Founder’s Almanack for 2023

January 2023:   
The year started brightly with a very busy Great British Car Meet on 2nd January.

‘The Mystery Car’ caused quite a stir! This beautiful and pristine example of a 1974 Vauxhall Victor FE that has less than 100 miles on the clock caught the imaginations of many.

February 2023: 
This wonderful Coleman Milne Granada joined the substantial list of cars donated to the museum. Huge thanks to all the donators.

Great British Car Share was launched with our wonderful brand ambassadors Sarah Crabtree and Paul Woodford. We are currently into series 3 ‘Rally Heroes’ – and you can catch up on all episodes over on our YouTube channel here.

Luke Henshaw, our Classic Vehicle Restoration Apprentice, was shortlisted in VisitEngland’s Tourism Superstar Awards 2023 in conjunction with The Mirror and our very own superstar finished in 2nd place in these national awards as runner-up!

March 2023: 
As usual we hoped that winter was behind us but as my picture shows… it wasn’t. This is my venerable snow-covered Rover 600 on 10th March. 

BBC Breakfast were back with us on 14th March and a lot of our cars featured on the cover of Practical Classics. 

We only went and won GOLD for the New Tourism Business of the Year Award in the Visit Peak District & Derbyshire Tourism Awards 2023!! 

The last week of March saw us with our good friends from the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs at another massive Practical Classics and Classic Car Show at the NEC. 

April 2023:  
Spring was slow to arrive as my picture of me arriving at Ambergate in ‘Dinky’ my beloved Austin 7 shows.  It didn’t stop us welcoming plenty of Imps on the 30th along with literally hundreds of Jaguars for their BIG Jaguar Breakfast Club.

May 2023: 
It was good to see Terry one of my marshalling stalwarts from Blyton Park in the middle of May and his choice of wheels didn’t disappoint… a very rare Metro convertible. 

It was a lovely day for Morris Minors 75th anniversary celebrations on the 21st

New tarmac for Drive Dad’s Car on May 23rd.

June 2023:  
A Fiesta of Fords and some summer sun as well as a lovely Bentley as summer finally arrived. How better to celebrate than to take the Dutton for a spin on the Derwent?  

I really do want an Austin Paralanian!     

Proud to have been awarded the Bronze Award for New Tourism Business of the Year at the VisitEngland Awards.

On Father’s Day we reunited our lovely Austin 16 Woodie with the owner who restored her 40 years ago. It was a lovely family affair as children and grandchildren went for a drive… 

And yes – I bought another Reliant… it’s a long story!

July 2023:  
We don’t see many Veteran cars but this was an absolute cracker!  

Took a little break with the Pre-war Austin 7 Club to the Lake District. The hood was up and down quite a lot! 

Dinky was also on display at ‘Secret Gardens’ in my home village of Winster… that’s not my garden by the way! 

Celebrated Summer by buying my own Metro Convertible…it’s a little pocket rocket!

August 2023:  
Was rather wet and cool, so we were pretty busy as the annual influx of visitors to our beautiful county sought refuge from the elements. 

The Westfield owners are a hardy lot though… not a hood in sight! 

Don’t often see both our Minor Millions together. 

September 2023: 
The weather was still mixed for the Chatsworth Country Fair. ‘Dinky’ and our lovely one owner Austin 14 made friends with some Morrises!  

Incredibly grateful that we were chosen to display the custom-built Middlebridge Scimitar, previously owned by HRH Princess Anne for 35 years, Not only is it an eighties classic, the car also has an illustrious history and Royal provenance. 

Mrs Usher finally bought an Aston – she absolutely deserves it!  

Autumn arrived early but it didn’t daunt the Minis for East Mids Minis National Day!!

October 2023: 
More rain and more Morris Minor Travellers for 70th Birthday celebrations!  

Another donation in the form of this magnificent Marina. 

Another car I could fall in love with; this lovely Lotus Europa – Colin Chapman’s genius in full flow. 

A special birthday was celebrated by a very special Austin 7… 

Just before a lot more rain arrived and we needed to keep those valuable cars up in the air… It’s really not that easy to get the Lola onto the ramp! 

Don’t run Buddy over Ian…and what are you driving? 

Danny Hopkins took my Mini on a terrific ‘Italian Job’ adventure and brought her back unscathed… 

November 2023: 
Back to the NEC for the Classic Motor Show and celebrating the wonder of the Mini. Thanks to Paul, John, Steve and Becky for all the hard work … and Oliver of course who visited more than 300 clubs! The ‘Woodie’ made a guest appearance with the Austin Counties Club and Danny was reunited with my Mini! Ray Newell announced another great book …in fact he has two new ones out and they are both superb.

The Jowetts were close by and this lovely example looks similar to a car that was about to come our way… The Paramount was just around the corner.  If you don’t know what I am talking about, we have bought a Paramount made in the wonderful County of Derbyshire in 1950.

December 2023:  
So much snow arrived on the 3rd that we were unable to open.  

The Great British Car Club Christmas Dinner was a jolly affair.

The weather continued to be stormy…cutting Winster off from Elton.

The last Great British Car Meet of the year was inevitably damp and so thanks to all our enthusiastic friends, it was extremely well attended.

Thanks to all our visitors in 2023…we hope to see you again soon.

Thanks to all my wonderful team including the volunteer army and of course my amazing other half.

Summary of 2023

Best Drive:  
In my Frogeye Sprite going home in September. 45 bhp shouldn’t be such fun.

Fastest Drive:  
Mrs Usher’s Aston Martin. Not that fast though, as she was in the passenger seat.

Slowest Drive: 
A ride in the 1902 James and Browne. Thanks so much to the students from Imperial College London who brought “Boanerges” (means Son of Thunder) to see us and for taking me for a drive.

Weirdest Drive: 
Fishing from the Dutton in the middle of the Derwent with the Sun’s Motoring Correspondent and old friend Rob Gill.

Most Extraordinary:  
My Mini’s adventure with Practical Classics’ Editor and friend Danny Hopkins on the 2023 Italian Job run. I would like to do this event!

Most Unexpected:  
Driving the Paramount – a car I had never heard of until it arrived at Ambergate.

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