Monday, 16 October 2017

International GT6 weekend, Cookie's 5 countries run

I had a very enjoyable trip into mainland Europe with the GT6 with a visit to the International GT6 weekend at Bad Vilbel, near Frankfurt.

I decided to make a bit of a tour around my visit with overnight stops in Dover, Aachen (Germany), Kerkrade (Holland) and Ashford to break the journey up into an enjoyable break.
The GT6 ran faultlessly covering 1125 miles, although I made a check under the bonnet each day the only attention being required during the whole trip topping up the washer bottle and fuel tank. A bit of preparation with a full service, check over and attention to a few bits and pieces before the journey really paid off.

On the way through I called in on a Triumph friend at his place of work near Brussels. Wim de Pus works at a college where they run automotive courses and it was great to see a number of classics being worked on in the workshop there. I also introduced the GT6 to Wim’s Spitfire, known as “ The Fox”, Wim does a serious amount of mileage in his car having covered 123,000km in the 4 years he has owned it.

My GT6 meets "The Fox"

The International GT6 weekend 
The GT6 weekend is independently run by enthusiasts rather than being associated with any individual Triumph club and moves location each time with new local organisers putting on the event. It was in it’s 4th year this year.
This year the main organisers were Harald and Natascha Hummel although they were ably assisted by many of the other local German GT6 owners.
This year the event centred on a Hotel in Bad Vilbel just outside Frankfurt and attracted GT6 owners and their cars from Germany, Holland, Switzerland and the UK. I’ve realised now that I didn’t actually count up the cars but there were approximately 20’ish GT6s in attendance. When you consider there are a lot more GT6s located in the UK and we got around 70 at the TriumFest 50th anniversary, 20 GT6s at a mainland European gathering is quite an impressive number.

GT6s getting ready for a Trip out at the City Hotel Bad Vilbel our base for the weekend.

On the continent, convertible GT6s (AKA Gitfires, Spit6s etc) are pretty popular and I reckon around a 3rd of the GT6s at the meet were soft top conversions including Harald’s one.

Harald's GT6 Convertible

Most people arrived on the Friday and after a meet and greet in the Hotel Bar we went off to a nearby Restaurant situated in a nearby park overlooking Frankfurt City for a meal.

Some of the cars lined up in the restaurant car park.
On the Saturday we had a drive out during the day, with stop offs at a campsite restaurant for lunch and a tour of “Burg Ronneburg” Castle.

Various GT6s on Saturday getting ready for the drive out.

Cars parked up at the lunch stop

GT6s in convoy in the German countryside
GT6s at Castle Ronneburg

After the convoy back there was a dinner arranged in the Hotel Restaurant. During the meal an announcement was made regarding next year’s event, which will be held at Gro├čenkneten near Bremen in Germany between 5th and 7th October.
On the Sunday we had a trip into Frankfurt to a classic and sportscar meet up at “Klassikststadt”. Translated Klassikststadt = Classic City, it’s an old factory complex converted into high end classic and sports car dealers, classic restorers and servicing, and high value classic and sports car storage. once a month they have a classic and sports car meet which is rather impressive...

Parking Spaces had been reserved for our GT6s although I must admit the GT6s looked a bit downmarket compared to some of the exotic machinery there. I got told off by one of the more exclusive dealerships for taking photos as there was a no photography sign, the cheapest car I saw in that particular dealer was a Triumph Italia at €120,000, most over the other cars for sale there were €200,000 upwards. There were a few less valuable cars for sale in other dealerships in the complex but nothing as cheap as our Triumphs! Some of the cars in storage in glass partitioned walls were pretty rare. Some of the repair work going on looked good to, like a modern Lamborghini having an Engine change! Outside there were loads of classics too look around, some live music, a bar and food outlets. A really nice way to end the GT6 meet.

