Founder’s Almanac 2021

January: Contractors of every trade working on Unit 4 to make it a suitable home for the GBCJ Car Collection and Visitors to it.  Snow in middle of month. Heavy rain and high river levels later on.  Purchased one owner XJS Cabriolet and Bristol 410.

February:  Work continues. Purchase Rover Streetwise on Valentine’s Day. Weather improves towards end of month. Still lots to do!

March: Humber Sceptre and another Austin Seven join us as well as a rare Vauxhall Victor from 1971 and a lovely MG TF.

Start trial hanging of banners in main display area.

April:  Morris 1800 is purchased. Alec Issigonis loved this car but unfortunately it did not sell as well as expected. Very low mileage MG ZR joins us. Pete Stevens did such a great job turning these Rovers into a really good hot hatch.  Drive -It day on April 25th attracts hundreds of visitors …to the car park. See you all again in 2022. 

May:  Working flat out!  McLaren 650S arrives … how I love this car!!

Press and opening day on May 19th. Great weather, lots of guests including the BBC who broadcast live for the Breakfast programme.

May 22nd is our first day open to visitors and thanks to the hundreds that turned up.

June:  Weather not great but loads of visitors. Welcome a big Morgan group on June 26th.

July:  At last, some Summer weather. We acquire beautiful Jensen 541S.  Welcome donation from Derby College of cutaway Ford Prefect Chassis. THANK YOU.

Visit to stud in Wiltshire where a cache of fascinating cars are hiding. More of them later

Buy a one owner from new Austin A40. My Mum learned to drive in one… I bounced around in the back!

Visitors keep coming and lots of people “Drive Dads Car”. Reviews are very favourable and at last we can open the Café properly (deliberate brief mention of the dreaded C- thing!)

August: Buy a wonderful Mk2 Cortina Ambulance.

Sunny days and rather warm.

August 30th  – De Loreans  take over. Thanks to the club for bringing the cars.

September:  Arrival of the Arrol Johnston and two lovely Jaguars.  Huge Thanks to the Plaister Charitable Trust for the loan of these wonderful cars.

Nice to see the Austin Healey Club…the first car club I ever joined.

At last, after far too long, my wife and I do a tour with the Pre-War Austin 7 Club in the beautiful Lake District. What a wonderful little car.

October:  We welcome a terrific collection of cars from the Eastern Bloc. I want a Wartburg!

November:   We are given a wonderful 1931 Austin 12. A huge Thankyou to Charles Clarkson whose family have owned this car from new.  Thanks to Autoglym the Plaister cars are put on display looking magnificent.  Well done to our team for getting them running so sweetly.

Thanks to The Federation of Historic British Vehicle Clubs for making us and the cars so welcome at the NEC. We launch the Great British Car Club which now has nearly 200 members. Please join and come and see us regularly!!!

Snow makes an unwelcome appearance on the 28th.

Fortunately, it thaws and to much excitement we get the Arrol Johnston started and driving.

December:  Mark and Luke work wonders on the Austin 12 which after four decades locked in a garage, bursts into life and I drive her round the site. “As Dependable as an Austin”. You had better believe it!!!

I set sail in our Dutton on the 17th. The weather in Littlehampton is warm and the sea is calm!

The final arrivals of 2021 arrive at Ambergate on December 30th Two lovely Farina cars: An Austin Cambridge and a Riley 14/72. I drive them both and want to thank Christine Plummer and her late Father for donating these precious cars to us.

THANK YOU to everyone who has visited in 2021. Please come again in 2022 and bring your friends with you. I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year and thanks for all the encouragement in what has been an exciting but very challenging year.

Best Drive of 2022:  Austin Seven in Cumbria

Fastest Drive of 2022:  McLaren 650S (Of course!)

Slowest Drive:  Arrol-Johnston. Magnificent.

Weirdest Drive: Dutton into the water. Well done Tim.

Most Extraordinary: Austin 12. So Dependable!

Most unexpected: Riley 14/72 yesterday. Comfy and rather lovely.


See you all in 2022

Richard Usher   31/12/21.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *