On the 7th September I went over with my girlfriend (Caroline) to the 33rd UK National Microcar Rally. As the rally also conflicts with a few other things including the Tamworth Heritage Day, we decided just to go for the day rather than camp over the weekend and join the road run to Linton Zoo. Having plans of where to go I decided to go down in my Jaguar (X-Type 3.0 SE) as being around 75 miles away, I figured we’d get there and back much quicker. I knew the road run left at 10am and so leaving the house at 7:30am I was surprised when we got there for around 8:45am.
Parking my Jaguar out of the way, and with camera in hand, we went around photographing all the 3-wheelers that were present, and there were quite a few, Isettas, Trojans, Heinkels, Scootacars, Messerscmitts, Reliants, Bond Bugs, Bond Mini cars, a Nobel and an AC Petite.
As we walked around taking photos, the first thing that struck me was how friendly people were, everyone says hello and everyone is so keen to talk about their car. I spotted the first of three Scootacars present at the show and found them of great interest, I have never seen a Scootacar in the flesh before and so found it quite fascinating to have a look around it and even have a sit inside.
After walking around, photographing cars and talking to their owners, I spotted an AC Petite on a trailer. Caroline asked what it was and I said, “It’s an AC Petite”. “How old is that?” she asked, “About 1953”, I said. As we approached it the owner, whose name I think was Alan, came out and started to tell us about it. “How old is it?” I asked, “1954” he said, I looked at Caroline and said, “1953 was a good guess wasn’t it!”. After telling us that this is one of only two AC Petites still on the road in the UK, Alan then jumped into the car. I was most surprised to see that the choke and starter lever are located under the driver seat. When it started it up he asked if I would like a drive, I certainly would and we did a quick drive around the field. Inside it instantly reminded me of the 1949 Reliant 8cwt van my brother drives. The smells and sounds all seemed identical.
I also got to sit in a Isetta and whilst it was very comfy found it a tight squeeze but then discovered by the owner that the seat was all the way forward ... and ideally for people with lanky legs like mine, it would need adjusting all the way back.
As folks started to line up for the road run to Linton Zoo, someone asked me if my Jaguar would drive at less than 30mph. I said it would not be a problem but realising the zoo was about 25 miles away, I decided to go on ahead and meet the microcars there. We arrived at the zoo, had dinner and had toured the whole zoo before the first sounds of 2 stroke engines filled the air and a stream of microcars entered the zoo car park - with the exception of two of the Scootacars. It seems that the white 1964 model had had an accident. Whilst parked at a set of traffic lights, a van behind it, drive straight into the back end damaging the the rear section of the body. A trailer had to be called for and the vehicle was trailered back to the camp site as the other cars proceeded on to the zoo.
Linton zoo itself was superb, I just wish it was closer to home as if it was I would go more often. After more food, we decided to head back and due to major congestion on the A14 decided that we’d head straight back home instead of back to the rally. So - we were essentially only at the rally for an hour or so, but in that time it was great to see so many 3-wheelers.
7th September 2007.