112th Annual Dinner, Dance and Awards – 2014

Held at the recently refurbished and ever popular Mitton Hall, nearly one hundred members and guests were welcomed at the entrance with a glass of bubbly to set the taste buds on edge for a gourmet meal of Cesear Salad, Roast Rump of Lamb with Thyme Jus and steamed vegetables, and Pear and Almond Frangipan for sweet, with coffee and chocolates to finish.

Chris Lee was again the MC for the evening and introduced all the good and the great to the also rans, followed by the godly, (as opposed to demon) duo of the Reverend Barry Whitehead, and daughter Eve who gave the Grace.

Following the meal the awards were presented by Simon Hope of H & H Auctions, and long time friend of the club, the recipients were:- Speed Championship 4th Phil Perks, 3rd Barry Whitehead, 2nd John Moxham, 1st Eve Whitehead.

Simon Hope was presented with the Wood Trophy, by Mike Wood, for his exploits in the Peking to Paris Rally.

The Attwater Trophy went to Alwyn and Margaret Davies, and in the R.W. Clarke Memorial Trophy for the Classic Challenge the results were as follows, Navigators award, Margaret Breakell, Drivers award Frank Sharples, Organisers award Mike Raven and the overall winner of the RW Clarke Memorial Trophy was Geoffrey Breakell

The clubs top, and much coveted award, the Peter Collins Trophy, was presented by President Martin Wylie to Mike Smith, for his outstanding record in many spheres of motor sport. Who then delivered a very gracious acceptance speech.

Past President Carolyn Taylor, performing her last duty in high office, awarded the Presidents Cup to Michele and Tim Atty fortheir work on the membership and website

Following the formalities Harvey cracked the disco into life, and whilst some danced the night away others sought out the quiet room for a chat with old chums.

A very well organised evening, with the proceeds of the raffle being donated to the help Woody fund.

Centenary Celebrations of the Waddington Fell Open Hill Climb

On the 3rd May this year the Vauxhall 30-98 Register, the LAC and The Preston and District Vintage Car Club joined forces to celebrate the centenary of the Lancashire Automobile Club’s Waddington Fell Open Hill Climb with thirty five Vauxhall 30-98’s taking part in this historic re-enactment.

Exactly 100 years ago the event was won by Joseph Higginson of Stockport, driving the all new prototype Vauxhall 30-98.

A full report will follow here and there will be a full article in All Torque, the LAC members’ magazine. Lookout for further coverage in the press including Lancashire Life and Classic Car Weekly. Click here for an early preview of some of the great photographs taken on the day, more to follow.

Also see our history article in the timeline.

On the 3rd May this year the Vauxhall 30-98 Register, the LAC and The Preston and District Vintage Car Club joined forces to celebrate the centenary of the Lancashire Automobile Club’s Waddington Fell Open Hill Climb with thirty five Vauxhall 30-98’s taking part in this historic re-enactment.

Exactly 100 years ago the event was won by Joseph Higginson of Stockport, driving the all new prototype Vauxhall 30-98.

A full report will follow here and there will be a full article in All Torque, the LAC members’ magazine. Lookout for further coverage in the press including Lancashire Life and Classic Car Weekly. Click here for an early preview of some of the great photographs taken on the day, more to follow.

Also see our history article in the timeline.


Jaguars at BAE Warton

Forty Jaguars on a national tour from Coventry to Blackpool organised by Jaguar Heritage to celebrate ninety years since the formation of the company, initially as Swallow, were given a tour of Warton to see the manufacture of the Euro Fighter. To gain access to this top secret establishment, all entrants had to obtain security passes, and cameras and mobile phones were strictly off limits .Photo shoots were by official photographers, and a top quality lunch was provided by the hosts, prior to a guided tour of the production line, Paul Barron, the chief test pilot, then gave a fly past and display overhead , before disappearing into the clouds. A number of club members brought their cars along, and were included in the photographs next to the plane.

