Where Time Stands Still

A few weeks ago I was looking for some more local car shows when I stumbled across an advert for Horham Air Base – home to the 95th Bomber Squadron, which is near Diss in Norfolk. One advert said it was a seventy-fifth anniversary of the squadron coming to the UK, on another advert it said there was going to be an Americana Day including a car show too. So I decided that this was an event I wanted to go to, I hadn’t been to the airfield and the theme was American based too. It also means that this was the third day in a row of car related events, I’m lucky to have a very understanding wife! I arrived early and was pointed to where I should park, at that time there was just three of us. I locked the car up and went to have a look around the airbase with its “American museum in the UK” as it has been advertised.

What I wasn’t expecting was people volunteers who were all be dressed in the 40’s clothing and period army uniforms as well. There was plenty of army vehicles parked along the hedges leading to the entrance.

Walking through the narrow entrance was the old style tin huts that were in remarkable condition and beautifully looked after. There was no entrance fee, as the site appeared to be surviving on the donations from the guests on the day. For the moment I pretty much had the place to myself before it officially opened to the public.

Inside the huts there were traders selling their historic items, books and period clothing.

There was a stall where a guy was selling original adverts from magazines, he was also playing the original 78’s to give the place such an authentic feel of the war era. It sort of made me feel humble to be honest to wonder what it must have been like to live here, knowing your next mission could be your last.

Walking from one hut to another was like a rabbit warren that just seemed to go on for miles. There was a bar, dance hall, officers mess and an entrance room/hall with lots of displays and models that was serving tea and coffees. Everything that was on display had a description to it. It would have taken days to read everything.

The little bits I found interesting was the posters and notes stuck to the doors;

There was the museum that wasn’t huge, but it really packed the artefacts in there. The whole area was done with sensitivity for the fallen aircrews and referenced the guys that didn’t make it back from their missions. There were uniforms and photos, personal objects, maps and medals, money and paper work. All just incredible to see with such attention to all the small details that makes a difference.

There was bombs, seats, various parts from the bomber planes along with a mock-up of the rear gunner on the bombers.

I must have spent hours in there because I was getting hungry and more people were coming in, as well as the unmistakable smell of the BBQ that was wafting around outside tormenting me, I just had to treat myself as it was getting near lunchtime now. The place was buzzing and outside the DJ was playing some original 78’s for the guests all sitting around eating and having the odd beer. There was a guy there whose father was in the “Desert Rats” and had dedicated himself to carrying on the stories that his father had passed down to him. The stories he told me about the conditions in the desert were just amazing. He had original rations for the troops, equipment and the uniform too. I hope these memoirs can be retold in years to come. It makes me sad to think that the it could all be forgotten one day.

The least area to explore and perhaps was my favourite little area, was the Military Police hut. I was in there on my own and I was literally standing in room where time had stood still. Everything was left just how it was back then, almost untouched, even down to the old magazine on the table.

I walked back to the car and found that the field allocated for the show cars had filled up. I would say some of the cars here are better than some official shows that I have been too in the past. The first pic is the early birds with virtually nobody else from the public here.

Some of the other cars that turned up for the day.

A great day on personal point of view, I had a little glimpse back in time to what it was like to live in those days.

Advertisements
Posted in car shows, General | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Drag Racing & A Local Fête.

The weekend has been very busy for me and it turned out to be all car related which all started on Friday. The “A602 Street and Strip Rods” had hired out Santa Pod Raceway 1/4 mile drag strip for a private day of racing. Mustang Maniac were invited along with some friends if they wanted to come along and watch or race. I got a phone call to ask if I wanted to go, pretty stupid question really, so I booked the day off work and arranged to meet some of the Mustang Maniac guys and follow them up to the “Pod” early in the morning. I had deliberated whether to take my Mustang and thrash it down the strip or not. You only needed to pay a single fee of £50 and you could go race as many times as you liked for the day. In the end I thought better of it and decided against it and settled for watching the others race. The reason was simple in a way, I didn’t want to blow something up that I had spent years restoring, just to see how fast it goes.

Yogi had his car there a sweet ’69 that has all sorts of things done to it and he achieved his personal best of 11.4 for the day, he was not happy as he messed up a gear change on that run. Other runs he was just playing around with tyre pressures to see if he could get better times. which were all pretty much the same time.

Yogi’s best friend Spence had his “Green Grinch” running just a second and a little bit behind Yogi.

