MGR@10 Month : Report – Pride of Longbridge 2015

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Craig Cheetham

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Longbridge and associated cars as far as the eye can see, and this was just a small cross section of the 4,000+ cars that turned up

Pride of Longbridge isn’t a car rally, or certainly not in the conventional sense. It does what car rallies do, but it also does much, much more than that.

Whereas Fords, Vauxhalls, VWs, BMWs and Citroens (to name but a few) all have one-make shows that attract enthusiasts from far and wide, none has quite the same poignancy, spirit or community feel as PoL. Some of that, I’m sure, is down to the circumstances in which the original Save MG Rover rally took place a decade ago. The rest is due to the community spirit that exists among owners, united in their love of what was once a proud British car industry and the great vehicles that came from it. In many ways, the day leaves the politics, the constant cycle of poor senior management and frustrations of under-development behind and focuses instead on the great work of the designers, engineers and marketeers that delivered us cars that we love, today as much as ever. Moreover, PoL focuses on the achievements of the workers who, on a hugely transformed site directly opposite Cofton Park, supported generation upon generation of their family by building them.

The PoL organising committee. What a cracking job gals and guys...
The PoL organising committee. What a cracking job gals and guys…

This year’s PoL was the biggest ever, with over 4000 cars and 10,000 visitors. Organiser Gemma Cartwright MBE told us: “2015 was the biggest so far. So many ex-workers stated how grateful they were for being able to attend, meet with friends and share their stories with enthusiasts. Local people stated how they loved seeing the streets full of Longbridge heritage and future again.”

AROnline was there in force – although Features Editor Mike Humble arrived a little late after some mild nurturing of good friend of AROnline Tanya Field’s MG Maestro, en route with the Cowley convoy. Mike’s partner, Jacky, brought along his de-Project Drived Rover 75, and Editor Craig Cheetham came along in his recently acquired 214 R8 Mk 1, which drew a surprising amount of attention.

Mike Humble, post roadside gear linkage repair dramas - he'll be sending us his own unique view of the day once he's emerged from underneath Tanya's Maestro...
Mike Humble, post roadside gear linkage repair dramas – he’ll be sending us his own unique view of the day once he’s emerged from underneath Tanya’s Maestro…

 

No such drama for Craig - his 214 ticked over 32,000 miles en route, and despite a slight exhaust blow performed impeccably. It was amazing how much attention this car got, being such an 'ordinary' model
No such drama for Craig – his 214 ticked over 32,000 miles en route, and despite a slight exhaust blow performed impeccably. It was amazing how much attention this car got, being such an ‘ordinary’ model

 

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AROnline car stickers went down well on the day, and helped us raise a few quid for the Longbridge Community and Heritage Trust

Meanwhile, comment of the day goes to my good friend and MG TF, Rover 400, ZR, Allegro and Midget owner Jon Murden. When we bumped into each other for an impromptu coffee at Hopwood Park services, he said to me: “If only all motorway service station car parks were like this…” Austins, MGs and Rovers as far as the eye could see. If only, indeed…

Next year’s event takes place on 16th April. See you there – and, in the meantime, enjoy the photos below…

SD1 2600 was the editor's Car of the Show purely for its originality (and wonderful Avocado hue)
SD1 2600 was the Editor’s Car of the Show purely for its originality (and wonderful Avocado hue)

 

This delightful unmodified and clearly well-loved 220 Coupe came a close second though
This delightful unmodified and clearly well-loved 220 Coupe came a close second though

 

Andrew Braban's 820 Tickford was another favourite, pictured here with Andrew and Chris Palframan, who got it ready for the show with just days to spare
Andrew Braban’s 800 Tickford was another favourite, pictured here with Andrew and Chris Palframan, who got it ready for the show with just days to spare

 

Flying the flag for the earlier days of Longbridge, Royston Morgan's A40 Somerset is an absolute stunner.
Flying the flag for the earlier days of Longbridge, Royston Morgan’s A40 Somerset is an absolute stunner.

 

Hmmm.... Ideas abound for the AROnline project Maestro. Shall we?
Hmmm…. Ideas abound for the AROnline Project Maestro. Shall we?

 

Speaking of mad ideas....
Speaking of mad ideas….

 

Overseas enthusiast were extremely well represented (as, indeed, were the 75 and ZT, with over 150 in the field)
Overseas enthusiasts were extremely well represented (as, indeed, were the 75 and ZT, with over 150 in the field)

 

One of many former Longbridge employees in attendance - this is Denis Chick, former Communications Director (now in a similar high profile role at Vauxhall), with his recently acquired Vanden Plas 1500
One of many former Longbridge employees in attendance – this is Denis Chick, former Rover Group Communications Director (now in a similar high profile role at Vauxhall), with his recently acquired Vanden Plas 1500

 

MG SV represented the final years of the company
MG SV represented the final years of the company

 

Whilst this equally colourful Maxi represented the 1970s...
Whilst this equally colourful Maxi represented the 1970s…

 

Craig Cheetham

A serial impulsive car purchaser, Craig has had his name on over 200 V5s over the past 20 years. 10 per cent of those have been either 800s or Austin Allegros, with between 10 and 20 cars usually owned at any one time. Started out as a local newspaper journalist then worked for car mags including Auto Express, Classic Car Weekly and Land Rover Owner. Worked inside the car industry for a decade as an employee of General Motors, now works for a news distribution agency. Home based, which is dangerously convenient for further irrational heap purchases. Lover of all makes of car since childhood, with a particular leaning towards Austin-Rover... Father of three boys, so hoping to spread the car love. Other passions include rugby union, travelling and eating out.