GT6s lined up at Klassikstadt

Panoramic view across the centre of the Klassikstadt complex
Inside the Klassikstadt complex

Some of the other visiting Triumphs

This rear engined BMW 700 convertible shares a lot of the looks of a Triumph Herald, not surprising actually as it is also  Michelotti designed.
A few of the other non Triumph Classics at Klassikstadt

After Klassikstadt most of the GT6 owners went on their way, there were a few of us (including Mike and Sue from TSSC Essex) at the Hotel for one more evening and we met up with Harald and Natasha and a Swiss couple for a meal in a Pizzeria that evening.
Part of my journey back took me along the Rhine.

My GT6 parked up by the Rhine at Lahnstein.

That evening I stayed at Rolduc Abbey in Holland, this is normally the finish for the Club Triumph 10 countries run and is a nice place to stay so I had booked in there.

My GT6 at Rolduc Abbey
On the way back home I stayed in Ashford which was very close to where I purchased my GT6 from just under 30 years ago so I thought I’d swing by to take a picture.
I bought my car at the Lenham Motor Company in Harrietsham, Kent  back in March 1988. The more observant of you will recognise the company name as they used to manufacture GT fast back hardtops and bonnets for Triumph Spitfires back in the day.
At the time I paid the princely sum of £1700 for the car having knocked the dealer down from £1795. It’s increased in value somewhat since then by about 650%, I’ve just checked on line and inflation over that same period is a mere 150% so not a bad investment as long as you ignore the thousands of pounds I’ve spent on the car over the years!

Original Lenham Motor Comapny advert from 1988, my car is at the bottom of the list

At The Lenham Motor Company the day I bought the car in 1988

At The Lenham Motor Company the day I bought the car in 1988

Back to the future, visiting Lenham Sports Cars October 2017

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

D Day Beach Tour in the GT6

Just got back from a very enjoyable D Day beaches tour with my son James in the GT6. We certainly packed a lot in during the 6 days we had over in Normandy, here's our itinerary.

Thursday 20/8/17

Merville Gun Battery Museum

Pegasus Bridge

We then had lunch at Cafe Gondree, the first building to be liberated run by Arlette Gondree, who was a young girl present when the Brits arrived.

Pegasus Bridge Memorial Museum

Friday 21/8/17

Azeville Battery Museum

Sainte Mere Eglise

Airborne Museum

Utah Beach

Utah Beach Museum

Saturday 22/8/17

Pointe Du Hoc

Omaha Beach Memorial

Overlord Museum Omaha Beach

Normandy American Cemetery Colleville Su Mer

Sunday 23/8/17

War Journalists Memorial Bayeux
Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery Bayeux

Museum of the Battle of Normandy Bayeux

Bayeux City

D Day Museum Arromanches

Mullberry Harbour remains Arromanches

Monday 24/8/17

Gold Beach

Juno Beach

Juno Beach French Memorial

Juno Beach Centre and Canadian Memorial

Longues Sur Mer Battery

Museum of Undersea Wrecks Port En Bessin

Tuesday 25/8/17

Radar Museum Douvres-la-Delivrande

Sword Beach Memorial Lion Sur Mer

Sword Beach Piper Bill Millin Statue Lion Sur Mer

Sword Beach Montgomery Statue Lion Sur Mer

Atlantic Wall Museum le Grand Bunker Ouistreham

French Commando Museum Ouistreham

We stayed at a great B and B run by Adrian Cox who owns 2 GT6 MK1s under restoration. Normandy Beach B and B is a converted farm in the centre of Arromanches. Adrian specialises in accommodation for Bikers and Classic Car owners, he is a real petrol head and also owns a Ferret APC, bikes and is restoring a Split Screen Moggy Minor convertible for his wife Karen. As well as lovely rooms in the converted Barn (above his workshop), he lay's on free beer, wine and Cidre for his guests and does a great full English breakfast every morning. There is secure parking within a gated courtyard too to keep classics and bikes safe.
One of Adrian's GT6s