Ethanol in Fuel

I have been asked several times about the amount of ethanol being added to petrol to satisfy the ‘green lobby’ and EU regulations. As with all these things the answer is it’s not straightforward. Petrol companies are permitted to add up to 5% ethanol without declaring it. I believe most major suppliers are currently pretty close to this figure. It is worth noting that there is some pressure for the EU (and that would include us) to go up to 10% without companies having to declare it.

It is claimed that even at 10% the amount is unlikely to cause damage to a ‘standard car’. From reading articles I would suggest that classics are not ‘standard cars’ in this respect – more later.

It is possible for far larger amounts of ethanol to be added provided this is declared by the retailer at the point of sale. Some garages are currently selling E85 petrol and as the name suggests this has 85% ethanol and this should only be used in cars where the manufacturer states in can be used.

Several overseas markets have sales of 100% ethanol but their cars are specifically modified and adapted for this use. Such countries include Brazil and South Africa.

So what can happen if fuel containing ethanol is used in older classic cars? There are many reports of different problems but the most likely ones fall into three groups:

Loosening of pre existing contaminants in petrol tanks and fuel systems. Here the ethanol almost acts as a stripper loosening deposits including rust from any surface it comes into prolonged contact with. This material can then block filters and carburetor jets.

Chemical reactions with existing rubbers, resins, plastics and sealants etc. The effects on resins glass fibre fuel tanks can be of great concern but ‘O’ rings can turn to a sort of mush and plastic fuel lines can either leak or turn brittle depending on chemical composition. Fuel tanks with rubber liners are at risk and this is one for the racing fraternity to be concerned about. Having said that there are some classics with tank liners which may also be at risk.

The final issue is, I believe, of importance not only to classic car owners but to all users of this stuff. Ethanol is hydroscopic (like some brake fluids). That means it attracts and retains water. This can come from any source including water vapour in the air. The greater the moisture content in the ethanol the less likely it is to burn. If saturated it simply will not burn. That means if a car is not used for long periods the amount of moisture in the fuel may increase to a point where the engine simple will not start. In this case the fuel system will need draining and fresh fuel added to rectify the problem. Not an issue if the vehicle is used regularly but may become one where a car is laid up for several months over winter say.

Short answer is that it is highly likely the fuel he purchased contained some ethanol probably less than 5% but still enough to potentially cause issues.

Chris Lee
Vice President & Competition Secretary
Lancashire Automobile Club (Est 1902

Lancashire Automobile Club – Navigator’s Handbook

The Lancashire Automobile Club is one of the oldest motor clubs in the world and has a long history of organising events both on the highway and track. Amongst the current events are a number of road events, known as Touring Assemblies.

Some of these events, such as the St Georges Day Rally, Great Manchester to Blackpool Car Run and the Coast to Coast Classic Car Run, require simple navigation techniques but others such as the Fellsman involve more advanced navigational knowledge.

To assist entrants and to promote these events the club has prepared a Navigator’s Handbook which explores the various techniques and gives useful pointers and tips to entrants new and old. With 19 pages and 28 sections the Handbook covers many types of navigation from Tulips to Herringbones as well as in car organisation and control etiquette.

Compiled by the Club’s Competition Secretary, Chris Lee, the Handbook draws on over 40 years experience of preparing route books, competing in events and driving course cars. The book has been checked over by rallying legend Mike Wood and will be a boon to anyone taking part in navigational road events.

So if you want to know about Tulips and Herringbones or the difference between Clock Face and Clock Hand directions download the Navigator’s Handbook.

Chris Lee
Vice President & Competition Secretary
Lancashire Automobile Club (Est 1902)

Drive it Day 2017 Report

Lancashire Automobile Club Ltd

Drive it Day 2017

St Georges Day Run 23rd May

It might be worth first giving a little explanation of what Drive it Day is all about. The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) decided many years ago that the profile of classic vehicles (in the widest sense) should be raised with the British public and our political masters.

In truth the importance, and shear value, of the classic car industry is worth tens if not hundreds of millions of pounds to the British economy. So whilst the FBHVC lobbied both Parliament and Brussels on our behalf members of the federation have done their bit organising events on the annual Drive it Day.

The Lancashire Automobile Club has been a member of the FBHVC for many years and organises a very successful run every year taking in the abundance of fine driving roads in Lancashire. The event is a Touring Assembly and as such is untimed with no awrds. We have seen routes starting in the Whalley Blackburn area taking in roads to the west, north, and east. This year we decided to go south for a change.

Almost 80 vintage and classic cars entered the event which was supported by Blue Butts Classic Cars, Hagerty Motor Insurance and Bowker BMW and Mini. Each entrant received a traditional Rally Plate, tulip style Route Book and a Route Information book. The latter containing snippets of information about the places the cars passed through on their 100mile journey.

We were blessed with great weather the whole day, not something we were expecting given the previous weekends washout!

The route started from Blackburn Northern Sports Club, with a bacon bap, and looped north towards Hurst Green then northeast over Pendle and on to Colne. We then went into ‘new’ territory through Trawden and south over Widdop Moor before turning west to a coffee/lunch halt at the Duke of Wellington on the Grane Road.

After a brief halt the route went south then west to Belmont and into the Anglezarke complex before turning north to Top Lock, and Brindle to return to the start where a light buffet awaited them. There was a collection for the young Formula 4 driver who was seriously injured at Donnington Park recently and the entrants gave generously. The Club will top up the collection to a nice round figure – many thanks to all who contributed.

Thanks must go to all the marshals who helped under the direction of our Clerk of Course, Anthony Taylor, the sandwich makes, Eileen and Carolyn, and of course all the entrants who brought their magnificent vehicles for all to enjoy.

If anyone wants to see, or purchase more photographs from the event simply go to Brian Taylors site White Dog Photography www.whitedogphotography.co.uk and simply click on this link then select 2017 motorsport galleries to see all the pictures (by the way if you look on 2016 motorsport galleries there are pictures from our 2016 events).

To get the pictures simply follow the directions at the bottom of the first web page. Brian doesn’t personally charge but asks that you donate an amount you feel appropriate to Cancer Research UK. You don’t just get your pictures you are helping the fight against Cancer.

You then contact Brian direct with the picture numbers you require and he gives you a link to the files at full resolution.

Highland 3 Day Report 2016

Getting in Touch with your Wild Side

All pictures and maps are on the picture gallery for the event.

The Highland 3 Day Classic Tour has been held virtually every year for the last 20 years and I have to say that it strikes me,  from all the comments, cheers, laughter and ‘rib digging’ that has gone on over the last few days, that 2016 has been the best one yet. There are many people better qualified than me to confirm that, as we were ‘newbie’s’ completing this event for the first time. It has to be said that the support and guidance we received from many of the ‘old hands’ present was fantastic. So, a great big thank you from us, to all of you for making this Tour an amazing experience.

Clearly, this is one of those events where once you have done it….you are hooked and want to come back for more! (We were registered for next year’s event before we had even finished this one)!

There were 18 cars registered for this tour, they included everything from Alfa to Volvo including, BMW, Rolls Royce, Audi, Mercedes, mini, Jaguar, on to Porsche, MGs and Healey,not to mention a daffodil and a luminous lime green Fiesta driven by Mike (the tour organiser) don’t ask!

Whilst I must confess the event does require a ‘modicum’ of stamina due to early starts and challenging drives, it was overall a fantastic tour to be part of with even a little bit of time to visit the Highland Stone Pottery shop (thanks Kirsteen). Mike and the team’s organising skills are second to none. Marvellous hotels, excellent food stops, challenging road events and the all round good fun was wholly down to the organisation and huge efforts made by the organisers. I know we are not the only ones who want to say ‘Thank you’ to everyone of them (Mike, Catherine, Owen, Tracy, John and David)

As I have already said, there was some serious driving to be had on this Tour, with an excess of a 150 miles covered on each day.

