Hyde Hall Motor Show

On Sunday 20th August, JEC Essex Thameside Region joined the JDC Area 33 and other car clubs for a show at Hyde Hall. Over 200 cars attended from Mercedes, Morgan, TR, Jaguar, Singer, Austin 7 & Porsche car clubs. The weather was great for the whole day which brought out the visitors to the gardens and the show. Approximately 2,970 persons visited on the day (about a 1000 up on normal day) plus 75 new RHS memberships were gained. This was greatly appreciated by RHS who wish us to make it an annual event. Discussions are already beginning as to the date for 2018.

Essex Thameside fielded 34 Jaguars from our membership and it was an impressive display.

The story of RHS Garden Hyde Hall
In 1955 when Dr and Mrs Robinson came to Hyde Hall there were only six trees on the top of a windswept hill and no garden. If they had known then what they soon learned, it is very doubtful that the garden would have been made. The site was cold and windy, the top of the hill was covered in gravel and the soil on the slopes comprised a sticky clay with a pH of around neutral.

For centuries Hyde Hall had been a working farm and the area around the house was a dumping ground for all kinds of rubbish. Mrs Robinson started to garden as a reaction against this and as she cleared areas
around the house they were planted with anything available. In this way she created herbaceous borders and a vegetable garden close to the house, and established the framework of the garden with some 60 young trees bought at an auction sale in Wickford Market.

The house, which dates back to the 18th century, is a typical Essex farmhouse of timber frame, lath and plaster. Records show the existence of a dwelling on this site at least as far back as Tudor times. At the
back of the house Mrs Robinson discovered the Tudor brick floor of an old stable under a pile of old household rubbish and soil. This was excavated to become a natural pavement garden.

Cleaning the land around the house was arduous and time-consuming work but, with some assistance from the pigs, the refuse, brambles and scrub were eventually removed and the sticky, clay soil improved
with quantities of animal manure and mushroom and bark compost.

Since the Robinsons turned the first spadeful of clay in the 1950s, Hyde Hall has always been a dynamic garden, constantly changing to meet the various challenges the site and soil have produced. The story of the development of this inspiring garden with its extraordinary diversity of plants is a fascinating one, a triumph over conditions that would have daunted less keen and dedicated gardeners.

The Hyde Hall Gardens Trust was set up in 1976 and then in 1993 the garden became the responsibility of the Royal Horticultural Society, having been bequeathed by the Trust to ensure its future survival. Under ownership of the RHS a number of modifications were made to accommodate growing visitor numbers.

One of the first major garden projects was the installation of a 45-million litre (10 million gallon) reservoir to provide the garden with all its irrigation needs. To further promote its water-efficient ethos a
Mediterranean-styled Dry Garden was added to showcase a range of drought-tolerant plants. The Dry Garden was completed in the spring of 2001, following one of the wettest winters known.

A major turning point came in 2008 with the construction of a visitor centre comprising a café, shop and plant centre. The building was officially opened in March 2010 by Alan Titchmarsh. Work at this Essex garden continues at a monumental pace and the ever-changing landscape ensures visitors have plenty to draw inspiration from. Forthcoming projects include a new Winter Garden, Global Vegetable Garden and Big Sky Meadows.

So returning to the show, we had a marvellous day as can be seen with the accompanying photos.

Saffron Walden Car Show

Members gathered at Birchanger Services at junction 8 off the M11 at 8am on Sunday 13th August before driving up to the common at Saffron Walden. The weather was really better than expected for a change. The sun shone all day. While awaiting arrival of club members at Birchanger Services, a missed opportunity arose and was gone in seconds. What appeared to be the new E-Pace was seen driving out of the car park. At first it looked like an F-Pace, but for the now familiar camouflage decals all over the vehicle. There would be no reason to camouflage this vehicle had it been an F-Pace. Obviously the vehicle is still undertaking road tests before launch.

On arrival at the common in Saffron Walden, we were joined throughout the day by members from the Cambridge region of the JEC as well as members of the JDC so all Jaguars were together. It was a fine sight and a good display, with many members being approached by members of the public wishing to discuss aspects of their displayed cars.

A good time was had by all and it makes it even better when the weather stays fine. There were other club stands on the common, including the Morris Minor Club, TR Club, MG Club, army vehicles and classic coaches, to name but a few.

Hilton & Moss, a local classic car restorer, had a 1953
XK120 on display which had an asking price of £129,000.

The whole event appeared to be bigger than last year as quite a number of privately owned classic cars parked up on the common. The event this year was in support of the Arthur Rank hospice.


This years event was one of the best. More than 100,000 spectators enjoyed the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival. On the whole, the weather wasn’t that bad as can be seen in the picture of Jackie Warren without her duvet coat, jumper or any other garment to keep her warm other than her smart top! This was recorded on Sunday.

However, both Friday evening and Saturday evening when the music festival got going, so did the rain. Spandau Ballet’s former front-man Tony Hadley topped Saturday night’s bill with The Dire Straits Experience, formed by the original sax-playing band member, Chris White. And what a band they were. If you closed your eyes and listened to the singer, Terence Reid, you would have thought you were listening to Mark Knopfler.

The concerts on both Friday and Saturday were disrupted by the weather. It poured down both nights, which was a shame really as the performers did their very best on putting on a good show. I can assure you all that standing in the rain, which is running down your back, front, arms and head, isn’t very pleasant. Although kitted out with appropriate garments and more to repel the rain, it just got everywhere it could, to the extent that we and a few other couples just had to give up and leave. Saturday’s circuit events and weather throughout the day was fine.
There was so much going on. Various classic racing taking place along with one of the biggest gatherings of club displays in and around the circuit.

The highlight for most of the club members that attended was
the running display of over 40 X220’s around the circuit. What a sight and one never undertaken before.

One of the cars was being driven by TV presenter Tiff Needell.

2017 is the 25th anniversary since the car was launched in 1992 when customer orders were taken, the dramatically styled two-seater sports car was priced at £470,000. It was Jaguar’s fastest ever production car as well as being the fastest production car on earth, clocking 212.3m.p.h. It was a ‘labour of love’ conceived by a dozen engineers working on a volunteer basis, after hours in their spare time. Famously known as the ‘Saturday Club’ this small team included the XJ220 designer, Keith Helfet, a young South African petrolhead who had arrived in the styling department at Jaguar via the Royal College of Art in London. He had been asked to submit proposals to Jim Randle, the company’s then Director of Engineering. Randle without the knowledge of his superiors, was keen to create a Group B road racer to take on the might of Ferrari and Porsche. It was revealed at the 1988 NEC Motor Show to rapturous applause. Jaguar was inundated with blank cheque’s which forced Jaguar management to grant approval for a limited run of just 350 cars. The long and the short of it was that the car was supposed to feature a V12 engine with four wheel drive, the final production version ended up as a V6 3.5L twin turbocharged rear transaxle car. This change put some buyers off and in the end, when production ceased in 1994 only 281 cars were built and Jaguar were left with 150 unwanted vehicles, which resulted in many being sold off at less than half price! Today cars values are between £300,000 and £450,000 and are rising.

Other displays ‘on track’ was a procession of McLaren’s road cars of which I counted 116!! Quite a feat and a world record in 80th year of founder Bruce McLaren’s birth.

The displays of Jaguar’s on the Jaguar Enthusiast’s Club area at Copps Corner was fantastic. See pictures below:

Also on display was the JEC “Raffle Car”. The draw will take place at the Classic Car Show at the NEC in November.

Also at the event was Mike Brewer from “Wheeler Dealers”. Here he is discussing the remarkable innovations of the Citroen SM.

At the “Silverstone” auction arena held over the weekend, was one car that appears not to have been put into the auction. It was a David Brown Automotive Speedback GT. Starting price of £495,000. While its styling imitates cars of the 1960s, the Aston Martin DB5 in particular, its drivetrain comes courtesy of the Jaguar XKR.

Other memorable displays included Nigel Mansell’s Williams Race Car ‘Red 5’. 25 years previously, Nigel won Silverstone British Grand Prix, then went on to win the Formula One Championship.

Think of six-wheeled F1 cars and you’ll most likely recall Tyrrell’s P34. However, Williams built two different six-wheelers in the early eighties. Williams pursued the opposite six-wheeled concept to the one used by Tyrrell. They added extra wheels at the rear of the car to improve traction. The first of their six-wheelers, based on their 1979 car, was called the FW07D. For 1983 the FIA announced all cars should have a maximum of four wheels with two of them driven, and that killed off the last six-wheeler for good. There was one of the six wheel race cars at Silverstone as shown below.

One other “new” car on display at Silverstone was the Honda 3.5 L V6 NSX. Priced from £143,000, 0 – 60mph in  3.3 secs.  Top speed 191.4mph.

And as day turns to dusk, it was time for the other type of music to begin. The “Rocking and Racing” weekend not only included Dire Straights Experience and Tony Hadley as indicated before, but also other tribute acts including the Bootleg Beatles, Who’s Next and Are You Experienced? playing respectively the music of The Beatles, The Who and Jimi Hendrix on Friday evening.
To summarise, it was a great weekend, despite the evening rain!