Adam had taken up his 1000bhp UBB (Ultimate Bad Boy as it was officially named by the guys who built it). Adam’s first attempt was a cracking 12.4 with no burn-outs and just pulled it up to the line and nailed it when the tree turned green.

Back in the paddock there were some pretty serious cars from the Pro Mod class.

There was a huge assortment of cars running, from Toyota Prius and a Land rover medical van to Ford Kugas and Porsches. The Porsches couldn’t beat Yogi’s best of the day and they seemed to be a little disgruntled that a fifty year old car blitzed the best they could rustle up, even with their launch control, paddle shift gear boxes and aero styling.

In a wat I sort of wished that I had taken my car for a blast down the quarter, but after seeing a well tuned car crack an engine block, I was glad I didn’t run in the end.

What a great day was had by all, great atmosphere and everybody was just amazing, and it’s honestly not as easy as some of the guys make it look!


Saturday on the other hand was a completely different day in terms of pace. The Bury Retro Car Club that I am a member of had asked for thirty cars to be available for a mini show. I offered my car as I knew the sun was going to be out. There was going to be a Fête in a little village called Risby, about twenty miles away from me. A senior club official lives in the village and knew they were holding the Fête for a local hospice charity. The cars were to be there as an added attraction to the usual village fête antics, there was the tombola’s, tug of war, Morris dancers (that I find pretty unnerving), book stalls, cake stalls, bouncy castle, kiddies face painting, a very popular BBQ and bar etc. The only racing during the day was the children’s races where all the children won a little something, a light-hearted dog show with categories like; dog with the waggiest tale, the curliest tale, best biscuit catcher, cutest dog, softest coat, floppiest ears, the dog that the judges want to take home etc. Again all of which was great fun to see, especially when the dogs ignore the owners and started chasing the biscuits that wasn’t even for them! 😀

Anyway the cars were allocated a roped of area of the car park so the visitors could see the cars as an added attraction to the day. The down side? The car park area was a large stoned gravel area, in the hot sun moving the dried and baking hot stones cause clouds of dust that all seemed to settle on my car. My beloved blue car was sort of grey by the end of the day. So I had to wash it very carefully when I got home to get the dust and sand of the paint work.

The day was a great success with virtually all the village showing up at some point. From what I understand they made a fair amount of money for hospice charity as well.

For once I was a nice change to be able to use my car for a good cause and charity. Sunday (today) I was at another event which I shall post probably tomorrow as it deserves a post of its own.

Posted in car shows, Driving my car | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cars On The Green

Over the weekend I attended perhaps my favourite car show, Cars on the Green in Bury St Edmunds. Sunday morning I looked out the window and there was a tiny few specs of rain. Now I don’t take the car out in the wet in case it shrinks in the water. So I waited for a while before I made the decision to go. I arrived some twenty minutes later and I almost had to put the wipers on and was uttering the odd colourful blue words at the rain. It must have done the trick as the sun showed itself as I pulled in to the show.

There was some great cars there and it’s always a nice atmosphere at this show. I was on the Bury Retro Car Club stand (patch of grass) shared with some great people from the club too. I took up station under a tree unfortunately, which was leaking sap like water through a cheese grater. So much so, that as I was sending a message to my wife I could feel the sap on the phone screen.

I always give the car a quick spray with some ‘quick detailer’ to take off the dust from the road just so the car looks her best while on show. With the sap falling like it was, I decided not to touch the paint in case I damaged it. Yes, I always carry (a lot) cleaning products, but in the location where I was it would have pointless to try to keep clean. So with a heavy heart I let the car get dirty, well what I call dirty anyway. 😦

The public was allowed into the show from ten in the morning onwards, it was great to see lots of Dads on Father’s Day with their little ones for the day. I think I may have spotted the odd spouse or two who was, erm – not into cars should we say! I started my slow stroll around the massive venue and took some pictures of the cars that caught my eye. I tried to limit myself for the number of pictures otherwise it’s just picture overload. I will start with some UK cars which are starting to command some quite serious money now.

Then some good old American Muscle.

The Cars on the Green show is classed show for all cars, classics, modern, vans, trucks, modified and new, all of which were well represented. On a side note I have spotted over the last few shows that I have attended, there are a few almost new cars creeping into the classic car events. Now I am petrol head and love cars, so if somebody wants to show their car then fine with me. But, what is the point of taking a two-year old Volvo (example car), that is plain standard stock and parking it next to a genuine classic car. Perhaps that is such a controversial thing to say, and I certainly don’t want to offend anybody. I can sort of understand it, the car show scene is full of great people who always seem to help each other out when another car is in trouble.

Perhaps when the organisers of the events say “classic car show” the cars should be at least fifteen years old? What do you think? That way I can get to see more of the old cars that I personally go to see. I really hope that I haven’t upset anybody with that statement, it wasn’t my intention to do so. Perhaps I need to wind my neck in?

Back to this show, there was a couple of live bands and singers, fairground rides for the children, plenty of food stands and stalls for all things cars and couple of random ones as well nothing to do with cars. Lots of people turned up for the day along with a number of seriously well-behaved dogs too.

Perhaps my favourite pic? This one, where the Land Rover stand had an electric toy version of their vehicles for sale. This little lady just loved it and the guys all to their credit let her stay in it for a while. Well done guys, I think they made that little girl’s day.

After my walk around I sat back in the comfy chair and watched the world go by and had some great conversations with people I have been talking to via email; hi Simon!

I can’t wait for this weekend as it might be two shows, Saturday and the Sunday.

If it doesn’t rain of course.

Posted in car shows, Driving my car, Photo's | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Classic Car Code

My first trip of the year in my car was fine, but I had a few scary moments there and back. There were idiots with no consideration slicing across the front of my car, the other was to avoid all the trenches or pot holes in the road. The roads in the UK are complete joke right now to be honest after the snow, sun and rain. I think that I compressed my spine by an inch and shook a filling out my tooth due to all the mega craters in the road. I guess that’s what you get when stiffen the suspension in order to make the car handle a bit better.

During the round trip I had a thought to myself wondering if these people realise what us Classic Car owners are thinking while we drive along? So, I had a little fun and came up with this little list in my head then wrote it down before I forgot it;

  1. We treat everybody on the road as somebody who can’t drive properly.
  2. We seriously believe that other road users want to crash into us at every junction.
  3. Pulling out from a junction at the last-minute in front of us really is a problem.
  4. We never trust somebody’s indicator as being their true intention.
  5. We give ourselves extra space to the car in front to allow us time to slow and stop as our brakes may not be as good as modern cars.
  6. We give ourselves extra space to avoid the chance of any stones being flicked up causing a stone chip on our paint jobs.
  7. Our paint jobs can cost as much as a small family car.
  8. Stone chips may look tiny to you, but to us they look as big as a satellite dish and just as ugly.
  9. It may look like we are drunk while driving although we’re not. We are avoiding the pot holes in the road, you normal car drivers wouldn’t give a second glance to.
  10. Pot holes are like moon craters or trenches for classic cars.
  11. We spend as much time looking at the road conditions as we do predicting traffic.
  12. If you wish to overtake us we don’t mind, but don’t chop across the front of our car, give us space, see points 4, 5 & 6.
  13. We will avoid a crash at all costs and we will take extra care.
  14. We will avoid mud. That mud stores moisture and starts the rust process off.
  15. We are paranoid about rust. We can hear our cars rusting in the garage!
  16. We don’t drive close to side of the road where there are hedges as they are a potential for paint damage.
  17. We will stop rather than drive past or through a bush or hedge.
  18. We will slow down for large puddles.
  19. We don’t like rain.
  20. We will do everything we can to protect our cars from water damage.
  21. Tailgating makes us nervous, we won’t speed up just because you want to go faster.
  22. Because we tinker around on our cars doesn’t mean anything is wrong.
  23. If you see our car and you don’t like what you see, don’t tell us because we don’t care.
  24. We are happy to talk to anybody about our cars, but please don’t tell what our cars should look like or what we have done wrong in restoring it.
  25. We will drive around endlessly looking for a safe place to park.
  26. If our car is parked somewhere you can guarantee we can still see it.
  27. There is no need to touch our cars.
  28. Finger prints on our paint is a problem for us. We will clean it off.
  29. Leaning on our cars is definitely not acceptable.
  30. The tinkle of zips, belts, buckles or the metallic sound of a ring will damage our paint.
  31. Young children with ice creams are a potential for more unnecessary cleaning.
  32. Dogs using our tyres as a mobile toilet is not acceptable. We will clean it off.
  33. We don’t like parking under trees because tree sap can ruin paint. We will clean it off.
  34. Birds mess on the car will cause serious damage to paint work. We will clean it off.
  35. Dead insects on our cars is unsightly and can cause damage. We will clean it off.
  36. Cleaning our cars is a pleasure and some of our cleaning products can cost as much as a tank of fuel.
  37. The “You missed a bit” cleaning joke isn’t funny, honestly.
  38. No we won’t clean your car when we have finished ours.
  39. Yes we do need to clean our car if its been in the garage, it gets dusty.
  40. We tend not to thrash our cars around just to prove a point for you.
  41. The grip from our tyres may not be as good as modern-day compounds.
  42. A set of traffic lights is not a cue for drag race with you.
  43. The interior of our classic cars are cleaned with the same care as the outside.
  44. Adding fuel to our cars means we will wipe off every single spilt drop.
  45. We carry spare fluids in the trunk for all eventualities under the hood.
  46. We sit by our cars at car shows to keep an eye on our cars.
  47. No you can’t sit in it – don’t ask.
  48. No we won’t start our car up just so you can hear it, wait untill we leave.
  49. There are two prices for our classic car parts, the proper price and the price we tell our partners.
  50. A classic car is not “just a car” to us, it’s a way of life.

I hope I haven’t missed anything and made a few people smile and say – “yep that’s me!” If I have missed something that needs to be on this list, please let me know and I shall amend it. Although this is a little bit of fun, there is also a serious note to the points too. When I see any Classic Car on the road and I am in my daily workhorse car; I give them plenty of room now.

I just couldn’t do a post with no picture of a car that wouldn’t be right.

 

Posted in Articles, Car, Driving my car | Tagged , , , , , | 40 Comments

Back On The Road

Now that the weather in the UK has changed from pretty dismal to a sunny week or so. It was time to get the Mustang out and get it all ship-shape and road legal. Since November last year my car has sat in the garage just waiting for a nice day out. The car’s MOT had run out at the beginning of December, which means that until my car passes an MOT I can’t get any road tax to allow it back on the road, all be it that the road tax is free as it’s classed as a historical vehicle.

Earlier last week I arranged with Adam at Mustang Maniac to get my MOT booked in on Saturday (just gone). Friday evening the car was given a check up, to make sure fluid levels were where they should be and that I had no leaks. There shouldn’t be as I check my car every other week at least.

Saturday morning had arrived and it was starting to get sunny as I backed the car out the garage. It was a strange feeling being on the left hand side and it took a few minutes to get used to it again. The drive was great going to the Mustang Maniac yard, dual carriageway and some country roads to enjoy. The worst part was the pot holes or should I say craters in the road that had not been fixed. I spent most of my time totally focused on tarmac, when there was some rather than the traffic. I arrived at the yard after a ninety minute drive and sat in the office chatting to Adam for a while. I “borrowed” this pic from The Mustang Maniac blog Park & Pic section.

I was given verbal instructions on how to get to the MOT centre along with my faithful Sat-Nav. I was given some banter by Yogi warning me that the “Test centre closes at three, best you get a move on”. So off I went to the test centre fifteen minutes away, I parked up and waited for the guys to take my little lady into the testing bay.

What seemed like hours later (but it wasn’t), the tester came out with a clean sheet MOT pass. It’s such a relief to know that all was OK and safe with the car. Walking out to my car there was a couple of admirers looking at her and asked me a few questions about how long it took to restore and where was it done etc. I noticed a tiny drip from the water thermostat housing that needed a little tweak with a spanner to reseal again when I got back to the Mustang Maniac yard.

Now I can look forward to the dozen or so car shows I have in mind this year. My journey home was not so nice due to nutters on the road that got me nervous, so much so that I intended to make a little fun post shortly about it. Anyway I got home safely and parked the car up ready for a clean on Sunday. The car was dusty from the dry weather so I decided to get the Snow Foam on the car for the first bubble bath of the year.

Of course a rinse, snow foam, wash, rinse and dry is not enough, so I needed to give her a little wax top up to keep her shiny. Oh and polish the chrome wheels, and the glass, and the chrome trim etc.  I must say that she didn’t look any different after the wash to be honest, but at least I know she is clean again.

I’m ready and waiting to get to the car shows now.

