Events : Report – Pride of Longbridge 2014

Keith Adams

Longbridge opener

After last year’s damp and rather cold Pride of Longbridge, 2014 marked a complete turn-around in fortunes for the premier BMC, Leyland, Triumph, Rover and MG show in the UK, with more than 2300 cars displayed on Cofton Park.  Indeed, with more space to display cars, effective pre-event publicity and a strengthening community as well as lots of hard work by the organising committee and huge local interest, the growth of PoL is welcome news.

The show’s international credentials have also taken a smart move forward, with visitors making the trek from Isle of Man, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Switzerland – as well as more. However, as has been the case for the previous eight incarnations of the event, the number of ex-employees of ‘The Austin’ attending the event, makes it a delight for those who like to stop, chat and re-live the days when cars were churned out of the factory at the rate of hundreds of thousands per year.

What we love about the event is the sheer diversity of cars, and their enthusiasts, at the event. There might have been a good showing of new(ish) MG6s and MG3s, but the ages of cars on the field range from the 1950s through to the 21st century. The most numerous cars were, unsurprisingly, the Rover 75/MG ZT and its smaller stablemates from the MGR era, but there was a great showing of Metros, Maestros and Montegos, as well Rover 800s, Princesses, and Minis. There were also plenty of personalities there, too – if you knew where to look.

After the event, we spoke to Gemma Cartwright and John Lakey, two important members of the organising committee, who confirmed that 2014 has been the biggest and best PoL yet. Gemma said: ‘We’ve had great support from the community, and big thanks must be given to the many hard-working volunteers who made all of this possible.’

Tanya Field, organiser of the Cowley Convoy, added: ‘It’s been a brilliant event, and it’s lovely to see so many people remain passionate about the cars from Longbridge… and Cowley.’

There are some exciting plans afoot for 2015, which will be the 10th anniversary of the closure of MG Rover. We’re hoping that it marks a turning point in the event, where it becomes a forward-looking event, which celebrates the great cars that we still have on the roads. Stay tuned for more news but, if you were there this year, let us know what you thought of it…

Keith Adams
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  1. I regret that I was not able to make it this year due to being asked by a friend to help him clean up and repaint the rusty subframes and suspension components on his X Type, in preparation for its MOT. Not an easy decision to make as PoL is the highlight of the year for me and now with over 2,000 vehicles attending.

    I definitely plan to attend next year and enjoy the opportunity to be surrounded by so many examples of my favourite marque (Rover), not mention other interesting models from other marques in the stunning location of Cofton Park.

    Thanks for this report Keith.

  2. Great to see photos of some of the cars all in great condition cared for by true enthusiasts. Long may it continue!

  3. Oh my! How I would love to come to this next year.
    And wouldn’t it be cool if my fellow Americans could make a big turn out with their vehicles?

  4. This event really has gone from strength to strength, and deservedly so. I’ve managed to get to 4 POLs so far but I couldn’t make it this year.

    I really want to get down next year for the 10th Anniversary. I was at the April 2005 rally and I imagine that it will be almost as emotional.

  5. Hi all I attended in my Paul Smith Mini shame no picky on the website great day loads of nice cars on show. Would be nice to see an autojumble.

  6. @ Russ Jones – Comment 7:

    Quote: “Would be nice to see an autojumble”.

    I agreed although the rules relating to the booking with the Council who owns Cofton Park will change, with autojumble being considered as using the site for commercial purposes. That usually means the cost for hiring the site will easily go into four figures. A similar event I am involved with in East Devon, albeit it on a much smaller scale, has a similar problem for the main organisers – £50 for a non-commercial event and £3,000 for one where there are commercial traders (which would include autojumble).

  7. i can think of a reason to have all the cars on the photos ,exept that chinese ckd crap

  8. Looks a grand event ! Some nice pictures… no 46 my favourite, where did they get the models from? Original Design items??

  9. Shame I couldn’t make it this year, now I am 75 less I will have to talk my sister into lending her one owner from new 1989 Mini 30 for next year!

  10. @ 10, I was walking past when they were talking about the model, yes it is an original design model that someone rescued from a skip. The car it was displayed with 531NOE is the only one left of 20 pre production prototypes.
    Great show, really enjoyed it!

  11. Well worth the trip down from Sheffield, hopefully shall be back for PoL (and indeed, the Cowley Convoy) in 2015 🙂

  12. I finally got to it this year and now wish I had started going years ago. Such a huge gathering, I was kept interested all day by so many cars to see and owners to chat to. Definitely an annual event for me from now on. A fantastic day.

  13. @12 Spot on ! love to know more about this prototype and is models!! would make a great read if the current owner contacts Keiff for a feature !!!

  14. looks like a great day out and everbody has one interest, keeping all the great marques alive. polished my restored SD1 yesterday till it gleamed. thinking about the meet. widh i had been there. we have all leyland and landrover products in our house hold from v8 sd1, ng turbo maestro to mg zr and disco tdi. all have been brill cars!! hope to go next year. from the CREWE area. home of BENTLEY MOTOR CARS…

  15. the only down side to teh day was IT WAS BLOODY COLD, at the start, but warmed up later.

    It was like going back to teh first one, which I attended with my gleaming ZS, there were no displays, or events organised this year, it was just a case of turn up with you car and enjoy the day, which we did.

    I even managed to get some shots of dozens upon dozens of MG3’s and a non registered Rover 45 in the compound, albeit through railings.

    There were even people collecting their new MG3 and others placing orders, it was great to see, and about time too.

    We have about 300 pictures, which will be available on my blog within the next couple of days.

  16. I find a much nicer atmosphere at BL based events than at, say, Ford or BMW ones where you tend to find far more bullish and arrogant folk. I really enjoyed the cars, the people and the event. Long may it continue.

  17. A great event in a most beautiful park, next to a working Longbridge. Big thanks to the organisers!!

    MG3s a welcome addition to the proceedings.

    Longbridge Public Art Project was interesting …

    As part of this, artist Stephen Burke is looking for a restoration project Mini 1275GT which he hopes to restore with the help of any interested ex-Longbridge staff.

    Stephen Burke
    or 075 40442707

  18. A truly great show.
    But, with the size it is now it should go on to 5pm.
    I only got around half before some of the cars on the other side of the field began leaving!

  19. I am assuming that any future plans will be put forward, by the organising committee, for approval to a meeting of Ex Austin workers in Cofton Park to be voted on by a show of hands. In the Longbridge tradition.

  20. Incredible! I was walking round the park solid from 9:45am to 3:00pm and there are still some cars pictured above where I’m thinking “didn’t see that”. My truly treasured ZR has just missed the photos – I was parked by the Sherpa Camper. Still, I did see her attracting some attention!

  21. That ZT V8 you photographed certainly looked the part. Lots of people around that one taking pictures. Looked like factory condition and original unlike many of the others in the v8 compound……. Or was it the number plate?
    Great day out, and some lovely photos, Keith.

  22. @30. No, the SD1 was never made at Longbridge. The original assembly plant was the Rover works at Solihull for which a large new building was erected to build it starting around mid 1975.

    Production was moved I think in 1982 to Cowley when there was a consolidation in the car building facilities. The Canley site in Coventry (Standard Triumph) closed as a car assembly plant, Speke No 1 factory in Liverpool was also closed and the TR7 production also moved to Cowley around the same time.

  23. Correction to my post 31. TR7 production moved to Solihull after having first been moved to Canley when Speke closed. When the Solihull plant was mothballed with the SD1 moving to Cowley, TR7 production ceased.

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