The event, held over two days is a wonderful combination of groups of aircraft and car enthusiasts, numbers are not overwhelming, and many dressed in period fashions or military uniforms complete with period picnic accoutrements. It is all quite relaxed with a refreshing lack of the hungry commercialism now to the fore in some other events.Read More
Our trip to Aix les Bain in the foothills of the French Alps combined superb driving routes with a relaxed itinerary - both made even more enjoyable by warm sunny weather for almost the whole week. We were 19 people, including two couples from the USA, driving in ten cars (including a late model MGF which managed to keep up most of the time). We crossed from UK into France by train from Folkstone on 7 June, returning from Calais on 14 June.Read More
The Annual General Meeting of the Giulietta Register was held on 2 April 2017 at The Barns Hotel in Bedford, UK. It was fine weather and top-down enjoyment for the many members attending in their spiders. Sprints were also more numerous than in past years, including an inaugural outing for Stuart Passey's painstakingly restored and drop-dead gorgeous early low nose lightweight Sprint prototype.
The Chairman, Richard Wigley, and all members of the Committee were unanimously re-elected for another term, to the relief of others present. However, in accepting their re-election, Don MacLean, Editor of the Giuliettaletta, and Tony Ives, UK Events Organiser, announced that they would be stepping down during the coming year after serving in their respective capacities for several years.Read More
In June 2016, the Register trip covered around 1800 miles on some of the best twisty and hilly small roads from Caen in France to Santander in Spain, via several beautiful national parks and the Pyrenees from east to west. We returned to UK on the ferry from Santander. Below are some pictures taken along the route.
The Sherborne Castle Classics and Supercars Event in Dorset, England, on Sunday, 17 July proved a great venue for the Giulietta Register’s Summer get together. Vintage, veteran and classic cars filled the gently rolling lawns surrounding Sherborne Castle. A delightful array of classics, predominantly British, provoked warm nostalgia in so many of us wandering their polished ranks. Pre-WWI and ‘specials’ leviathan racers thrilled onlookers as their huge motors (some aircraft engines!) were each started and gently revved to an informative commentary. Modern Lamborghinis, McLarens and Ferraris competed for hearts not already lost to the older iron.
The Register’s pitch was in a prime position and the line-up of Giuliettas and Giulias was a novel and popular display. Register members enjoyed meeting each other again - some cars and their owners who had not been seen at Register events for some time and some new members with their beautiful cars, original and restored, new to the Register and to the UK.
Having greeted each other, parked with precision, assembled and positioned the club banner, and optimistically applied sun block, we set about exploring Sherborne, seeking out the loos and coffee stalls on the way to the different car club stands, trade stands of model cars, useful and cheap tools, and auto jumble stuff. Possible vantage points were scouted should the promised later arrival of the squadrons of modern ‘supercars’ prove tempting. It was all a pleasantly manageable size, well catered and with an atmosphere of calm enjoyment reflecting good event organisation.
Sherborne Castle is often referred to as Sherborne New Castle to distinguish it from Sherborne Old Castle. The Old Castle is a ruin of a 12th C castle built by the Normans at the time of William the Conqueror. By the time Elizabeth I reigned it was already a ruin. Sir Walter Raleigh, a favourite of the Queen, apparently loved the place (and it’s easy to see why) and Elizabeth leased the estate to him. Rather than rebuild the old castle, Sir Walter built a relatively modest four-storey ‘lodge’ in the grounds for his occasional visits. After Walt lost his head, subsequent incumbents enlarged the buildings adding new wings, but it was severely damaged in 1645 in the Civil War. Rebuilt, it took on the Sherborne Castle moniker, though it really is more a large Jacobean house rather than a fortified castle, as we see today, but actually still pretty old.
Soon enough we all found themselves back at our Giulietta line-up and set about drawing the folding chairs and travel rugs into an ever more elongated picnic circle. The threatening sky delivered a heavy but short downpour prompting hasty erection of hoods, but soon cleared to blue with sunshine for the rest of the day. The picnic was a relaxed, disorganised and hugely enjoyable get together with old friends catching up and new friendships started. Cars were discussed and minor modifications inspected.
