Yesterday was a car show that I was quite looking forward to for a couple of reasons. The first was that I was going to meet up with Lance and Paul in their Coupes so it would be an unofficial Mustang Maniac day out as it were. The second was that my car was imported into the UK from the USA and was home here to my car before she was sold, then neglected. RAF Lakenheath is the venue in Suffolk located not far away from Mildenhall Airbase. The area has a heavy American presence and as I love the Americans I couldn’t wait to get there. In fact I would love to live in America. There are always lots of American cars driving around the area, more so the modern cars than the classics.
Yesterday “we” was being composed of Lance and his fiancée Sam, Paul had brought along his son Mason, and billy no mates me, had all arranged to meet up at a McDonald’s just a few short miles away from the base itself. Lance and Paul are not far from each other and came up together and caught up with me there. We all parked up together and enjoyed a quick bite of breakfast.
Mine obviously the the blue one, Paul with his red ’66 Coupe and Lance with his ’65 Coupe. it made a great sight and already attracted a few glances with the odd photo before we got to the air base. After a quick freshen up we all started up our cars, all three of us had Flowmaster exhausts who all accidentally might have given a few more revs than normal. OMG! it sounded awesome and three grown up kids had a smile as big as the grill on their cars. A few short miles later we pulled into Lakenheath and there we waited, and waited some more.
This was going to be the first Wings & Wheels event, as last years was cancelled due to a known IS sympathiser vermin was seen cruising up and down stopping by the base boundaries. This year no such happenings, but the security was tight. Armed guards were checking registrations against the previously provided photo IDs. There was an undercover area where cars were called into a shed and we had to open the doors, hood and truck and then stand in an office/cabin that had the windows blacked out so you couldn’t see what was going on to your car. We were then allowed to go free and had to wait for a sufficient number of cars to be escorted around the base to an allocated area where the cars were going to be for the afternoon. The area was fenced off and more security checking in the visitors. We were not allowed to leave before five thirty in the evening where you would be again escorted from the base to the exit. During my drive around the base I wondered where my car was driven and stored while the original US owner lived and worked here. My car was back home, technically back on USA soil, all be it for a few hours, also where she was first shipped over to in the UK.
We got parked up in make shift parking spaces and I cleaned my car while the others gave be some verbal “encouragement” to hurry up and get on with it. Paul had to park in the row behind us which was more of luck than anything else so at least we were together of sorts. Lance was next to me and we were in turn next to a load of newish BMW’s that are common on the road as tarmac is.
We hand a wander around and pretty much saw everything we needed to see within an hour or so. Many of the promised cars didn’t turn up and there was a lot of empty spaces in our oversized pen, i would say around no more than two hundred cars and that would be generous, most of those newer cars. There was some lovely local food offering all things American, hotdogs, sausages and took both Dollars and Pounds as payment.
I hate to say it but the show wasn’t that good. There was plenty of stuff for the kids to do with lots of fun fair rides and they had obviously gone out of their way to make it work. The fact we couldn’t explore, which I do fully understand for security reasons, but the lack of things going on made it a very long afternoon to be honest. No vendors, no trade stalls for the adults unless you were hungry that is. The “Wings” representation was promised to be a Spitfire which suddenly appeared at half two and then was gone, later the Vulcan bomber was promised at half five. Alas the later never happened and I was pretty sad about that. A number of the fabulous aircraft were parked up around the perimeter and again guarded.
The heavens opened just after the Spitfire flew over and it was tropical downpour. There was a rush to the cars to sit back in them as there was no other shelter. We watched as some poor people with their old classic convertibles struggled to get the cars covered up for the first minute or so.
The rain didn’t last long and we then all tentatively emerged to dry the pride and joys. Perhaps that’s why there was a shortage of cars because of the weather forecast which said – light showers, not torrential rain. As it was an airfield the sun soon dried up the water within a short space of time and the wind helped dry the cars too. A few cars left early under escort and that allowed Paul to move his car the other side to Lance so the Three Amigos were together in the evening sun.
At five thirty what seemed like the entire car park joined a que to leave the event. Only a few die-hard enthusiasts remained. It was a great day with the guys & and Sam where we had a laugh. Not so sure that I will be there again next year though.
If you spot some of these photo’s also on the Mustang Maniac blog, that’s because we shared the best of the photo’s.
9 thoughts on “Back To Base”
Thanks for visiting Under Western Skies. Enjoyed your post. Sorry the Vulcan didn’t show. That would’ve been fascinating to see. I was in the Lakenheath neighborhood on a trip, many moons ago. Keep those ‘stangs rolling.
You’ve got more staying power than me Martin; I diid a couple of shows a few years ago but I prefer a breakfast run. Good for you though, especially with such an excellent restoration; people a want to have a close look rather than catch something flying past.
Thank you Nigel. I am just a big petrol head and love the cars. I have dreamed of driving to these shows for so long I make the most of it. Sometimes it’s more about the drive going there more than being there. I start to see the same faces again at the shows and speak to them as old friends. Mustang world is full of great people.
That’s very exciting, especially with the Mustang going home and you all having an informal reunion. Looks like a big deal event with lots of cars. I wouldn’t expect to see so many restored classic American cars in the UK. Classic cars in all different conditions are really common out here in NM where it’s so dry that the cars don’t rust much, but paint and interiors get eaten up by the sun. So it’s especially cool to see a big event, with a good variety of classic American cars associated with an air show.
The photos are great, also, and my wife thinks you need to make photo books of the restoration of your Mustang, and of these shows it’s in. A close friend of ours has started publishing photo books on Kindle and paper versions using Amazon’s just in time printing, so she has very little up front costs. Email me if you want to learn more about the what she’s doing. I starting work on some books, as well, but other things are getting in the way at the moment.
Really great post!
Thank you Timothy. I would love to know the details of the self publish and it just seemed a complete minefield so I didn’t progress it any further. But I have thought about it yes. You can email me via the blog it’s all private from there. ☺
The show was good and I just Adore the American mentality, every single person was brilliant there and I could fault it. But just a little lack of things goin on. I so wanted to see the Vulcan bomber again but I do get things don’t go to plan.
I’ve been looking at the Amazon publishing. Amazon requires a tax ID so they can report royalties to the IRS. It’s very easy to get a tax ID in the US, but I don’t know how easy a tax ID is for you in the UK and that’s where you may have to run into a minefield.
I will have to investigate a little more then I guess.