Having spent 36 years in Policing, perfecting the art of avoiding ‘nasty surprises’ and too much hard work, I failed to keep up standards when I attended my first TOC event as a proper member and fell for Martin Bryant’s impassioned plea to write this report.
As the blurb promised, this introduction to Talboteering and all things mechanical, sparky and oily was a great way to meet people. We all pitched up at VBE Restorations workshop outside Daventry, on Saturday 27th May to be met by Richard and Kimberley. The workshop was full of wonderful cars in various states of restoration and repair. That label also seemed appropriate to the parade of Talbots and owners that arrived during the morning. Of the 26 people who attended, about fifty per cent were new members of the club, a good indication that the event had hit the right mark. The newest member was Richard Bassett who joined two days before the event and travelled from France to join us. And he is still looking for a car to buy!
The day was split into timed slots on the ramp and floor for cars (and owners) to be pored over by the assembled congregation. More importantly, John Dodd and Malcolm Fishwick provided the adult supervision needed for such an event. While there was a lot of heavy breathing, deep intakes of breath and kicking the gravel while looking at car bottoms, John and Malcolm stressed that things that looked oily and rusty were not necessarily terminal. Then they examined the cars. As a novice Talboteer, I found it reassuring that John found nothing nastier than a worrying lack of movement in the rear brake actuator. However, the fact that the wheels stopped rotating when the brakes were applied seemed to reassure him.
The star of the show had to be James Fanshawe’s 192714/45 Weymann Saloon. Off the road since 1967, it was a true barn find. If patina is the thing to strive for, this car has it in bucketfuls. Everything is original and even the fabric on the body is in good shape. This was the first car onto the ramp and as it rose there was a surge of bodies to get under it and ogle. Never has an underbeneath been so closely examined by so many men in such a short time. What was even more impressive was that James brought it on a trailer but drove it onto the ramp.
During the course of the day 10 cars were presented to John and Malcolm - ranging from a 1925 10/23 to a' last of the line' 1937 BG 3.5 litre.
While the cars were doing their catwalk thing, sideshows were provided by Martin Bryant explaining traffic clutches, and Ian Potts showing pictures of wiggly amps. As ever, the traffic clutch was a thing of Roesch cunning design, attention to detail and elegance. However, the thing that stuck in my mind was the fact that it owed its existence to the need to make motoring more attractive to women. Ladies have often been the reason for radical change, such as overarm bowling in cricket which was invented by women to avoid clashes with long dresses. Changing gear was seen as one of the stumbling points to female motorists—hence the invention of better ways of easing the gear change.
Ian was a wonderful presenter of the simple Talbot electrical systems. Why have one set of points in a regulator when you can have three? We all came away with the reassurance that if we made a complete hash of electrical repairs, there was at least one person in the Club who knew how to fix it.
This was a wonderful day and an excellent introduction to Talboteering. I think it reassured the new members that madness might be contagious, but if everyone is doing it, then it can’t be such a bad thing. Thanks must go to VBE Restorations for being such accommodating hosts, to the committee for organising it, to Vivien for keeping us supplied with endless liquid refreshment and, of course, to John and Malcolm for keeping everyone engaged and under control.