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March Blog


NATIONAL DRIVE IT DAY – 21 APRIL – EXBURY CLUB


Club members expressed their preferences to visit the Holycombe Steam Railway, Weald and Downland Museum or The Watercress Line at Alresford for Drive It Day.  Unfortunately, neither of the first two options were available and The Watercress Line are now charging £25 per car to display, which we considered priced us out of the market.

So, in order to control costs to members we have nominated the “Pride and Joy Vehicle Meet” at Exbury Club as our Drive It Day destination.  Pride and Joy Vehicle Meets happen all over the country and the meet is a regular at Exbury Club.  Generally, there is an eclectic mix of vehicles; classic, modern and niche.  Exbury Club has a tea and coffee hut, which sells home-made cakes and is very close to Exbury Gardens & steam railway, which will be open on 21 April.

Normally, when we have our own dedicated venue, we are committed to remaining on-site for 4 – 5 hours.  The Pride & Joy Vehicle Meet is more relaxed about cars arriving and departing from the site.  Please aim to be at the site around 10am – 1030am and remain for 2 – 3 hours.  That will give you the freedom to visit other venues, such as Exbury Gardens and Beaulieu on Drive It Day.  Alternatively, you could just cruise around Hampshire on your way to or from Exbury Club in your Moggie, admiring all the other classic cars out and about in the New Forest.  Perhaps stop for lunch at a pub, if you see other classics gathered in their carpark?

National Drive It Day was set up in 2005 by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC).  The date is selected annually to be as close as possible to the anniversary of the 1,000 Mile Trial which ran from London to Edinburgh and back in 1900.  FBHVC is supporting the NSPCC charity.  Donations can be made via the purchase of Drive It Day plaques from their website: www.driveitday.co.uk.  There is also more information on FBHVC and the 1,000 Mile Trial on the website.


WINTER PRESENTATION – RACING CAREER OF “PHIL THE HILL” in WDF 714

On 20 February, Phil Jones delivered the second of our winter presentations.  Based on our series of “Getting to Know our Moggies” we thought that it was time to unveil a Moggie that has been a member of the Club for some time, but has not been seen, in the flesh, at our Club meets.  There was a good turnout of around 30 members on the night.

Phil commenced his presentation with a brief overview of his apprenticeship, which wasn’t all that long ago – in palaeontological terms.  As a young apprentice he became embroiled in a devilishly complex web of transactions, involving cash, Mr Cadbury of Cadbury Chocolates and the facilitation of the transportation of bee hives; which nowadays would likely attract the attention of the money laundering authorities.  On conclusion of those transactions, he finally acquired the vehicle of his dreams – a 1958 two door Morris Minor saloon, registration WDF 714.

To warm up the audience, Phil ran a YouTube video of the car in the 2001, Brighton Standing ¼ mile; which is sadly no longer part of the racing calendar.  In the “Modified production car up to 1400cc” Class; from a standing start, he achieved a speed of 86mph when he crossed the finish line, 15.96 seconds later. 

Phil gave an exciting gallop through his racing career, when he participated in speed hill climbs and sprint events over the past 40 odd years.  Venues ranged from Brighton, Gurston, Prescott and many other national events throughout the UK.

During the presentation, we discovered that WDF 714 is capable of developing 145 bhp at 10,000 revs, but only for brief periods; since the gearbox is only guaranteed for 7,500rpm.  Although she has been de-tuned to around 125bhp, with the power coming in at 2,500rpm for hill climbs, she is still a tad faster than our standard Club Moggie.  She has had a number of modifications to strengthen her chassis, minimise weight, maximise engine power and transmit that power through the gearbox to the wheels.

Many of the modifications had to be developed in Phil’s own workshop, which is where his apprenticeship paid off.  In those early days, racing parts for Morris Minors simply didn’t exist, so there was a deal of development work that had to be undertaken before a part could be manufactured and fitted.  There was no guarantee that the part would improve performance which meant that there was an element of trial and error to each modification.

However, over time, that development did result in a “quick” car that scared Phil regularly.  One of those occasions was touch and go as to whether he would be able to recover the car from cornering hard at 76mph.


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