Events : Report – AROnline’s birthday bash raises £515 for Dementia UK

AROnline Q&A

More than 50 people trekked to Gaydon in order to join the AROnline 20th birthday bash, and were treated to a fantastic Q&A with Denis Chick, Kevin Jones and Ian Pogson before bidding generously in a charity auction to raise £515 for Dementia UK.

AROnline is 20 years old this year and for those who came to the British Motor Museum there was an interesting walkaround of the museum’s reserve collection, where Keith Adams and Mike Humble talked about some of their favourite exhibits as well as opening the floor to questions from the site’s readers.

Top chat was reserved for Keith Adams’s passionate recounting of the stories of the British Leyland Technology ECV3, Austin AR6 and Triumph SD2, before Mike Humble extolled the virtues and drawbacks of the Austin Montego, told alongside the last example off the line.

AR6 at the BMM

The group gathered in Conference Room 2 and, before the main activities began, Steve Cropley gave a rousing introduction about what AROnline means to him and motoring history in general – which was greeted with a warm round of applause from all of the attendees.

This was followed by AROnline’s (almost) world-famous Product Knowledge quiz, where a selection of tough questions was asked – so much so that no one managed to get all the questions right.

The star turn of the day was a Q&A with ex-Rover apprentice and Group Product Communications Director Denis Chick, former press fleet boss and MG Rover PR Manager Kevin Jones and Dr. Ian Pogson, former Engineer at Land Rover and MG in both the UK and China. Some searching questions were asked – which were answered with knowledge and honesty from the panel.

Finally, a selection of artefacts supplied by Kevin Jones, Denis Chick and Keith Adams were auctioned off for the panel’s chosen charity Dementia UK. Bidding from the audience was incredibly competitive and generous and, at the end of an emotional and highly-charged session, we made a grand total of £515.

If you fancy adding to our tally, which has now all been donated, you too can Donate to Dementa UK here. We’ll also be adding to this event report with more images, memories and impressions from the day, as well as information – and a transcript of the best bits from Messrs. Jones, Chick, Pogson and Humble.

But for now, thank you for everyone who’s taken time to read, contribute and enjoy this website over the past 20 years. It’s been emotional at times – here’s to the next 20!

Thanks to the British Motor Museum, Stephen Laing, and everyone who generously gave up their time to make this possible.

Photography: Adrian Wagstaff, Sue Long and Warren Whyte

Mike and Keith

Keith Adams
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48 Comments

  1. Yes please, just do it, covid almost over. One thing I thought the Austin Apprentices maybe should have done at reunions is have name/car ‘badges as conversation starters. Maybe you could do one for download?

  2. Great idea! We had some really enjoyable meets at Gaydon over the years and with the 20th anniversary, along with the easing of lockdown, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate. Summertime would be good to at least stand a chance of nice weather, however, I don’t mind.

  3. Sounds like a good idea – either Gaydon or maybe the new museum in Derbyshire if they’re looking for punters.

    BTW, on Talking Pictures channel on Thursday: Look at Life: A Car is Born (1960) at 5.45pm. “The success of the British car. Featuring Triumph, Morris and Austin, from design, building and testing, to the open road. A fascinating look at the industry.” TPTV have started showing the Look At Life period colour newsreels – cringeworthy commentaries but great period imagery.

    • One of my company’s clients started his career in Film production as a Scriptwriter on Look at Life. It was a product of its time but great to see re-runs reminding us of quieter times.

  4. Nice idea and if I wasn’t stuck on the other side of the world…
    By the way, if the pub that you went to last time was the Gaydon Inn, it was all boarded up when I wemt past it in late 2019.

  5. To quote a great admirer of Winston Churchill – “Lets get it done!” Whenever you like and where you like! If you chose the new Derbyshire venue, suggest you don’t invite Lucy!

  6. Absolutely great idea . Gaydon or the new Museum up North are fine by me . However Gaydon is more central and may have better facilities . I have not been to the oreviius ones but would love to come to this one . Please do it .

  7. I’m a long tine reader of this site since it’s early days and would love a meet up, if only to see and meet some of the many contributors and regular posters. Now that Covid-19 restrictions are nearly a memory, late Summer? to make sure our friends from the differing parts of the UK, Ireland and Europe would have a chance to attend.

  8. Happy Anniversary, one of the best motoring sites online – keep it going xx

  9. I too missed the tenth anniversary, but have been a commenter for many years, under various names, LOL, we had both our ZS cars as cars of the month, the 120+ saloon and 180 in the same report, and was on the Champagne trip in the 120+ great trip that was.

    although not a current RMGR owner, we do have some great newish British cars in our collection, A disco 5, Velar and Bentley Arnage LWB, amongst others, and would love to be there, August late August would be ideal, as we are away for most of July and September, but if not then I wish you all a great time

  10. I’d definitely try to make an appearance at that – quarantine arrangements applying to travel from France (etc. etc.) allowing. Please keep me posted : )

  11. Congratulations Keith, very well done and thank you for that! Would love to attend any meeting, if and when possible this summer. WIfe and I are planning to visit our holiday cottage in Kent as soon as possible (or allowed to…), would be great to join any celebrations then.
    What sort of date are you thinking of; later rather than sooner in summer I’d expect??