Posted in Car Detailing, car shows, Driving my car | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

First Time Videos

During some routine maintenance on my PC where I back up my files, then move them to relevant folders etc. I came across an old video that I thought I had lost. So I decided that I would share that video and a couple of others with you. The day was a Saturday 14th April 2012, I had a good mechanic mate of mine; Will from Park Garage Services came round to the house and help me with the start-up. This was a long time before I started to get involved with Mustang Maniac for my parts and the proper restoration process. After a long winter of re-wiring the car to get to the point I could turn the key properly, this was a very important day in the restoration process. I had no idea that this restoration project was ever going to be a blog that it is now, so there wasn’t that many pictures from the very beginning. I already had the old wiring out, well what was left of it that is. IThe old wiring sits in a big box and I’m still not sure what to do with it. It’s old, it’s brittle, it’s burnt and melted, it’s total rubbish, but I just can’t bring myself to dump it. Any ideas what to do with an old wiring loom? Please let me know.

The new wiring had been installed and nothing was neat at this point, or even in the right places come to that. The wiring was just connected up and roughly in place. That very early stage was just to prove the process to myself that it was going to work. Later on the new wiring would be taken back out for the full restoration and paint job, then reinstalled properly and neatly, just how I wanted it to be.

The engine was not cleaned or prepped in any way prior to this video. It just had the new blue spark plug leads, Pertronix Ignitor II ignition upgrade, new replica battery, one wire alternator, new spark plugs and new cables for earth and battery etc. The starter solenoid was an unknown entity so we weren’t sure if we were gonna have issues at that point.

Being as I had rewired the car myself over a few months each weekend, the wiring was also an unknown piece of work too, I just hoped I had read the book of words (instructions) correctly. In fact the good lady wife had the instructions colour copied and laminated for me. That would mean my dirty hands wouldn’t ruin the paper or tear it. I could keep the originals in a safe place just in case I did lose one section or managed to damage them.

Back to the start-up day; I put two gallons of fuel in the petrol tank and made sure there was no leaks. I had previously turned the engine over by hand with no spark plugs in place, that would make it much easier not having to deal with the compression, the engine wasn’t seized up. I had previously filled up the engine with water and some temporary light oil as the engine wasn’t going to run under stress for any length of time either. Oil lubrication is a critical factor to consider when the engine hadn’t run for twelve years or so for any cold start and engine wear. The turning over of the engine on crank would pump the oil around the engine at those low cranking revs. The car was cranked over for a bout thirty seconds and then left the car to settle for a minute or so. We then primed the carburetor up with fuel via pumping the gas (via the carb linkages) to help fire up and this was video was the result. The headers were straight out as there was no exhaust connected at all, the volume and resonance distorted the microphone on the phone.

My good lady wife was in charge of the camera at the time, this is the first time this video has been on the internet on any of my media platforms.

 

With the car restored I was arriving home from a car show and the car was filmed being driven into the garage. This is a nostalgic look at the before and after comparisons.

This time the Flowmaster 40 Series mufflers were fitted to the 3″ headers which gives that unmistakable Mustang v8 rumble.

This is also a first time showing of this video on the internet.

 

This video of the car backing out of the garage was another mate who wanted a ride out in the car when he first saw it back completed from the restoration. The final first time video on the internet video.

 

Then of course there is the mandatory drive by;

Apologies if you have seen the “Driveby” on my YouTube channel, but I think it’s worth a proper posting on the blog and not just a link.

I have started to review a few more Car Detailing products now and hopefully you will find them useful as well. I have found a couple of real nice products all of which can be found under the “Car Detailing Reviews” heading, the latest being from the Chemical Guys.

I’m looking forward to this coming car show season I must say, seeing these videos has made me realise how much I miss driving her. 😦

Video | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

London Classic Car Show 2018 – Icon Post

This is the third and final post of the three from the Classic Car Show Sunday the 18th February 2018 at the London Excel Centre. At the show as per my other posts there was lots of gleaming cars, motor sports was well represented and a VIP was also there for the day collecting his “Icon Award”.

“Should you ever meet your heroes?”  

That question has been asked many times and I suspect that there is a lot of various and wide responses, some good and some shattered dreams I expect. Whether it’s a TV star, music star, sportsman, author, radio personality or any celebrity, people will always dream of meeting somebody who inspires them, some of them may be historical figures and some present day. My answer to that question is answered below and a massive tick on my bucket list, which happens to be quite a small list. I’m not actually a lover of the term “Hero” as it sounds like a bit of a obessesion, so the term for me should be “Icon”, but for now we will stick with hero as that is the question.

