Southern Classics Society is a friendly and informal, all-marque club for classic vehicle enthusiasts in the south of England

Social & Drive It Day Reports 2017

In addition to our formal shows we hold various social events and Drive It Days. Below are reports of these events hoping you will see how much more belonging to Southern Classics Society means.

2017 event reports will appear here as they happen.


Annual General Meeting and Drive-It at The Bull Inn, Henfield - 1st October 2017


The fine weather returned for the Annual General Meeting of Southern Classics Society which took place on Sunday 22nd October. As has become customary, it was preceded by a Drive-it Run.

As the AGM was being held at The Bull Inn, in Henfield, the Drive-It run started from there, and followed a circular route. It started with coffee and biscuits in the morning, and then departed for a run through the autumnal Sussex countryside.

The sun shone, and the autumn colours on the leaves looked very attractive.


As usual there was a wide and varied selection of cars taking part, ranging from the sporty - like a Lotus Esprit, and a Triumph TR8, to the more luxurious, like a Rover 90. Also of particular note was the very clean Speedwell Mini Cooper S.

After about an hour and a half, members returned to the Bull for refreshments and an eagerly awaited lunch. This consisted of the Bull's speciality - a very wide range of different pizzas, with various accompaniments like salad, garlic bread, and so on.




Following lunch, the AGM started, with Phil taking the chair. Full details and the Minutes of the Meeting will be published in the next newsletter.

Our thanks go to Richard for organising the event, and to the staff of the Bull for providing their normal excellent service and deliciuos food, and providing their facilities for the meeting.

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Breakfast Meet at Carat's Cafe, Shoreham - 1st October 2017


Sunday the 1st October, was the date of the final breakfast meet of the year, and for probably the first time this year, the weather was unkind. When Members got up early in the morning and looked out of the window, it was dull and grey with rain being blown by a strong wind.

Despite the weather, a few hardy souls ventured down to Carats Cafe on the seafront near the harbour entrance in Southwick.

A few classics started to appear in the carpark, and their drivers gathered for a chat before venturing inside to the warmth, and a well deserved hot breakfast


A cooked breakfast (your reporter enjoyed eggs on toast) was followed by discussion and chat, and more coffee!



Our thanks go to Carats Cafe, for providing breakfast and shelter, to Richard for organising the event, and to the attendees for bringing along their vehicles.








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Breakfast Meet at Harvey's Brewery, Lewes - 17th September 2017


On Sunday the 17th September, Members got up early in the morning for a breakfast meet-up at Harvey's Brewery in Lewes. The weather was a bit misty first thing, with an autumn nip in the air (noticable round the ears of those driving convertibles!), but the sun came out later and it was a nice day. The car park has the advantage of giving us a separate reserved area to park our cars, which is nevertheless still visible to passing members of the public, to help with publicity.
As members started to arrive, the car park filled up with cars both small and large. As always there seem to be some cars we haven't seen before, which adds interest to the day.


A good example of this was the Rover Estourer. Built by FLM Panelcraft on the basis of a Rover P6, this one was one of only 8 based on the manual gearbox car, most of the 160 built, being automatics. It's estimated that 90 - 100 still exist worldwide, with 20 - 30 on the road.

Another interesting car was the 1940 Oldsmobile. A large but well-proportioned car, it was ironically parked between a pair of MG Midgets, from the other end of the size range!

Other notable cars included the 1955 Humber Hawk, and the immaculate 1973 Jensen Healey.


Those members wanting breakfast found plenty of quality cafes in the surrounding streets of the picturesque old town of Lewes.

Our thanks go to Harvey's Brewery, for allowing us the use of their car park, to Richard for organising the event, and to the attendees for bringing along their vehicles.



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Twilight Talk - "Engine Enlightenment" at the Bull - 11th August 2017


On Friday 11th August, members met at the Bull in Henfield, to enjoy the second of the "SCS Twilight Talks". This is a series of talks on motoring matters, presented by leading motor industry expert, Gerard Sauer. This time the subject would be "Engine Enlightenment".

You may recall from last time, that Gerard Sauer has had a long career as a motor industry consultant, racing driver and journalist - his technical articles in Cars & Car Conversions (aka "Triple C") magazine were a mine of information, back in the day. He is a very interesting speaker, whose hard-won experience is well worth listening to and absorbing.