  12. Love the idea. Would like to bring along my father, a retired mechanic from the BMH-AR era.

  13. Love the site and have been an avid reader from the word go. Would love to attend a gathering at Gaydon.

  14. One of my favourite sites on t’internet. I grew up with British tin but have put my money into an Iveco Bus and an imported Japanese day van. Love to attend an event but fearful of getting lynched LOL

  15. I found the site about the same time as I went online 19 years ago, as I wanted to find out more about Red Robbo, and never looked back. It’s provided me with plenty of pleasure over the years and the debates are always interesting and never turn into Twitter rants.

  16. Sounds like a great idea. From a selfish perspective, the Great British Car Journey in Derbyshire would be a great location for it, but access from the motorway network isn’t as good as Gaydon.
    Thinking about dates, please don’t make it the weekend of 11/12 September as I’m already double booked on car things :-/

  17. Congratulations on your 20th! I still remember those early days when Declan B. and I were emailing one another, and the site was linked from ours as the Unofficial Austin Rover Resource. Fun times!

  18. This would be an excellent event. I’ve loved this site for over 15 years I think. I’ve found an answer to CHPD though Keith, and that’s failing eyesight which has stopped me driving. I’d love to attend but may need to cadge a lift with someone in something appropriate if possible.

    Happy 20th!

  19. 20 years on – blimey! There used to be that small website with a few words on the Allegro. A few days later came something about the 3 litre online – how could I forget! The layout of the website changed, the name too. Te contents grew (by a huge lot!). Thinking of editing this without a database now – that would not be the same kind of fun as in the early days. But somehow the cars in front of my door are still the same (well, mostly).
    Let us see about travel in the summer….

  20. Having been involved in the first meet up in 2001, id love to be part of the 20 year anniversary!
    I have a few planned trips in early Sept and and Nov, but apart from that I could probably do most dates.

  21. I would love to come. Always enjoyed reading this site. One of the most interesting in internet land.

  22. Yes definitely to a meet-up. I discovered this site in its original form back in 2001 when I was looking for information on the MG ZS 180 I’d recently bought and I’ve been a regular visitor ever since. It’s a great source of info on the motor industry and the characters that created it. The banter is always friendly (although it became a bit tense a few times in the run up to the Brexit vote but it never got nasty).

    It’s also been great to share in others’ personal experiences. I myself have a history with the BL/ARG product from working in Midlands dealerships in the 1970s & 80s to managing large mixed car fleets in the 90s and Naughties. My typical company car during this period was a Montego, Maestro, Rover 200 or Rover 800 – sometimes through choice, sometimes not…..

    I’ve also owned quite a few from the BL/ARG stable as well, including Austin 1300 Countryman, Triumph 1300 & Toledo, Austin Metro, MG Metro, MG ZS 180, LR Freelander, so I have a fairly sound view of what was good and what wasn’t so good.

    My overall impression was the product was no worse than the competition but suffered from two main weaknesses – 1) being associated with the government of the day so it became a whipping boy for everything else that was wrong with the country at the time, just like BT, British Rail etc were until they were privatised. – and 2) not being as agile as it’s competitors in dealing with problems when they arose. For example, if you bought a duff Ford a shiny restyled model would soon come along for the dealer to sell you instead of fixing the one that was refusing to start; similarly with a Vauxhall, the rust would get it before the mechanicals gave too much trouble. ( I am generalising of course ).

    So yes, a great site with so much information. Much of it reflects my own experiences of the various marques (which is reassuring to know I’m not alone), plus additional insights and explanations of stuff I’d either wondered about or simply wasn’t aware of !

    Here’s to the next 20 years !

  23. Congratulations on 20years of this magnificent web resource for all things British and car shaped! I’ve been a regular visitor since around 2005, and I’ve spent many, many, many hours reading the fascinating articles, histories, biographies and critiques of British cars of all classes, shapes, eras and reputations! Thank you wholeheartedly for creating and continuing to manage this fantastic site!

  24. Hi All,
    As someone who has enjoyed reading (but not really contributing as often as I should) since pretty much the beginning and remember the days of looking at the site every 30 mins or so trying to find out what was happening to MGRover in the dark days of 2005, to learning nearly all I know about British cars through all the great articles on the site……..I would very much like to meet up with all the people who I have felt like I’ve known for so long without actually meeting them!
    Either venue would be great and hopefull when it’s sunny.
    Welcome to the wonderful world of the tourer, Keith and thanks for the great site over the years.

  25. Great news that’s it’s on for the 19th September. Please count me in with my P4 🙂

  26. Well what a great day that was at Gaydon . I just wanted to thank Keith and everyone conerned for making this a thoroughly enjoyable day out . It was an absolute joy to spend a day with like minded enthusiasts . The anecdotes were fascinating and I came away with lots of info that I never knew . The tour of the facility was exceptionally enjoyable , I “ve visited Gaydon many times but having Keith wax lyrical about the SD2 mabe me realise what a missed opportunity that was . I could happily spend the day at the museum listening to Keith and Mike talk about each car .
    I can”t thank you all enough – can we have another very soon .
    Thanks
    Dave H

  27. What a brilliant day out ! Great time with like-minded people.

    Just don’t wait 10 years for the next one 🙂

  28. Thank you once again for the day at Gaydon. Very interesting talks about four of the cars in the reserve collection. Would have loved to hear more from Mike and Keith, so perhaps next time. The two billed guests plus the bonus addition of Dr Pogson made for a fascinating Q and A and I really hope there will be future opportunities to hear them speak. All 3 are great speakers who connect well with their audience and one another. Terrific fund raiser for the chosen charity with great generosity shown on the day. Have now made a late addition via the link in the article above. Great to be in the company of like-minded enthusiasts and looking forward to any future events you might organise.

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