Sunday, 24 September 2017

East Midlands Branch Rally 2017 - Newstead Abbey

The time had finally arrived for the 2017 East Midlands Branch Rally. This year saw our rally at a brand new venue, the very beautiful Newstead Abbey. With the ancestral home of Lord Byron for our setting we couldn't have wished for a more stunning or interesting venue at which to spend the day.
Our display of Minors lining the front of the Abbey was certainly a sight to behold, and looking back across the green was another line of some beautiful non-minor classics, MG's, Jowett, Morris, Austin, to name just a few, we couldn't have wished for a more varied or brilliant selection. Quickly we filled this parking and began to pack out the over-flow parking to the side situated by the beautiful walled garden with VW campers, Rolls Royce, DeLorean, and more Minors. In total 65 cars were in attendance at the Rally, no mean feat for a day that threatened rain!

It was fantastic to see so many beautiful cars and friendly faces joined together for the day. Many thanks to all those who came from far and wide to take part in the rally. To our judges Brian and Alison Fletcher, to all the marshalls and helpers who helped make the day a fantastic one and of course our wonderful hosts Newstead Abbey and all their team.
Our Tombola raised £58 for the local Air Ambulance thanks to kind donations and the work of our volunteers.

The Rally was an extra special celebration for veteran Branch member Jack Bagguley, who is one of the longest serving members of our Branch. Jack was celebrating his 80th Birthday close to our Rally, so we decided to surprise him with a cake modelled on his Traveller, and a special tankard from us of us at the Branch. Happy 80th Birthday Jack!

Alice Durose

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Practical Evening

A special Practical Evening took place at the MMOC Headquaters in Derby as part of the East Midlands Branch activities for the year. As well as a detailed look at the engine and underside of a car, brakes were also a topic for the evening. The Practical Evening was held to let everybody get some hands on experience and expand their Minor knowledge.

Another Practical Evening is scheduled for the 1st of October and the club welcomes all MMOC members to come and get stuck in for the evening ...

Monday, 27 March 2017

March Meet - The Soldiers Story

During this months meet we were treated to a talk on 'The life of a Soldier' by Matthew Moore. The talk focused around the question of 'What does it take to win a war?' and looked at WWI and WWII from an unusual and interesting perspective.
Matthew's talk illustrated by an array of artifacts covered some of the equipment and uniforms worn by both the British and German armed forces during the 20th century. The talk explored important but probably rarely considered elements such as helmet design, how to clean a rifle and the incredible importance that design differences surmount to overall. My personal favourite 'design difference' was the contrast between British and German tent pegs. German tent pegs being a skillfully crafted work of art tipped with brass, carefully worked to shape and even varnished, while you'd be forgiven for thinking the British tent peg was a hacked chock of wood (which is exactly what it was) virtually unrecognisable as a tent peg, yet serving its function all the same.
The wonderful collection on display, and Matthew's knowledge and self confessed obsession with military history and artefacts told us that far more than our tactics, grit and guts, our success in WWI and WWII was actually largely thanks to British austerity. Keeping tight reign on the purse strings and cutting costs in the most unlikely of places meant resources were reserved and stretched to meet the needs that long warfare requires.

Many thanks to Matthew Moore for sharing both his knowledge and collection with us in what was an incredibly interesting view into the life of a Soldier.

Alice Durose

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Branch Rally 2017

I am pleased to announce that the East Midlands Branch Rally has a brand new venue for 2017! This years Rally will be held at the breathtakingly beautiful Newstead Abbey.

Pre-booking is strongly advised and all classic cars and bikes are warmly welcomed. We hope to see many of you at Newstead for a day full of fun, classic cars and much more!

To download and print your Rally entry form please click here

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Classic Motor Show - NEC

So for a change todays report of the Classic Motor Show comes not from myself, but from my partner and guest writer; Kevin Bower ...

With a free Sunday away from the seemingly endless building work which has come to dominate our lives at present, we decided that the perfect antidote would be to embark upon our first visit to the much-heralded Classic Car Show at Birmingham’s NEC. The initial excitement at arriving (somewhat dampened by an unexpected and eye-watering £12 parking charge) was swiftly followed by a gulp-inducing entry fee of almost £25 each – so with a wallet already £60-odd lighter before a single classic had even been seen, this had better be good …….

Early impressions were pretty favourable though, with a vast show set out across five hangar-sized exhibition spaces, and with every conceivable make and model of classic car in evidence, from humble Jowett Bradford, Reliant and Morris Z delivery vans, boyhood-dream Sierra Cosworths, Lancia Delta Integrales and BMW M3’s, a choice selection of my favourite historic French Citro├źns, through to fire-breathing top-fuel dragsters, stunningly-crafted U.S. hotrods - and literally everything in between. Our own MMOC was well represented with its club stand, resplendent with a choice selection of Minors, including the Marie Curie marathon car which I had the privelege of driving on the Derby-Leicester leg of the trip – and the Young Members section of the Club were also out in force with their own well-conceived stand. It was also pleasing that the very first car visible upon entry to the show was a Minor Million. An encouraging start indeed!!

But the warm welcomes afforded to us by various members of stands featuring humble, workaday marques – (with honourable mentions going to the groups of enthusiasts proudly displaying their glorious little Heinkel/Trojan bubble cars, their East German Trabants, their much-maligned 80’s & 90’s Montegos/Maestros and their lovely old Morris Commercials) – were unfortunately dwarfed by the almost total indifference shown to us by stand representatives of the more upmarket and exclusive brands. What also became distinctly and increasingly off-putting was the gradual realisation that whole swathes of the show were occupied by what were essentially used-car sales lots for dealers – including an absolutely enormous, fenced-off section given over to a company running an insanely-priced classics auction, complete with a suited-and- booted ‘gatekeeper’ who was barring anyone but the ‘great and good’ from even entering the hallowed area for a quick look at the gleaming vehicles within.


And it was this - the almost tangible ‘snobbery’ of much of the event - which totally destroyed it for me, speaking purely personally, of course. We live, for example, in a world where resources are precious - they’re diminishing on a daily basis, and I couldn’t help feeling that the overtly flashy display of a certain brand-new 3-ton automotive behemoth, propelled by an 8mpg, 6.7-litre V12 chucking out a kilo of CO2 every 3km, and complete with a starting price four times that of the house I just bought - represented a level of ostentatious consumption bordering on the grotesque. What was also staggeringly disappointing was the obvious fact that hardly any of the show cars appeared to have been driven to the event – they’d been trailered in as static showpieces - as pure investment opportunities, as commodities to be bought, garaged and polished for a few years until they’ve gained a few £k in value – and then sold on again to the next investor - just like the fine vintage ‘investment’ wines which will spend their eternity in a dark cellar, never to be tasted or enjoyed. How very, very sad.

So will I be attending again next year? Not a chance. The real and most enjoyable highlights of the day – warm, friendly, enthusiastic, ordinary people - restoring, driving, and freely sharing their wealth of knowledge about classic cars – are all available elsewhere for next to nothing. At any of the numerous (and almost always) brilliant rallies we’ve attended this last year in Alice’s 1957 Minor, for example. This, to me, is what represents all that is so wonderfully good about the world of the classic car. And a personal opinion about virtually everything else I saw and experienced at the NEC today? It represented everything that is so shockingly bad about it.

Kevin Bower

*Please note that this article is written from the personal perspective of one Branch Member and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Branch as a whole, or of the MMOC as an organisation*

A final few words from me. Huge thanks to the Heinkel/Trojan Club for such a warm welcome, interesting conversation and letting me take a close look at your beautiful little cars, absolutely loved it! (as you can probably tell from the photo!) - Alice Durose

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Papplewick Pumping Station 1940's Weekend

Recently I was lucky enough to visit the beautiful Papplewick Pumping Station at last. Friends have long recommended a visit to this marvel of the Victorian Industrial Revolution to me, but until now circumstances have prevented me from paying it a visit. As the season draws to a close, and the pace of Classic events begins to slow, I was thrilled to spot a 1940's weekend at Papplewick, with Classic vehicles on display, parades, stalls, a whole host of activities and several engines in steam, I can think of no better way to while away a sunny Sunday in October. 

The buildings of Papplewick appealed hugely to my adoration of Victorian architecture and detailing and were a beautiful setting for the event. The huge beam engines were monumental in scale and the building which housed them was probably the most decorative industrial building I've ever seen. Papplewick is made up of a truly impressive series of structures, including an underground reservoir with an interesting history and incredible vaulted ceilings constructed on a cathedral like scale. 

An impressive selection of classics were on display as part of the 1940's Weekend, including a vast array of military vehicles, my favourites including an Austin K2/Y military ambulance and a Robur Garant truck from East Germany, Austin K8 and Bedford KZ ambulances, an Austin Loadstar BBC truck, cars including Ford Populars, and my favourite of the day, a stunning MG SA. I was pleased to see Morris represented among the civilian classics, with a Morris 8, 8E and 10 all looking pristine and gleaming, while my somewhat modern in comparison Minor sat in the carpark.

The event was a great day out, with familiar faces from other Rallys to catch up with, lots to see and do, impressive period dress from the truly dedicated, music and even a hot Oxo on offer! Superb! I'm pleased I made it to Papplewick at last!

To find out whats on at Papplewick, check out their website:

Alice Durose

Friday, 7 October 2016

Black Country Living Museum

Just a short drive away, venturing from the East to the West Midlands is the bygone land of the Black Country Living Museum. A day out and a chance to tick off another place on our 'to visit' list, and experience the Midlands of yesteryear.
My partner has wanted to visit the Black Country Living Museum for as long as I can remember, and the level of persuasion I required to make the trip was 'they have classic cars'.

The strange quaint village consisted of a whole host of different buildings, relocated there from various different places in the local area. Saved from demolition and preserved to provide a window into the Black Country of the past where steam powered workshops and landlocked shipbuilding were the norm. The museum has a rather surreal feel, like walking into the image on a tin of biscuits, with suited and booted guides in period costume walking the streets and running the shops.

The first classic I spotted, much to my excitement, was a Morris 8E. After much cooing over the car which was in great condition and easy to admire. I inquired about the car, asking if it was still running, in the secret hope of being offered a test drive. No such luck!

Later in my quest for vintage vehicles I discovered a small garage showcasing a whole host of classics. The cars featured are the pride of Black Country manufacturing and industry from many long lost car manufacturers including Star, Sunbeam, Jenson, Bean, Briton, Westfield, AJS and Frisky. The collection was seriously impressive, with a great variety of cars on show, my particular favourites included a unique 1924 fire engine and an adorable Frisky microcar.

The museum was a fun, enjoyable day out, with plenty to see and do, be it a trip on a canal boat, a pint in the authentic Victorian public house or a peruse of some locally produced Classic cars and bikes.

To see whats on at the Black Country Living Museum check out their website:

Alice Durose