they happen.

Lunch and Annual General Meeting, The Bull Inn, Henfield - 6th October 2018

As has become traditional in recent years, the AGM of the Society was held at the Bull Inn in Henfield. In previos years, this has been preceded by a Drive-It run, but this year, as it followed hot on the heels of the Drive-It to the Brooklands Museum, reported on below, it was decided to omit the Drive, and concentrate on the lunch and the meeting itself.

As the weather was good, many of the attendees attended in their classics, and the room soon started to fill up with people, and the air was filled with the buzz of conversation and the smell of cooking from the kitchens.

Then the pizzas arrived, and it was time to tuck in!

There was the usual rich and varied selection of pizzas, the Bull's speciality. Also there were a range of side dishes to tempt the pallate - such things as garlic bread, chicken legs, salads, and so on.

Phil, in his role as stand-in Chairperson conducted the business of the meeting with his usual professional efficiency. The business was all dealt with, and the meeting ended with members dispersing into the warm autumnal sunshine. A full report of proceedings will appear in the next Newsletter.

We would like to thank the management at the Bull Inn for the use of their facilities, and most of all for the delicious lunch.

Click here for more AGM photos.

Autumn Drive-it Run - Brooklands Museum - 6th October 2018

This Drive-it Run was originally scheduled for the early spring. However when the time arrived, Britain was in the grip of the "Beast from the East" with snow, ice, and travel warnings, so sadly it had to be postponed. This was a shame, as there is a lot to see at Brooklands, so it was great that Richard managed to negotiate a new date, in the Autumn. This time we had the "Wet from the West" instead, but there is so much to see undercover, that it was still a great day.

As with a lot of our Drive-Its, we started at the Bull in Henfield, where the weather was dry. They supplied us with their usual early-morning tea, coffee and biscuits, to sustain us on the journey.

There was no "halfway halt" on this run, in order to give us the maximum time at the museum. We took in some very scenic lanes through the Surrey hills. By the time we arrived, it had started raining, but we were parked on the start/finish straight, just alongside the clubhouse, where the resaurant served rfreshments. We had our usual eclectic range of cars, twenty-one in all.

One of the big changes for this year, is that the Wellington Hanger had been moved off the old straight, on which it had sat since WW2, and re-errected to one side, and completely restored. It really is extremely impressive, and it was good to seee the Loch Ness Wellington and all the other aircraft, in surroundings that really do them justice.

As well as the hanger, there were other must-see items. There was the Jackson Shed, with a display of Formula One cars and memorabilia through the ages. Also the Campbell Shed with a wide range of cars associated with Brooklands, the most impressive being the Napier-Railton, with it's massive 24 litre W12 Napier Lion engine, which still holds the lap record (which will never be beaten).

Also worth seeing is the Barnes Wallis Stratosphere Chamber. Built in 1946, it allowed environmental testing in very extreme conditons, and made Britain a world-leader. Big enough to take many items at full size it could simulate conditions from sea level to 70,000 feet, at temperatures of -65 to +55, with the addition of rain or snow if required.

We would like to thank the management at the Brooklands Museum for accomodating the change of dates which was forced on us by the weather, and the staff at the Bull for providing our starting refreshments. Also to Richard for doing the preparatory planning and organisation so it would all run smoothly.

Click here for more Drive-it Day photos.

Carats Cafe Breakfast Meet, Southwick - 23rd September 2018

Sadly, I have to report that the lovely weather that has marked so many of our events this year, went AWOL for September's Breakfast Meet. The rain hammered down out of low, leaden skies, blown by a brisk wind. Autumn was making it's presence felt!

Despite the dodgy weather, there was a warm welcome awaiting in Carats Cafe, and a surprisingly good attendance of members. There was soon a lively buzz of conversation, and the delicious smell of breakfast being cooked.

There were three classics in attendance. The stately Rover 90 rose above the conditions with an air of elegance and grace from a bygone era. Then there was the ultra-rare Middlebridge Scimitar GTE - one of only 75 cars made by Middlebridge, after they bought the production rights to the Scimitar GTE and upgraded them with a number of changes, including the Scorpio 2.9 injection engine. Finally, last but not least, was John's well-known Citroen Bijou; again a very rare car.

Your humble reporter should have been there in his classic as well, but a shopping trip the day before netted a free gift in the form of a screw in the sidewall of my rear tyre, which was as yet unfixed, so I begged a llift from Ian, to whom go my thanks.

Our thanks go to the staff of Carats Cafe for their hospitality, and the excellent food, (just what we needed to ward off the weather). Also to Richard for organising the event, to the attendees who came and supported the event (and particularly those who brought their classics!). As there were only a small number of cars, there is no separate gallery this time.