The 1992 Formula 1 World Champion and Indy Car World Champion 1993, Grand Prix Masters Champion 1995: 

Nigel Mansell

I mentioned in the other posts a couple of clues to this post; apart from him sitting in the F1 car in the motor sport post, there was the “5” at the end of the post. Nigel’s Racing number over the years has been 5 where possible and it’s always been a red 5, in fact Nigel now tags his signature with “Red 5“. I started following Formula 1 in the mid eighties during my late teens and early twenties as Mansell arrived on the scene properly. There is so much that has been written about Nigel and his career too much to list here. So take a look on Wikipedia would answer a lot of questions and give you good insight to the man:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigel_Mansell

My own top 15 Nigel Mansell Facts:

  1. Nigel is the only man in history to hold both the Formula 1 World title ’92 and the Indy Car Title ’93 with the Newman Haas team, at the SAME time.
  2. Enzo Ferrari personally picked Nigel to drive for the Ferrari team in 1989/90 seasons. Nigel was the last driver to be given that honour before Enzo died.
  3. Mansell and his two sons Leo & Greg took part in the 2010 Le Mans race, the first time a Father and two sons had raced together.
  4. 1985 French GP Nigel broke the record for the highest speed crash at 200mph, giving himself concussion at the same time.
  5. Nigel has had a OBE & CBE titles from the Queen.
  6. Nigel’s first F1 race for Lotus was in 1980, he started the race with fuel leak that filled his cockpit. He later retired with 1st & 2nd degree burns to his buttocks.
  7. Last race of the season Melbourne Australia in 1986 Nigel suffered a tyre explosion that ended his chances of being the 1986 World Champion.
  8. Nigel won the 1992 F1 championship with five races to go, such was his dominance of that season.
  9. Nigel won his first ever race for Ferrari. It’s a known fact that the car was not expected to last more than a handful of laps, Nigel even booked a flight home before the end of the race. He managed to keep it going and bring the car home. The Italians nick named him “Il Leone” – The Lion, as a result of his determination.
  10. Nigel is the only man to put a hole in the Phoenix Raceway oval track after a collision at 174mph.
  11. Nigel has broken many bones including his back and his neck in 1977 during a race qualifying session. Doctors told him that he was perilously close to quadriplegia, he still discharged himself from hospital and started racing again a few weeks later. In fact he still races with the same neck brace he used after that crash where he was lucky to be alive.
  12. Nigel was a Special Constable on the Isle of Man for 11 years all through his racing career while he lived there until 1995.
  13. Nigel’s golf handicap was scratch and almost +1, his aim to play in the British Open.
  14. Nigel sold his Woodbury Park Hotel and Golf Club that he built up in Devon for approx £11m.
  15. Nigel’s son Greg was named after his God Father; Greg Norman the golfer and best friends with Nigel.

Enough of the facts on with the photos. On the entrance to the show Mansell’s 1986 car FW11 was on display. Mansell failed to win the Championship by just two points with only 19 laps to go. I remember that I was up at stupid o’clock in the morning to watch the race live from Australia, and was in shock and mortified when I saw that rear tyre explode.

Probably nothing like the pain Nigel felt losing the championship. This is that very car and same chassis from that very race.

The show was to have Nigel drive a car down the roadway. His first drive was a beautiful black open top E-type Jaguar. I was a little late getting to the barriers, but being 6’4″ does have its advantages sometimes.

A little later in the day Nigel was to again drive down the road, but this time in a Formula 1 car which just happened to be Michael Schumacher’s old car during the time he was at the Benetton team, which was also on tmy previous motor sport post.

Nigel was allowed to “burn some rubber” and was the only person that day allowed to do so.

On his return trip back he did a donut or two and parked up where he was besieged by media to receive the 2018 Icon award. At this time I was on the bridge over the road and had to zoom in to try to get a picture, so they are little grainy, sorry.

I borrowed this picture from the Excel Centre’s own web page.

Mansell’s career started with Formula Ford where he won the championship in 1977 in this car, he won 33 of the 42 races that season. To fund his racing and dreams of getting his break into Formula 1, he sold his house and all his personal possessions to fund that dream. Once Nigel was in Formula 1 it eventually took him twelve years to realise that dream.

Mansell was snatched up by the late great Colin Chapman in 1980 as a test driver for his Lotus team to start with. Nigel got his break in 1980 in the Lotus 81B here. See also point six of my facts above.

The other famous car that was there for the Nigel Mansell Tribute was the FW14B. This was the car that won the World Championship in 1992. I was at two races that season; British Grand Prix where he won and the German Grand Prix two weeks later where he won again with Ayrton Senna second and Michael Schumacher third. That was my dream podium right there.

A previous revision of this car was also featured in one of the most famous F1 photo opportunities taken. In 1991 Mansell gave a lift the legendary Ayrton Senna a lift back to the pits after his car broke down during the British Grand Prix. Much to the disgust of the marshalls who tried to pull Ayrton from the car. I was at that at that race.

After I had drooled over these cars again Nigel was scheduled to give a couple of question and answer sessions. I got to the stage area a little later than I anticipated due to the amount of people heading in that direction, as a result I had to stand at the back of the crowds. I had to zoom in to the max so a little grainy, but I think you get the idea.

There was a great atmosphere during the talk and Nigel had the audience in fits of laughter with some of his stories. After the allotted time had over ran he sat at a table in order to do  an autograph session. The queue for the table was long, as I was standing at the back my plan of action was the direct route to the line. My wife on the other hand-made a tactical dash around people and got their way before I did and was standing in the middle of the line with a daft grin on her face, what a great result. perhaps we may get there before he has to go. Very well-played that girl for getting the spot. 🙂

During the wait for our turn I watched as Nigel shook hands with everybody in front of him and signed everything they gave to him. He took selfies with the children and his older fans. Never once did he complain or refuse having to keep getting out of his chair walk around the table for a picture and back again. I had taken my 1992 Grand Prix race programme with me and my Special Edition Auto Sport magazine dedicated to Nigel Mansell the F1 World Champion 1992.

Now it was my turn, my throat was getting dry and I was determined not to make a fool of myself. I gave my ever patient wife the phone to take pictures. Instructions were simple, just keep taking the pictures. I walked to the table and handed my 1992 race programme to Nigel and he shook my hand and thanked me for coming!

I proceeded to explain that I was at that race. “That was an amazing day, but I have to apologise to you; I was one of the mad nutters that invaded the track after you had won, I’m sorry.” Nigel replied with a chuckle and “So you was one of those were you!” “Yes, but I’m glad I did!” We laughed. Nigel had refered to the track invasion of the fans in a later press interview after the race, it wasn’t good to be honest and a bit dangerous, but “Mansell Mania” had taken over.

I thanked Nigel for his time and we shook hands again. My wonderful wife then gave Nigel my other magazine and he signed that for her (well me actually) too. I took over the phone camera and took lots of pics of their meeting. We both said our thanks again to Nigel and we left the table for the next fans. Unfortunately my wife has vetoed the photo’s of her at the table with Nigel. That decision I have to respect, but this was one of the only pics without her in it that I could post.

I walked away with some serious stupid grin and some disbelief; I had just met my sporting Icon (hero) at long last and it had not sunk in yet.

These were the items Nigel signed for me, he even thought about where to sign the covers.

1992 British Grap Prix Official Programme.

Autosport Special Edition Souvenir Magazine.

Now I feel that I can answer the question I raised above;    “Should you meet your hero?”

If it’s Nigel Mansell, then that is big “Yes“.

He was gracious and polite all the time which was everything and a lot more than I had hoped for. That was a huge tick completed of my bucket list. It was all down to the wife who found out that Nigel would be there and could be signing autographs, so it was worth a shot for me. We had a sit down and a drink to get over what had just happened. I still can’t get used to the fact he no longer has his famous moustache. We wandered around for the rest of the afternoon and took the photos for the other posts. I managed to catch up with Adam from Mustang Maniac who was around by the Mustang Owners Club stand ready to take his car back home again after the show. The last part of the As things were running late there was no autograph session. The queue had already formed in anticipation, unfortunately Nigel was ushered away even when he stopped to try to sign some more items his fans had brought in for him. None of that rushing away was his doing and he looked a little sad he couldn’t be there for his fans.

Nigel has always been an inspiration to me for his never give up attitude and sheer determination to get to his ultimate goal. He has and still remains one of the nicest guys in Formula 1.

What an amazing day, one that I will never forget.

As for that track invasion in 1992 that I apologised for; well I was on my way to join these fellow nutters and lucky guys who got there a little before me, but at least I was there on that famous day.

Thank you Nigel “Red 5” Mansell.

Have meet your hero or Icon? what were they like? I have meet a few other “Celebrities” and the odd one was a real idiot and so up himself, I wished that I never bothered to ask for his autograph at the time.

Video | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments