I’m afraid I chickened out! The Talbot had been cleaned and polished, fluid levels checked and expensive petrol nearly filled the petrol tank. Martin Bryant was calling and looking forward to a ride in an open Talbot down to Foppe d’Hane’s show in Ufford. It was all systems go, but the day dawned cold, wet and windy.
The easiest way to Foppe from Oundle is down the A14, not a pleasant experience at the best of times due to the volume of lorry traffic. Last year I went cross-country which seemed to take for ever; a pleasant experience in early spring sunshine but miserable in rain. Martin arrived, we looked at the weather and, I’m ashamed to admit it, we decided to go in his modern. A great disappointment as it was my birthday, and what better way to celebrate than by going for a long drive in a car that has been part of my life for 53 years!
One reason for going was to evaluate the STD Talbot spares that are stored with Foppe, so after a dreary drive down, we found Foppe in the field where the show is held. Guy Gregory was there with his very wet 75/90 Brooklands Replica looking resplendent in its new livery; Guy was hoping to do some work on the car with Foppe during the coming week. Foppe accompanied us to his workshop, where, apart from inspecting the spares, we had a long chat about all things Talbot.
Foppe showed us some of the projects he was working on and the parts he was making; as usual I was amazed at Foppe’s standards as the results are true works of art! Lizzie provided a welcome cup of coffee while we assessed the spares, as it is hoped to move them to a more geographically convenient spot which will get them out from under Foppe’s feet.
Then it was back to the cold, wet and windy field for a welcome pint of the local ale. I sheltered under a gazebo while I ate my picnic lunch, supped my ale, listened to the rain pouring down and admired Richard Bonson’s delectable 75 Tourer sitting alone and forlorn in the distance. I had a nice chat with Richard, but regret I didn’t manage to chat to the other Talbot owners. David Sharp arrived in his lovely VDP 105 Tourer which used to belong to his father, whilst later, when the rain had eased somewhat, another VDP 105 Tourer arrived, hood down, driven by Charles Hill. A reasonable selection of other cars turned up, mostly saloons, though I didn’t venture out into the rain to look at them. Foppe had brought a lovely Rolls 20 that he has nearly finished restoring and this looked an eminently sensible choice for the day. It must have been a great disappointment for Foppe, doing all that organising only for the weather to spoil the day. Hopefully next year we will return to the usual sunshine and crowds of cars.
Martin and I departed mid-afternoon, but Martin had the inspired idea of breaking the journey at Newmarket to call on Des and Marj Burnett and to view his 1916 Talbot ST 25/50, found in Malta, which has just been completed after a 15-year meticulous restoration.
We were enthusiastically greeted by Des, and it was straight into the garage to admire the car. And what a beauty! After a thorough look over the car, Des asked if we would like to hear it running – what a silly question! Des has only just perfected the starting sequence but clearly with success as it started first time. Then the question: would we like to go for a run? Another silly one! Wrapped up warmly we set off for what I thought would be a run round the block. I had volunteered to sit in the back as Martin had only just recovered from Covid; luckily Marj found me a woolly hat as the run round the block turned out to be 25 miles long! It was very windy but exhilarating and surprisingly comfortable in the back; even though the car was running-in, you could tell how impressive the torque was and it didn’t hold up modern traffic even though it is over 100 years old. It certainly deserves the soubriquet ‘Invincible’!
After a delightful tea of cream scones and jam provided by Marj we set off home. Even though for a lot of the day I had been cold and wet, I had a delightful birthday!
The Talbot Owners Club magazine is published bi-monthly and contains news, updates and informative articles. It is edited by club secretary David Roxburgh.GO TO DOWNLOADS
The essence of the Club is to ensure that members meet and enjoy themselves; the Club is open and democratic, dialogie is encouraged. It is for people of all ages who like Talbot cars and want to enjoy the company of like-minded people and also to support current Talbot involvement in historic competition.