Sandwich almost goes Italian. 30th Aug 2020.

Last year at “Sandwich Goes Italian” the event was literally “rammed!” with events, Italian vehicles of every description, Italian food stalls, wine, Italian restaurants, fantastic weather, displays and all manner of things Italian. A completely fantastic event matched only by the number of people attending, which put the heart in the mouth in the narrow street AROCKES display every time a pushchair weaved its way through our display area of modern and classic Alfas.  We need not have worried as people were just fantastic. You can find last year’s report at:

https://www.arockes.or.uk/sandwich-goes-italian-25th-aug-2019/

This year we were in the middle of a pandemic and that meant the organisers had to scale back the event to comply with the risk assessment approved by the council. That combined with someone hacking the Facebook, Sandwich Community events page and announcing that the event was cancelled did not help either. Lastly the weather, ever unhelpful, gave the event a north wind and very reduced temperatures for a normal August. I was wearing a coat and was still cold. Despite everything working against the organisers, this was a lovely event and as always we were made very welcome by the people of Sandwich.

Sandwich is a lovely town that has a population of about 50,000 and is around half way between Ramsgate and Deal. It is about as far East and South of the UK that you can go before getting your feet wet in what is essentially the confluence of the North Sea and the English Channel.


Your first view of Sandwich as you enter the town across the bridge that represents what used to be the seafront.

Attending members were yours truly in the S4 Spider, the always smiling and cycle fit John Hufton in the present model Giulia accompanied by his sister Christine Claridge, Graham Duplock in his 1750 attention grabbing GTV, Colin Campbell in his S4 Spider, Robert Hatcher and Isabel Cosgrove in an amazing Berlina 1750 (more of that later) Pierre Coussey and his family in the ever rarer 147 Ducati Course, Amada and Dave Norman (our Chair person) in the Zoe yellow Spider, Chris Hedley in the Giulia Sprint GT Step Front, Alex Gonos in his MiTo, Dionisis Gonos in the GTV, John Court in his 166 that seemed to change colour all by itself and last but especially not least Paul Proctor and Carol in the Giulietta.

Those keen club members amongst you and especially those that own a Giulietta will remember Paul Proctor as the Giulietta register before Duncan Langford took up the reigns and his contribution to the register is well documented in AROC archives. He is possibly one of the few people that appreciate what goes into organising events and being responsible for maintaining club cohesion around registers. Registers are really unsung heroes and really we should herald their efforts more – after all AROC is really greater for the effort put in by the sum of its parts!

John Hufton is a keen section member and I think we are going to hear a lot more from him in the future. He always has a smile and is always there to support events. He bought his Giulia just as the Pandemic descended in March 2020 and has literally been “gagging” to get to shows and events ever since but sadly prevented by necessary emergency legislation. Literally he has attended everything it was legal to attend this year with the rest of the AROCKES membership at the four events at the literal end of the events season.


John Hufton discussing the current Giulia with Robert Hatcher.

Graham Duplock had quite obviously put in a lot of preparation for the show with his 1750 GTV and this impressed the Mayor of Sandwich Paul Graeme and his partner Sue to award a coveted first prize and trophy for the best presented Alfa in the display. I could probably say the same for Graham’s COVID-19 isolation beard as well!

Colin Campbell’s S4 Spider was impressive and the colour combination really suited the vehicle. We had quite a conversation on all things S4 as did the Mayor who was equally interested. Pierre Coussey is also one of our main attendees on many events whenever he can and he attended with his ever patient partner Astrid and his son Philip Coussey in his wife’s daily, a 147 Ducati corse (quite a rare beast). I rather have the feeling that when this vehicle gets to a certain mileage it will become a family classic to be cherished rather than being a daily. “Q” tips around the badges would have ensured that this would have been a show winner. Not that we were at all jealous in any way shape or form (In fact, yes we were – a lot!)

John Court’s 166.

Our Chair person in the guise of Dave Norman and his wife Amanda were there in the Zoe yellow Spider and it is always an attention grabber as you just can’t miss it!

You do not often meet Chris Hedley but I get the distinct feeling that Chris knows an awful lot about a rather special and almost un-affordable Alfa. To most of us mortals that is the step front Giulietta Sprint GT. I don’t know much about step fronts and many may argue that I don’t really know much about anything but I get the impression that to make the engine bay bigger the bonnet had to be raised for a bigger engine … I really must speak to Chris at some stage and get to know about this vehicle.

Dionisis Gonos’ GTV

Alex Gonos was there in his MiTo and I saw him and Philip Coussey discussing their MiTos and some new lighting arrangement and wiring clusters, LED’s and stuff – I left them to it as I have just left my MiTo, “stock.” Their enthusiasm for the MiTo is shared by most of the other members of the register that now numbers over 3,000 on it’s Facebook page. Alex is at University and he is doing very well. The Mayor was also interested in such an interesting little car and its modifications. We will always welcome the young to the club because they are the future and there will be no legacy without them.

John Third chose his GTV6 to exhibit and this is a really nice example of the GTV series. It’s quite an unusual car but is well loved by those that appreciate its racing prowess … and it sounds good too!

I have really left the best till last and this comes in the form of a really special car and was presented by Isabel Cosgrove and Robert Hatcher in the form of the 1750 Berlina. This was Isabel’s uncle’s car and was purchased by him new. He stopped driving it in his 80’s and is totally original. The only addition being a re-spray. The cills needed a bit of attention and have been restored and it has been garaged for most of its life having only completed 48,000 miles. It was later treated as a trips and treats car by Anabel’s uncle who was a medical doctor and identified it as something special having treated it as an everyday car during his medical rounds. There are still AROC members that remember this car and the registration number that makes it even more memorable. An AROC member Duncan McGill contacted our face book page a few days ago having seen the photo here and remembers servicing the Berlina and remembers Dr A P Davidson bringing it to the Coldharbour Lane garage in London and was able to fit a piece of the jigsaw into the puzzle and history of the car for Isabel.


Isabel Cosgrove and Robert Hatcher.

As you may expect there is more to this story than meets the eye. Pointed in the right direction by Isabel I had a look in the AROC archive (resource only available to AROC members) but the 1990 issue No 3 that this vehicle appeared in has not yet been discovered and Isabel may have the only remaining copy that has survived. She did scan in and send me the part of that magazine covering the Berlina and I will urge her to contact Guy Swarbick at editor@aroc-uk.com to see if this edition can be uploaded to the archive as it is of historical importance.

Anyway this is the section in the 1990 magazine (issue No3) that covers National Alfa day in which the Berlina features and was a show winner. Some of the more senior members here may well remember some of the people featured. Especially, those in the photo taken by Michael Lindsay of our Kent and East Sussex Section. I will have to investigate if our archives go back that far and try to identify people.

Well life is certainly full of surprises. We have discovered possibly the only remaining copy of the AROC magazine 1990 issue 3 and a bit like the discovery of only one of six copies of the Magna Carta also found at Sandwich. Not only that and even more surprising I won second place next to Isabel Cosgrove and Robert Hatcher’s Berlina’s third place. Personally I feel it should have been the other way round. But as always beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you will have to blame the Mayor for that.

Thanks as always to The Sandwich Mayoral couple Paul and Sue Graeme and of course to the ever lovely organiser Annemarie Huigen who again provided our goody bags, the prizes and hot food that was really important on what should have been one of the hottest days of the year but had in fact been recorded as one of the coldest August bank holidays on record. Annemarie Huigen is also rumoured to have the other Ducatti Corse in the county apart from Pierre Coussey. If you include these and Isabel Cosgrove’s 1990 AROC magazine it makes them even rarer than the Magna-Carta.


Mayoral Couple – Paul & Sue Graeme.

Annemarie Huigen.

So what have we got left this year. Members will go to all sorts and bits an pieces. But personally I’m waiting for The Grand Old Timer Rally on the 31st August, Bonnets and Wings on the 6th of September and Southern Alfa Day on Saturday the 19th September.

Lets hope the weather is a bit more pleasant and not setting any more records!