Summer Barbeque at the Fox, Patching - 5th August 2018

Well, the weather that has been a highlight of this summer continued, and this was another event to be blessed by blue skies and soaring temperatures. On Sunday the 5th August, Members gathered at the Fox Inn, Patching, for our Summer Barbeque, and parked on the parched brown grass. The parking quickly started to fill with a typically varied selection of cars. A number of them, as you'd expect, were SCS regulars, but there were also some fascinating newcomers.

The shade of the trees and the umbrellas on the picnic tables proved popular, while members relaxed and listened to the live music from the Red Jackson band.

All of the cars had features of interest, but some were particularly worth a second look. It was interesting to compare the Citroen DS 23 Pallas Convertible, with John's Citroen Bijou, parked alongside. The Lotus Elan Sprint, in very original condition, with it's Gold Leaf colours, was a real highlight. The special-bodied Buick convertible is unusual and attractive, too.

There was one car which stood out though, and the judges were unanimous in their choice of the "Car of the Show" - Dave's immaculate Land Rover Fire Engine was a real stand out exhibit. This fascinating vehicle was built in 1949, and still has the brass hose nozzles, and ladders. There's also a file of paperwork including an original photo from when it was new. The bright red paintwork includes the signing for the company for which it served at one time

Once again John had looked into his memory banks and from his store of obscure facts, had constructed a series of questions to torture us with! The points were pretty close at the end, but one team emerged on top, and the winners collected their prize.
In the late afternoon sunshine, we were even treated to a flypast by a vintage Tiger Moth.

As always, our thanks go to the staff of the Fox Inn for their hospitality, and the excellent barbeque meal, to Richard for organising the event, to John for organising the Quiz and the Raffle, and to the attendees for bringing along their vehicles. Also, thanks to the Red Jackson Band for the live music.

Click here for more photos of the event.

Whiteways Cafe Breakfast Meet - 8th July 2018

The heatwave was still with us for the July Breakfast Meet at the Whiteways Cafe, in scenic surroundings in the South Downs National Park. We were greeted by blazing sunshine, roasting temperatures and clear blue skies - your intrepid reporter braved the conditions to bring you this report (well, it's tough, but someone has to do it!!)

The sun brought a great turnout of beautiful cars, approximately forty in all. The summer sunshine brought out the range of colours and shine of the paintwork, contrasted in many cases with the gleam of chrome. A real credit to all the owners, and a fine reward for all the hard work spent over the winter!

Several of the participating cars are an unusual sight on the roads these days. The magnificent 1955 Humber Hawk was an imposing sight, and in beautiful condition. Also the Fiat-OSCA 1500S, with it's attractive Pininfarina coachwork and OSCA twin-cam engine, was well worth a closer look. The immaculate Mk 1 Volkswagen Golf GTI was also noteworthy, it's styling still looking crisp and modern today. The TVR Vixen S3 was a fine example of the shape that defined TVR for quite a while.

All the cars looked great, reflecting their owners' enthusiasm. For photos of all the cars, please see the full set of photos at the link below.

The weather provided an ideal opportunity for plenty of standing around chatting as well as looking at the cars. When a break was needed, the cafe was on hand with refreshments. This also provided an opportunity to view the large number of motorcycles which gather here at the weekends.

We would like to thank the staff of the Cafe for providing the food and drink, and allowing us to use the parking.

Click here for more breakfast photos.

Southdowns Nurseries and Heritage Centre Breakfast Meet - 24th June 2018

The day dawned with warm sunshine and summer temperatures, and continued in the same vein throughout the morning. It was a lovely day for a drive, and people clearly agreed, as at least 42 cars joined us for this June Breakfast Meet, at the Southdowns Nurseries and Heritage Centre, in Hassocks.

The car park had been opened early for us and the cars were parked on the left-hand part. They looked great, gleaming in the sunshine. The range of cars was well up to the Society's usual standard, with a wide and varied mix. They were all interesting, and some were real rarities.

The striking red Rochdale Olympic was one such rarety. It's attractive streamlined shape was quite advanced for 1962, but it was even more radical under the skin, being a glass-fibre monocoque. The yellow Shelsley T2 was an unusual modern take on the small fast kit car. In complete contrast, the WW2 Jeep was utilitarian and functional, with only one aim in mind - emphasised by the rifle strapped to the dashboard!

Also present were a pair of our stalwart supporters from the commercial vehicle area - the Ford E83W van (fresh from Tim's victory at Bentley) and the Post Office Telephones Morris Van. It's not possible to mention all the cars, so please see the full set of photos at the link below,

For a break from the cars, the restaurant and coffee shop was available for drinks and breakfasts. Many of those present took advantage of this, and the outdoor tables, in the sunshine, were full with people enjoying the opportunity of "breakfast and banter" in very pleasant surroundings.

