Now in its 36th year, the Bromley Pageant of Motoring is probably the UK’s largest one-day car show. It has become an institution and boasts around 3000 vehicles, trade stands, auto jumble, club and one-make stands, car sales, special guests and…Bouncy Castles. It is one event that I have been longing to attend for some time.
Mindful of feedback from our members who preferred to do more than just look at “cars in fields”, the Club Committee has introduced more variety to our outings, so, when the Pageant was suggested, it was quickly placed on the official list rubbing shoulders with, the Laon Historique, the Shuttleworth Collection, Hayling Island and Bletchley Park. So, what is the Bromley Pageant about? Well, it’s basically, erm… cars in fields. Two enormous fields, actually, which form Norman Park, Kent. Just to say that does not, however, do it justice. You really have to be there. Sponsored by Peter James Insurance, the event is spread over those two fields which are separated by a non-babbling brook – barely a trickle. Our field was reserved for one make parking, club stands, food outlets and a well-stocked Routemaster Bar Bus whilst the field opposite hosted the Arena, trade stalls, auto jumble, car sales, more club stands and…. a Routemaster Bar Bus.
Eight cars turned out to wave the Essex Thameside flag. Terry Perkins, Ray Spenser, Chris White, Gary Mitchell, Bob Duff, Richard Gibby, Steve Potter and yours truly braved the queues and heat to display a varied selection of Jaguar hardware.
We had one space left for Doug, but sadly he was partying elsewhere. New members Steve and Wendy Potter arrived in their XJS convertible – a doppelganger for mine, whilst Richard brought along the Suffolk SS100, Bob with the Mk 2, Chris’s E Type roadster, Terry’s XK8, Ray’s XJ40, Gary’s 420G and my 420 completed the line-up on our snug pitch.
A word for the future, we will need to book more space if we are to have the Event Shelter, particularly since the weather proved remarkably hot. With such a large park to fill, space strangely seemed at a premium.
There were countless club stands present with our near neighbours comprising such groups as; the Simca Club, Blood Sweat N Gears, Dunton Retirees Car Club, Vauxhall Drivers’ Club, Wacky Racers and the Afro Caribbean Classic/Sports Car Club. Other Jag Regions were represented by the JDC Kent, and the JEC West Sussex. The One-Make Parking was nearby. This is the place where fans of many popular makes come together to form single brand displays. Generally, these are vehicles manufactured before 1997 although there is a section set aside to cater for later models.
Entertainment was laid on with interviews with Tiff Needell and Ben “Stig” Collins, a 50’s Rock & Roll band, Motor Cycle Stunt Team, Club Awards and, as they say…much more. You could even see car wrapping demonstrations – check out the turquoise Audi A8.
The major car manufacturers also lent some of their prized collectibles to the event, including a Datsun 240Z, a Suzuki Whizzkid (I joke not) and a Vauxhall Victor FE.
Modern Classics are becoming ever more popular at these events as the boys/girls a couple of generations younger than us become able to afford the cars they lusted after in their youth. You could see clubs catering for; Subaru, Ford XR3i’s,
Cosworths, M Series. The list goes on, but I must also include the Nissan Cube and the Ford Galaxy Clubs.
No, the latter doesn’t represent the 60’s American icons that finally did it for the racing Mk2’s, but the people carrier that we are so familiar with if you do the airport run often. These appeared to be highly modded beasts with “interesting” engine bays. Sadly I did not learn what lumps were shoe horned under the bonnets, but I doubt they were used to take Granny and the kids to Bognor Regis.
During such shows, we often play “Which Car Would I Take Home?” This show proved no exception with Richard Gibby correctly identifying mine before I’d even seen it. It will come as no surprise that it was American iron in the shape of a Chrysler New Port convertible of 1961 vintage resplendent in metallic Dubonet and white leather.
This car was really special having had only two previous owners and with a genuine 8,200 miles on the odometer. Look underneath – and we did – the car looked like it had just rolled from the production line. Not concourse, far better – factory fresh. The fact that it had spent much of its life in a collection naturally helped. Still with the car were the jacking instructions stuck on the boot lining and the paint colour choice card. For those interested, the New Port shared its wheel base with the Windsor and, like that car, was around 4 inches shorter than the New Yorker and top of the range Imperial. Whilst it was the cheapest of the Chrysler range, it did possess a 5.9 litre 265 bhp V8 nestling below the ample bonnet. 2,135 convertibles were manufactured in 1961, making this car quite rare for an American model.
Around 2.30pm people started to leave and by 4pm the exodus was gathering momentum. Most probably the heat was a factor and despite the Beer Bus, we too were feeling the temperature and left shortly afterwards.
A good show – yes. Let’s try to make it again next year.