Register Chairman, Richard Wigley, continued the light-hearted tradition of announcing fun prizes, awarded only after rigorously superficial scrutiny and secret judging of the cars on show. Doug Whitaker took Best 750 Spider. Best 101 Sprint went to David Roberts, and Phil Gibson’s Spider was recognised as Best New Restoration (even though it was parked opposite with the Wessex Italian Car Club group). Tamara Earley was awarded the coveted Overall Best Car prize for her lovely and very original white Sprint which she recently acquired in Sweden. The car has a fascinating history which hopefully Tamara will be willing to recount in a future article for this magazine.
The socialising continued long after the lunching ended and it was late afternoon before the first cars were packed and headed for home through the beautiful green and rolling hills of the Dorset countryside. It had been another most successful Register event superbly organised by Tony and Jane Ives, whom we thank again, and well supported and thoroughly enjoyed by all those Register members participating.
The AGM of the Giulietta Register Club was held on 10 April 2016 in the old classroom at Wroxall Abbey, Warwickshire. In a previous life in another time, the AGM of the organisation which I was paid to administer was considered a legal nuisance to be executed as quickly as possible. It was achieved in just six minutes one year leaving members wondering why they had bothered to come at all. Not so the Giulietta Register AGM. Indeed, many members had gathered the previous evening for dinner together in the Abbey’s fine Dining Room and spent the night at the Hotel. An early morning hood-down drive through the delightful local country lanes reinvigorated the party after any excesses for the night before. Attempts at precision parking in the courtyard were soon abandoned as more and more cars arrived. As always it was great see so many friends again after the winter months to learn who had done what to their cars, or who had sold or bought again. There was the usual inspection of each other’s cars and gentle interrogation of happenings and health since our last get together on the North Yorkshire Moors last year.
Then we were mustered inside and called to order by the Chairman, Richard Wigley. Richard was pleased to report that 2015 was another successful year for the Giulietta Register. Although membership numbers had held up well, revenue was down slightly but due to good control of the ever increasing costs of the production of the Giuliettaletta and running of events, the Club finished the year with a small surplus and an increase in reserves.
He reminded Members that Paul Morris was retiring as the Register’s Treasurer and as a director of the company at this AGM. Richard thanked Paul on behalf of all members. “Paul leaves the club in excellent financial health after 10 years’ hard labour on our behalf, and has been a huge support to me and previous chairmen, not only by managing our finances so professionally, but also by providing wise advice on how we should manage our business affairs generally, not least in leading the club through the process of changing from a members-owned club to a private limited company.” The Chairman presented Paul with a book on motor racing and a bottle of champagne.
In reply Paul spoke briefly and eloquently, wryly recounting some amusing episodes and observing that, unlike when he became Treasurer, on his retirement from the role the cars are looking in much better shape than most of their owners. The Chairman was pleased to confirm that Paul intends to remain a member and all Members looked forward to seeing him and Sheila at future events.
The meeting unanimously appointed Stephanie McLellan as the new Treasurer and a Director of the Giulietta Register Club Ltd. Stephanie is very well qualified for this role and she and Julian are passionate supporters of the Register.
Turning to the Giuliettaletta, The Chairman said the Editor, Don Maclean, did an excellent job in producing a high quality magazine on time through the year. He was helped greatly in this by the Members, “submitting a high flow of interesting articles for us to consider to the point that we have had to increase the size of the magazine from our normal 36 pages to 40 pages in the last two issues.” Richard exhorted Members to keep this up, stating that it was particularly encouraging to see an increasing proportion of articles coming from overseas Members.
Membership Secretary, Peter Yaxley, elaborated on the membership numbers which had reduced from 415 in 2014 to 407 in 2015. Membership to date for 2016 was around the same levels of the previous year. This year the 40% of Members were in the UK and 22% in the USA. The Netherlands and France accounted for a significant proportion of the rest, but there were Members in many countries across the world. The most effective and least cost method for Members to renew was still considered to be by PayPal via the Register website, despite a difficulty and prohibitive charges for setting up standing orders. It was agreed that Peter would email all Members who had not yet renewed inviting them to do so.