We would like to thank Karin and the staff of the Coffee shop & Restaurant for looking after us so well, and providing excellent service during the meet. The delicious food & drink was a welcome start to the day.

Click here for more breakfast photos.

Roedean Cafe Breakfast Meet - 20th May 2018

For many people, the day started with some hazy sunshine, but on approaching Roedean a sea mist developed, and the area was shrouded, and fairly cool.

Nevertheless, we were joined by twenty six cars, and a warm welcome and delicous hot food and drink awaited in the cafe. As uaual, there was much discussion about our car's whims and foibles, and whenever a bonnet was raised an eager crowd gathered to inspect what was revealed!

As usual, the cars were a very varied and eclectic selection, almost all being different, with only a couple of repeats. A wide range of ages were represented, from a 1927 Graham-Paige, up to "modern classics" from Porsche, Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo, and Mazda. The marque with the most representatives was probably MG, with an MGB, MGB GT and MGC in attendance.

There were a pair of representatives of the Sussex Kit Car Club, with their JBA Falcons. John was there with his well-known Citroen Bijou; a very rare sight on the roads. Also a rare sight, is the Gordon-Keeble, with it's attractive styling and 5.4 litre V8 engine.

We would like to thank the cafe management and staff for their friendly, helpful service, and delicious food & drink. Well worth a return visit (especially on a clear day!).

Click here for more breakfast photos.

National Drive-it Day - Herstmonceux Castle - 22nd April 2018

This Drive-it Day, (held in support of National Drive-it Day, organised by the FBHVC, of which Southern Classics Society are members) was our first Drive-it event of 2018, following the postponement of the earlier event due to severe weather. All eyes were on the forecast prior to the event then!

We needn't have worried, Richard had come up trumps with some real spring weather. Blue skies, sunshine, and warmth greeted us in the morning; real convertible weather, and a good number of soft-tops were in evidence. Around 28 cars gathered at the Bull in Henfield, for the Start of the run. Some of them were regulars on these runs, and some were new faces, and we extend a warm welcome to them.

The "halfway halt" was at the Roebuck Inn at Laughton, where refreshments and breakfasts were available if required. The car park was full with a very impressive line-up of cars and given the weather, many people chose to relax in the sunshine outside, and take-in the view.

There were many cars which were worth a closer look (In fact, some 48 cars completed the event). To pick a couple, James' beautifully-finished Subaru-engined Nova was a striking example of the breed, and the huge convertible Edsel brought a touch of Americana to the event.

The event ended at Herstmonceux Castle, which was an impressive sight as it towered over the cars in the sunshine. The tea room served lunch and snacks, or picnics could be taken around the cars. The exterior of the Castle has a long history, being one of the oldest brick buildings in the country. Some members had opted to go on the guided tour of the interior, which has been extensively restored and rebuilt and now serves as the UK Campus of Queens University (Canada).

We would like to thank the management and staff at the Bull and the Roebuck for accommodating us so well en-route. Also to Herstmonceux Castle for providing the parking and for the tour of the Castle. Also to Richard for doing the organisation and preparetory work (and for booking such great weather!).

Click here for more Drive-it Day photos.

Shoreham Airport Breakfast Meet - 25th March 2018

This was our first event of 2018, and we started the year in Art Deco style in the splendor of the Shoreham Airport terminal building. Around seventy-two cars and two motorcycles turned up, with with some being regulars, and some being new faces. It was good to see so many at our first event of the year, and a warm welcome to everyone!

The magnificent Art Deco building, with its period restaurant and architecture, overlooking the airfield provided a wonderful setting. As usual at this event, we attracted a good turnout of one of Triumph's most iconic designs, the Stag. There were also a wide range of other vehicles

The cars attending covered a wide range of ages and types. Tim Stables appeared in his new aquisition, a 1927 Graham-Paige, well worth a closer look. There were a number of other American cars, one which was particularly striking was the immaculate red and white Chevrolet Corvette.

There were many other cars which repaid closer inspection. There was a Citroen 2CV, with a beautiful patina, which spoke volumes for much caring use. There was also a lovely example of the Opel GT, a rare and very pretty car. Also a 1967 Fiat Dino Coupe is a rare sight on the roads today, and it was good to see one in attendance.

As with most of our events that are open to members and non-members alike, a few non-members showed an interest in joining the club and as always John Place was on hand with his distinctive ex-RAF Land Rover and a supply of mebership forms and information.

We would like to thank the restaurant management and staff for accommodating us so well, Their calm, efficient service belied a busy kitchen and waiting staff - if you want a special place to hold a special event, Shoreham Airport may well fit the bill. Give them a ring!

Click here for more breakfast photos.