The roads and views were amazing. Yes, we did stop to take photographs, how could we not, with views like this. We were not the only ones to take photos, thanks to Owen for this brilliant shot taken on Day 1. I must confess, that I was so busy concentrating on Tulips I couldn’t always appreciate the views (mind you there were one or two who travelled so fast they didn’t even see Scotland! Not that any speed limits were broken, of course)

Stuart did all the driving in our 50 year old Daimler V8 and it is fair to say he was more than pleased with her performance. He says, “The old girl was well behaved and the car was even better” (Thanks for that!). We did lose a wiper arm in high winds on Day 3 but that was much preferred to Mike’s Healy which was taken home on a low loader after losing the clutch on the Hill Climb, hence the lime green Fiesta for the rest of the tour!

Day 2:  As you can see from the map, day 2 took us high up in to the Scottish highlands where the population is about as sparse as waitresses at the Jury hotel in Inverness. A short navigation event preceded the longest journey of the event. The east to west cross-country drive was mainly a single-track affair but the further west we travelled, the better the scenery seemed to get. The approach to Lochinver was absolutely stunning with mountain formations looking more like Sugar Loaf in Brazil without blue sky of course.

The Inver Lodge Hotel is a true diamond in this part of the world with a top draw lunch provided in very comfortable surroundings overlooking the bay. After lunch we made our way down towards Ullapool with scenery looking more and more like the set from a Hobbit movie.


Now, some of the regulars to this event had baulked at the idea of going to Scotland without visiting Applecross, so Mike dutifully added in an optional leg for Day 2. Not easy to judge how long this would take but as some found out, it was a long haul and with most of it covered in cloud.  Some about turned and headed back without taking in a tea or coffee from the busiest pub in Applecross. For those that made it, the rewards were indeed a nice cup of coffee and the dubious prospect of having to re-traverse the cloud covered hairpins of Applecross where lampless cyclist’s believe in their divine safety along with a few day-trippers. The return back to the Jury Hotel in Inverness was a little testing at times with Google suggesting an 8hour 40min drive without including the daily navigation event!

Day 3 followed the line of the Great Glenn. The weather remained kind to us and only short, hard bursts of rain occurred to challenge the one wiper Daimler.

Now for some of the ‘fun events’. As already alluded to, amongst all the fabulous driving was a daily Navigation task set by John Hartley.  I am not saying we had a lot to learn but…it can be disconcerting to find you are the only vehicle travelling North on a single track road amongst another 17 travelling South! Not to mention finding out that what you thought was a perfect, first time navigation test run, actually had 10 miles of road and track missed out!

At this point, we really must thank Andrew Ogden for his patience and knowledge, providing lessons to several new members on how to map and then traverse the navigation routes. It also helped greatly when we found out what Via and Boogie Boards are along with ‘spot heights’! Thanks to you John and David, we definitely got better as the days went on.

Day 0 (Thursday) included The Forrestburn Sprint and Hill Climb Test curtesy of the MSCC (where Mike lost his clutch!) and Day 1 at the Grampian Transport Museum at Alford. We had never participated in one of these before and neither had Janet and Steve. This event showed them in their true colours (competitive speed freaks). Janet positively threw her car around the bends, screeched to a halt on the stop lines and roared off to get the Trophy! (sadly, she did not get a real trophy (there are no prizes for winning) so this photo will more than make up for it! (one for the album Janet!)

The competitions are all just part of the fun. Not wanting to show off (but going to anyway) we managed to win one event as well…….It matters not that it was the silly hat competition,  we still won one event on the Tour and no one can take that away from us!

All in all the Highland Tour has been a superb experience; I really cannot praise the whole event enough. We have made some fabulous new friends that I know we will keep in touch with. I think most of us will be back again next year and we will certainly be bringing other people that we know that will enjoy and add to the event.

If you are one of those who has never participated do put it on your ‘to do’ list, I promise….you will not regret it!