19 Comments

  1. My first PoL and a tremendous event. A real sense of community. We got into an unexpected two car convoy with a bloke in a ZT on the M1 near Leeds And also picked up an 800 on the M42. Nice to meet some friends from cyberspace for real too. The 75 seems to be well looked after and I suppose a lot of them will be preserved. Sorry to see so few 600s though.

  2. As Burns said “the best laid plans o’ mice and men gang aft agley” !!

    Well, we finally got there rather late in our 2009 MG TF 135 ! As I didn’t want a motorway bash all the way from Crewe, we tootled cross country round the west side of the Midlands conurbation, eventually arriving onto the A456 just south of Hagley. We turned north towards Birmingham to get to the A491 link road that gets you to the M5 and the A38. Except that the police had blocked-off the A491, presumably due to an accident. After faffing about for about an hour we finally made the A38 and swiftly motored to Longbridge and the rally. There seemed to be more people leaving than us, but the weather was perfect, the top was down, so a good day was had. Some lovely cars were there, and we set off about half past four back home, but again, tootled around the countryside and had a lovely pint in a the COach and Horses at Weatheroak Hill. Finally worked our way across country to Lichfield and the A51 and home

    A brilliant day and the sun shone, what more can a sports car owner ask !

  3. A simply brilliant day. I was on my feet for six hours solid walking round and round the park. Yet still I’m seeing cars pictured on the web which I missed. Incredible! The numbers attending are almost beyond belief!
    Roll on next April! Probably the best car show in the world…..

  4. What a gorgeous bunch of cars, especially the SD1. I am coming back to the UK this weekend and I want to buy the V8 SD1 from “The Liver Run” and take it to the US. I’ll let you guys know if I am successful

  5. Was a superb gathering. I was sat in the queue of cars waiting to get it before 9.30 and there were still cars pouring in after 11.30! Great weather, loads of interesting cars, friendly people and it was FREE!

  6. It was a great show, the quality of the cars was fantastic, and the attendance is getting bigger year on year, My self and Mike Humble were a little late arriving due to the Maestro having a hissy fit with the gears(full account of those proceedings from Mr Humble will appear shortly).

    Traffic was still queuing at around 11.30 to get in, but it was well worth the wait.
    The organisers and the volunteers should feel very proud for what they achieve year after year.

  7. My first PoL but certainly won’t be my last. Met some great folk & admired some smashing cars but the thing that struck me most is that I can’t think of a make of car which was such an enthusiastic & passionate following.

    • Philip,

      It was my fourth PoL and including the factory tour last year my fifth visit to Lowhill Lane, Longbridge since April 2012. Since first discovering the show I just can’t stop attending!

      I neither can think of any other marque with such support – quite incredible!

  8. A fantastic day and not a cross word or disagreement from anyone heard all day. This year there were more Streetwises than ever before (four), more SD1s, Minis, Metros/100s, Princesses, and more recent vehicles from the MG Rover Group era, including one of the four Rover 75 V8 press demonstrators.

    Well worth the journey and a brilliant start to this year’s classic vehicle season. Long may Pride of Longbridge continue and attract this variety of vehicles and like-minded enthusiasts.

  9. Obviously a fantastic turn out for a great show judging by the report and photos here. All the cars look great. My favourite’s are that Avocado SD1 and the overseas red MG ZT saloon, though I’m sure I would add more, had I been there myself.

    Good to see there is still so much affection for Longbridge’s and other products.

  10. It was my 2nd PoL after last year’s. Took me about an hour to get from the hotel to my parking spot on Cofton Park, only 1.5 mile to drive, while last year was rather a straight drive-in. That tells a lot about the attendance this year…

  11. Very enjoyable, well organized and informative day out in the sun shine.

    The Rover 75 or MG ZT Pick Up conversion appeared well executed but only seen from a distance.

    Most models were well represented however I only recall seeing one 600 series.

    Did any one count the total vehicle attendance ?

  12. Couldn’t make it on e day, but it is in the diary for next year. I can’t wait! No other car company could evoke such a passion or commitment. Congratulations to everyone involved. I know how much time and effort goes into such an event so a salute to the organising committee. The star of the show is definitely the SD1.

  13. Gutted I didn’t go once again!
    Was planning to go and did start the journey, however was late running due to chasing our Dog (cairn terrier rescued before Xmas, called Toto, but renamed little on the day) the hubby also bailed, and the traffic out of Liverpool to the M6 alone was very heavy, so I quit and turned back.
    On the plus side, our Streetwise the Gimp, got a thorough going over, and there will be other events.
    Fantastic that everyone who did go, had such a fabulous day, well done too, to the organisers. Xx

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