Events : Pride of Longbridge 2012

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Words and Photographs: Mike Humble


Overcast on the day but attendance was still impressive.

Once again, here at AROnline, we are proud to say that this year’s Pride of Longbridge event was a complete success and enjoyed by all those who attended. It’s hard to believe that it’s been seven years since full-scale production of MG Rover cars shuddered to a halt in B31 back in that dark month of April 2005 – a month many of us fans will never forget. What did impress me though, was the progressive feel to the Longbridge area.

Impressive new buildings are sprouting up – there’s a  housing development on the site of the former old office block and other community rebuilding projects are underway on the vast, sprawling site which once housed the former Austin > MG Rover empire.

The Metro changed the fortunes of Longbridge back in 1980 - this 89 GS model was factory fresh

They say time heals old wounds and Pride is all about celebrating the past as well as looking to the future. It was both interesting and reassuring to see the current Longbridge site incumbent, MG Motor UK Limited, displaying the company’s current products with a small selection of dealer and manufacturer cars from the nearby Sales Centre.

The MG6 Register were in attendance with their cars, showing the motoring public and brand fans that MG is, indeed, still alive and kicking. Such a shame, then, that MG UK chose not to valet and clean the engine bays of their show cars – one or two commented on this and I thought this was a poor show, especially as MG UK Headquarters was only 300 yards away.

The MMOC were in full cry along with this lovely 1987 Montego 2.0 which drove so well.

It was also good to see so many different cars and to press flesh with many of AROnline’s readers, some of whom had travelled from as far away as Scotland or the South West, making my journey from leafy Horsham look like a whiz round the block in comparison.

The Cowley to Longbridge convoy once again attended the gathering with Simon Woodward – a regular site fan, proudly displaying his manual 2.5 Rover 75 Club. Staying with the swansong Rover, the 75 & ZT Owners Club was in attendance with over 80 models on display. Actually, I was so impressed with this model’s turn out that I threw caution to the wind and joined – something I normally avoid doing – and the Swiss 75 now boasts a stunning club sticker and tax disc holder.

Happy 50th birthday MGB - The V8 model here was simply stunning!

Every model in every level of condition was on public display and the Maestro and Montego Owners Club were in top form on the day with a huge array of ’80s retro classics. One of my highlights of the day was bagging a drive in Club Magazine Editor Sam Skelton’s lovely, original Montego 2.0 HL and I reciprocated by handing over the keys to the Project Rover 75.

Birthdays included the MGB’s 50th and Ambassador’s 30th – both models were in evidence on the day and it was great to see them in daily use. All the heritage models were also there to see and enjoy: Austin Seven, Mini, Austin Metropolitan, Morris Minor and even Triumph 2000 models attended, proving that once bitter rivals could become brothers-in-arms.

Happy 30th birthday to the Austin Ambassador

Even though the day was somewhat overcast, the rain mainly stayed away with just the odd spit of the wet stuff simply beading off the polished and loved cars that were on parade. This year’s event was well organised with all models and brands having their own separate areas and, once again the public who simply just visited to see the 600 plus cars were superb – I was one of the last ones to leave and noticed the lack of litter and clutter – all thanks to the sterling efforts of the staff and volunteers who tirelessly worked to make the event such a continued success. I, for one, look forward to the event in 2013 – see you there?

 

Mike Humble

Upon leaving school, Mike was destined to work on the Railway but cars were his first love. An apprenticeship in a large family Ford dealer was his first forray into the dark and seedy world of the motor trade.

Moving on to Rover and then PSV / HGV, he has circumnavigated most departments of dealerships including parts, service and latterly - the showroom. Mike has owned all sorts of rubbish from Lada to Leyland and also holds both Heavy Goods & Public Service Vehicle licences, he buys & sells buses and coaches during the week. Mike runs his own automotive web site and writes for a number of motoring or commercial vehicle themed publications

48 Comments

  1. I had a brilliant time to be honest, its a great show for the marque. I went to Cowley first thing from the West Midlands and drove back to Longbridge Pride with the Facebook Group ‘Cowley Pride’. We drove in convoy through the Cotswold up through Worcestershire to Brum with all sorts of BMC/BL/ARG etc cars from a very early 1953 Morris Oxford MO and very early MK1 mini’s , a real Met SD1 police car from the Police Museum as well as a collection of later cars. It was just a great day out and it was good to spend some time with Mike, Spencer ,Sam and Clive from AROnline. Now I have seen Mikes Project 75 , I can confirm that its a peach, only a 4 cylinder ‘Tommy Boiler’ un like my smug V6! but he does have the twin Cup Holders for which next time I shall liberate with a screwdriver! Sam Skelton’s Montego is a mint and it was good to see him dress up in period clothing for the event! This really is one event to pop in the diary.

  2. I did go for the very first time this year – with a friend in his 1972 MGB GT finished in Silverleaf metallic – and had a fantastic day. Cofton Park is a stunning setting (not a modern housing estate or characterless shopping centre in sight) with some beautiful cars covering my personal favourite marque – Rover.

    Highlight of the day for me was watching three Metro clubs driving around like wacky racers trying to find their pitch. They were all over the place like dodgems (including a specially built rear-wheel drive Rover Metro with an eager right foot controlling it!) and eventually they found their pitch. What a great line-up and far more entertaining than watching Formula One!

    Even better, this event actually showed that there are a lot of very young drivers (late teens and early twenties) enthusiastically owning modern and classic Rover saloons – this highlights the shortcomings of many other more regimented classic car gatherings. It also shows that Rover is not the ‘brand dreg’ that I often see people referring to it as or that it is an old man’s car. Far from it.

    Which car would I have taken home? I am not sure as I liked everything from a very original 1970 Rover P5B 3.5 Litre Coupe, to a 1986 Rover SD1 Vitesse twin-plenum, 200 BRM LEs, 800 Vitesse Coupes and the 75s in prefacelift and more recent V8 forms, Monogram paint finishes, 17-inch wheels… the list goes on and on!

    One thing I do know – Pride of Longbridge will definitely be an event I will look to attend every year as it really did bring home how proud I am to keep on owning cars associated directly and indirectly with Longbridge. It was also nice to speak with some of the former workers of Longbridge when it was in its prime.

    Thanks to all who lay on this event each year and make it so special.

  3. Forgot to mention – the special display of the Rover 200 Coupe at the end to mark its 20th anniversary was also very memorable and I am glad I hung around until 3PM to photograph them.

  4. David 3500 – Did you see that ZT-T 260 V8 in BRG?

    Loads of guys from AROnline went, we really should have all met up.

  5. @Simon Woodward:

    No, I did not see it even though I did visit both the 75 and ZT Owners Club and Two Sixties Owners Club stands on numerous occasions. Was there something extra ‘special’ about it?

  6. Oi Woodward…. Quit your jibber jabber or I’ll ‘liberate’ your vis motor & coil packs. Tommy boiler indeed, just how much did it cost to do your cambelts again? (ahem sniff)

  7. 11 – Mike, I was straight on flea bay trying to buy that extra cup holder when I got back. I did like your 75 though, its looking good, there are some great bargains out there, a huge amount of motor for the money. I thought ‘Tommy Boiler’ was a good name for 1800 75’s, I’ve been working on that one for weeks!

  8. 10 David 3500 – I think it was the discreet colour on that BRG 260 ZT-T that did it for me, a real wolf in sheep’s clothing. Did you see that SV near the middle of the park near the TF’s? I am still not sure I will ever like the looks but it made a fantastic noise when it started up!

  9. My first attendance and a great day!

    Already compiled the photo album of around forty shots. Wish I could have taken more and had more time! Looking through my photos I’m thinking never got a shot of that or missed that altogether!!

    My daughter enjoyed herself and is now a big MG6 fan!

    Expected to see a bit more of the AROnline crew but will be in touch Clive – great to find a local fellow enthusiast and AROnline contributor!

  10. A great day out, and a terrific way of meeting old friends and colleagues. A big thank-you to John Baker and all his helpers within the Austin Longbridge Federation (ALF) for all their hard work in putting the event together and running it through the day. If you haven’t seen John’s website yet, take a look now – http://www.austinmemories.com/

  11. @Simon Woodward:

    I heard the sound of the devil beating his deep chest, so assumed it must have been either an SV of ZT 260. I must have missed that ZT-T 260 then because it was exactly as you imply – discrete.

    However, I did spot that black MG SV which was a former Sport & Racing registered example. Not my cup of tea, admittedly, but many other people liked it. I am already planning to come next year and the friend I came up with has already said that he wants to take his MG Midget 1500 along instead so as to give show visitors further variety, rather than take his MGB GT again.

  12. A terrific day, came down in my P6B.

    Mike, popped over to say hello, but you were surrounded. I will catch you next time. The badge helped with identification!

    A lovely event with a great atmosphere. Will deff. attend next year, and as a previous post notes, nice to see young people in attendance.

  13. I really want to go to this sometime! Many years ago my Dad had a 1985 Montego 2.0 Vanden Plas. Lovely aside from constant mechanical and bodywork woes! Nice seats though! Also, more recently, he had a 2000 Rover 75 1.8 Club, but that went after 2 HGF’s in 19,000 miles. Such a shame, that was much better engineered than the Monty, but just didn’t last the course. I should also point out, on the subject of young people attending, I am only 18, and if/when I get a car (my eyesight is borderline for driving at the moment :() I would like it to be british, ideally a Mini, although being a wheelchair user, not quite sure how that would work!

  14. 19 – Scotty – Three door Metro has massive doors and a hatchback, ideal for wheelchair users or a 200/25/ZR 3dr.

  15. It was my first time there and i was really impressed and i will be back next year.
    I was there in my R8 the Rat Rod rally car that Keith drove back from Romania last year, it was great to meet the guys who took so much care of it during the rally!!! But it was great putting faces to names and Talking shop.
    I was interesting to see that most of the cars there were from about late seventies onwards.

  16. gutted I couldn’t make it this year, my miniMetro is mint but has sat without an MOT for a few months as I’m just too busy. Have to say though this doesn’t look anywhere near the turnout of previous years! I went in 2010 and the weather was a corker!

  17. It was a great day! Glad I made it. I especially loved the the Minis (especially the Prototype and the unmodified Mini Jet Black LE) the Wedges, and SD1s. Have to agree the Metro was a Minter, and there was a good variety of mint cars from every decade. Hope there is another one next year and I will get to meet some of the people I have spoken ‘cars’ with online.

  18. It was a cracking day with some great vehicles on show. Good to see real cars that are looked after as well as cars driven daily, as opposed the NEC show where it just seems only the concours vehicle come out to play then locked away again.
    Classics should be driven and enjoyed.

  19. Next year I’ll arrive earlier. I turned up at 2.30 after working in the morning, and was surprised that this seemed to be the peak departure time, rather than the 3.30-4.00 norm at other events. At least it meant I could watch and smell a deliciously diverse convoy moving at the exit, ranging from Austin Healey 3000 to MG ZS, Nash Metro to Austin Metro, with steel-bodied Sherpa pick-up and round-speedo A30 in between.

  20. We attended in the “tommy boiler” ZT-T 120, all the way from sunny Argyll – just under 900 miles in the weekend. Just so much to see. I thought the Mini Beach Car was brilliant and fell in love with a Vitesse Coupe in Bolero Red.

    Glad to hear you’ve joined the club Mike, I did have a look out for you to try and say hello but must have missed you in the crowds.

  21. I was planning to go but my friend was ill on the day. I will get there next year. Just bought a mint Rover 75 with 22,000 miles on the clock and one owner from new. thats the thing about Rovers, you can hunt down very low mileage mint condition cars, and they can be a real bargain. I will not be selling mine

  22. Great day and some lovely cars, even a few Allegro’s great reliable little cars ( now!). Here’s to next years!

  23. I attended too… My first such event! Will certainly go again! Top people! Nice to meet you Mr Burgess! I was the one with a spotty Leyland cat in my windscreen…

  24. We really do need to get better organised, I’ve met a few of the people from here at last years birthday bash at Gaydon but it would have been good to put some faces to the names.

  25. Fantastic day out, 3 of us came up fromn londonfor a look rounhd. Particular highlights for me were the Alegros, the rover SD1 police car, and of course the metros which are my favourite \bL car bar non. It was also good to see Maistro’s and montego’s Sam I take it yours was the fantastic champaign coloured one? We stopped and talked to you for a while even my sister was impressed with the car! definitely want to come back next year, just shows what fine products were made at longbridge!

  26. @ Stephen:

    I thought the first Pride of Longbridge event was held in 2006 to mark the first anniversary of the assembly plant’s closure in April 2005?

    If so, then the 10th anniversary PoL event would surely be held in 2015?

  27. Angus – no, mine was the Moonraker Blue metallic Montego 2.0HL at the top of the field. I only recall one champagne one – a Maestro HLE belonging to Ryan Charlton! Did I miss another one?

  28. Simon Woodward – Comment 13

    Saw the SV as it arrived and my camera went ‘snap happy’!

    God, what a great noise!! I like the looks.

  29. 39 David Dawson – Great to meet you last week end, I have admit I love the sound but I just struggle with looks and the price. I just could never understand why they didn’t make something a little prettier.

  30. Yet again, such a fantastic event – from the ease of arrival and organisation of the site to the variety of cars and their proud owners and the many local visitors. This now makes for the best event of the year.

    Hopefully, PoL will become a 2-day event soon and, although free to enter at present, a small admission fee to help the organisers cover their costs would not be any problem. The only problem I do have is what car to take next year! I may have to buy another one!

  31. 44-David H- a Auto Jumble would be good I reckon, maybe some locally acquired Austin stuff will turn up!

  32. David H, and Simon above.

    A two day event would be great! Having travelled 115 miles from Wirral I stayed over Saturday night to make the event more relaxed. Would love to have gone back again on Sunday morning. As it was I did briefly drive back to take a closer look at exactly what has been pulled down.

    Some Auto jumble would have been great. A couple more toilet ‘blocks’ would have helped too!!

    I wouldn’t object to paying a nominal fee. In fact, I was half expecting to on this, my first attendance.

    Was very impressed by the marshalls directing me to the park entrance as soon as they caught sight of my 75!

  33. It was a really good day, and the first I had attended. I went in my Rover 216S, which seemed to be the only SD3 there. This came as a bit of a surprise as I thought there might have been others. The car attracted quite a bit of interest and a little confusion among the marshals, who finally asked me to park with the rest of the 200s.

    There were some really interesting cars there, including that rarest of all A30s, an AS3. On speaking to the owner I discovered that he had no handbook for the car, something I should be able to rectify. There’s one in a box in my loft, if I can get to it. In case you ask, no I didn’t have an AS3, it’s just that I acquired the handbook somewhere, probably to save it from being chucked away.

    I hope to go to next year’s event, the only downer being the fact that I have to catch the 04:00 Ferry from the Isle of Wight to get there if I want to join one of the convoys. Mind you, it didn’t work this year. Off we setfrom Beaconsfield, but as I approached 65mph I got the dreaded wheel shimmy. Yes, the O/S front wheel needs balancing. That’s the trouble of living on an Island with less than half a mile of dual carriageway. So I ended-up making my own way there.

  34. Gutted to have missed this. First time I’ve ever not been. Perhaps a sign that I need something ARG-MGR in my life agian? Personally I think this is just a result of me stopping coming on here when the forum was killed off! 🙂

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