British and European Car Day.
I have been keenly interested in cars, particularly British cars, for as long as I can remember and I feel privileged to have been invited to introduce this publication, as it was my father, Vic Walter, who was the organiser of the very first British Car Day thirty years ago.
Back in those days Vic was seeking to establish a simple event for owners of British Cars and associated like-minded people that neither had the hassle of competition nor discriminated by marque. He sought the opportunity for friendly folk to enjoy a good day out with their cars: I think that history now shows that his dream has been well realized.
The very first event started at Melling railway station, with participants driving to the venue: Southwards Car Museum, a most appropriate choice for the first meeting. As time went on and more people and cars became involved, it would found to be impractical to “tour” to our venue and the decision was made to drive independently and meet at the select venue. The relative success of the event can be measured by the fact that we now managed to attract as many as 300 – 500 vehicles on an annual basis.
The event moved from Southwards and for a while was domiciled at Queen Elizabeth Park at McKays Crossing. What a superb venue, with the adjacent beach, walks, tram museum and buses. Sadly the difficulties experienced in regaining access to Sate Highway One, on a late Sunday afternoon, soon resulted in the location becoming impractical. However, since the construction of the new flyover and the by-passing of the railway level crossing, perhaps future events could be held at this lovely location. No doubt the Committee will give this suitable consideration in due course.
The event has been held at Trentham Racecourse, where British Airways kindly donated a “trip for two” to the UK and was subsequently located at Trentham Memorial Park. This latter location has been the home of British Car Day for several years and provides all participants and visitors with plenty of space and safe access.
A long tradition has been the striking of souvenir plaques for British Car Day. Some people are even lucky enough to have a full set of these commemorative plaques.
The aim of British Car Day has always been focused on enjoyment rather than making profits. However, most years a modest profit has been achieved and the Committee has consistently donated those profits to the deserving cause – Wellington Free Ambulance. They do a great job and, as motorists, we continue to hope that we do not need their services!
Whilst the event isn’t weather dependent, a nice sunny day makes all the difference. In our thirty year history, we have only had to postpone once!
Britain is still a large manufacturer of cars from Rolls Royce, to MG, Morgan and Nissan. That bodes well for an on-going supple of future classics for us all to consider. As a long-time attender and contributor to this special event, I am confident that with your support, British Car Day can continue long into the future. Dad would have been very proud.