Celebrating Forty Years of the Jersey Old Motor Club Compiled by John Boothman
ÂŠ The Jersey Old Motor Club Limited 2006
VETERAN VINTAGE CLASSIC CARS AND MOTORCYCLES WE CAN OFFER THE FOLLOWING SERVICES AND REPAIRS TO: Full or part restorations • Engine • Gearbox • Axle • Chassis Steering • Suspension • 4 Wheel alignment • Corner weights • Set-ups Electrical problems and rewiring undertaken • Upholstery work undertaken ALSO AVAILABLE Trailer Hire • Bead Blasting • Steam Cleaning
SUPPLIERS FOR: Millers oils • Lubes • Fuel additives Kumho tyres • Galvanised drip trays
SALES/SETUP APPOINTED C.I. AGENTS
West View, La Rue Carrée, St Brelade, Jersey JE3 8FJ Tel: 01534 745672 Fax: 01534 742079 email: email@example.com
Introduction and Acknowledgements As all pre-1950 car enthusiasts living in Jersey surely know by now, 2006 marks the fortieth anniversary of a very special occasion: the formation of the Jersey Old Motor Club. From modest beginnings, the Club has grown in size and influence, organising such prestigious events as the annual Festival of Motoring and the much-loved Boxing Day Run, encouraging the conservation and enjoyment of old cars, lobbying against unnecessary restrictions on their use, and providing support and fellowship for their owners.
amount of material at my disposal has been prodigious. To avoid producing a 300-page tome that the Club could not afford, and that no-one would want to read, I have had to be selective. I have tried to include a representative assortment of events, cars and owners, but inevitably there are gaps and omissions, both deliberate and accidental. So if your favourite JOMC anecdote or character is missing, please try to show forbearance!
Those of us who enjoy driving, tinkering with or simply contemplating ancient automobiles â€“ for even the youngest eligible cars on the register are now approaching their sixtieth birthdays â€“ owe a debt of gratitude to the three musketeers who set things in motion forty years ago, and to the many other old car addicts who have helped make the Club what it is today.
I should like to thank those Club members, past and present, who have kindly shared their recollections and photographs with me, or provided help and guidance in putting this account together, with special mentions for Barry de la Mare, Michael Pinchard, Michael Guerrier, Michael Hannigan, David Haddon and our current President Judith Genee. Without their efforts it would have been far less complete, and far more error-prone, than it is; for the errors that remain, I alone am responsible.
This souvenir brochure attempts to capture some of the highlights of the past four decades. Thanks to the efforts of those scribes who over the years have diligently recorded the Clubâ€™s goings-on in the Gazette and, later, the monthly newsletter, the
Thanks also to our advertisers who have generously supported this publication. And last but not least, a special word of thanks to Andy Manson of Barnes Publishing, who has done a great job of translating some rough ideas into a very classy production!
A Year to Remember Do you remember 1966? If so, you are probably approaching your own fiftieth anniversary – or perhaps you have already left it far behind!
old machines whose market value had dropped well below the cost of making the necessary repairs. By the mid-1960s, however, things were starting to pick up. With a few exceptions like Volkswagen and Morgan, manufacturers had long since moved on from pre-war designs. Cars of the 1920s and 30s were sufficiently different in concept and appearance to capture the interest of a new group of enthusiasts for whom the flowing lines, separate headlamps and running-boards, and relatively straightforward engineering made a refreshing change from the look-alike three-box saloons on display in car showrooms across the country. Piloting such motors required skills that were seldom needed to operate their modern equivalents. And the fact that so many old cars had by now been consigned to the scrap-heap helped to redress the balance between demand and supply.
For the British people, it was a year of highs and lows. The world’s first low-cost airline, Laker Airways, started operating in February. In April the first hovercraft service began between Ramsgate and Calais, and a month later Graham Hill won the Indianapolis 500 in a Lotus-Ford at an average speed of 144 mph. The first British credit card – the Barclaycard – was launched on 29th June. And on 30th July England clinched the World Cup by beating West Germany 4-2 in the final at Wembley. The “swinging sixties” were – well, in full swing. The most famous model in the world was a 17year-old called Twiggy, and the Beatles were at the height of their popularity. British films were making waves at the box office. “A Man for All Seasons” collected three Oscars at the Academy Awards. But it was a year of tragedy too. In China, Mao Tse-tung unleashed the brutal “Cultural Revolution”, while in Wales the Aberfan colliery disaster cost the lives of 116 children and 28 adults.
The disposal of the Sword Collection at two auctions, in 1962 and 1965, marked an important turning of the tide. Huge numbers of enthusiasts attended both events, and by the standards of the time some high prices were achieved. Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts were in particular demand, and the top price of the day at the 1965 sale, £7,200, was paid for a 1908 model – an unprecedented sum at that time. At the other end of the scale a 1925 Morris Cowley fetched just £205.
Here in Jersey a small group of vintage car enthusiasts used to meet to discuss their hobby in convivial surroundings. It was a propitious moment for the old car movement. Immediately after the war, demand was such that vehicles of almost any age were sought after, but within a few years, as the supply of new cars for the home market improved, prices began to tumble.
Sports models, of course, were particularly soughtafter, as they always are. Open tourers and dropheads – especially by top makers like Bentley, Alvis, Lagonda and Talbot – commanded relatively high prices too. But there were plenty of humble 1930s saloons – Austin Sevens and Morris Eights among many others – that captured the hearts of young (and not-so-young) men who could remember their parents or grandparents driving similar cars in the years before and after the war – or who were just attracted by the simplicity, and integrity, of pre-war designs.
A few far-sighted British collectors, like Lord Montagu, Stanley Sears and John Sword, kept interest in Britain’s motoring heritage alive, and the stalwarts of the Veteran Car Club and the Vintage Sports Car Club organised rallies and trials. But many bread-and-butter saloons built in the 1930s were ineligible for VSCC events and unloved by the connoisseurs. Moreover, the MOT (Ministry of Transport) test introduced in Britain in 1960 required cars that were over ten years old to have their brakes, lights and steering checked every year. This administered the coup de grace to many tired
Although their prices had risen from the rockbottom levels reached a few years earlier, when an Austin Seven could be bought for just a few pounds, most vintage and post-vintage cars were 2
still cheap by modern standards. Two or three hundred pounds would have bought a decent 1930s saloon or coupe, four or five hundred a smart sportscar.This was roughly the price of a new Mini. Only the most exotic machines – Bentleys, Bugattis and the like – breached the £1,000 mark. Needless to say, most enthusiasts paid a great deal less money than this. In Jersey a young man named Deryk Haithwaite learned that a tired Lagonda M45 saloon was about to be sold for scrap. Hurrying to St Helier, he struck a deal with the owner: if he promised to re-commission and, in due course, restore the car he could have it for nothing! The next problem was how to convey his new acquisition to the Haithwaite home in St Ouen. It had not run for five years but the only modern cars available to assist were a Ford Anglia and a Volkswagen Beetle, neither of which seemed very suitable for hauling two tons of Lagonda; so the bold decision was taken to start it by the timehonoured method of running it down a slope – in this case, Wellington Road – and letting in the clutch when sufficient momentum had been obtained.After several unsuccessful attempts on the way down the hill, almost at the bottom there was a loud detonation and the engine burst into life.
The journey back to St Ouen via Grands Vaux seems to have been an epic in its own right, and included a nasty accident on Mont Neron when the escorting Anglia was forced to stop suddenly and the Lagonda ran into the back of it, causing serious damage to the flimsy Ford but not, happily, to the Lagonda! Of course, motoring in Jersey in the mid-1960s was far more care-free than it is today. To begin with there was much less traffic. The all-Island 40 mph speed limit had been introduced a few years earlier, but there were few subordinate limits – a 1966 motorist would be perplexed by our plethora of 15, 20 and 30 mph zones. New cars were not subject to purchase tax as they were in the UK. Annual road tax was much lower here, and petrol was a lot cheaper too. In town, traffic wardens had first appeared in the early 1960s but parking restrictions were less onerous than they are nowadays. (In fairness there were also fewer car-parking spaces.) There were not many one-way streets and it was still possible to drive up King Street and Queen Street! The police were tolerant of minor traffic infractions and even driving under the influence of alcohol, except in extreme cases, was often treated quite leniently.Those were the days!
A Club is Born ! On 22nd November 1965 a short piece, headlined “Still Going Strong”, appeared in The Evening Post column “Under the Clock”.
the Route du Nord in St John, and it was this that provided the impetus for the formation of the Club. The inaugural meeting took place on Wednesday 2nd November at the Harvest Barn pub in Vallee des Vaux. The minutes record that the meeting was attended by fifteen people. John Oldham was elected the first Chairman (the title was changed to President a few years later) and Barry de la Mare the first Honorary Secretary. The annual subscription was fixed at ten shillings (50p).
