Wednesday, 25 September 2013


Here we have the final part of our classic car event.  I do hope you have all enjoyed it thus far.  Ken and Doreen Pickford arrived in their March 1973 Morris Marina Suntor Camper Van with their beautiful Westie terrier. There were only 1,000 of these built and then converted from new by Torcar of Torrington and there is now only 100 that survive.  It is quite amazing what is inside the camper. It has a bed, cooker, sink even a toilet. Ken and Doreen have owned several camper vans over the years, Austin, Commer and previous Morris Marina and have travelled many, many miles in all of them and could not think of life without one. Last but not least we have a stunning 1980 Triumph TR7.  This one has the gold laurel leaf which was a special edition model.  The TR7 Drophead is a beautiful looking car and is very roomy inside for a sports car. The first TR7 was launched in 1975 in the USA and was only made as a hard top because the US were considering legislation banning all convertible cars. The car was launched in the UK  a year later in 1976. The ban in the USA did not happen and in 1979 the first TR7 convertible was rolled out.  It was a huge success both here and in the USA - it sold faster than the TR6 ever had and that was a gorgeous car.

1973 Morris Marina Suntor Camper
Only 100 of these survive.

You can stand up and move around quite freely.

Proud owners, Ken & Doreen Pickford
Restored and painted by Ken himself.

Beautiful little Westie.  She is wearing a silk scarf  because Doreen forgot to bring her lead!

Stunning 1980 Triumph TR7 (Laurel Leaf Edition)

Stunning 1980 Triumph TR7
A super looking sports car

Tuesday, 24 September 2013


John Banbury and his friend, Chris Wyatt made quite an entrance when they arrived in John's stunning dark blue Aston Martin DB7 - what a beauty!  This is the car that appears on the television show Wheeler Dealers so it is quite a star.  Years ago, John had a 1973 MG Midget which he started to find difficult to get in and out of.  What was he going to do?  Well, he did what anyone would do.  He sold it and bought a ................. 1963 Aston Martin DB4 Series 5.  Only 50 were built with the higher roof and straight lights.  John took the car to the Aston Martin works in Newport Pagnell and they showed a great deal of interest in it.  After a few years with the DB4, John decided he would sell it.  It sold so quickly that he was without a car for a few months.  Then he saw the DB7 and here we are.  Of course, John is a member of the Aston Martin Owners Club and he and Chris have driven around the Goodwood and Silverstone racing circuits.  John and Chris can talk volumes on Aston Martins and how they are re-built and restored.  John also loves antiques and has quite a collection of early Lalique, most of which he bought from our own David Pym at Hungerford Arcade.  It was David who told John about our classic car event.
Proud Aston Martin DB7 owner, John Banbury (left) and friend Chris Wyatt

David Pym behind the wheel of the Aston Martin DB7

David Pym going for a spin!

Tune in again tomorrow for the final part of the Hungerford Arcade classic car event!


The wow factor suddenly appeared right next to Adrian and I outside Hungerford Arcade on Sunday in the form of Mr. Darcy and the beautiful Elizabeth Bennet.  Dressed beautifully in period costume and looking every inch the Jane Austen characters they portrayed from Pride and Prejudice - this couple was superb. Introducing themselves as Lon Ficke and Joyce Evans from San Diego, California, USA. Joyce said that they had come over to England from the States for the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the first publication of Pride and Prejudice.  They said it was amazing.  The Festival finished the day before and they were making their way back to London but they could not leave without visiting Hungerford Arcade after seeing it on television. They were not disappointed and loved every square inch of it and stayed for the rest of the afternoon.  Lon needed a break and decided that he would go to the pub across the road (The Plume of  Feathers) and come back later.  Well, when Lon came back, he was greeted by Joyce smiling and pointing to a box on the counter and bags in her hand.  Lon had to go and fetch the car from the local car park and pull-up outside the Arcade to load up.    

You will see from the photographs what a gorgeous couple they are and what luck it was to have the classic cars here on that day.  Joyce said they would love to come back next year and we sincerely hope that they do.

Lon & Joyce with Betty (the car!)

Joyce & Lon 

Joyce & Lon
outside Hungerford Arcade

Lon, Joyce & Rita

Lon, Joyce & Adrian


Monday, 23 September 2013


What a fabulous time we had at Hungerford Arcade today!  On a warm but overcast morning at around 8.30 a.m. the West Berkshire Classic Vehicle Club started to arrive in their beautiful classic cars and steadily parked up in their reserved places in front of the Arcade.  See the photographs below of a beautiful all original 1967 Ford Cortina GT owned by the same family from new. Owner, Peter West inherited it from his brother-in-law when he passed away six years ago.  It has only done 35,000 miles. He and partner, Nancy Darke took the car on the Champagne Tour in France on the 4th and 6th May this year and drove around the old race track at Rheims.  Then we have the 1970 Lotus Elan + 2S.  This little beauty has a twin cam engine which was built using a Ford block and the engine head designed by the famous Colin Chapman of Lotus.  Colin's own car was identical to this one which has been owned by Chris Martin for the last 17 years of "Blood, sweat and many tears!"  Next there was "Betty" a stunning 1934 Standard 12/4 Deluxe Saloon owned and very much loved by the Mason family.  Betty has her own story to tell and you can read it below next to her photographs. Then there was the stately 1964 Rover 95 owned for the past 35 years by Nigel and Vanda Giles. It has just 31,000 miles on the clock from new and had just one previous owner. This Rover is a local car and lived just across the road from Nigel and Vanda who always admired it so when it became available, Nigel just had to buy her.  She is totally original and unrestored.  Vanda still has the first car she bought many years ago and which she loves dearly, a beautiful chocolate brown Triumph Herald which she brought to the last show in May.  They also have several other classics including MGs and Triumphs. Just across the way was another Rover, a 1995 Rover P6 2200SC. In its day, this series was proven in tests to be one of the safest cars in its class in the world and is still a very safe car today. This beauty is proudly owned by Brian Arlott. She also has a history you can read about down the page with her photographs. You will see that she was featured in the July 2008 issue of Classics Monthly as a Group Test with the Audi 100 and the Peugeot 504.  I will continue with the cars and their stories tomorrow but I would just like to mention that Pam a member and volunteer at the Atwell-Wilson Motor Museum Trust (a charity) from Calne, Wiltshire came along with a stunning 1991 Mini 'Special' towed on a trailer behind a dazzling white classic Mercedes.  Raffle tickets were sold for the Mini in order to raise funds for the Museum.  It seems everyone wants a classic Mini (including me!).

Soon there were large numbers of people taking photographs of these beautiful cars and having long conversations with the owners, learning about the history and mechanical elements of each car - particularly the engines!  The WBCVC are very friendly and only too happy to talk about their 'pride and joys'. They even let people sit inside the cars and have their photographs taken.  A coach pulled-up by the cars and everyone got off and mingled among the cars before heading off into the Arcade to buy some memorable treasures to take home.

I am posting some of the photographs now and the rest tomorrow.  
1967 Ford Cortina GT
been in the same family since new
Owned by Peter West


Peter West & Nancy Darke

1970 Lotus Elan + 2S
The Lotus Elan 1558 Engine
Still very fast today!

Proud owner, Chris Martin with the
stunning Lotus Elan + 2S
Mr. Mason standing proudly side-by-side with Betty
Betty weighs in at 1.25 tons!

Betty tells her own story

Betty looks fabulous from every angle

1934 Standard 12/4 Deluxe Saloon
1964 Rover 95

Beautiful Rover Mascot on front of bonnet
Proud owner, Nigel Giles
Very proud husband and wife Nigel & Vanda Giles

1975 Rover P6 2200 SC

Rover's story

Proud owner, Brian Arlott
Don't forget to tune in tomorrow for more stories and photographs.

Friday, 20 September 2013


What a fabulous fun day we had at the Arcade yesterday.  We had BBC Radio Berkshire broadcasting the Mike Reid show live from the Arcade.  Mike started the day off by visiting Rafters Cafe` at the top of the Arcade where he had a pre-broadcasting meeting over a cup of coffee and cake with his producer, lovely Jenny Day. Mike was a real star and great fun, as too was the show's producer Jenny Day.  During the course of the show Mike Reid had a radio quiz whereby people had to guess what a particular item was used for from the brilliant description given by manager, Alex Rogers.  There were five items in total spread out during the course of the show.  Many people who were in the Arcade joined in and there was a fabulous response from Facebook users.  You can see one of the items below which was used in the programme.  The items were supplied by Hungerford Arcade stallholder, Jane Elliman and Stewart Hofgartner from Below Stairs of Hungerford Antiques.  Stewart and his wife, Susan whom was made the Constable of Hungerford in April were both in the Arcade and were interviewed by Mike.   Arcade co-owner, Adrian Gilmour is being interviewed live by Mike Reid at the BBC studios in Reading this afternoon at 3.00 p.m (Friday).  If you would like to catch up with these programmes, go to BBC iPlayer where you can hear and feel all the fun we had.  We hope the BBC will come back soon and do another live show from the Arcade. 

Lovely BBC Producer, Jenny Day with Adrian

Mike Reid getting ready to interview the ladies on the left

Mike sampling the delicious homemade food brought in for him by Penny Locke of Penny Post and Fiona Hobson, owner of the Tutti Pole Cafe' by Hungerford Bridge.  Gearing up for the Hungerford Food Festival, 11.00 am to 3.30 pm Sunday 29th September

These ladies sure can cook!

Hungerford Town Constable, Susan Hofgartner from Below Stairs of Hungerford Antiques

BBC Engineer,  Nick Johnson (lovely man!)

Mike Reid about to sample the amazing freshly pressed apple juice produced and bottled by Richard Paget (on the right)

Wow! Fantastic apple juice Richard!

Mike Reid trying to guess what this item would be used for before passing the question over to the Radio's listeners and Arcade customers who were already queuing up to give their answers.

Go on then Alex - put me and the listeners out of  our misery!

Hang On - Arcade customer John and two listeners know what this is.  Go on John tell us!  "It is a Thatcher's tool.  You can see the indents in the holes from years of use where the thatch has been hammered down".  Well done John!

Stewart Hofgartner from Below Stairs of Hungerford Antiques being greeted by Mike Reid in Hungerford Arcade

Now, what the heck is that Alex?