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Entrepreneurs, Engineers and an ERA at the 2018 Spring Seminar

The SAHB Spring Seminar was held at Wroxall Abbey near Coventry on 29th April 2018, after a jaw-dropping tour of the Jaguar Land Rover Classic facility in Ryton on the Saturday.

Full reports on the tour of JLR Classic and on the seminar will appear in the next issue of the SAHB Times, but here is a flavour of what was one of the best weekends the Society has ever had:

Saturday: JLR Classic

Jaw-dropping is the only description we can think of.  Warmly welcomed by the JLR Classic team, we were given a tour of the new restoration and “Reborn” facility where customers (with lots and lots of money) can have their own car restored, or work with the team to have a Jaguar or Land Rover sourced and completely reborn, as it was when it left the factory, by the original manufacturer.  Then we toured the massive JLR Classic collection: hundreds of cars that tell the tale of the two companies.  To list a tiny fraction of what we saw: three new XKSSs, two new D-Type engines, Huey and Huey 2 – the first Land Rover and the last Defender – three XJ220s, early E-Types, very early Reborn Series One Land Rovers ready for delivery, an XJR-9, a Forward Control, a Lightweight and a Tickford Station Wagon Land Rover, and British and French cars from Bentleys through Jaguars to Chapron Citroën DSs.  Sadly, no photograpghy was allowed, but you can go round for yourself for a modest sum!  Just click the link:

Sunday: The Spring Seminar

Around 60 attendees were treated to six excellent talks, beautifully curated by SAHB Deputy Chairman Guy Loveridge:

  • Michael Barton: Tony Crook and Bristol Cars – a very personal look into the life of this eccentric but brilliant racer, entrepreneur and long-time owner of the Bristol Car Company
  • Keith Knight: Monica – An Anglo-French Confection – the fascinating tale of a brave but ultimately failed attempt to make a high-quality grand tourer in the best French tradition
  • Guy Loveridge: Austin 16 European Tour – the story, told with Guy’s trademark sense of humour and panache, of the acquisition, restoration, testing, engine rebuild (oops!) and successful journey of an original Austin 16 through 7 European Capitals in 7 days, replicating the publicity stunt by the Austin company 70 years before
  •  Dr Craig Horner: S. F. Edge – the compelling tale of the origins, successes and failures of the cycling and motoring pioneer, peppered with wonderful rare early photographs
  • Karl Ludvigsen: Reid Railton – the remarkable and uplifting history of the life of this great engineer, told with the deep insight and thorough detail that we have come to expect from this distinguished automobile engineer and motoring historian
  • James Mac Hulbert: ERA R4D and me – the vivid and breathtaking journey through the history of the most famous ERA of all, and Mac’s exploits in it in the 15 years of his custodianship from 2000 to 2015, with (loud!) film from the car proving just how brilliant a combination Mac and R4D were.

Finally: if Karl Ludvigsen is going to give a talk on Reid Railton, then it would be rude not to bring a Railton along – so Neil Thorp did! And sincere thanks are due to John Dyson for providing the Railton for Neil to bring.

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