“Parked side by side on La Braye car park, St Ouen’s Bay yesterday afternoon were three fine examples of a more peaceful and sedate motoring era: a 1929 Vauxhall, a 1932 Austin Ten and a 1932 Humber.These cars, all in excellent condition both bodily and mechanically, must have brought back to many who saw them memories of a time when it was enjoyable to motor in Jersey.”
The first Club event, described as an “Outdoor Gathering”,took place just four days later.At 2.30pm on Sunday 6th November a small group of members assembled with their cars at La Braye slip and about 45 minutes later set off to drive to Greve de Lecq. Some five or six cars took part in this historic run. The next event was a 31 mile drive round the Island, culminating in tea at l’Etacq; evidently the disappointing weather did not dampen members’ enthusiasm!
The three cars (all of which incidentally remain in Jersey to this day) were owned by Bob Kirwan, Barry de la Mare and Derek Bonhomme, and the small informal gathering at La Braye was to prove pivotal in the establishment a year later of the Jersey Old Motor Club.The idea of forming a club essentially for prewar vehicles had been under discussion by the three enthusiasts for some time.They knew of a number of other old-car owners living in Jersey, and in September 1966 it was agreed to circulate everyone in the Island who was known to have a pre-1940 car with an invitation to attend an informal get-together.
Right from the outset the JOMC has been clear about its aims and objectives: to promote the ownership and enjoyment of old cars, to stimulate interest in Jersey’s motoring heritage and to encourage the conservation (and, where necessary, restoration) of vehicles that might otherwise have ended their lives on the scrap-heap.
This turned out to be a prescient move. As we have seen, the MOT test had led to the disappearance of many decrepit cars from British roads, but there was no comparable requirement for annual tests in Jersey (although since the mid-1950s it had been obligatory to maintain vehicles in a roadworthy condition). This, and the innate conservatism of many Jersey motorists, meant that the survival rate of old cars was higher than on the mainland. Many pre-war and early post-war cars remained in regular use, and some were still in the custody of their original owners.To these redoubtable characters the idea of according special status to vehicles that were in some cases little more than twenty years old must have seemed slightly eccentric! Yet if nothing had been done it seems certain that many more such cars, like their owners, would eventually have faded away.
Barry de la Mare poses with his 1933 Austin 10/4
The circular invitations resulted in a very successful gathering on 16th October 1966 at the car-park on 4
Michael Hannigan and his 1948 Morris 8E
Haddon family outing: Michael, Verity Jane and Veronica with Austin 10
A youthful Geoffrey Grime at the wheel of his 1930 Austin 7 Special
Newly restored 1937 Austin Taxicab (Ken Waddillove)
Fine vintage: Chris Forsterâ€™s immaculate 1926 Morris Oxford
Norman Armstrongâ€™s 1926 MG 14/28 5
David Payn at the wheel of his 1932 Alvis Firefly
Action stations! John l’Ecrivain with 1939 Peugeot Cabriolet
Club outing to the National Motor Museum, September 1979
Commercially minded: 1931 Chevrolet truck (Ken Taylor)
Tony Porter’s superb 1932 Rolls-Royce 20/25
Gentleman’s tourer: Derek Bonhomme’s magnificent 1928 Lanchester 40 6
Michael Wilcock’s fabulous 1931 Bentley 8 Litre
The perfect setting. Club cars parked in front of St Ouen’s Manor
Making whoopee: Club members enjoying down-time in France
Michael Guerrier at the wheel of his handsome 1922 Sunbeam 24/60 sports
David Haddon with his 1928 Lagonda Two Litre speed model
Vive le Patron! Michael Pinchard’s Type 57 Bugatti 7
Edwardian splendour. Tim and Pat Scott dressed for the part in their 1911 Rolls-Royce 40/50 London-Edinburgh (Rallye Paris-Deauville)
Centenary Ball. Sue and Margaret Boothman with John Dickâ€™s fabulous GP Itala
Centenary Ball. The scene at St Johnâ€™s Manor
Nunc est bibendum. Members relax over a well-earned lunch
Wilson de la Mare in his 1933 Austin 10 (Boxing Day Run 1999)
1902 Gladiator (Geoffrey Grime) 8
Early Years From these small beginnings the Club grew at a steady pace. Pub meetings – mainly during the evening – became regular occurrences.As Honorary Secretary, Barry de la Mare individually signed the event notices in those early years, and members were “cordially invited to attend”! It was also decided to publish a quarterly Gazette “so that all members… may be aware of the Club’s activities”, and indeed back numbers of the Gazette have proved invaluable in compiling these recollections.
it seems this served to incinerate rather than merely grilling the members’ sausages; fortunately Mrs Oldham saved the day by producing “a portable charcoal range”, and as the Gazette reported later that month, “soon everyone was enjoying sausages which had been cooked on the more scientific and modern apparatus” – early evidence that the JOMC is not always behind the times when it comes to technological progress. An evening treasure hunt organised the following month by Mrs Oldham and Mrs Bonhomme was equally successful, and again ended with a barbecue at Bel Val. Incidentally, perhaps the most remarkable feature of both events from a modern perspective is that they took place on weekdays – it seems unlikely that today’s members would be able to finish work, return home and then assemble with their cars by 7pm, even in summer, but perhaps it would be worth a try!
The first annual dinner, with a film show, was held at the Hotel Savoy on 6th March 1967.Tickets were 25 shillings (£1.25) per head.The first edition of the Gazette also appeared in March. It reported on the formation of the Club and its first few events, and noted that the membership had already risen from fifteen to thirty-six. On the financial front, the Honorary Treasurer John Sweeny noted that Club funds had been boosted by a small profit on the dinner and by the rescue and subsequent sale of a straight-eight Essex, which had realised the princely sum of fourteen pounds!
The September 1967 Gazette reported on the events that had taken place during the late spring and summer and for the first time included two cars for sale: a 1931 Morris Cowley for which £250 was sought (but with the carrot that “hire purchase can be arranged”); and a 1931 Rover 10/25 offered by Bob Kirwan for the modest sum of £65 (o.n.o.).
The second edition of the Gazette, published in June, included a list of members whose numbers had now grown to forty. Some of those named – Michael Guerrier, Deryk Haithwaite, Barry de la Mare and Derek Bonhomme among others – remain active enthusiasts to this day.
The first Annual General Meeting of the Club following its foundation took place on 4th October 1967 at the British Hotel in Broad Street, St Helier. Total membership had risen to 41, sixteen of whom were full members and the remainder associates. Although there was a healthy bank balance of £22.1s.10d. (£22.09p), the Committee decided to increase the subscription for full membership to one guinea (£1.05p) and for associates to 10s.6d (53p).
Early editions of the Gazette were printed on a hand-cranked Gestetner machine whose antiquity was comparable to that of some members’ cars. Barry de la Mare recalls that the production process was messy but frequently hilarious. A team of Committee members – Norman Armstrong, Michael Wilcock, Peter Bisson, Barry and others – would get together once a quarter for the purpose, adjourning afterwards to the Royal Yacht Hotel for a well-earned pint!
The AGM took an important decision on the cutoff date for cars to be admitted to the Club register and thus take part in events. The original intention had been to support the ownership and conservation of pre-war cars only. But a group of owners with 1940s vehicles pointed out that many of the models produced immediately after the war were still based on pre-war designs, and in some cases were virtually identical to their 1930s predecessors.
On 21st June the Club held a very successful evening meeting at Bel Val Bay near St Catherine’s Breakwater.The cars assembled on Victoria Avenue at about 7pm and set off half an hour later. Cooking facilities at journey’s end were provided in the form of a half-oil drum filled with glowing charcoal but 9
After much discussion, it was agreed that cars built before the end of 1948 should be allowed onto the register and a few years later this was extended by a further two years to 31st December 1950. These changes were not without their opponents – it would be hard to argue for example that a Jaguar XK120, Morris Minor or early Porsche 356 owed much to pre-war design trends – but by and large the 1950 watershed has served the Club well, although at the time of writing (October 2006) it is once again under review. From an early stage the Club insisted that post-1939 cars – and then a little later, all cars – should be scrutinised by a member of the Committee before being granted a certificate of eligibility.This was not only to verify compliance with the dating rule, but to ensure that vehicles were roadworthy and properly maintained. Often this process coincided with an application by an associate member for full membership; following a test-drive, the nervous owner could expect to receive some helpful advice on how his pride and joy might be improved!
At about the same time Robert Julier was commissioned to devise a Club badge. The final design was approved in February 1968 and the badge, handsomely finished in enamel and chromium plate, was offered to members at a cost of 30 shillings (£1.50). Later a Club tie was produced and other regalia added to the range. Another significant decision was taken at an Extraordinary General Meeting held in February 1969. Having first debated a proposal to change the Club’s name (which was defeated), the members voted for affiliation with the Royal Automobile Club.The RAC had been founded in 1897 and was at that time the foremost motoring association in Britain, being responsible for the regulation of all motor-sport including such iconic events as the annual RAC Rally and the London-Brighton Run. The RAC required affiliated bodies to meet high standards both in terms of eligibility and in the running of events, and over the years this professional approach has helped the JOMC to maintain its pre-eminence over other old car clubs in the Island.
Events, Dear Boy… As well as helping the Jersey enthusiast to meet likeminded devotees,the newly-formed Club also enabled him (and, with increasing frequency, her) to participate in organised events. Few owners at that time were able to attend the rallies held on the mainland by theVSCC and the various one-marque clubs.The advent of rollon roll-off ferries was still some years in the future and cars that were being shipped to England had to be lifted on and off by crane, a lengthy, costly and sometimes nerve-racking procedure.
rather than the rule. Already by the late 1960s Club events were settling into a pattern that can still be observed nearly forty years later. Local runs were organised mostly at weekends, but sometimes after work on weekdays, with participants and their cars assembling either at some convenient public car-park or at the home of a member.There would be time to inspect and admire the various cars before setting off on a predetermined route through the Jersey countryside. Sometimes there would be a mid-point “pit-stop” at which refreshments could be taken, and the run would often culminate in lunch or (depending on the time of day) afternoon tea or dinner.
The JOMC provided an opportunity for its members to exercise their cars without leaving the Island. For such a small place, there is an extensive network of roads and lanes, and over the years these have provided the perfect setting for runs, rallies and treasure-hunts. All the early events were held in Jersey although it was decided to arrange a visit to France in spring 1969. Sadly, the ferry company was declared “en desastre” and the trip had to be cancelled.
Occasionally, the Committee would organise something a little more ambitious, such as a treasurehunt. In August 1968 a timed run was held, starting at Victoria Avenue and finishing at the restaurant at Wolf’s Caves at Fremont in St John. Unfortunately the weather was dreadful and the Honorary Treasurer, John Sweeny, lost his way, but spirits were restored by “an excellent three course meal”. In November a timed rally and hill-climb took place,with cars departing from Coronation Park and driving to Waterworks Valley before undertaking two timed runs “up a fairly steep lane, which leads to the residence of our ViceChairman [Norman Armstrong]”. Those taking part were rewarded with “tea and toast”.
Of course some members were more adventurous than others. In April 1967 John Oldham embarked on a tour of Britain in his Rolls-Royce Phantom III. He visited various southern counties before heading northwards to Perth in Scotland, returning via Wales. The total distance was 3,514 miles and the overall fuel consumption 12.5 mpg. Interestingly, the car and its driver were transported to and from the mainland by air ferry – well-heeled motorists with long memories will recall the joy of being able to take off from Jersey with their car safely installed in the cargo hold, land at Herne Airport and drive away with minimal delay.
Bel Val Bay remained a popular destination in those early years.The December 1968 Gazette reported that “the last barbecue was held too late in the Season, we fear”.Attendance was low but the handful who turned up seem to have done justice to the provisions,although the claim that two-and-a-half hundred weight of sausages were consumed must be taken with a pinch of salt! Luckily the rain held off until the well-nourished automobilists were on their way home.
Two years later, Michael Wilcock reported on an expedition to France to take part in a speed trial at Ghent in Belgium with his very fast Eight Litre Bentley special.The car and driver were shipped from St Helier to Le Havre,suffering various delays,and once in France he was obliged to drive at a steady 90 mph to make up for lost time,“with occasional bursts to 110 or so to pass the odd Porsche or Mercedes”. After arriving in one piece, he covered the timed kilometre at an average speed of 199.2 kph, setting a new record for Bentleys and coming fourth overall – a remarkable achievement for a fully roadworthy car already nearly forty years old.
A rally was held on Boxing Day 1968 and this was the forerunner of what was soon to become the most popular and prestigious event in the Club’s calendar, the Twelve Churches Cavalcade. Unfortunately the Gazette did not carry a report at the time, although in an article many years later Peter Bisson recalled that participants had followed a route from John Oldham’s house in Grouville to Wolf’s Caves,“where a modest lunch was served”.
Such foreign forays were however the exception 11
The only contemporary reference to this event was a small snippet in the March 1969 Gazette explaining the apparent disappearance of two participants. “A wellknown member in a white car [whom we now know to have been David Scott-Warren] came along to see everyone off. He himself drove off before we had all departed, and the last two members, thinking his was the car to follow, did so; only to find themselves some ten minutes later at the General Hospital!” A salutary lesson to all navigators who are tempted to follow the car in front instead of studying their route instructions.
In October 1970, John Oldham stood down as President after four years, and was succeeded by the Vice-President Michael Wilcock. At the Club’s AGM, held as usual at the Hotel Savoy, it was reported that no fewer than ten events had been staged during the preceding year,“the most successful having been the Boxing Day Cavalcade and the Annual Dinner”. By now the membership tally had grown to sixty and with some members owning several cars the Club was going from strength to strength.
A year later, the event assumed the form we are still familiar with today. Departing from the Weighbridge at 10.45 am, the nineteen participating cars followed a carefully plotted route through each of the Island’s twelve parishes, ending up at Les Arches Hotel – a distance of about forty miles. Thanks to some prepublicity in The Evening Post (as it was still known in those days) there were quite a few spectators. The Gazette noted that “the idea of covering the twelve parish churches was a sudden flash of inspiration by Bob Kirwan”, and it has certainly stood the test of time.After “an excellent cold lunch” Bill Jones of Jones Garage judged a condition competition, awarding first prize to Michael Wilcock’s car (the identity of which is not recorded). Everyone then dispersed.
The third Boxing Day Run, following the same format as the second, took place two months later and was again most successful. The spectators were even more numerous than they had been the previous year, despite freezing weather and a snowfall which continued all day. Apart from one minor mishap involving the presidential Talbot and a modern car, all went well and the intrepid participants enjoyed a well-deserved lunch at Les Arches Hotel. Unfortunately, both Anne Port and Gorey Hills froze over during the afternoon and much man-handling was needed to coax Club members’ cars up the slippery slopes as they headed for home in the gathering gloom.
The first Boxing Day Run 1969: 1912 Talbot (Michael Wilcock and John Sweeny) leads 1927 Vauxhall 30/98 (Frank Kennington) and 1930 Austin 7 (Geoffrey Grime)
Onward and Upward The Club’s fifth Annual General Meeting was held at the Apollo Hotel on 30th September 1971. No fewer than twelve events had been held in the past year and membership had increased to 75, although only fourteen of these attended the AGM itself – a turnout the Honorary Secretary understandably described as “most disappointing”. There was also an appeal for more members to stand for election to the Committee – a plea which will no doubt strike a chord with some later presidents! On the bright side, the Club finances were in good shape and there was a healthy bank balance of £209.74.
very successful and attracted a large crowd of spectators. In June 1973 Jersey’s first ever Motor Museum opened in St Peter under the aegis of Michael Wilcock and Richard Mayne. Among the many exhibits were a 1936 Rolls-Royce Phantom III used by Field Marshall Montgomery and a magnificent Eight Litre Bentley. The presidential Talbot took pride of place on a revolving turntable. Before arriving at its new home following a long period of storage in Sussex, the Rolls took part in the maiden sailing of Jersey’s first roll-on roll-off ferry, the S.S. Falaise, from Weymouth on 1st June. The introduction of this service was to make a big difference to JOMC members and other local motorists wishing to take part in events on the mainland, or just to give their cars some additional exercise!
Throughout the 1970s, successive committees continued to build on the strong foundations laid down in the early days. Timed trials, driving tests and hill-climbs were interspersed with gentler runs and some purely social occasions. The barbecue at Bel Val Bay had by now become an annual event. Picnics and tea-parties were often held at members’ houses. At the New Mediterranean in September 1971, a group of twenty members were treated to music by the Tony Charles steel band, culminating in what the Gazette describes as “a fine display of limbo dancing”; sadly history does not relate whether any of the JOMC attendees were tempted to give it a try. A tour of Randalls Brewery was arranged by Managing Director (and Club member) Paul Clubb, with visitors being invited “to sample the various products of the brewing process” before driving to Les Fontaines Tavern for a buffet supper.There was no mention of anyone being breathalysed! Another innovation that was to stand the test of time was a joint meeting in March 1973 with the Jersey Horse Driving Society. Following a (cars-only) morning run, and lunch at the Greenhill Country Hotel, the rendezvous took place at Jardin d’Olivet in Trinity. Prizes were awarded to Michael Wilcock for his 1912 Talbot and Ken Waddilove for his 1931 Rolls-Royce 20/25; among the JHDS participants Fred Jehan took first prize with an immaculate maroon trap. This event seems to have been 13
Alarms and Excursions 41/2 Litre Bentley; Geoffrey Grime and Michael Wilcock were regular participants in the annual London-Brighton Veteran Car Run; and there were frequent reports of outings to Brittany, Normandy and beyond.
In the same month fifteen members with their cars took part in a “shake-down” voyage to St Malo in the Fleur des Iles ferry newly assigned to the route by Channel Island Ferries. This outing seems to have verged on the chaotic – the car deck was crammed to capacity with vehicles ancient and modern, there was no space for turning or manoeuvring, the free bars on board were crowded with gate-crashers, and by the time the cars were unloaded in St Malo nearly two hours late for the planned cavalcade it was almost time to re-embark for the return journey. To cap it all thirty passengers, including a Club member, were left behind when another anticipated delay failed to materialise! Despite this Ken Waddilove reported that “all in all we had a marvellous day with sun, fun and experience in abundance” – a generous assessment in the circumstances.
Closer to home, things did not always go according to plan. Four months’ preparations went into the first Anglo-French Tour Maritime de Jersey, scheduled for 8th April 1978.The idea had been conceived by Emeraude Ferries as a way of publicising their service and bringing French old car enthusiasts – and their cars – to the Island, and a number of UK owners also entered their cars.All was set when at 5.45 on the evening before the rally Barry de la Mare was told that the ferry Solidor had struck a rock outside St Malo and was taking in water. Fortunately the ship was able to limp back into port and all the passengers and cars were eventually disembarked from the waterlogged car deck, but there was now no possibility of getting any of the French cars to Jersey.
Following his very successful term Michael Wilcock stood down as President in 1975 and was succeeded by John Sweeny. Ken Waddilove took over from Neil Dangerfield as Vice President and assumed the presidency two years later. In July 1976 the Club took part in a promotional exercise for Black Cat cigarettes in conjunction with a local tobacco wholesaler; although some members objected to this brush with commerce, the fee of £400 (nearly £5,000 in 2006 money) provided a welcome boost to Club funds.
Despite this inauspicious start, the visitors made it the following morning, minus their automobiles, and the event went ahead with JOMC members chauffeuring their Gallic counterparts. Over thirty cars took part and followed the coast road clockwise around the Island, with prizes being awarded at the end to the two best cars from England and Jersey. This was the first of many visits to the Island by French old car owners.
On 2nd November 1976 the Club celebrated its tenth anniversary with a dinner and dance at the Atlantic Hotel in St Brelade. Over seventy members and their guests attended. Barry de la Mare wrote a piece for the Gazette highlighting some of the achievements of the past decade.
Less taxing events included a drive and picnic at St Ouen’s Manor in July of the same year. This attracted an entry of thirteen cars, and the perfect summer weather combined with an idyllic setting and a warm welcome from the Seigneur to ensure a memorable day for those who attended.
Whether it was because of the inauguration of drive-on ferry services to the UK and France, or because of the arrival in the Club of members with deeper pockets and more powerful cars, is hard to say but by the late 1970s the Gazette was recording more audacious exploits in foreign parts. Neil Dangerfield and Mervyn Frankel took part in a rally in South Africa; the latter also drove from Land’s End to John O’Groats in a day in his
In 1979 Barry de la Mare, one of the founder members of the Club, took over the presidency and David Scott-Warren became Vice-President. In June that year members visited Guernsey for a tour of the Motor Museum which at that time 14
featured some impressive exhibits including a 1908 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost and two magnificent Hispano-Suizas.The party then went on to inspect the Channing collection of cars, including pre-war Rolls-Royces and Bentleys, which had deteriorated as a result of being stored for many years in unsuitable conditions. This was recorded in the Gazette as the first formal contact between the JOMC and its opposite number, the Guernsey Old Car Club; happily it was to be the forerunner of many joint events organised over the years.
At this point it should be put on record that, while pre-1951 passenger cars have from the earliest days formed the preponderance of Club vehicles, there has always been a warm welcome for motorcycles of the same period â€“ indeed the sight of shivering bikers riding their pre-war machines on Boxing Day has always attracted the enthusiastic applause of spectators! Equally, members with military vehicles, in particular from the World War II period, have made a distinctive contribution especially to events like the annual commemoration of Liberation Day.
Bevy of Beauty! The Black Cat cigarette promotion (with Neil Dangerfieldâ€™s BMW 328 in the background)
Into the Eighties Ever since its inception in March 1967, Barry de la Mare had edited the Gazette, combining this for a time with the Club presidency; but following pleas for another member to take over, in March 1980 Peter Bisson stepped into the breach. For many years the Gazette had been the main source of information and advice for members, featuring not just reports of Club events but erudite marque histories, accounts of restorations (including a series of articles by Ken Waddilove on the renovation of a derelict 1937 Austin Taxicab), cars and parts for sale and wanted, and helpful hints on fault-finding and maintenance.
had covered some 261 miles in five days – a splendid achievement in such a venerable and low-powered car. At the Annual General Meeting of the Club held in February 1981, a proposition was tabled by Peter Bisson to relax the cut-off date for eligible cars from December 1950 to December 1957 for “such models… as are accepted by the classic motoring movement in Great Britain as thoroughbred or classic vehicles…”, with intermediate dates in 1951 and 1954 for certain other categories. It was, perhaps, an unduly complex solution to the perennial problem of rising prices among pre-war cars and the growing popular interest in more affordable 1950s vehicles. The proposal was strongly attacked by two of the Club’s most influential members, Michael Wilcock (who described it as “terrible”) and Derek Bonhomme, and when put to the vote it was heavily defeated.
Reading these articles today one is struck not only by the wealth of information provided but the entertaining and readable prose style adopted by contributors.And the high standard encompassed production as well as content, the photocopied inner pages being bound between glossy covers, with a specially-designed depiction of a vintage car appearing on the front and an advertisement (often for beer!) on the back.
At the same AGM Barry de la Mare stood down as President and was succeeded by Michael Wilcock, the only member so far to have held the office twice. Another Tour Maritime was held in torrential rain in May and seems to have been much enjoyed by the participants, despite the atrocious conditions. Luckily, the weather was glorious for a static display in July put on at St Ouen’s Manor, in aid of St John’s Ambulance. The previous year’s Miss Battle of Flowers, dressed in Edwardian costume,arrived aboard Tommy Boothman’s 1904 Norfolk (lucky chap!) and the cars were inspected by the Lieutenant-Governor. Deryk Haithwaite’s immaculate MG TC took the prize for best car.
The successful Tour Maritime held in 1978 encouraged the Committee to explore the possibility of staging more joint events with overseas car clubs. In May 1980 members of the Yeovil Car Club arrived with eleven vintage and classic cars to sample the joys of a long weekend in Jersey. At the concours d’elegance first prize among the visiting cars went to an immaculate MG PA-type Midget while Ken Waddilove took Jersey honours with his Rolls-Royce 20/25. Oldest of the visitors’ cars was a 1910 Renault, but even this was eclipsed by Geoffrey Grime’s recently-acquired 1903/4 Oldsmobile 5 hp which drew a spontaneous round of applause from the spectators.
Club members have over the years acquired some vehicles of particular interest from a historical perspective. As we have seen, Michael Wilcock’s magnificent Eight Litre Bentley special distinguished itself over the Flying Kilometre in Ghent, Belgium in 1969. The De Dion Bouton owned by the Marquess of Ailesbury, another early member, carried the registration number J1; some years later this car passed into the ownership of Michael Draper, before eventually leaving the Island. (The historic number is now fittingly attached to a 1911 RollsRoyce Silver Ghost.)
The following month the Oldsmobile was in England to participate in a rally to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Veteran Car Club. Bearing in mind that many pre-1905 cars struggle to accomplish a single sixtymile run from Hyde Park Corner to Madeira Drive each year, the route was quite ambitious – London to Brighton on day one, then on to Winchester (day two), Oxford (day three), Stratford-on-Avon (day four) and back to London.The last leg was blighted by engine seizure in the Olds, which was (as is often the case) immediately followed by a downpour of biblical proportions, but even before disaster struck the Grimes
The June 1981 Gazette reported on another car with important Jersey connections, returning to the Island 16
Club President Judith Genee at speed in her Lagonda special
The Centenary: 1899 Jersey Benz with (from left) Senator John Rothwell, former Club President David Acon and current President Judith Genee
Setting the pace: Chris Forster in his BMW 328
Michael Richardson in action with his Alfa Romeo 6C 1750
Goggles and Pearls: Loretta Daniels and Elaine Fenner
Sunbeam Speed Twenty Monte Carlo (Ralph and Judith Genee) 17
Taking the salute: The Lieutenant-Governor and Bailiff with Ralph Genee and Ray Ball in Ray’s handsome Roll-Royce Silver Ghost
Pinchard perfection: Another Bacchanalian feast at Longfields
Preseidential Talbot 110 sports tourer with owners past and present, Michael Wilcock and Ralph Genee
Low numbers: J0 (Jersey Benz – Margaret Boothman) and J1 (De Dion Bouton – Michael Draper)
Let them eat cake (1). 1996 JOMC 30th anniversary
Let them eat cake (2). Mysterious French confection 18
Celebrating in style, chez Genee!