This time, his talk covered a wide range of topcs connected with the maintenance and rebuilding of classic car engines, a subject dear to the hearts of everyone with a classic. It was far from being just a dry lecture though - Gerard had brought along a range of engine parts to illustrate his talk, ranging from quite small items like pistons up to a whole Ford engine block! Members were encouraged to get "hands-on" with the items, and to step up for a closer look.

Some of the parts came from his black museum of failed parts, and provided graphic evidence of what can go wrong.


The evening closed with a question and answer session, which built on a number of the points in the presentation and also covered some other points arising from Gerard's wide experience in the motor industry, his experience of testing oil additives, for example. These talks are certainly not to be missed!

Finally, our thanks to the staff of the Bull for their hospitality, to Richard for the organisation, and to Gerard for taking the time to give us the benefit of his experience and expertise.




Summer Barbeque at the Fox, Patching - 6th August 2017


On Sunday the 6th August, Members gathered at the Fox Inn, Patching, for our Summer Barbeque. The weather was good - warm, dry and sunny. As members started to arrive, the area filled with a typically varied selection of cars. Some of the cars were old friends from shows and events in the past, and some were new vehicles that we hadn't seen before.

The picnic tables gave members the opportunity to relax and chat in the sunshine, while enjoying the tantalising smells of cooking from the barbeque, which wafted across the area.


Meanwhile, live music was provided by the Red Jackson band.

An unexpected visitor was the one-off 1950 Cadillac Fleetwood 60 Special. These cars were rare enough anyway, but this particular one was given a special custom body by the coachbuilders Derham, for it's first owners, the Duke of Windsor and Wallis Simpson.

John had arranged one of his challenging quizzes, which caused a few furrowed brows amongst the participants. After a close contest, which was decided by a tie break, the winners collected the chocolates!

The winner of "Car of the Show" was judged to be Ben's immaculate Riley RM.


A number of people who had come to the Fox for their Sunday lunch came over to look at the cars, an unexpected extra bonus in their day.

As allways, our thanks go to the staff of the Fox Inn for their hospitality, and the excellent barbeque meal, to Richard for organising the event, to John for organising the Quiz and the Raffle, and to the attendees for bringing along their vehicles.



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Breakfast Meet at Whiteways Cafe - 23rd July 2017


The latest in our series of Breakfast Meets took place on Sunday 23rd July, at Whiteways Cafe, just off the A29. This pleasant rural location saw a typically varied collection of vehicles, with on the one hand, relatively recent cars from the likes of Porsche and TVR, and on the other, Pre-war cars from manufacturers like Armstrong-Siddeley and Austin.

The day was warm and sunny and members were able to relax and enjoy breakfast from the cafe - your humble scribe can attest to the quality of the bacon bap!

We were delighted to have in attendance 2 Gordon-Keebles - one being James with the car which won the Brian Bennett shield at the recent Borde Hill show.


An early Lotus Seven, the epitome of Colin Chapman's minimalist approach, contrasted with the opulence of the various Rover saloons. There were also some unusual vehicles. There was a rare Humber Heavy Utility, from WW2, in desert camouflage. Also in attendance were two fire engine in eye-catching yellow livery (apparently a short-lived experiment to improve visibility, abandoned when it was found to have the opposite effect under streetlights).

The event attracted attention from other visitors to the site, dog walkers, ramblers, and motorcyclists, who seemed pleased at encountering this unexpected classic car rally on their Sunday morning travels.


Our thanks go to the staff of Whiteways cafe for their hospitality, to Richard for organising the event, and most of all to the attendees for bringing along their vehicles.



Click here for more photos of the event.






Drive-It Run to Filching Manor & Motor Museum - 17th June 2017


On Saturday 17th June, at 08:15 am, members gathered at The Sportsman, Withdean Stadium, Brighton, for the Drive-It run to Filching Manor, via the Lavender Line and Birling Gap. Already the sun was shining brightly out of a blue sky, and convertibles (top-down of course) were in the majority!

After coffee (and, for some, breakfast), at the pub, followed by a briefing and issuing of the route from Richard, members departed in the direction of the first coffee stop, at the Lavender line at Isfield.



Here we were joined by a number of additional runners. Refreshments were provided in the picturesque surroundings of the old railway station.The route then continued further east on the winding downland country roads which are such a delight in weather like this.

We arrived at Birling Gap in good time for lunch. Cars were parked on the grass in blazing sunshine, under a clear blue sky. Some people opted for the National Trust Tea room, many preferred sandwiches in the fresh air. We were even treated to a fly-past by a historic Spitfire. There was also enough time to have a look at the famous white cliffs, and to admire the panoramic sea views.


After lunch we departed back inland a short distance, to Filching Manor. When we arrived, the cars were formed-up on the gravel drive in front of the extremely historic and picturesque manor house. The manor house dates back to 1450, and records show a manor on the site back to the days of Domesday Book. we were met at the door by Karl Foulkes-Halbard, who gave us an introductory talk about the history of the manor house itself. We were then led inside, to see the Great Hall, with it's displays of medieval weaponry on the walls, and a gallery above. We also saw the cosy lounge, with a large number of books and memorabilia.



Then it was off up the hill to the museum. Housed in a selection of former chicken sheds, it consists of a mix of memorabilia, cars, and boats, with a particular focus on Sir Malcolm and Donald Campbell's record breaking efforts, the high spot of the tour being Bluebird K3. The workshops with lathes and milling machines gave most people workshop envy

It was an excellent day out, which everybody enjoyed. We extend our thanks to the staff of the Sportsman at Withdean, and the Lavender Line, for their hospitality, and Karl Foulkes-Halbard, for being an excellent host and making us welcome, and for his instructive and entertaining guided tour. Also to Richard, for all his effort in making it all happen. In addition, we'd like to welcome any new members, joining us for the first time.



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Twilight Talk - "The Art of Race Driving" at the Bull - 12th May 2017


On Friday 12th May, members met at the Bull in Henfield, to enjoy a new addition to our calendar for this year. The "SCS Twilight Talk". This is to be a series of talks on motoring matters, presented by motor industry experts. The opening talk was presented by Gerard Sauer, on the subject of "The Art of Race Driving".

Gerard Sauer has had a long career as a motor industry consultant, racing driver and journalist - those (like this author), of "a certain age" will no doubt remember enjoying his technical articles in Cars & Car Conversions (aka "Triple C") magazine. He proved to be a very engaging speaker, and held the attention of the audience throughout.


His talk covered a wide range of topcs connected with the main subject. This started before you even drive the car, with car preparation and driver preparation, for example, the need to be comfortable in the car, and seated in such a way that you can control the car without undue effort.

He then talked about the actual technicalities of driving itself - about placing the car on the track, choosing the right lines to give the best speed, understeer and oversteer, how they affect the line through corners, and how the balance of the car alters. The key points were emphasised by projected slides, flipcharts, and videos.


The evening closed with a question and answer session, which built on a number of the points in the presentation and also covered some other points arising from Gerard's wide experience in the motor industry, some of which will no doubt be taken further in his next talk. This will be on Friday 11th August, again at the Bull, and will be on the subject of rebuilding engines, which should be well worth seeing. So make a note in your diary!

Finally, our thanks to the staff of the Bull for their hospitality, and to Gerard for taking the time to give us the benefit of his experience and expertise.




Lunchtime Skittles at the Bull - 5th May 2017


On Friday 5th May, members gathered for a lunchtime skittles match at The Bull, in Henfield. Before the skittles began in earnest though, things got under way with drinks and banter in the sunshine in the garden. There was then the the serious business of lunch to be dealt with. The Bull had come up with one of their magnificent spreads of a wide range of delicious pizzas, together with such things as garlic bread, salad, crisps and nuts, to tempt the unwary!




Once lunch was over, members were unleashed onto the skittle alley, and battle commenced. The contest was fought over 5 rounds, on an individual basis. Once it was over, and the dust had settled, the winners emerged. The ladies turned out to be the conquering heroes. Jill Spence had scooped the prize for the best overall score (42) despite strong competition from Robert. The award for the highest individual round score went to Margaret Gill, who managed a very impressive 14. There was also a "wooden spoon" award. The battle for this was just as intense, with Barbara Atterbury and Denise Strange ending tied as joint winners.