Lynda and Stuart (fondly known as George) Mason

Colin and Dawn Hare

The dates for 2017 are Wednesday 20th September if you want overnight accommodation at Hetland Hall near Dumfrise Day 0 starts on Thursday morning first car off 09:00 heading up to Helensbourugh on Thursday 21st for the start of the 3 day tour on the Friday 22nd up to Dundonnel for two nights Friday and Saturday then back to Helensborough for the 24th Sunday evening then home on Monday to recover.

More details will be posted on www.highlandtour.com in December.

You Know you should come!   Mike

Fellsman 2016

The Fellsman is a Touring Assembly within the MSA definitions but includes an element of skill from the navigators seat not normally seen on LAC events. As such it attracts a smaller but, shall we say, more dedicated following. The format remains as previous events with John Hartley devising ever more devious tests for the navigators. We don’t give awards and there isn’t any timing but the crews get the satisfaction of pitting there wits against John and his team.
My job is simple I drive car ‘0’ following the route marked on the maps confirming that car ’00’ navigated by Mike Wood (yes THE Mike Wood!) has put in via boards in all the right places, none have gone missing and that the route is passable. We sign any diversions necessitated by road closures etc if required and run about 20 mins before car 1 – simples.
All nice and simple all I need is a navigator and the Mini does the rest. Unfortunately this year my regular navigator had to call off at the last possible moment as his dad had to be taken to hospital. That meant I arrived at the start with an empty seat on my left – not good.
However there was a spare bod looking round the cars. Doing anything today I asked followed by can you read a map. My luck was in I had latched onto a bleary eyed Nigel Worswick. He had been up till 3.00 am and was planning to take in the start before going to bed ahead of a quick flight out to the Caribbean where his WRC car was waiting for him and crew to do a stage rally.
Nigel being a good sport then signed on and joined me in the Mini for the day. It’s not often you have a rally driver of this pedigree sitting next to you be he seemed happy enough as we pulled out of the start.
The start was from a new venue at the Bayley Arms, Hurst Green who made us most welcome. The route went out through Stoneyhurst and then out towards Jeffery Hill but with a little twist to take in the first via board. We then went west again through Barton and into the ‘Catforth Maze’ where I cut my teeth rallying in the late 60’s. A great area for a navigational test. We then swung north towards Pilling. Meanwhile the 30+ cars had been streaming off  the start line following in our tyre tracks.
Nigel’s navigation was spot on as we checked off the via boards. Sounds easy but Mike Wood sometimes misses one or adds one on purpose so we need to stay awake! Then out towards Abbeystead and onto the northern section of the Trough of Bowland before some more deviations. The rain threatening at the start came as short brief showers and the views of the fells and out towards Morecambe Bay with the Furness peninsula beyond were magnificent. Brian Taylor had positioned himself by the Jubilee Tower to get the cars as they came though.
Then on to Queermore and on to Caton for a lunch halt. Got there a bit early but right on the tail of Mike Wood and his team. Ted Heath was there to greet us and he set up a simple control in the pub as the rain start. The Station Hotel did us proud with a great spread. Mikes team got away and we waited for the first cars to arrive. Mud splattered cars but happy crews were soon filling the car park. Time to go. Nigel got back on there maps as we headed into the hills towards Wray and beyond. A very nasty cattle grid had been signed by John Hartley to prevent car damage and the gated section proved time consuming with many gates to be opened and closed.
Now south east towards Wigglesworth and on to Waddington Fell following the section of road used by the LAC as a hillclimb before the First World War (not a lot of people know that. By now we had caught up with Mike, he takes time whilst the heavy crew hammer in the via boards. Simple section to get home except we then met a mobile road block in the shape of a flock of sheep which delayed progress somewhat. Them back round Mitton and on to Hurst Green for the finish at the Bayley Arms. Nigel was beginning to droop a little so stayed for a coffee and made his way home to bed. Hopefully he has a great time on his rally – rallying and sun sounds like a great combination.
Shortly afterwards the first crews started arriving with tales of detours and the usual why did we see you going that way questions to each other. A great day, great cars and truly great organisation by John Hartley and his team. Here’s to 2017.
Chris Lee