|The Black Country’s premier vehicle
rally, featuring Black Country made vehicles, took place
at the Black Country Living Museum, Tipton Road, Dudley
on Sunday 27th July. The rally, previously
called the Black Country Vehicle Rally is now known as
the Festival of Black Country Vehicles. The event
attracts many enthusiasts from a large area, and has a
strong following. The rally was held on a beautiful
summer’s day on part of the museum’s 26 acre site, and
featured a large number of vehicles. There were cars
made by A.J.S., Bean, Clyno, Frisky, Jensen, Lomax, Quantum, Rickman,
Star, Sunbeam, Swallow, Turner, and Westfield. Meadows engined
cars included models by Lea Francis, Invicta, and Lagonda. The
many motorcycles included machines made by A.J.S., D.M.W.,
and Sunbeam; there were Guy lorries and buses, and the
unusual sight of a Jensen lorry.
Some of the many exhibits.
|The highlights included several
cavalcades, during which the vehicle owners were allowed
to drive, or ride their vehicles around a pre-planned
route on the site.
This is a unique and spectacular
feature of the rally that recaptures the old, once
familiar sights and sounds of a bygone era.
|Another highlight was the official
opening of the museum’s latest attraction, the accurate
recreation of Conway Garage that stood at the Fighting
Cocks in Wolverhampton. Alec Broome, one of Sunbeam’s
top racing mechanics ran the garage from 1936 until the
late 1980s, when he retired.
Alec Broome's garage.
The garage is the latest
addition to the growing Black Country village which
features many of the aspects of traditional Black
Country life. The garage was opened by the museum’s
Director and Chief Executive Ian Walden, and Alec
Broome’s great nephew John Davies.
|Read about the garage and its
|The visiting motorcycles included
Bill Barton’s A.J.S. “Big Port” from 1927, and his
A.J.S. model ‘B’ from 1915.
As usual Arthur Stubbs
brought along a number of his interesting D.M.W.
machines, and a fascinating collection of Sunbeams were
there for all to see, including Mark Homer's "Lion" combination.
Some of the motorcycles.
A few of the cars.
|The many cars included Jeremy
Collins’ spectacular Star Raceabout from 1907, John
Warburton’s Star 12/25 from 1924, Malcolm Luscot Evans’
Bean Tourer from 1926, Nick Lacy Hulbert’s Clyno Tourer
from 1926, and Michael Dancer’s Sunbeam 14/40 Tourer
|The commercial vehicles included Tim and Glen Bubb’s Guy Vixen bus from 1953, Chris Huffer’s Guy Otter
Lorry from 1950, W. G. Lucas’s Guy Otter Lorry from
1950, and Keith Ball’s Guy Wolf van from 1949. As usual
a good variety of Sunbeam and Guy buses were on hand courtesy of the
Black Country Transport Group.
|Background music was provided by
the Dennis Mowatt Dixie Syncopaters who greatly added to
the warm and friendly atmosphere, which is always a
feature of the event.
Indoor displays about locally made
vehicles were provided by David Evans who runs the Star,
Starling, Stuart, and Briton Register; and myself, on
behalf of the Marston
Wolverhampton Heritage Trust who are based at the
The Dennis Mowatt Dixie Syncopaters.
Some of the indoor displays.
|Visitors included Geoff and Jim Stevens of the A.J.S.
Hussey, the daughter of the famous motorcycle rider
Tommy Deadman, and Keith Peckmore who worked both for
Keift and Frisky in Wolverhampton.
|After lunch many of the visitors
lined the route to watch the vehicles in action during
several cavalcades, each catering for a different type
Trevor Davies was on hand to keep a watchful
eye on the proceedings, and a number of marshals
positioned around the route ensured that everything ran
Some of the Star, Bean, and
A surprise visitor was Geoff
Stevens (A.J.S.), extreme left.
As usual it was an extremely
enjoyable day, greatly appreciated by the visitors.
There were old friends to meet and much to see on the
museum’s extensive site, including the Black Country
village, the coal mine, the Newcomen steam engine, the
fairground, and the exhibition halls.
Many people took
advantage of the excellent canalside café, the
traditional fish and chip shop, and the Bottle and Glass
Everything went well on the day and
the rally was a great success, thanks to the organising
team and their many helpers. The rally was well
organised by Hamish Wood (the museum’s Operations
Manager), Brian Rollings, Ray Jones, Trevor Davies, and
Brian Watton. Special thanks must go to Jane Allcock,
Hamish Wood’s assistant who worked extremely hard behind
the scenes to ensure that everything ran smoothly on the
day. It was also made possible by the team from the
Marston Wolverhampton Heritage Trust including Angela
Davies, Stan Davis, Beryl Jones, Val and Stuart Lloyd,
Ken and Margaret Norton, Audrey and Derek Spencer, and
Joy Watton. Thanks must also go the marshals who kept an
eye on the proceedings throughout the day. They were Reg
Aston, Derek Beddows, Bramwell, Jerry Clark, Bob Dale,
and Derek Kirk.
Trevor Davies in the museum's
A.J.S. "Nine" car.
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