Let Me Try That Again…

My previous attempt and many hours of fiddling with things and more plugins didn’t get me very far. Some of you kindly gave me some feedback on what was happening. I agreed with pretty much all the little suggestions that came my way.

I got a little bit cute this time and picked a WordPress theme that I sort of liked. Again I got onto the Chat team and told them what i wanted and they sent me an additional CSS code to paste in. Now it does what I want, mostly. I have been fiddling again with that bit of code customise a little more to my liking.

I have managed to get a menu that scrolls with the blog, a header Image I can use now, A site title and tag line which was missing but added to the header image before.

It looks like the third party theme was a bit flaky and sort of did what it wanted. This WP theme seems to be much better and the help guys will help you fiddle with it.

I have added and amended the sidebar to make it look more up to date while I was at it.

Again please let me know if there are any issues and I will get onto it and fix it. Thanks again for the feedback and patience while I try and sort this lot out.

With any luck tonight I will get into bed before two in the morning!

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A Refreshing Look?

Yesterday I had tried to add a couple of items to my menu bar and I ended up breaking it. 🙁 I managed to get it back again to a normal state but’s not how it was. I was getting constant ‘gateway errors’ and the menus wouldn’t update. I have since been in contact with WordPress Help a couple of times, and they informed me that the theme that I had been using is now eleven years old. I nearly fell out of my comfy office chair when that flashed up on my little chat window.

The task for today was to hunt through all the themes that are out there to see if I could get one to work. I had a priority list of must haves; the image header, custom text colours, post options and of course how it looks and feels.

I found a few but settled on this one. I have been able to edit everything I needed with a the help of a couple of plugins that I need in order to make it all work. So far so good.

Except the header image which is playing me around. 😡

The image I’m trying to use is this one from the pro shoot in Cambridge, which has my blog title and tag line on the picture. The heading space wouldn’t allow both a picture and site tittle for some reason.

The heading looks fine on a couple of browsers Chrome/Firefox and the occasionally on Edge. It works on the mobile phone with the menus via a drop down so it’s much cleaner look too.

If you look at the new design can you please let me know if you have any issues with it, either half showing or heavily cropped like this;

I got a nasty feeling I may have to change this all again. I hope not.

Why did I mess with it? Well, I wanted to add a little ‘For Sale’ heading as I have a little supply of some parts. The addition of the extra menu tab was just to much and the theme had a bit of a frothy fit and wouldn’t play ball anymore.

What I have for sale is a little supply of the genuine Summit Racing Universal Engine Lift Plates. These are aimed at the carburettor guys on any make of engine. at £14.00 + P&P its a right steal. Click here for more pics and details.

In the very near future I will be selling something quite unique for classic Mustang owners. The prototype works and I’m now in collaboration with Mustang Maniac to get them made in volume. It’s all very exciting so watch this space!

Back to this post, I think this is much needed update and clean modern look now. The menu bar should be at the top on a PC so it’s easier to navigate around. There area few little tweaks to the side bar and social media buttons to like and follow.

If ANYTHING doesn’t work or looks rubbish let me know and I will amend it. I’m still playing with some of the settings and I may need to change bits around.

Please let me know if you like it or you want the old back. I can take criticism and take it like a man.

I do have two car shows to post and I haven’t forgotten them, it’s just that I have been busy trying to sort the theme mess out. Funny how a hour or so has turned into nine hours already!

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What Have I learned?

This post is more about my blog/website itself, and not just my car. Although there are some photo’s I have messed around with at the end (with a quick vote for fun), which I quite liked messing around with.

I’m asking for a little feedback to see to see if what I experienced was the ‘norm’ or not. Did I almost sell out? Did anybody notice?

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a marketing company about my site, they wanted to advertise on my pages. That company was “Infolinks”.

Now don’t get me wrong, they first sent me a nice email, where they asked if they could could book some time in with me to discuss a potentially good money making offer. All very professional and above board. I had to check for scams; were they legit, will it cost me anything?

I did my homework on them, all was good from what I could see. Promising start.

I responded back to agree to a meeting which was arranged via google calendar. Bang on time the next day I was called and we started to have a nice chat. He liked my site (I guessed that was standard patter), and saw a good potential to get me some extra money. They had even set a ‘budget aside ready for me’. With the average daily hits I was getting I was told that the advertising would get me $15 to $20 a day. That is a good amount to me for a niche audience like mine to be fair. That type of (proposed) money would come in handy to pay for my hosting, domain mapping and WordPress plan etc. I agreed to their proposals and within hours I was sent login details and everything I needed to get me going.

Setting it up was all straight forward enough, plugins and some little behind the scenes config and it was ready to rock. I decided I would try it for couple weeks straight and run their ads to see what the revenue would be like; in that time over 5,500 were ‘served’ on my unsuspecting readers and followers. After those two weeks I earnt a massive $3.21, that’s somewhat short of the $$ per day I was going to be getting. 🙁

I currently use WordPress ads and that pays for most of the hosting etc. I did check on my pages from a different IP Addresses to see what was going on. I didn’t like the intrusive load of ads from the start and thought it would settle down. It didn’t So I stopped it over the weekend.

My question to my fellow bloggers; did I get greedy or was I just naive and sold a story?

I learned that my readers and first time visitors experience of my pages is more important than a few cents. If I have to be a little out of pocket each year – then so be it. I’m Sorry if my temporary ads made my little ol’ blog unpleasant for you.

My Car Pictures:

OK, back to what I do know, my car. From the last show Culford I took a few pictures at the front of the building. I decided to have a little play around with some effects. It took me a while, but I learned just how easy it is to really mess up a good picture.

Here are my attempts at something arty, see what you think.

The original

Sepia

Artwork

Faded

Sepia with coloured Car

I decided to have a little poll to make it easier as I haven’t had a good ol’ vote for a while.

I have some amazing photo’s coming soon which I can’t wait to share with you, watch this space, hopefully at the weekend for a post. Although I have a car show Saturday + Sunday so not sure when I will get time to do it. This time last year I was scratching around for something to post about.

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Culford Car Show 2021 (part 1)

A couple of years ago there was a great car show inside a walled garden at Elevedon. Due to the Covid pandemic it was cancelled last year. The show got some great feedback and demand for places was high. It was clear this year it would need to be moved to a new venue; Culford School in Suffolk. Culford is a private school and quite exclusive for those with plenty of money. This year’s event was held in collaboration with the ‘Teenage Cancer Trust’. This show has jumped pretty near the top for my favourite car shows, with the much larger and beautiful grounds of Culford. I took over one hundred and eighty pictures on the day so I will split this show’s coverage into two halves.

The weather was due to be hot all weekend and I woke up Sunday morning with a huge smile as the sun was out. It was going to be the hottest day of the year so far peaking at 30 deg cel. This poses other issues to classic car owners – will it over heat and other such terrifying questions.

I packed lots of of drinks and and the wife told me to also pack a dog bowl and some water for the dogs at the show if they are out for the day in the heat. Initially I thought she was mad, but thinking about it, the dogs do get dragged around in the heat with their tongues hanging out. So I thought why not (we are massive dog lovers with two little guys of our own), we don’t want to see any dog to overheat.

The drive there was calm and collected, easy to get after a thirty minute drive. Pulling into the school gate the were speed humps. Not ideal as I know that my exhaust headers sit quite low. The first hump caught my attention with the scrap of metal even though I was going slow.

The rest were taken at snails pace to allow the car to gently go over them. Funny enough on the way out I scrapped the same hump, so that one must have been a tiny bit higher. The grounds of the event are beautifully kept, almost film set quality.

As you can see from the queue of cars waiting to get in there was indeed a few cars that had broken down.

Halfway along the drive there was a little church for the school.

Pulling into the main area of the school where some had already parked up, I believe these were allocated spots.

I showed my pass to the organisers for ‘Area A’ and was told to follow the Jag XKR to a parking location. We had to drive across a field and we were all pointed to some trees. I wasn’t best impressed thinking about the tree sap and potential bird stuff landing on the car. In fact a few cars parked up behind us and were asked to move forward a bit. They tried but wouldn’t start up again, a TVR and a VW Beetle with a Porsche engine bolted in the back having the worst of the trouble and were pushed forward a few feet. The heat

I got out and spoke to the Jag guys who turned out to be great company all day. We had a quick chat about the trees, the impending hot weather, they pointed out that at least we are in the shade. Point taken and and all was good with me again. Sap and stuff would have to be tolerated, for now. The car that also followed me parked up and everybody got busy with dusting over their cars to make them look good.

Looking forwards I could see the expanse of the fields and car that were going to be there.

I now honestly think that our spaces were the best there.

Not forgetting what the wife told me, once I had finished cleaning my car the dog bowl was out.

As it turned out I topped up the bowl twice and I was pleased to see that there weren’t that many dogs there, hopefully being kept cool at home.

After the exhausting work of quick detailing the car in the rising temperatures I got my chair out and had a little rest, it was then that I decided that my car really does have a nice rear end. Biased comment to say I know, a little biased here (OK a lot), but in the shade with a little sunlight glinting of it, I think it looked pretty good.

I’m gonna jump the sequence of the day a little bit for a very good reason. After I got back from my wander round I had two little guys take an interest in my car with their parents. They were well behaved and very polite and credit to their parents.

So let me introduce you to ‘Christopher’ and ‘Ollie’. (I think that I spelt the name right, I did try to find them again later on to check, but I couldn’t see them.)

So guys if I have spelt your name wrong, please let me know and I will update it for you straight away.

They little guys wanted to sit in the car so I agreed and they took turns in the drivers seat. I didn’t manage grab a pic at that time. But, they also asked to sit in the back. Now as that was a real first for me – I thought – why not? In you get again boys. Now you’re famous. 😀

As with all these little things, it made my day. I hope to see you little guys again.

Back to the sequence of the day; After a little sit down and a rest I decided to go for a walk and have a look round for some pictures. There was some pretty average cars there and on the other hand some great cars, on neither hand, quite a few I had seen and posted on my little ol’ blog before.

A little gathering of some UK fords right near my parking zone. Note the flaked out dog by the Granada in the shade.

As I worked my way nearer to the centre and the school there is this wonderful view.

The day was just getting hotter and hotter, and everybody was in great spirits. I suspect that they were glad to get out for some sunshine therapy. I met a very interesting guy there and I will explain in the next post.

‘Part Two’ coming in a couple of days, watch this space…..

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Bearing Up

This year I have taken my car out for a couple of shows and I have developed a rather annoying squeak from the drivers side front wheel. I have taken the wheel of and greased everything that had a nipple on it. I squirted, white grease, silicon spray, Würth Water Dispersant, WD40 everywhere I could. Nothing. It was still there.

I spoke to Adam a couple of times about it and he advised me to bring it down and he would have a look at it. So I did just that.

The photo’s in this post I’m using have been given to me by Mustang Maniac and saved me taking the pictures; big thanks to Mustang Maniac for that. They told me they were probably going to use them this weekend. It looks like they beat me to it by posting first. So we have a little overlap although they have a couple of different pictures on their post.

Adam was walking to the yard and heard the squeak as I was turning into the yard’s driveway. I explained that I think the steering doesn’t feel right either. He listened intently and promptly jumped in my car and took it for a test drive up the road.

We swapped places for the driving seat as Adam need to swap a few cars around in order to get a clear run for my car onto the ramps in his workshop and I drove it in. Reinforcements arrived in the form of Yogi who had emerged from his workshop to help out with the diagnostics which is a two man job.

First thing they noticed was that the idler arm had some play. It looked like that over time standing in my garage the rubber had perished and broken down when the car came out for some shows this year.

You can see them when compared just how much the old one had broken down. The new one is on the left of each picture.

The guys checked everything else over on the suspension and I received my bollocking for a couple of other nuts that were loose. 🤦🏻‍♂️ Probably down to the play in the idler arm making things worse. Adam and Yogi both worked up and down under the car to check everything was tightened up as it should be. A couple of rear axle nuts were not as tight as they should be and Adam again tightened them up. I would like to say that in my self defence Adam does have a two foot long Snap On 1/2″ fitting breaker bar, to make sure things were properly tight.

They fitted the new idler arm and checked that the the locating bracket had no play with the arm fitted in place. Once they were happy I was sent out on another road test. Both Adam and Yogi told me that the steering would feel very different. The picture below is the new idler arm being fitted before full greasing.

I got out the main gate and and immediately the car felt different. I couldn’t believe just how bad it had gotten over a course of couple of years. You just get used to it and think no more of it.

I turned back into the yard happy, the squeak was still there, although not as bad now. Straight back onto the ramps and up in the air again. The guys decided that the wheel was to come off and have a look. They did all sorts of play checks and listened to the rotor spinning.

A decision was made fairly quickly. Yogi dropped the outer bearing out to check the look and feel of it. He wasn’t happy with it. Yogi then cleaned it up and Adam had a second look under the big lighted magnifying lens on his bench, nothing visibly wrong with it to look at. He stuck the bearing on his fingers and felt it, spinning it fast, slow and twisting it etc. Adam said “although it looks fine, I just don’t like how it feels, nope, I’m not happy with it”. With that he went of to the shop to go and get a new one.

In the mean time Yogi cleaned up the track of the bearing and made sure it wasn’t damaged by scoring or pitting. Luckily for me it was OK. The inner bearing was still fully packed. While we waited Yogi then proceeded to grease everything he could see, upper arms, lower arms, steering, bushes the lot.

Adam returned with the new bearing repeating his feel tests as he walked back to the ramps. “That’s better” he announced handing it over to Yogi. He repacked the new bearing with grease, rechecked it and fitted it back into the hub and adjusted it up correctly. He then replaced the retaining washer, split pin and the bearing cap. The wheel was put back on and retested for play and feel before letting the car back down.

I was then sent back out on the second test run to see how it was. I arrived back with a smile as big as my front grill. The noise had gone. Sorted 👍

Before I set off for my run I was told that if all was OK, to park out the front of the offices. Which I duly did as i was now well chuffed. They asked me if it was OK to use on the their blog posts. Of course I had not objections at all, they then took a number of pics of my car for their ‘Park & Pic’ section on their forth coming blog. Www.mustangmaniac.org

I love this picture as there is an early Falcon convertible, which of course was the Mustang’s immediate predecessor that shares the same chassis as First Gen Mustangs, and also a later Mustang all in one shot.

I sat in the offices with Adam and we had cup of tea, well he did and I had a cold can of pop. We put the world to rights, sorted out the bill before I left for home. The journey home was a pleasure until it started to rain. I was not impressed that my car had now gotten wet of course. But, considering the car was now in a another league, I wouldn’t mind.

I arrived home some hour and half later after filling with fuel (again). I just had to clean my car before I put her away and cover her up. I then plugged in the battery maintenance unit to keep the battery in tip top performance.

Again a huge thanks to Mustang Maniac (Adam & Yogi) for fitting me in and sending me home all on the same day. That is what I call “proper customer service.”

Before I sign off I just need to wish my friends on the other side of the pond;

Happy Independence Day.

Have a great day and have a beer for me. 🙂

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A Big Milestone….

Eight and a half years ago, way back on October 28th 2012 I wrote my first post on my little ol’ blog. I had nothing planned other than to share with a few friends what I was getting up to and how I was getting along with my Mustang restoration. Ultimately I could look back in a few years time and take a trip down memory lane with the photos I had taken a certain points of the restoration.

Delivery of my project car 17th September 2011, before it went to Mustang Maniac where I had professional help & guidance on my restoration over the years. Those guys have become some of my best mates of mine as a result.

When I attend car shows or via my blog and emails etc. I often get asked how I clean and detail my cars;

Some of the Car Shows and photo opportunities;

I get asked how I fitted things, how I upgraded this or that, I even get asked for advice on their own restoration projects.

That got me to thinking about adding extra sections like the tools (a selection of them here), that I used on project and since use, considering that I’m just a weekend warrior with a spanner.

Products that I used to keep our daily cars clean and the Mustang fully detailed.

My merchandise I bought over the years or have been given since I started my journey with the Mustang.

I even get requests to review items, all of which I buy if I think I could use them myself. As a result of all these things, my blog has evolved into an entity of it’s own.

Fast forward a number of years to 2021 where I my little ol’ blog has reached a massive milestone. This is not intended as some bragging rights by the way, but more like myself being proud of the result. Somebody within the USA this morning 15th May 2021 made my day:

My blog has just passed 1,000,000 hits!

I am absolutely amazed to think this could ever happen, I remember getting excited about getting ten hits in one day!

I value every single one of you that has followed me or just pops in for a quick read, like or even the odd comment. I would like to say a massive “Thank You” from the very bottom of my heart.

I don’t actually get anything from my blog/website on WordPress, other than some add money that goes straight to the hosting and my domain fees. It’s sort of self sufficient in a way. If anything I’m out of pocket, but reading the comments and seeing the views more than make up for it. Hopefully I can help somebody, somewhere with something.

My first follower was Debbie Nuessle (click here for her latest venture), from across the pond. We both started blogs within a few days of each other, both revolving around our love of American Muscle cars, especially Ford Mustangs of course. We keep in touch outside of the Blog circle and have become good friends.

I have a number of followers who ‘like’ the posts I put up after even after all these years, thank you all, it means a lot to me. I have such a range of followers; a very talented and well-known Soprano opera singer; Charlotte Hoather (click here for her blog), mechanics, engineers, oil rig mover, artists, photographers, builders, wildlife photographers, fellow classic car owners, writers, product manufacturers, shops, brands, a few younger bloggers, students, world travellers, petrol heads, gear heads, car clubs, writers, novelists, journalists, teachers, photojournalists, professional bloggers, social influencers, religious followers, the list just goes on. (There is even ‘ahem’ some adult orientated content following me!) The full list makes for some amazing reading.

Just in case anybody is interested in some of the more selective stats;

I have a total of 2,700 followers, of which 871 are on WordPress, 2,300 on social media, just over 2000 on Facebook, which is not my favourite of all the platforms I must admit.

I have been visited by 199 countries and the top ten countries in order are; USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, China, France, Netherlands, Finland and New Zealand.

There are stunning islands that have visited me, Mauritius, Seychelles & Maldives. Some of those Islands are so small they wouldn’t be able to fit a Mustang on them! My bucket list is to spend a few days on these islands to chill and take in some sun.

The more obscure countries with a single visit are: Burkina Faso, Falkland Islands, Kosovo, Tonga, Northern Mariana Islands.

To date I have posted 340 blogs including this one over the eight and half years I have been posting on this blog.

These figures are quite low compared to some of you mega stars out, there with you super popular blogs I know that. But for me, like I said earlier, I’m honestly humbled and grateful to every single one of you who wants to look at a blog all about one man and his Mustang!

A huge “Thank You” to you all.

Here’s to the next one million!

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The Results Are In

At the end of my last post “Sweet & Sour part 2”, I asked for the my readers / followers view and response to my dilemma of the cheating allegations that I aimed squarely at Ted Brooke the owner of the 1961 Morris Minor. I won’t go back into what I saw over the weekend I have documented and evidenced that. I created a Poll and asked should I leave my cheating report up, or take it down?

Thank you to those that voted along with your support. The results were a conclusive and massive over 95% in favour to leave it up.

So my evidence of what I saw stays posted.

I have been asked how these posts even got to the point it has now. The answer is quite simple; people started to press my buttons, pressing my buttons does make things happen in my head, I just have to deal with it and can’t let it go. The most basic explanation is when I confronted those involved with the evidence I had, it was laughed off and laughed in my face, it was ignored completely, I was told to go away, I was called a “liar” and a “sore loser”, I was even threatened with legal action, and that little lot just started to rub my nose in it. A little gaggle of cheaters sitting behind the car laughing and celebrating that they had ‘Won’ the ‘well deserved’ trophy didn’t sit to well with me or the others that were there in either. So, not only did I/We witness bad things, but it was then blatant they had no qualms about cheating.

To the point of this post; behind the scenes I had told people I emailed Lancaster my concerns and if I got a response I would too also allow them their fair say. Lancaster did respond and so did Clarion. I will show what I wrote to Lancaster and the responses in a second.

But first; I would like to make it clear that I have no grudge(s) with organisers / partners of the event at all, in fact a little more respect as they had the balls to reply to me knowing full well I would be commenting on their replies, I know they will be reading this. So Thank You to those that have contacted me and replied to me. I will keep their personal contact details out of it as I see no benefit to splash that level of detail all over the internet. All I am doing here is fighting for a pure point of PRINCIPLE, I’m not here trying to ruin events or their jobs.

I wrote an email to Richard Morley, Operations Director, Lancaster Insurance. The email was sent Thu 14/11/2019 13:45  the cut and paste reads as follows; (including a couple of typos, I had at the time and still have tonsillitis, that’s my excuse for the unforgivable errors! 🙁

Afternoon Mr Morley,

I would like to start of with big thank you for such an enjoyable weekend 8-10 November at the NEC Birmingham. I was one of the lucky 20 entrants able to display on the Pride of Ownership a real honour. However I would like to ask the official stance on cheating within the competition you are sponsoring. Throughout each of the three days at the event the owner of the winning car the pink Morris Minor, was seen cheating by myself and others. He filled in his own voting slips and putting them into the vote boxes, passing pre filled forms to visitors asking them to post the forms as well. He even told the visitors where to tick for his car, he also took wads of the voting forms to club stands to be filled in on a few occasions. As he was next to my car it was clear to see. The joining instructions clearly stated that any cheating would mean disqualification and be asked to leave. Especially as the joining instructions specifically said there was complaints and cheating the year before as well. Vigilance should have been a priority.

The cheating was reported to the NEC organiser who confirmed in a text to me that that the cheating votes were not going to be  counted, obviously many were going to be missed.

With such a blatant knowledge of his cheating the organisrrs and your staff still allowed the entrant to continue. I and others also reported the underhanded tactics to Lancaster staff in white t-shirts who didn’t seem to take it too seriously. Yet still he was not disqualified. I took a photo early Sunday morning where he was sitting at a table with voting forms going through his phone looking for contacts to complete the forms. I witnessed it.

As I’m a good sport I did not make a scene at the awards and spoke immediately to the guy representing Lancaster giving the awards and showed him the evidence. His response was an astonishing “I just write the cheques”. I showed the evidence to the Morris Minor owners club who just denied it and laughed. You representative was seen to go over to apologise the club for any misunderstanding. Again no offering to look into the evidence. I know thwt the Morris Owners club had stacks of forms on their stands, which shouldn’t of been there in the first place. I have the photograph and also the screen shots between me and NEC where the organisers KNEW of cheating and even acknowledged the cheating via text messages, yet still allowed the car to go on and win. By saying we removed the blatant cheating forms has condoned the practice to not remove the car. If you are caught cheating in an exam the exam is void, not just the question you cheated on, if you cut corners on a running track you are disqualified, not just ignore that little bit. I could have been handled without fuss by not placing the car at all, if you didn’t want the bad publicity. An even playing field was all that we requested now I feel that I need to expose this wrong doing. I am happy to have my message logs to be examined by the phone company to prove the messages were indeed sent and received as they were just text messages not WhatsApp encrypted. 

Please could you let me know if you want to see the evidence where I will be happy to send over. Also what if anything does your company intend on doing about the obviously squewed results. I don’t want publicity, i dont want free insurance, I just want the moral and integrity high grounds to be fought for. The guy wanted the trophy so bad be managed to pull it of in the biggest classic car show in the country and you (organisers) were told about it. 

I’m sorry that this has had to be noted to you in such a way.

Based on the experience of your company to date I feel that I can never be insured with you as I don’t know that I can trust the company as a whole. I am in no way suggesting you on any others at your level knew about it. But, it was raised over the whole weekend to many people. In fact there were others entrants also cheating, unfortunately I don’t have 100% proof of that. 

Sour grapes from me? Not at all I had a great time there. It just seems that my principles are greater than others. Many people are the opinion “let it go” but that’s not the point. I have no doubt what so ever than I will now be black listed for events as a trouble maker.

I look forward to your responses.

I’m very dissapointed and feel let down.

Regards,

Mart Dawson.

Mr Morley’s job title is now different to the documents that I had researched at the time, so perhaps this wasn’t the idea person to speak to, but to be fair – Mr Morley took ownership of it and moved it along for a resolution. A good positive there.

‘Poppyseed’ Clarion’s PR Agency tried to contact me:

Wednesday 15th November 2019 at 15:38. I was unable to answer as I was unable to speak as I had completely lost my voice. A pleasant email was left on my voice mail to call back.

Monday 18th November 2019 at 11:14. I was actually asleep at this point (recovering from a fate worse than man flu obviously) although my voice was starting to come back to the dulcet tones of Barry White. A pleasant voice message was again left for me.

I tried to call PoppySeed on Tuesday 19th November 2019 12:53, unfortunately they were in a meeting all day. A text message very shortly after my call to me to say that emails were going to be on their way back to me later that afternoon. I was slightly surprised that written correspondence was going to arrive, but this is again a positive.

The first email response the next day was from Lee Masters of Clarion the ‘Show Director’ on Wed 20/11/2019 10:59

Dear Mart

Andrea Seed from our PR Agency (Poppyseed Media) and Richard Morley from Lancaster Insurance have brought my attention to both a letter that you have written to Mr Morley and also a social media blog that you have written entitled ‘One Man and His Mustang’.

Firstly, can I thank you for your encouraging and positive words and photos that you took at the show. It’s good to hear that you enjoy the event as much as we do. I would also like to thank you for entering your superb Mustang into the Lancaster Insurance Pride of Ownership Competition.

It is with regards to the competition that I am writing, and I want to reassure you that your concerns about cheating are being taken seriously. The Pride of Ownership Competition has been running now for four years at both our March and November shows. The competition is about bringing together some of the UK’s best privately owned classic cars and asking the public to vote for their favourite (top three) cars. This is all done in a good-natured spirit of fun, enthusiasm and passion for the classic cars that we all love and cherish.

For clarity, the competition is organised and run by Clarion Events Ltd as the owners of the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show. Lancaster Insurance is the sponsor of the competition.  The organising, administering of the terms and conditions, voting process, vote counting and conclusion of the final results are done by Clarion, independently and without prejudice.

Should any of the competition terms and conditions be possibly contravened then the situation would be raised with me as the Show Director and reviewed by the competition organising team. I confirm that all of the voting forms for all competing cars were diligently inspected and a number of ‘non-qualifying’ votes were removed (not just from the Morris Minor) and were discounted from the final results. I also confirm that this did not affect the outcome of the top three places.

Whilst we do state disqualification in the terms and conditions, in most circumstances, once we have removed ‘non-qualifying’ votes there is not a need to take such action – it really is a last resort as we want this to be a gracious and good-natured public vote.

Finally, I don’t want you to be unhappy and we will as a result of your feedback conduct a review of our processes and Terms and Conditions for our next event. Please also be assured that you will not be black-listed as you put it. I see you as a friend of the show and your comments will help us in the future. As a gesture of goodwill, I would happily offer you guest tickets to our spring NEC show or Reis Race Retro if you would like to join us.

My very best regards

Lee Masters

Show Director

Second email response was from Mr Morley Wed 20/11/2019 11:31 some thirty minutes later with the following: (Personal contact details redacted).

Hello Mr Dawson  

Thank you for your email.

Apologies for the delay in my response, following your communication we have shared your email with Clarion Events and have been having discussions with the team there.

Pride of Ownership is an integral part of the weekend and we’re delighted that you were able to join us at the show. I understand you spoke to Andrea Seed on the Sunday of the show regarding your concerns and she has been trying to get hold of you following your email to myself. I’m sorry to hear you have been suffering with tonsillitis, I hope you feel better soon.

Lee Masters, the Show Director, has emailed you this morning and we hope that this has reassured you and addressed your concerns.

Please be assured that all feedback is greatly appreciated, and we certainly take on board all comments. We also hope to see you at future events.

Kind Regards

Rich Morley

Broking Director

OK, really nice to get the emails which I won’t forensically deconstruct the emails which would be fairly easy to be honest, I will just point out a few little things for you. It’s also quite clear that they spoken with each other and the organisers and the sponsors are not going to throw each other under a bus for bad publicity that’s for sure. The show works well as a whole and I hope it continues to do so. It’s a great show at the end of the day.

We are not stupid either that the voting forms are also a way of the sponsors being Lancaster Insurance are gaining contact details for leads for classic car insurance with renewal dates. A little side note: Classic Car Insurance is a good risk for a number of reasons; people who own these cars trailer or drive them very carefully. Restricted number of drivers also tend to be in the more mature age banding. These cars are simply not thrashed around. They are very well looked after, more so than modern cars. Restricted annual mileage means less exposure to road risks. They are usually kept very secure. Although the downside is the value of the cars for a total loss which can be high, the overall claims ratios still make this a profitable book of business.

Lancaster’s response email from Mr Morley; is worth noting that their email didn’t address a number of my specific points directly about the insurance company itself. This is partially seen to be addressed by Clarion’s response(s). Hence Lancaster have played their keep it clean card to keep out of any potential ‘misunderstandings’ from the show. Lancaster doesn’t address the behaviour of their representative towards me either.

Clarion’s response email; This was always going to be a text book response for an email. They had the right to do what they wanted regarding the Terms & Conditions when you break down the structure. The ‘non-qualifying’ references instead of the ‘cheating’ which softens the public perception of the terminology is now being used. The fact that even with the ‘non-qualifying’ votes removed the results will still stand. In other words; we don’t need to recall the trophies, we don’t need to announce any ‘errors’ Ted Brooke and others are not seen as a cheater and all is good with the world. In fact the email states “a number of ‘non-qualifying’ votes were removed (not just from the Morris Minor) and were discounted from the final results“. So it seems rife that cheating takes place and acknowledged.

However – There is no way that you can guarantee that you removed all the cheating votes, hence the call for disqualification we wanted, or just not place the car at all would have been the easiest answer on the day. The Clarion email says this little paragraph;

Whilst we do state disqualification in the terms and conditions, in most circumstances, once we have removed ‘non-qualifying’ votes there is not a need to take such action – it really is a last resort as we want this to be a gracious and good-natured public vote.

So it’s OK for the cheaters that they weren’t going to be thrown out, and the other entrants may as well not turned up by the sounds of it.

The upside is that Clarion offered me a good will gesture, this was always going to be a difficult one for the organisers if they did it at all. To much good will would have looked like a pay off, and too little would have been a slap in the face. I think they got it right to be fair to them and a nice offer. To save any face on either side I won’t be taking them up on their kind offer, I know that on the day it would have be fine.  Thank you again Clarion for the offer.

Lancaster couldn’t do anything, as I already said I didn’t want anything from them, however they could of offered to try to beat or match my current insurance terms at renewal on a fair basis by speaking to them. I respect their response that they didn’t try that approach, by the tone of my letter they were not going to win my custom anyway. Again I would have declined any of their offers or quotes for this years premium which was a lot more than I currently pay anyway.

Conclusion:

Both Lancaster Insurance and Clarion replied. Their responses were nothing of a surprise to be honest. Organisers and Sponsors are both needed to make these things works. Both Lancaster and Clarion pull these shows off well. Both of the have taken my points on board to make it better. Despite how this reads I did have a great weekend with Andrea and she has a great sense of humour and we did laugh together. There is no animosity on my side that’s for sure. It’s also great to know that I haven’t been black listed, but the jury remains out on that one for a while.

There is nothing else I can say with my journalistic report on the weekend now. The results won’t change – that was always going to be a certainty. The explanations were always going to be text book responses and these emails are just great examples of that. My experience was tainted at the end knowing that this pink Morris Minor will be paraded around as a genuine winner.

It’s up to the readers now to make their own minds up.

Email’s now exchanged and they hope the man with a Mustang drops it and moves on. I can confirm that he will indeed now move on and not to keep bringing this up. But, if I am at a car show and I get asked what went on I will explain it. My quest is complete, I have exposed what went on, no more actions will or can be done now, those ranks have closed. I only wanted a point a principle to be upheld, you cheat – you’re out!

At the end of the day I’m just one man with a Mustang, what chance did I really have? My next posts will car related again you will be please to hear.

Thanks to Chris Tilley for these great pics more of these which will be on a post soon.

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Sweet & Sour (part 2)

The Sweet (part 2)

Saturday morning arrived all to soon and this was going to be killer of a day, 9 to 6.30 I virtually never left the stand at all. Like a regimented soldier I stood on duty, One of the other exhibitors had a spare chair which they lent to me and was a real life saver. My feet were killing me and so was my throat. I went in via a different route and took more pictures of different cars.

Saturday evening I popped round to see the Mustang Owners Club Of Great Britain to say hello while they were resting after a busy day too.

The Super Sweet

Later in the day there was a little group of people following a lovely model around, and I thought to myself, “I hope that lot comes over here, otherwise I will miss them”. They did more than that. The photographer approached me and said they wanted to take some pictures of the model with my car. I wasn’t going to say no was I? It turned out the model was absolutely fantastic with a great sense of humour and she kindly allowed me to take pics as well looking at me rather than her official photographer. I took rather a lot of photo’s should we say, hoping to get that one great photo.