Events : Report – Pride of Longbridge 2013

Words and photographyMike Humble and John Lakey

Happy Birthday Allegro - 40 this year!
Happy Birthday Allegro – 40 this year!

As everybody who resides in Blighty will know, we’ve had some truly shocking weather as of late. The laws of physics dictates that the rubber pneumatic tyre and sodden wet grass are seldom the best of friends at the best of times. Despite the heavens’ best attempts to put a dampener on proceedings, the evening before and the morning of Pride of Longbridge, the rain held off for the 2013 celebration of everything BMC, BLMC and all related incumbents of our once-mighty motor industry.

Owing to the terrain of Cofton Park, which for those who don’t know, is adjacent to the Longbridge car plant, many areas were fenced off owing to the water draining off the fields and hills. This made the event more compact – yet also more intimate – with more than 1000 cars attending the one-day gathering of like-minded supporters of British cars. This year’s anniversary goes to our dear friend, the Allegro, which marks 40 years since its introduction.

In order to emphasise the family nature of this gathering, the Austin and Longbridge Federation (ALF) organised its  ‘MG CD’ racer event, where children make a gravity powered model racing car and try their engineering skills in order to win a race on the downhill model track – and collect a prize. Some impressive entrants from both boys and girls really hammered home the fact that Pride of Longbridge is a genuine all-ages family affair that seems to get more popular every year.

The race was won by Joe Cowen, aged 10 from Kenilworth, who’s racer ‘Hammerhead’ came through the heats to claim the prize of a Corgi Vanguards MGB model set.  Joe’s father, Andy Cowen, a member of the Rover Coupe Owners’ Club, drives a 220 Turbo Tomcat, and was pleased that Pride of Longbridge has added this extra dimension to get kids more involved in the community event.

The runner-up spot was taken by 11 year Oliver Richardson from Rednal, who’s racer ‘Swift’ ran Hammerhead very close for the win. The best decorated prize of a Corgi Vanguards Mini set was won by Tom Watts from Bourneville who produced a racer that looked like a hotdog sausage in a bun! 10 year old Molly Stanley from Birmingham was the only girl to enter and received fourth prize a Corgi Model of Paul McCartney’s Mini Cooper S.

The MG CD Racers event was organised jointly by ALF, MG Motor and the MGCC, who’s Rocker Box racing ramp was used. The models had to be home-built, use CDs or DVDs as wheels and powered only by the gravity of the ramp on the 6m course. The prizes were presented by local MP Richard Burden, and Simon Bennett from the MG Sales Centre at Longbridge.

SMTC’s Ian Pogson gets in on the Woollarding action

As per usual, some lovely cars made the journey to Birmingham including over 100 vehicles from the Cowley convoy and AROnline was on ceremony to chat to a good few people during our meet the team session. Our Woollarding competition had to be postponed thanks to the wet stuff deciding to fall just after lunch, which caused many people to leave early. That said, spirits were not broken and many of us can’t wait for next year’s event.

Enjoy the gallery – and you may note the occasional Woollarding image may have just sneaked into the group here and there!




Mike Humble


  1. That blue Allegro has a subtle Montego-esque plastic strip below the side windows. Roy Axe would be proud!

  2. A great day out and well worth travelling three hours up from East Devon. Nice to put Aronline faces to names and chat with Mike and Clive.

    Looking ahead, I really hope the 2014 event will be much kinder to us all in terms of weather. Despite this, the organisers really did pull out all the stops to make last weekend’s PoL a very enjoyable event. Thanks, ALF and the Rover Community Action Group for all your efforts. You put on a thoroughly enjoyable event and make people feel very welcome.

    Apart from the need to silence the two inconsiderate ‘deadheads’ with an X Power Grey MG ZS and a white ZR parked in the MG Z saloons/F/TF and Rover 75 display field, who unleashed the power of their stereos for most of the day, what more could any visitor have wanted?

  3. And at David 3500, sadly that is what a lot of older MG Zed’s are falling into, the chav brigade. Quite a few of the local dingleberries own them, simply because they cost pennies to buy

  4. @ Yorkie:

    I actually drive an MG ZR and am definitely not a chav – I don’t use the ‘F’ word in every spoken sentence and I always hold open doors for ladies. The Z saloons were certainly in good attendence last weekend and apart from the two aforementioned individuals, all the owners were actually very approachable, responsible and enthusiastic. Some of the modified examples were stunning and probably cost their owners quite a bit to get to that level.

    I must admit describing the unauthorised music as ‘gangster rap’ did make one or two of those in their late teens laugh.

  5. I went this year and its now an event groaning to become a more complete event. There was plenty of cars and people but I think its time for adding auto jumble, trade stands etc and some Portaloo’s! I think the organisers did a stirling job under the difficult conditions (mud from thawing snow) which restricted the amount of land they could use.