Don MacLean, Editor of the Giuliettaletta, thanked all Members for the excellent articles and photographs submitted for publication during the past year. He reiterated the Chairman’s plea for more such articles and, in particular, interesting high resolution photos for the cover which should be in portrait format. Don presented the Elsie Smith Trophy for the best contribution to the Giuliettaletta to Geoffrey Cotton, in Australia, for his outstanding and thoroughly researched series of articles “Carchaeology” about Ruddspeed Sprint conversions. Paul’s words of acceptance were read to the meeting. He will receive a presentation scale model of a Sprint, as the Trophy itself (a Veloce brake drum mounted on a plinth) is too heavy to despatch to the antipodes (and perhaps too tempting as a spare!). Congratulations to Geoffrey.
Tony Ives, Events Secretary, outlined the programme for 2016, starting with the Classics at the Castle on 17 July at Sherborne Castle in Dorset. The Register has been allocated space for 20 cars. Members. Cost was £10 per car and registration and payment could be made through the Register website or direct to Tony. The Autumn tour will be to Snowdonia in North Wales, staying the nights of 14 and 15 October at the Bryn Howell Hotel, overlooking the Llangollen Canal. Registration and booking details are on the Register website.
Richard Hampton reminded the meeting that the European tour, from 11 to 21 June, is to be a drive through France to the Pyrenees and returning to UK by ferry from Santander in Spain. Arrangements were well advanced and some 13 cars were already booked for the event, including Members from The Netherlands, France, USA and New Zealand.
Peter Bradnock, website editor, reported that the number of visits to the Register website in the 12 months ended April 2016, was 11,416 or an average of 928 per month. Page views averaged 2,982 per month and the average monthly audience size (i.e. unique visitors) was 755. Statistics for earlier years have not been kept. Peter said the figures confirmed that the website could be an effective vehicle for selling and sourcing cars and parts. He urged Members to take advantage of the free advertising available on the website to list their surplus parts.
The Chairman introduced David Roberts, whose offer to take on the role of archivist for the Register was well received and gratefully accepted. David was co-opted onto the Committee. The Chairman reported on recent discussions on the scope and future development of an archive electronic database accessible by all Members. The initial idea that this could be a secure Members-only part of the existing Register website, was dropped because the host software does not support the necessary file formats. Advice from an archivist has been canvassed and a specialist company which could scan the material and build and host the database has been approached. Indicative costings appear affordable and more detailed discussions are to be held.
Lastly, just before we all moved to the elegant hotel dining room for a most agreeable lunch, the Chairman, Richard Wigley, presented the Chairman’s Cup (in fact two engraved silver wine coasters) to a bemused Peter Bradnock for his work on the website and for “generally being an all-round good bloke” in support of the Register.
This was a well-attended meeting with a high quality of Members’ contributions to the full and lively discussion on current and proposed new activities intended to enhance the benefits of membership.
In 2010 we dallied in the fresh autumnal air of the Yorkshire Dales. Five years later we were back for moor – the Yorkshire Moors that is. For those of us who hail from the crowded south, it is hard to believe that such a seemingly vast, empty landscape, tree-less, unbroken and bleak can exist in this small country, England. In fact the Moors cover less area than Greater London but there they are, around 450metres above sea level, carpeted in heather and bracken turning brown in early October, harbouring delightful small towns and villages, and criss-crossed by narrow, near-deserted roads so beloved of Giulietta drivers.
The unpretentious and friendly Worsley Arms Hotel in Hovingham was our base for the two nights of our three day trip. Nineteen of us in 10 Giuliettas and Giulias were joined on our drives by Howard and Jacqui Bryan, and Paul and Jane Wignall who live nearby. They recommended the delightful figure-of-eight route centred on Hovingham, taking in the marvellous ruins of Rievaulx Abbey, the lively market town of Hemsley, the mist-shrouded white horse hill carving near Kilburn, the old railway yards and steam trains at Grosmont, wine tasting at Ryedale Vineyards, and much moor in between.
It was great to have Don and Lynda Sanders from North Carolina, USA joining the party again having also been on the trip to Germany in June and the Italy trip in 2014. We enjoyed meeting Martin and Liz Hunter with their beautifully prepared dark blue Sprint and hearing about their eclectic collection of classics, and it was good to see Ken Hammond back with his exquisite early Sprint with an unfortunate 2 litre transplant now happily replaced by the original rebuilt 1300 cc motor.
As for the rest, it was the “usual suspects” kicking tyres and catching up – Duncan and Bridget, Stuart and Jan, Paul and Kate, Julian and Stephanie, Peter and Marianne, Richard and Jackie, and of course Tony and Jane whose flawless organisation ensured everyone had a great weekend. Many thanks to Tony and Jane, to Paul and Jane for the brilliant routes, and to Howard for inviting us to see his big box of well-used toys.