Victoria Pinchard braves the elements in her Austin Seven Chummy
Easter Bonnet Run: John Turmelâ€™s prize-winning Wolseley
French leave. The usual suspects
The fairer sex. Carol Wiseman, Judith Genee, Gail Draper
Claus Mollinâ€™s elegant 1926 Rolls-Royce 20 hp 19
An evening to remember: Club barbecue at Valley View
Mike and Meg Timms in their immaculate 1898 Panhard (Centenary Rally)
After the cavalcade: Peopleâ€™s Park 1999 (Centenary Rally)
How it should be done: Club President Judith Genee campaigns her Bentley
Running repairs: Chris Forster tinkers with his BMW 328 between sprints
Centenary Ball 1999: firework display 20
In action: Deryk and Diana Haithwaite at Le Mans in Bugatti Type 37
Roger Bale with Superb Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost 21
Vintage sports car (with picnic): Ian Strangâ€™s 4 1/2 Litre Bentley
Crossing the reservoir: Deryk and Diana Haithwaite in their Alfa Romeo 6c 22
40th Anniversary Rally: Club President Judith Genee with the Talbot
Looking its best: 1939 4 1/4 Litre Bentley (John and Sue Boothman) 23
Pre- War magnificence: John Oldham’s Rolls-Royce Phantom III
Journey’s end: James and Mark Boothman at Brighton in 1904 Norfolk 24
for the first time in many years.The “Jersey Benz” had been built by the Raffray brothers in 1899 at their premises on the Esplanade,following closely the design of a similar car imported earlier the same year – the very first automobile in the Island.The Jersey-built car was acquired at auction by Tommy Boothman and many years later, after a lengthy restoration, was to play a prominent part in the centenary celebrations. Following a suggestion from a member, in April 1982 the Club arranged an informal Sunday morning meeting at the Moulin de Lecq Inn. This proved very popular and had the great merit (from the Committee’s viewpoint) of requiring minimal organisation! “The third Sunday in the month” swiftly established itself as a not-to-be-missed rendezvous, which it has remained ever since. More ambitious from an organisational point of view was a visit to France the following month with ten cars taking part. The touring party based itself in Dinard, with excursions to Mont St Michel, Rennes and the cottage in St-Helen owned by Mervyn and Jenny Frankel, who laid on a buffet supper for the
A Jersey car from new: 1924 Austin 12/4 Harley All-Weather Tourer (Brian Parker)
visiting automobilists. It was described in the Gazette as “a most successful and enjoyable weekend”, and was followed by many more French raids in the coming years. Another innovation arrived a year later. In July 1983 the Honorary Secretary,Michael Pinchard and his wife Victoria hosted the first Breakfast Run at Longfields, their beautiful home in Trinity. Participants enjoyed a hearty breakfast before setting out on what was billed as “a leisurely run through the sun-spattered lanes of Jersey”, returning to Longfields for a barbecue lunch. Sadly the weather gods had other ideas and the roads were spattered more by mud than sun,but an excellent time was had by all – including David and June ScottWarren, who took shelter from one downpour by crawling under a table, much to the amusement of the other participants. JOMC members are made of stern stuff and not even a drenching could spoil the occasion: the fruits of the barbecue were consumed in one of the Pinchard barns.The Breakfast Run became an annual fixture,and went on to rival the BDR as one of the best-supported events in the Club calendar.
On the Record In April 1984, following a very successful four year stint by Peter Bisson, the editorship of the Gazette was taken over by Mervyn Frankel. In his first editorial he characteristically exhorted members to really use their old cars and not simply treat them as static exhibits or investments – a topical theme at a time when vintage and classic car prices were rising steeply. “Let us try,” he urged his readers, “to make Jersey a place where lovely old motor cars abound daily on the roads.” The same issue carried a generous and entirely appropriate tribute to Michael Wilcock who at the AGM had stood down as President and accepted the honorary position of Club Patron, the Presidency being taken over by Binks Darling. On the debit side, publication of the Gazette was reduced from four editions a year to three.
Membership had been rising steadily and by mid-1985 there were no fewer than 99 members owning between them 162 vehicles. These encompassed everything from Ron Hickman’s magnificent V-16 Cadillac to the little Austin Sevens that were then, and remain today, the bedrock of the British vintage car movement. Many Club members – and cars – turned out for the Festival of Transport organised by Binks Darling in May 1985 to celebrate the centenary of the petrol-engined car. Sadly the weather was dreadful, the Gazette recording that “an arctic gale” took away much of the pleasure from the occasion. Weather-wise it seems to have been a disappointing season as the Breakfast Run in July was also blighted by rain. Fortunately, things had improved by September and six Club cars took part in a tour of Normandy organised by the indefatigable Michael and Victoria Pinchard, the weather throughout being described as “superb”.
Later that year Jersey was the venue for a rally organised by the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain, with the JOMC playing a prominent part in proceedings. The oldest car was an 1899 Panhard with hot-tube ignition, the most powerful a 1904 chain-driven 40hp Berliet, and the most prolific marque was Rolls-Royce, with no fewer than nine Edwardian examples of the immortal Silver Ghost visiting the Island. The Pinchards played host to another successful Breakfast Run in July, the weather on this occasion behaving itself; Mervyn and Jenny Frankel won first prize in the treasure hunt.
Another event which has become popular with Club members over the years is the annual ParisDeauville rally organised by Club de l’Auto. Six Jersey cars took part in the 1986 event, including the Drapers in their De Dion, the Guerriers in their Lagonda and the Bales in their RollsRoyce. The Gazette described it as “tremendous fun and a must for someone who likes driving old cars” – sentiments which seem just as appropriate twenty years later. As it ended its second decade, the Club was in good shape.
Spring editions of the Gazette, which appeared on 1st April each year, were enlivened by spoof announcements dreamt up by the editor about forthcoming events designed either to entice or outrage gullible readers. In 1985 members were invited to book a drink-driving holiday arranged by the proprietor of the Three Tuns Inn at Stornaway on the Isle of Lewis, with roads being closed off for the purpose. The following year, a dire warning was published of a plan by a States Deputy to ban all cars over 25 years old from using the Island’s roads. History does not record how many people were taken in.
Sadly, in 1987 the JOMC lost two of its founding members: John Oldham, who had served as the very first President between 1966 and 1970, and John Sweeny, who was President from 1975 to 1977. Each had played a pivotal part in the Club’s early history as the Gazette noted in its tribute. On a brighter note, Michael and Victoria Pinchard clearly enjoyed themselves on the ParisVichy rally and Mervyn Frankel reported with his usual enthusiasm on the Great American Race, an epic event which began in Los Angeles and
finished in Orlando, Florida â€“ an average daily distance of some 400 miles. It seemed fitting that he won the award for best international car with his beloved Bentley 41/2 litre. Although few members ventured quite so far afield with their cars as Mervyn Frankel (who managed in 1988 to take part in both the Mille Miglia and the Great American Race), trips to the mainland, to France and even to Guernsey were increasingly common as the 1980s drew to a close. Unfortunately at that time the market for old cars had fallen into the hands of investors and speculators, with the prices of even quite ordinary vehicles being bid up to unprecedented levels. Happily, this financial exuberance does not seem to have turned the
heads of JOMC members who, egged on by Mervyn Frankel and other members of the Committee, continued to campaign their cars as enthusiastically as they had always done. Correspondingly, when the bubble burst in the early 1990s the sharp fall in values had little or no effect on Club activities.
Foreign fields: Club President Michael Wilcock campaigns his 1912 Talbot
The Nimble Nineties While the JOMC had always harboured a competitive streak – witness the many treasurehunts, driving tests and other good-natured contests held over the years – members had by tradition tended more towards touring, and the social side of motoring, rather than out-and-out motor sport. This was reflected in the Club calendar and in its register which, despite accommodating a wide range of automobiles, recorded a preponderance of luxury cars like Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Lagonda, Talbot and Lanchester, as well as more prosaic saloons, tourers and dropheads by lesser makers; fullblown sports-cars on the other hand were relatively thin on the ground.
1970s, and it had by now become practical to take the car to England or France purely for a weekend’s motor sport, either as participant or spectator; many did so. After several years in the onerous role of Honorary Secretary, Michael Pinchard had taken over the Presidency in 1989 and he set a fine example to other members by actively campaigning his Aston Martin and, with his wife Victoria, undertaking ambitious continental tours in their highly original Type 57 Bugatti. On the social side nothing seemed too much trouble for Victoria, her son and daughter and their tireless helpers who organised a succession of Club breakfasts, barbecues and other events at Longfields, each more splendid than the one before.
