With a map freshly printed off from a route planner I found on the Internet, on Sunday 30th May I set off for the 46th Reliant Owner’s club National Rally in Stourbridge. The route planner actually worked very well to though driving whilst clutching several sheets of A4 paper at the same time probably isn’t the safest of things. Driving down the sun temporarily faded and a sudden outburst of rain engulfed the car. “Oh dear” I thought, “Is this a sign if things to come?”, but it wasn’t and as quick as the rain started, it stopped and the sun came out to see what was going on.
Arriving at the rally slightly earlier than usual I managed to have a good look around and there was a fantastic selection of older cars. The first one to strike me was Daniel Rodd’s 1957 Regal Mk 3. Parked at the side of the road the greenery behind it made an ideal setting for photographs. Daniel’s car was in great condition and equipped with a rear carrier rack it looked as though it has just stepped out of a 1950’s brochure. Almost immediately after that I spotted Paul Devey’s Regal Supervan - Trotter Style. Now that I also own a Regal van I couldn’t help but look it over and see how it was different to mine. Being a far cry from the Trotter image (and the necessary spray on dirt that goes with it) was a stunning 1967 Regal Supervan, kitted out with “AA” (Automobile Association) livery. The car is said to be an original that once belonged to the AA. With the “Join Here” poster outside the AA should be paying the owner for publicity.
Yet another Regal Supervan III that caught my eye was an “Estate version” with rear windows. As my Regal has the later Regal lights I have always pondered how people changed the bulbs on the older style lights and always assumed there was an access panel inside. How wrong was I? When I asked the owner, “How do you change the rear bulbs on this?” he immediately dived on the floor and thrust a hand up under the body until he reached the lights and then pulled them down. “That’s how you do it”, he said. I was most surprised - if that’s the case then I may as well use the old style lights for mine as I have a set that are in mint condition.
Another vehicle that stood out by a mile was a pale pink Bond Bug owned by a lady who had obviously spent many hours on the vehicle. I heard comments from some people saying that it was not a proper Reliant pink but at the end of the day what law says you can only choose original Reliant colours? With its pale pink and white leather trim the Bond Bug looked immaculate but I’d hate to think how many names a mechanic would get called if he left dirty finger marks all over it. I have to admit that I really liked it and thought it looked great - though naturally being the big butch manly type of brute that I am I wouldn’t paint mine pink!
Once the competitions got under way I had a number on the maneuverability competition. I had a go in my Rover 623 Sli, Kerry Croxton’s Regal Saloon, Rialto and Fox, Malcolm Norris’ Scimitar SS1 (with a wonderful exhaust note) and then finally as a team with Kerry Croxton and Paul Devey, had a go in Paul’s Regal Supervan III. That was the first time I have driven a Supervan and instantly noticed just how much you can’t see when you are reversing!