Herne Bay Classic Music and Motors is the last in the summer series by Chris West who has really put on a number of spectacular shows this year. There are three seafront shows in the series – Deal Whitstable and Herne Bay. Two of which have piers and the best of which is arguably at Herne Bay.
The remains of the third pier built in 1892 by Victorian ingenuity and destroyed by a storm in 1976, can be seen over a kilometre out to sea when the pier was built to accept paddle steamers of a six fathom draught. What is left and extensively restored is the Herne Bay Pier as it is today and a much shorter version of a truly magnificent iron structure. Part of the break water in the picture was originally part of the original London Bridge, but the mystery of how it got there is a whole new other story. The paddle steamers no longer visit but tourists, car enthusiasts and classic vehicles do around the second weekend in August every year.
The pier like in its Victorian heyday has a high concentration of stalls and entertainment including the best locally sourced strawberry ice cream I have ever tasted and there is much more on the pier including a helter skelter and more niche stalls than you could throw a perfumed bar of soap at including sea food and oyster stalls. Coffee and real ale stalls are there as well as being able to get married if you have had too much of either…
The sea front itself has been extensively and comprehensively developed, had a lot of money spent on it and looks good.
All along the seafront are subtle and regular reminders of ongoing climate change and global warming. None more so that the regular flood barriers and one only has to wonder how high these will be in our grand children’s lives.
But the reason why we were there was the cars and to socialise, whether it was the club vehicle or the classic. Many in AROCKES do not realise that as part of being in a club it entitles you to display a modern car at classic shows as part of the club, unless otherwise specified and this was more than evident here at Herne Bay with every make, age and type of car that was on display. There were over 500 vehicles displayed and as ever two vehicles caught my eye and deserve a mention…
Firstly a 1972 Lotus Europa TC that was subject to a complete nut and bolt restoration that was completed in 2014 by Maidstone Sports Cars. The twin cam engine was completely rebuilt to 120 BHP on a car that weighed less than 750KG giving the vehicle 0-60 in just under 8 seconds. Quite impressive in its day but barely compares to the current Alfa 4c that with a similar weight achieves the same acceleration in 4.6 seconds. There were 1600 of this model Lotus made from 1971 to 1972 and there were only 51 of these vehicles left on the road in the UK at the end of 2018. Truly a piece of history considering in F1 circles Lotus won the constructors trophy in 1970, 1972, 1983, 1985 and 1988. Although the vehicle here is painted in the JPS colour scheme and would not be original, it does however make a very visual statement and the front end reminding me very much of a S4 Alfa Spider.
The other vehicle that really stood out was a 1976 Fiat 124 Spider that was bought by it’s current owner Norman Tinker in 2015 and subject to an ongoing restoration. So far the bodywork has had a complete respray and the engine has been rebuilt. The carburettor has been subject to a complete rebuild and the vehicle was built at the Pininfarina factory in Italy alongside many Alfa Classics. A very nice vehicle and should be absolutely amazing when fully restored. The red interior against the black bodywork just leaps out at the eyes in a stunning contrast between one and the other –impressive and I liked this car!
As usual myself, Graham Duplock and John Dray attended in our S4, 4c and GTV and were visited by club members Ali Jarman, Paul Lodge and Craig Archer who had to depart early due to the ongoing construction of a swimming pool in his garden.
An enjoyable day and my legs ached from walking the full length of the seafront discovering gems of vehicles and other attractions. The M2 was remarkably free of traffic, for a change, back towards London and it was a pleasure to see so many classics driving home in the same direction. Well, next weekend we have the essential country classic car show at Rye (Moderns accepted) and on the Sunday we have festival Italia (fully booked at the start of the year) … It’s going to be another full weekend.