An enjoyable afternoon of lunch and skittles, our thanks go to Richard Long for organising the event, and to the staff of the Bull for providing their normal excellent service and food, and allowing the use of their facilities.













National Drive-It Day Run to Tenterden - 23rd April 2017


Sunday 23rd April was the 2017 running of National Drive-It Day. Richard, our events co-ordinator had organised a run to Tenterden in Kent, to visit the home of the Kent & East Sussex Railway. This is a preserved line with steam engines in operation, which provided an extra attraction for those whose interests extend to more than just automotive matters. The run started at the Roebuck Inn, in Laughton near Lewes. It was an early 8:00 am start, to allow for a full day at Tenterden, but this was made up for by the tea, coffee, and delicious bacon rolls, served by the staff of the inn. The weather was dry and sunny, and stayed that way for the whole day.



We drove by a fairly direct route to Tenterden, arriving at the Station at about 10:15. We were made welcome by the staff at the station, who had set aside an area of the station forecourt next to the platform, for us to park. Twenty-six cars formed-up in the sunshine. Participants were then free to enjoy the facilities that the railway offers. Many people took the opportunity to enjoy a steam-hauled train trip through the Kent countryside - You could travel to the end of the line, at Bodiam, and then return, or, if you wished, remain at Bodiam and take a stroll up the road to visit the very scenic and historic medieval castle. The station also offered a museum devoted to the history of light railways in the UK, and also a display on the history of brickmaking.


By all accounts, a good time was had by all. We extend our thanks to the staff of the Roebuck Inn for their breakfast hospitality, to the staff of the Kent & East Sussex Railway, for making us welcome, and for their assistance during the day, and to Richard, for his skill in making it all happen. Also, we'd like to welcome any new members, joining us for the first time.



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Shoreham Airport Breakfast Meet - 26th March 2017


Breakfast in 1930s style surroundings with the additional glamour of classic cars illuminated by bright blue skies. What a perfect start to Mother's Day. This just about sums up our first breakfast meet of the year! Around forty cars turned up with many being first time visitors both to a SCS event as well as Shoreham airport.

The magnificent Art Deco building, with its period restaurant and music, overlooking the airfield provided a wonderful setting. To add to the normal assortment of vehicles on show, the Stag Owners Club turned up with around half a dozen of one of Triumph's most iconic designs. A veritable treat for the eyes!



As with most of our events that are open to members and non-members alike, a few non-members showed an interest in joining the club and went away with membership forms happily proffered by John Place. Many of them said what a great turnout of cars and what a nice bunch of people SCS members are. Well I think that sums up the club perfectly!

I would personally like to thank Paul, the restaurant manager, and his staff for accommodating us so well, as Mother's Day is one of their busiest days of the year with 80 people booked in for breakfast. Their calm, efficient service belied a busy kitchen and waiting staff - if you want a special place to hold a special event, Shoreham Airport may well fit the bill. Give Paul a ring!

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Drive-It Run to CCK Historic - 11th March 2017


CCK Historic have proved to be a very popular destination when we have visited them before, their workshops and museum containing much to appeal to the classic car owner. This year had been no exception, with nearly 50 people booked to attend.

The weather looked unpromising to start with, mist and fog blanketing the south coast. Leaving the start point at the Toby Carvery in Worthing, the fog initially thickened as we climbed over the Downs.

On decending onto the Sussex Weald, the fog cleared, and the sun came out, and the rest of the day was a typical lovely spring day.

The morning drive took us through the usual winding roads to the Victory Inn at Staplefield. On arrival, the Victory had reserved their car park for us, and as a stream of classics arrived th car park was full to overflowing, allowing us to set-up a mini car show, and conduct a publicity photo-shoot. Over 30 people had ordered lunch at the Inn, and the food was excellent.

After lunch, we continued on the run, arriving at CCK Historic as scheduled. There was much to see, with preparations for the Goodwood Members' Meeting underway. Their most immediate job was removing the engine from the Bill Thomas Cheetah. Their workshops were also full of other cars, in all stages of build, from bare shells upwards to complete cars. They also provided tea, coffee, and biscuits for attendees.

Our thanks go to the Victory Inn and CCK Historic for being such excellent and accomodating hosts, and doing so much to make the day a success. Also to Richard for his hard work on the organisational front.

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