    Some gems for me was the pair of Austin Ants and the Rally Spec Triumph 2000. I had a great day with the guys from AROnline and great meal with Mike Humble and James Godwin on the evening.

  6. David, you got the wrong end of the stick there. Because MG Zeds are now firmly into banger money territory, it was inevitable that the ‘Gary Boy’ brigade would end up buying them, and the odd one would turn up. Cheap fast cars and all that, often in lurid colours like custard yellow. The same has happened to early Skoda vRS’s. What the 2 barely evolved numpties wont get is, by the time they are 35, they will have severe tinitus, or even be completely ‘mutton’.

    Nex time ask them for their PRS licence, cos if they aint got one, the stereo goes off unless they fancy a nice fine

  7. Despite the weather I still enjoyed the day. I departed a smidge before 2pm as the weather deteriorated – the weather itself was not the main reason for my exit, it was just that so many others seemed to be heading home.

    Saw some interesting cars which had either not attended last year or which I had missed.

  8. @2 imlooking for one at the moment,only found one on ebay but its an auto,bit narked over it really but something will turn up i think,overwise i will bring my marina.

  9. “This is a short film of the Cowley Convoy which travelled from the the MINI Plant in Oxford to The Pride of Longbridge event organised by The Austin & Longbridge Federation at Crofton Park, Birmingham. Over 100 cars took part in the convoy and met up with 100’s more at journeys end.”

  10. nice pics @ nice movie, especially the speeded up parts, wow what a fast mini… 🙂
    ex MG Rover driver from Holland, now Kia C’eed SW 2012, had a MG ZT-T CDTi, MG F, MG ZS 180 :), Rover 420 SDi, 420 GTi, 416 GSi, 114 GTi :), Austin Maestro 1.6 HLS, MG Metro Turbo, (Sunbeam 1.6 Ti), Rover P5B Coupe (resto), Austin Metro L and Mini Clubman Estate before that… menn time travels…

  11. Car of the day ( in the video ) for me was the A40 Sports with that rather extraordinary tent on top of it . Interesting to know where they were assembled – was it at longbridge or at Jensen’s in Wolverhampton ?

  12. Re Bretty and R8’s. They are getting very thin on the ground because the banger racers have discovered them. There was a Rover banger meet locally at the weekend, and quite a lot ‘bought the farm’, so if you find one, even a scruffy one, snap it up before it gets ‘ovalled’

  13. @17,Aye its certainly looking that way,i think the tatty ones have arches like brandy snaps and the odd soft sill which i can cope with i suppose.Hopefully some coffin dodger will expire and thier family may dispose,but that will be wishful thinking…

  14. Love that bright canary yellow Rover 75! Was that an original paint option or has it been “done up”?

  15. Should have taken a photo of a neighbours banger racer R8 that was about to go on the track on Saturday…I passsed several R8’s on trailers bangered up on my way back from Partrigeville. Sad really.

  16. Yes, one of my bugbears with this event is the lack of facilities and trade stands/autojumble to make the long journey worthwhile. Good for people who live closer to that area, though.

  17. My boys and I really enjoyed our second visit to this great event, though we gradually froze and left rather early. It was unfortunate that the space was so limited and similar cars were unable to all park together. I’m sure most people would rather pay a £5 a car entry to get decent loos etc. I suppose charging will introduce a new level of complication, especially in organising. Thanks to all those who put the work in!

  18. @16 Interestingly I founded the Austin A40 Sports Car Club in 1969 handing over some years later to the Austin Counties Car Club and have previously owned an A40 Sports for over 30 years. I missed this event but will make a note for next year. Yes, the bodies were built by Jensen and assembled on to the Austin supplied chassis at Jensen’s. The A40 Sports came about not because Jensen wanted to be involved in a small car project but because Jensen needed the larger 4ltr Austin Engine for their main stream products – and Lenard Lord agreed to supply only if Jensen designed and built a small sports tourer for the US market. I had the privilege of talking with Eric Neal – designer of most Jensens up to the Italian period and he exploded many myths about this car. 3,600 were built in two versions – firstly floor change and then a column change with subtle interior upgrade.
    Fantastic car and now well catered for by the Austin Counties Car Club.

  19. @16 I’ve just watched the video. If your referring to the silver A40 sports the soft top looks absolutely standard. Thankfully they folded away completely and did not remain stuck up in the air like so many ungainly models – even today.

  20. #27/28 Yes it is the one at 11 minutes . Lovely cars (although I did not remember the hood being quite like that at the rear but then it’s probably 55 years since I’ve seen one ) .When I was about 12 a master at school had one . His was column change and inside looked very much like my Mother’s Somerset

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