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…