Things had begun to change in the 1980s but the sharp fall in prices from 1990 onwards encouraged other members to seek out more overtly sporting models. Cars like Michael Pinchard’s Aston Martin Ulster, Chris Forster’s BMW 328, Mervyn Frankel’s blown Bentley special and Deryk Haithwaite’s Alfa Romeo 6C and Bugatti Type 37 were clearly capable of far more energetic use than a gentle tour of the parishes or even a leisurely trip to France.
At the 1993 Annual General Meeting David Acon was elected President and held the office for the next three years. Some Club events that remain popular today were first held around this time.The Icicle Run was devised to encourage members to awaken their cars from winter hibernation. In 1995 the Gazette reported on the Cobweb Run organised by Chris and Andrea Le Boutillier, with cars assembling and being despatched in different directions on what seems to have been a rather elaborate treasure hunt.
Since its establishment in 1920 the Jersey Motorcycle and Light Car Club had provided its members with the opportunity to take part in competitive rallies, sprints and hill-climbs on the Island. Some old car owners belonged to both clubs and indeed the JOMC awarded an annual trophy to the member who had put up the best performance each year in a JMLCC event. But away from Jersey, the 1990s also brought about a rise in the number of events organised specifically for vintage and classic cars. Sometimes these were revivals of prewar events that had fallen into abeyance – the Mille Miglia, the Rallye des Alpes, the Liege Rome-Liege; in other cases, including the now-famous Goodwood Festival of Speed and the later Revival meetings, the Monaco Historique and the Le Mans Classic, they were designed specially to appeal to a new, and for the most part younger breed of owner.
The same edition carried a report of the wellattended Easter Bonnet Run, at which John Turmel and family carried off the award for “best decorated car” and forty members went on to lunch at Les Arches Hotel. This culminated in a somewhat uncharacteristic romantic interlude when, according to the Gazette, “two unattached gentlemen of the Club… espied a rather fetching young French lady inspecting the cars outside the restaurant. She was duly invited in for a drink and entertained by the said gentlemen and their table for the reminder of the afternoon…” The denouement of this intriguing encounter is sadly not recorded! The perennial (and largely unresolved) problem of persuading more members to contribute articles to the Gazette led to a diminution both in its format and in the frequency of publication, although it remained the principal means for the Committee to disseminate news, views and reports of Club events.
Increasingly, JOMC members with sports and sports-racing models took advantage of these events to exploit their cars’ performance to the full. Carferries had improved in speed and frequency since their belated appearance in local waters in the 28
Anniversary Antics May 1995 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the Liberation of Jersey following the German Occupation. It was a momentous occasion in the Island’s history and many Club cars took part in the cavalcade held to celebrate it, which fortunately was blessed with glorious sunshine. After assembling at the Chateau Plaisir in St Ouen for breakfast, the participants followed a route along St Ouen’s Bay to St Brelade and then back through the country parishes where large crowds of cheering spectators had gathered. Members entered into the spirit of the occasion by donning period costume. Fortified by a welcome glass of champagne and lunch, they gathered for the prize-giving at which the Esso Cup for best car went to the immaculate 1934 Sunbeam Monte Carlo entered by Ralph and Judith Genee. It was a fitting choice as this is one of the few Jersey cars to have survived the Occupation intact.
Pinchards at Longfields – “a fitting finale,” as the Gazette put it, “to this most important event in both the Club de l’Auto and the Jersey Old Motor Club calendars.” The sudden death in June 1997 of Mervyn Frankel robbed the Club of one of its most colourful and enthusiastic members. Few will forget the sight of him at the helm of one of his Bentleys, roaring down the Five Mile Road with a convoy of similar cars driven by his three sons in hot pursuit. Chris Le Boutillier spent just one year in the presidential chair from 1996 to 1997, and was succeeded by Judith Genee – the first female President in the Club’s history and by general accord, one of its most successful. Almost at once she and her Committee, ably assisted by her husband Ralph, started to plan an event to mark the centenary of motoring in Jersey two years later. The story of how the first horseless carriage – a 31/2 hp Benz – was brought to the Island in July 1899 by a solicitor, Peter Falla, and its hostile reception by the local population, is too wellknown to need repeating here, but it was clearly an historic milestone that would need to be commemorated in style.
During the same year an ambitious joint event, the Rallye Paris-St Malo-Jersey, was held in conjunction with the Club de l’Auto. A number of JOMC members had participated in previous Club de l’Auto events over the years including the popular Paris-Vichy and Paris-Deauville rallies. The friendly relationship between the two clubs went back many years and the suggestion by their President Jacques Orvain to incorporate a Jersey section in the route was very well received.
The date of the “Chasse de Centenaire” was set for May 1999 and the organisers excelled themselves. It was the biggest and most ambitious event in the Club’s history so far. Over 160 cars attended from the mainland and further afield, and a similar number from Jersey. Sprints were held at St Ouen in conjunction with the JMLCC. Donald Day’s famous 1937 ERA, which had taken part in one of the early post-war Jersey road races, returned to the Island for the first time in almost fifty years and put up an excellent performance.
Eight JOMC members set forth for Paris where they were joined by Deryk and Diana Haithwaite on their way back from taking part in the Mille Miglia. Unfortunately the Jersey contingent suffered unduly from mechanical maladies on this occasion, the Acon Aston Martin, the Le Boutillier MG and the Genee Sunbeam all succumbing to faults of one kind or another. The rally proper started from Paris at 9.00am and followed mainly secondary roads to Bourth, where an excellent lunch was enjoyed, and then on to St Malo in time for a reception within the ancient city walls.
Mike and Meg Timms brought their immaculate 1898 Panhard 8 hp, the oldest car to take part. Perhaps the centrepiece of the celebration was a run through St Helier led by the oldest surviving Jersey car, the so-called Jersey Benz also dating from 1899. Although highly temperamental, the car behaved itself in front of the crowds of
The Jersey leg of the event seems to have been equally successful, with visits to the Motor Museum, Zoo and Pottery; the highlight however was a magnificent lobster lunch laid on by the 29
spectators lining King Street and Queen Street, eventually making its way back via the Town Hall to People’s Park where a fine array of ancient machinery was displayed.
Returning home from the ancient kingdom of Jordan, Roger Bale recorded his experiences there with a 20/25 Rolls-Royce, accompanied by his wife Sylvia. Seventy-three cars took part in a twoweek rally organised by the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club, starting in Aqaba and finishing in Amman. This appears to have been a case of “rallying de grande luxe”, with royalty in attendance, cloudless skies, motorcycle outriders, superb hotels and epicurean meals, luggage magically transported between hotels, and participants whisked painlessly from one extravaganza to the next. Perhaps when one habitually rides behind a Spirit of Ecstasy one takes such indulgences in one’s stride.
Even now the celebrations were not complete, for a few weeks later a Centenary Ball was held in the magnificent grounds of St John’s Manor, owned by Seigneur and Club member John Dick. Among other Club events inaugurated in the late 1990s, two in particular have stood the test of time: the Goggles and Pearls Rally in Brittany, participation in which is strictly confined to female members; and the much-loved Escargot Run which enables Jersey old car owners to do some gentle French touring in convivial company. The third G&P in May 2000 attracted no fewer than sixteen ladies in eight cars, and everyone seems to have had a good time – as Judith Genee reported, it had been “a wonderful trip… the weather could have been better, but the company and experience could not.”
A little closer to home, Deryk and Diana Haithwaite entered the Prada Italia Classica in their 1932 Alfa Romeo 1750.The event lasted six days in September 1999, with some 1,250 miles being covered in the first four days before the cars were put on display in Perugia. The relatively leisurely start times, and even more leisurely lunches, necessitated what the owner in his Gazette report described as “fairly energetic motoring”. “As so often in Italy,” he continued, “the police entered into the spirit of things with a vengeance… cornering on the door handles and waving little red lollipops at ‘moderns’ to tell them to get out of the way.” Long may it remain so!
Meanwhile members’ overseas exploits with their cars were becoming ever more daring.A flavour of these adventures can be gained from the Gazette. The Summer 1999 edition carried a report by Tim Scott of his participation in the Louis Vuitton Classic China Run during May 1998, driving his sensational 1903 60 hp Mercedes. At this time the Chinese economy was just starting to emerge from its long communist embrace – most of her people lived in grinding poverty and many of the roads were very rough. Participants were advised not to drink tap-water or even clean their teeth with it, and the accommodation varied from comfortable hotels to bivouacs! Despite their privations, huge crowds of enthusiastic spectators lined the roads in towns and villages to watch the strange procession pass by. The route took the cars from Dalian via Chengde, the Great Wall and Beijing (where the cars were lined up in Tiananmen Square) to the Forbidden City, a total distance of some 1,000 miles in six days – truly a motoring expedition to remember. 30
The New Century The 1999 Centenary Rally had been so successful that it was a relatively easy decision for the Committee to make it an annual fixture. Implementation was of course a slightly different matter. Until 1999 there had been little first-hand experience within the Club of organising serious competitive events, nor of coping with the large influx of visitors that they attracted.
a year off, extensive coverage in one of the classic car magazines prompted an even greater deluge of enquiries from old car owners determined to participate in the next year’s event! At the time of writing it seems likely that, following some initial hesitation, enough new support has emerged within the Club to ensure that the Festival will take place again in 2007.
Nevertheless, applying the lessons of the preceding year, plans were laid for an even bigger and better event in 2000, entitled The Jersey Festival of Motoring. Agreement was reached with the parish authorities of St Helier to establish two new hillclimb courses, one on Mount Bingham and the other on Westmount. A non-competitive run was organised for touring cars. Publicity was arranged, programmes published, accommodation booked and meals and refreshments laid on, mainly by members who voluntarily gave up large quantities of their time.
Meanwhile, mainstream events continued to dominate the Club calendar and the Committee was kept busier than ever.The 2001 Escargot Rally ventured further than usual,with base camp being established 140 miles from St Malo in Finistere. Among the participants were Michael and Jane Dee, Ted and Tecla Deacon and Ray and Jackie Ball.There was the usual mixture of touring, sightseeing and gastronomy, and David Haddon arranged for the 23 cars taking part to be drawn up in front of the historic Manoir du Stang for a group photograph.An excellent time seems to have been had by all.
The Festival was once again highly successful and visiting participants were lavish with their praise. Among local competitors Chris Forster in his BMW 328, Michael Pinchard in his Aston Martin Ulster and David Acon in his Aston Martin DB2 all acquitted themselves well. A year later,Tim Scott was awarded the Motor Museum Challenge Trophy for fastest local car at the 2001 event with his ex-Michael Wilcock Eight Litre Bentley special.
Later that year 36 members of the Guernsey Old Car Club arrived for a “return match” in Jersey following a successful raid on the sister Isle by JOMC members in 2000. A leisurely tour of the Island took place, interspersed with regular pit-stops for refreshment and recuperation.The sun shone on visitors and residents alike, and the thirty-fifth birthday of the JOMC was celebrated with a fine dinner at the Pottery, at which the President cut a specially-commissioned cake in the form of a vintage car.The next day, bleary-eyed participants took part in a fiendish treasure hunt, first prize among Guernsey crews going to Michael and Heather Fattorini, while David and Tracie Acon took the honours for Jersey.
Over the next few years further refinements and innovations were added, especially on the touring side, and visitor numbers rose year by year as word spread that this was an event not to be missed. A report by Jo Moss (driving an Invicta) on the 2003 Festival appeared in the Lagonda Club Magazine and was reprinted in the Gazette. Following a lunchtime reception and scrutineering,there was a vin d’honneur at the Town Hall and a drive across the Island to St John’s Manor, where afternoon tea was served in idyllic surroundings.The moonlight sprint on Victoria Avenue was described as particularly memorable – especially as it coincided with the writer’s birthday!
Members who preferred to do their old car motoring in Jersey remained well catered for. The successful Chasse des Manoirs rally held in 1993 was the model for many similar events. Ralph Genee’s extensive network of contacts with the farming community and other old Jersey families made it possible to organise rallies that passed through the grounds of ancient manors and farmhouses. Often there would be several generations of inhabitants to greet the automobilists and offer refreshments. For many, these events provided a fascinating insight into
In some ways the Festival became a victim of its own success, as numbers and expectations rose year by year. In 2006, just as Judith Genee and her small band of helpers were beginning to think it was time to take 31
The journey was not exactly trouble-free – regular stops were needed for greasing and replenishment of water and fuel, a wire broke loose from the distributor, the car ran over its owner’s foot, and for well over an hour it refused to re-start after the coffee stop at Crawley – but at 4.30pm the Benz finally passed the Brighton checkpoint, the very last car to do so. A distance of only sixty miles, but a minor epic of endurance on the part of the car and doggedness, not to say stubbornness, on the part of its gallant crew.
a rural way of life that has changed little over the past hundred years, before (as seems inevitable) it finally disappears altogether. On a sad note Ken Waddilove died in January 2000 and Bob Kirwan,one of the founder members,in April 2001. Together with Derek Bonhomme and Barry de la Mare he had helped to organise the very first meeting of old car enthusiasts on the Route du Nord in October 1966 – an event that had led directly to the Club’s formation. His favourite car, which he owned for many years, had been a 1927 Vauxhall saloon, which like the Genees’ Sunbeam was one of the very few Jersey cars to survive the Occupation intact.
The Christmas 2002 Gazette contained a report of the Run together with an article by Roy and Jean Therin on a marathon trip to Corsica in their Morris Isis saloon. Corsica is well known for its steep roads as well as its stunning landscapes, and the rally route took the Therins “through forest and mountain scenery across the breathtaking Col de Bavella over 4,750 feet high, before descending finally into Corte”. The tour itself, and the long journeys there and back, were entirely trouble-free, a distance of 2,041 miles being covered in total. It was a fine performance by a car of a type whose virtues are often overlooked in the adulation accorded to more glamorous and exotic automobiles.
The closure of the Jersey Motor Museum, and the dispersal of its contents,was another source of sadness. Ever since its establishment some thirty years earlier, Michael Wilcock had generously permitted members to visit free of charge, and like all good things the Museum had to some extent become taken for granted. Its disappearance provided a salutary reminder of the importance of appreciating, and not simply preserving, the Island’s rich motoring heritage. Shortly after its centenary in 1999,the Jersey Benz (with its historic registration number J0) passed into the ownership of Tim Scott. Although to the untrained eye all pre-1905 cars look fairly primitive,in fact the pace of technical advance in the automotive world has never been faster than it was in the last years of the nineteenth century and the first of the twentieth. Carl Benz however was a conservative engineer, and his products continued to follow the design of his 1885 prototype for many years thereafter; consequently, even by the standards of 1899 they were already years out of date, being far surpassed by more modern and reliable vehicles.
In the same issue there appeared an amusing account by Bob Gueno of a visit to Normandy with his Austin Seven Chummy, nicknamed “Noddy”. En route from St Malo eastwards to Lignieres d’Orgeres via St Melier, Ambrieres les Vallees and Lessay les Chateaux, the little car and its occupants experienced torrential rain, gale-force winds, a dire shortage of petrol and an encounter with two snarling hounds. Following some misleading directions (from the owner of the hounds), they then became hopelessly lost but finally arrived at their destination as the tank virtually ran dry. Fortunately the return journey a few days later was somewhat less eventful!
To try to coax such a frail machine from London to Brighton might be considered courageous – or foolhardy.Nevertheless the attempt was made in 2000 by its new owner, but sadly the Run had to be abandoned on account of a fractured chassis crossmember just fifteen miles from the finish. A less determined man might have decided to cut his losses, but instead a year later both car and driver, together with younger son Chris, were back at Hyde Park Corner on the threshold of a second attempt!
At the far end of the performance scale from Austin Sevens, the remarkable growth in classic motor sport events that has taken place during recent years has given some members an opportunity to show their paces – quite literally – on a broader canvas. Michael Salmon was a formidable sports-racing car driver in his day; now he can be seen once again at the wheel of fast pre- and post-war cars, at British and 32
Le Mans Classic 2006 Waiting for the start !
40 on the clock: the Club celebrates in its usual style 33
Tim Scott’s incredible 1903 Mercedes 60 hp
Failure to proceed: Ray Ball’s Bentley tows his Rolls-Royce, Quiberon 2001 34
Boxing Day 2004 Keith and Suzie Alhers’ Morgan leads Ian Strang’s Derby Bentley
Port - Vintage thoroubred: 1935 AC 16/80 (John and Clive Boothman) 35
Lagonda 16/80 (Billy Reynolds)
2001 Escargot Run â€“ some very satisfied customers ! 36
continental circuits, putting up lap times that much younger men find hard to match. Michael Dee, with his very fast pre-war Aston Martin “Red Dragon”, is a regular and highly successful participant at the Le Mans Classic event and many others. Bill Ainscough has an enviable collection of competition cars and campaigns them actively from spring to autumn. Long-standing members like Deryk Haithwaite and Michael Pinchard continue to enter their cars for events ranging from VSCC circuit-racing at Silverstone to the famous Mille Miglia – often with conspicuous success. Yet the JOMC is just as much about pottering through the rural parishes of St Mary or St Martin as it is about international motor-racing or transcontinental rallying. The nice thing about Bob Gueno’s adventure with his tiny Austin is that it epitomises the spirit of the JOMC every bit as much as the exploits of bigger and faster machines. From the very beginning the Club has been a “broad church” for enthusiasts of both
sexes, of all ages and from all walks of life, who share a passionate interest in ancient motor cars and a determination to continue using and enjoying them for as long as those in authority can be induced to turn a blind eye to their limitations: problematic brakes,tentative road-holding and a complete absence of those safeguards – seatbelts, airbags, side impact beams, crumple zones and the rest – without which no self-respecting modern motorist would dare venture out onto the road. On 23rd July 2006 a special rally was arranged to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the Club’s formation, and at the gala dinner that followed – hosted once again by the redoubtable Victoria Pinchard – those present raised their glasses both to the past forty years and the next forty. Although few of us may be around to enjoy that milestone when it is reached in 2046, we have every hope and expectation that our cars, their ownership safely entrusted to a new generation of enthusiasts, will be providing just as much pleasure to our successors as they have done to us.
Before the snow! Boxing Day Run 1970: John Sweeny in his 1937 MGSA leads Derek Bonhomme (1946 MGTC) and Vernon Bouchere (1948 Wolseley)
Postscript: Heroes and Heroines From its earliest days, the Club has been fortunate in harnessing the talents of a succession of energetic,erudite and industrious members to act as officers,Committee members and helpers.These are the people who are prepared to provide freely their time, knowledge and sometimes muscles to enable events to take place, to keep members informed, to look after the finances and perform 101 other vital tasks.Without such people no club can function effectively for very long.It is impossible in a publication like this to do justice to them all, but a few of those who have truly distinguished themselves over the past forty years surely deserve to be singled out.
He also edited the Gazette during its formative years and set the very high standards that those who followed quite rightly felt obliged to maintain. I personally have cause to be grateful for his meticulous record-keeping, his faultless memory and his generosity in sharing his knowledge and recollections. The editorship of the Gazette was in time taken over by Peter Bisson who proved to be a worthy successor to Barry. While not perhaps as prominent as some other members, before and after, he made a solid contribution to the success of the Club and to the vital task of keeping the Committee and the members in touch with one another – by no means an easy task!
The first Club Chairman, John Oldham, was elected to the post in 1966. A motoring historian and noted authority on the Rolls-Royce marque, his books included a biography of Claude Johnson published in 1967 and a study of the 40/50 models – Ghosts, Phantoms and Spectres – that appeared in 1974. He himself owned a small fleet of pre-war Rolls-Royces, but his interests encompassed other marques as well, and indeed late in life he rediscovered the joys of motorcycling.Those who knew him say that he did not suffer fools gladly, or at all, but there is no doubt that his passion and professionalism helped lay the foundations for the great success the Club enjoyed in later years.
Ken Waddilove was a forthright Yorkshireman with an interest in old cars of every kind and a special passion for Rolls-Royces, of which he owned several examples. Over and above his involvement in Club affairs for many years, he was a keen “hands-on” enthusiast, equally at home overhauling the engine of his beloved 20/25 and undertaking the restoration of a 1935 Austin 12 taxi. When one thinks of the JOMC in the late 1980s and early 1990s the name that comes immediately to mind is that of Michael Pinchard. Not only did he act as an exemplary President, his house in Trinity almost became a home from home for those who took part in the renowned Breakfast Runs – not to mention many other events where the excellence of the catering and the generosity of the hosts fully matched the motoring part of the day’s festivities.
For those with long memories, the name of Michael Wilcock is almost synonymous with that of the JOMC. Following a distinguished career in the motor industry, his arrival in Jersey was perfectly timed to enable him to play a pivotal part in guiding the Club through its adolescent years (although some wags reflecting on the behaviour of certain well-lubricated members at social events might say we have never left them). Quite apart from his two spells as President, with his encyclopaedic knowledge of vintage and post-vintage cars he has been unstinting in the help and advice he has provided to many fellow members past and present. The series of technical articles – carefully researched and entirely lucid – that he wrote for the Gazette in the late 1960s and 1970s are a model of their kind and certainly still repay re-reading today.
Like Peter Bisson, Mervyn Frankel never held office as President, although he had a long and distinguished spell as Honorary Auditor, Committee member and later editor of the Gazette. But of equal importance was his infectious enthusiasm for old cars and everything connected with them. He campaigned his cars tirelessly, whether taking part in a local treasure hunt or traversing America in the Great American Race. He possessed a fine collection of motoring books, and was an authority especially on Bentleys – together with Ian Strang he wrote the definitive history of the 1938-9 overdrive model.
Barry de la Mare was one of the founding fathers of the Club and is today one of the few original members still actively engaged in its affairs. A kind and modest man, he acted as Honorary Secretary – a thankless task – for many years before stepping up to the presidency.
David Scott-Warren was another longstanding member who played an important part in the Club during its early years, and indeed for many years 38
thereafter. He too was a diligent motoring historian and the author of an interesting book about Jersey’s motoring past, as well as a record of the JOMC itself. He was a great character and somehow his rather oldfashioned appearance and old-world courtesy fitted perfectly with his much-loved drophead Talbot. Binks Darling was a stalwart of the Club for more years than most of us care to remember! A retired naval officer and distinguished engineer, his bluff manner disguised a man with a heart of gold who enjoyed the old car movement in all its aspects and for whom nothing ever seemed to be too much trouble. The annual London-Brighton Run is still the holy grail for many old car enthusiasts and since the 1960s no member has shown a greater commitment to this historic event than Geoffrey Grime. For a number of years he accompanied anotherVCC member in one of his veteran cars, but in due course he acquired a 1903/4 “curveddash” Oldsmobile of his own, eventually followed by a 1902 Gladiator. Each year’s Run was diligently (and entertainingly) written up in the Gazette and it is entirely typical of his generosity that many JOMC members have had their own first experience of veteran motoring in one of his meticulously presented cars. For some reason the Christian name Michael seems to have had a disproportionate prominence in Club affairs over the years. (Indeed, I remember asking Mervyn Frankel once whether the initials JOMC actually stood for the Jersey Old Michael Club; he naturally accused me of taking the mickey.) The great contributions of Messrs Wilcock and Pinchard have been put on record. Other luminaries include Michael Salmon (whose racing prowess has already been mentioned), Michael Guerrier (who not only owns two fine cars himself but, together with Derek Bonhomme and Barry Clayden, has over many years done much to keep other members’ cars on the road), Michael Draper (formerly the owner of the ex-Marquess of Ailesbury De Dion J1, one-time Honorary Secretary and still an active participant in Club affairs), Michael Hannigan
(owner of a fine straight-six Sunbeam and an MG, and from time to time honorary auctioneer to the Club) and Michael Dee (who possesses a very fast Aston Martin which he races regularly, as well as a more decorous Rolls-Royce 20/25 and a Derby Bentley). Messing about with, and in, old motor-cars is generally regarded as a male pursuit.Yet as many past presidential wives will no doubt testify, in the JOMC to be the consort is almost as onerous as to wear the crown! (For the avoidance of doubt I am referring to the current wives of past presidents, and not vice versa). Indeed without a very strong female contingent the Club could not possibly have operated effectively for so many years. Most are, and for reasons of space must remain, unsung heroines, but two surely require a special mention. Victoria Pinchard has for longer than most of us can remember shouldered the burden of catering for Club members in the style to which – largely thanks to her – they have become accustomed. Together with a loyal and gallant band of helpers,she has over the years laid on a succession of breakfasts, barbecues and banquets to dazzle the most jaded palate – regardless of numbers, regardless of venue (as often as not the Pinchards’ own home) and regardless of weather–and each of these feasts has been more splendid than the one before. Come rain or shine, the show must go on – and invariably it does. Judith Genee was elected President in 1997 and will therefore soon celebrate her tenth anniversary in that role. Notwithstanding their affection for ancient cars, members are far from reactionary in other ways, and certainly the imaginative decision to have a female President has been amply rewarded.With the unflagging support of her husband Ralph she has thrown herself into the job, showing a fine blend of humour, energy and that steely determination that so often characterises what is absurdly known as “the weaker sex”. From the centenary celebrations to the Festival of Motoring, from organising overseas expeditions to writing them up in the monthly newsletter, and in a hundred other ways, she has done us proud.
JERSEY OLD MOTOR CLUB – Established 1966 – Patron F M Wilcock President J Genee
Past Presidents W J Oldham F M Wilcock J Sweeny K V Waddilove
1966-70 1970-75 1975-77 1977-79
B W de la Mare F M Wilcock L C Darling M P Pinchard
1979-81 1981-85 1985-89 1989-93
D N R Acon 1993-96 C Le Boutillier 1996-97
Providing you with cost-effective and ?@=C?HNF?A;FM?LPC=?M in all aspects of conveyancing and Property Law.
Voisin property Your legal team
John Kendall Geoffrey Fiott Andrew Le Quesne Martin Le Maistre Chris Duverger Shaun O’Connor Abigail Watkins Jonathan Dauny Support staff: Melanie L’Amy Jean de Carteret Maria Galloway Samantha Martin
Advocates Solicitors & Notaries Public Templar House, Don Road, St Helier, Jersey JE1 1AW Channel Islands tel: +44(0) 1534 500351 fax: +44(0) 1534 500341 firstname.lastname@example.org www.voisinlaw.com
Published on Jan 2, 2010