Photos by Jane Ives and Marianne Bradnock
On a wet morning we drove from Sussex to Bovington in Dorset as the rain got ever heavier. When we arrived there was a forlorn Sprint parked on its own in the reserved parking area. New member David Roberts had driven down from Rugby on the Saturday in fine weather. Richard and Jackie, and Don and Eithne in their Spiders also drove down on the Saturday. Graham Earl turned up in his Sprint, Peter Yaxley was in his Berlina, and Andrew Stevens was with his Dad, over from Australia, in the 1750GTV. Tim Wilson joined in his Sprint GT. The rest of us were in “moderns” but at least mine was an Alfa.
Richard Wigley marshalled us in the cafeteria ready for the guided tour and gave us a potted history of the Museum and the current collections. Richard is on the board of Trustees and acted as one of our guides for the visit. We split into two groups. Our tour leader had spent 35 years in the tank regiment and knew all there was to know about the subject; he was even able to answer young Cameron Hampton’s probing questions.
We learned that tanks were brought into service in order to be able to straddle the trenches, and that the Mark one tank, known as Little Willie, right there in front of us all, was the prototype for all British WW1 tanks. It had a similar power output to a Spider Veloce and a top speed of just 3.5 mph. In 1917, Renault produced a tank with a fully rotating gun turret, a great improvement operationally. The German Tiger tank from WW2 was a magnificent piece of machinery, all welded, heavy and surprisingly modern in appearance, whereas the equivalent mass produced Russian tank was lighter and more maneuverable. We were told that Russian tank crews were chosen on height to allow the machine to have a smaller profile. Makes sense.
The modern tanks, just as superbly displayed, are, of course, much faster,we were assured, and have computer controlled gun aiming although we are told that the British military prefer not to use this feature and retain manual control of firing.
My impression of tanks in general was that they weren’t very nice places to work in, cramped, full of diesel fumes, recoil from the guns and difficult to see out of.
After lunch a visit to the “work in progress sheds” was organised where those with shoes “unsuitable” for the very wet and very muddy conditions realised the error of their ways. On the way over to this part of the museum, David Roberts discovered the joys of Giulietta motoring when he found he had a flat battery and needed a push start in the pouring rain before setting off back home.
All in 24 people came along including Paul and Kate Gregory on their wedding anniversary! They were off for a slap up meal on their way home.
By the time we left the sun had returned for the drive home
Many thanks Richard for organising another great Register event.
Americans Brad and Sherry Baum and Don and Lynda Sanders, from California and North Carolina respectively, joined the Register trip from England to Friedrichshafen in Germany from 11 - 17 June 2015.
You can read below Brad's daily blogs sent from the road.
12 June – From Domaine de Barive
We had a beautiful drive on Thursday, our first day! The first hour or so away from the Chateau Barive was over narrow farm roads with good pavement, past rolling crop fields, going south of Sainte Preuve toward the A26, north of Reims. Red poppies grew along the edge of the road in spots, and a blue and a yellow Giulia Spider filled my windscreen. Sherry was beaming next to me, listening to her iPod, pointing out small animals, and waving at our Alfa driving friends. Jackie turned around in her seat to take pictures at one point, and we thought of Rod Mossop doing the same a few years back in the French Alps.
After a couple hours of busy motorway, we drove more small roads through forest covered hills. From that point on the temperatures were short sleeve warm all the way to the hotel in Bad Herrenalb in Sud Schwarzwald.
13 June – Mercedes Museum and Scharzwald
The Mercedes Museum is just what you would expect from Mercedes. It was a very special to have our Alfas park at the museum entrance in a wide pedestrian apron. The history of the motorcar from its very beginning (with the Merc point of view), products in non -passenger car applications, common autos, and of course, the silver arrows, and recent GP cars are all there with the best presentation, and detailed information. Easily my favorite was the pre 60's race car collection. All the racers produced prior to the tragic Le Mans accident are beautifully detailed engineering works. They appear robust, and still light, not at all my long held perception of Mercedes.
After a few hours at Mercedes, the drive south to Friedrichshafen was work at first. Open roads were only a couple of kilometers between villages it seemed for over an hour. After that, at most, 10 km between development, or towns, but the roads started to sweep left and right just matched to a Giulia's handling and light steering. The farm and forest scenery was all you could ask for.
14 June – Klassikwald Bodensee
This weekend was my second visit to Klassikweld Bodensee. Obviously, I like it. I like it a lot. Today, I even like it more than the Monterey Classic week.
First, the distances are short. I watched race cars standing ten feet from the edge of the circuit, studying various race lines and braking points, watching great passing and tactics. Without moving position, then I watched a B24 in polished aluminum, and the only flying P38 I've ever seen taxi past for demonstration flights. Three minutes walk and you're among a vast assortment of collector cars, or you can buy a beer and food. The venue is also just a few minutes from our hotel, which is near shops, great dining, the Bodensee lake shore, and the Graf Zeppelin museum; all are minutes walk. Also, everything is much cheaper than the Monterey peninsula.
But, most of all this event has the motor vehicles that I crave to see. MV Agusta had an impressive presence among a few hundred great old motorcycles. Affectionados of many European makes had club stands, as well as the spectator car park, restored caravans, wooden boats, and several great old airplanes. For any Motörhead, nothing's been left out!
15 June – Friedrichschafen to Besancon
Leaving Friedrichshafen in gentle rain, I looked forward to the short drive along the lake shore to the ferry boat landing at Meersburg. The reality was a closed motorway diverted all traffic through small town roads and we only traveled at walking speed, with a delay of well over an hour. Then in Switzerland, motorway travel was quick enough, but not too interesting until, after a few hours drive, the exit near Oensingen toward Naturepark Thai. This new small road became more interesting mile by mile and at the French border we stopped for coffee in a beautiful setting at the small village of Goumois.
From there to Besancon we drove the best small driving roads and scenery you could hope for, all the way to Hotel Le Sauvage in Besancon. Set in a beautiful medieval village, the River le Doubs flows around the old town on three sides. The old citadel is prominent above our room window. Besancon and Goumois are places I'm going to return to!
16 June – Besancon to Chateau Thierry
Sometimes driving on a Register tour, I'm reminded of the film sequence from The Italian Job, where Mini Coopers are rushing through narrow streets in Torino. That was the feeling when leaving the beautiful Hotel Le Sauvage in old Besancon. Its great fun to quickly travel narrow, or one way medieval roads round the old buildings with the hood down, listening to echoing Alfa engines and waving at enthusiastic spectators. It feels like we're hooning through an otherwise peaceful place, and if in modern cars a reprimand or worse would be issued by locals.
Leaving Besancon, the route was perfect Giulietta driving roads for many hours. More sweeping corners on two lane roads through beautiful farmland, with a lot of river and canal crossings. Deciding a picnic stop by a rivers edge would be nice, finding a spot was easy. By early afternoon, I thought I've never had a more perfect drive in a sports car.
17 June – Mezey Moulin to Calais
Hotel Moulin-Babet in Mezy Moulin is a simple and pleasant accommodation in a beautiful setting. This would be my last chance, after breakfast, to inspect Frank Van Der Vecht's beautifully restored 57 Spider. My own 57 Spider came to me partially disassembled, and missing a few critical small items. Frank's help this morning filled all my gaps, in knowledge as well as parts inventory!
After a few pleasant miles on small roads, then the A4, we're on the A26 motorway to the Eurotunnel. I've driven this stretch of A26 more than half a dozen times. Low stress motorway lets your mind wonder. For me, that means pondering place names along the way. St Quentin is a milestone town along Hwy 1 in Baja California. I always contrast that dry simple desert town to the lush productive farm land around this French St Quentin.
Then Arras, it's been more than twenty years since I read Saint-Exupery's account of a recon flight to Arras. As I pass by, I wish I could recall more of the story. Someday, I will take the off ramp to N17 and visit the grass airfield there. I've always received warm welcomes when visiting small airfields anywhere in the world. Then Blockhaus Epperlecques has a large road sign on the A26. Thanks to Richard Hampton, I know exactly what's at this historic WWII landmark. Not that long now, until signs for the Eurotunnel entrance. The very best sport touring I can imagine is the motoring I've done with the Giulietta Register over the past ten years. It's great to have terrific friends who share my passion for these wonderful cars.