The Classic Cars of Steve McQueen

He was best known for his portrayals in timeless movies such as The Great Escape, Le Mans and The Thomas Crown Affair, but Steve McQueen was more than just an on-screen icon. As a classic car enthusiast, McQueen took every opportunity to drive (or ride) a number of legendary motors both on and off screen, some of which you’ll be able to see at this year’s Bromyard Speed Festival.

Here’s some of our favourites:

1970 Porsche 911

(Photo credit https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porsche_911_(classic))

The original 911 series is regularly cited as the most successful competition car ever. The Porsche 911 features a rear engine, 5 speed manual transmission and 2+2 seating. It played a significant role in the film Le Mans, where McQueen insisted on driving the car himself at full rally speed. You’ll also be relieved to know that replica radio controlled models were used for crash scenes.
You can buy memorabilia from Le Mans here.

1960s Ferrari 275 GTB/4


(Photo credit http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2014/08/steve-mcqueen-ferrari-is-worth-12-million)

The 275 GTB/4 is part of an extremely limited run of vehicles. In fact, there were just 280 produced over the course of a couple years. Purchased while filming Bullitt, McQueen’s Ferrari recently sold for a whopping $12 Million in 2014! This model in particular won’t be gracing the Speed Festival this year, but there’ll be a whole range of other stunning Ferraris to view on the day.

1961 Austin Mini Cooper S


(Photo credit https://uk.pinteresthttps://www.holden.co.uk/displayProductsByBrand.asp?brand=Gulf%20Steve%20McQueen&brandCode=X6.com/pin/93801604708983818/)

Designed as a high performance vehicle by race car builder John Cooper, the 1961 Mini Cooper was a hugely popular car in the rally racing world and has remained so ever since.
It features a 2 door saloon body with a front engine, overhead valve and 1 litre naturally aspirated 4 cylinder engine. McQueen regularly drove his Mini Cooper S around town and you’ll be able to see one at this year’s Bromyard Speed Festival.

 
The TT Special 650 Triumph


(Photo credit http://www.mcqueenonline.com/thegreatescapetriumph.htm)

Our list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the iconic TT special 650 Triumph from The Great Escape. Featuring 6500 rpm, a four stroke parallel twin engine, and 365lb weight, this incredible motorcycle was actually disguised in the movie to resemble a wartime German BMW. Funnily enough, McQueen was so eager to show the bike’s full capacity, the stunt motorcycles following him during a chase scene couldn’t physically keep up. Instead of slowing down, McQueen took the place of several stuntmen so was effectively chasing himself!

Of course, McQueen owned and drove many more classic vehicles, including the 1972 Mercedes Benz, The Shelby Cobra and 1956 Jaguar XKSS.

We have a whole range of McQueen memorabilia and gifts available in our shop, why not head over and take a look?

if you’d like to attend the Bromyard Speed Festival, find out more at www.bromyardspeedfestival.co.uk

Women In Motoring History

Believe it or not, there are now more female drivers in the U.K than there are male drivers. Not only that, contrary to androcentric belief, women are now considered to be safer and (dare we admit it) better drivers than the opposite sex. We won’t tell our ‘better halves’, of course. We wouldn’t want to upset the balance of the universe or anything…

It wasn’t always this way, however. In aid of International Women’s Day, we’ve put together a brief history of women in automobile culture in to celebrate the achievements of past and present.

1914-1945

Pre-war Britain saw very few females involved in transport at all, let alone driving their own cars at leisure. While a small sub section of women set up chauffeuring and mechanic businesses pre-1914, it certainly wasn’t commonplace (or trusted) and even women themselves often felt it best that only men took to the wheel. Then the First World War happened and, as you know, women’s history changed forever. The role of women in transport expanded rapidly and urgently as their men were called away to duty, leaving behind an entire society to keep going during their (often permanent) absence. Increasing numbers of women were not only learning how to fix or alter vehicles, but actually began to think ahead in terms of designing transport with women in mind.

And then along came Dorothee Aurelie Pullinger. Dorothee was a British-French car enthusiast who, in 1924, designed the Galloway – an iconic car constructed just for women.

(Photo credits Scottish Engineering Hall Of Fame & BBC).

Following the war, Dorothee was accepted into the Institute of Automobile Engineers after being previously rejected prior to the conflict due to her gender. She went on to receive an MBE and manage Galloway Cars, which not only built on the philosophies of the suffragettes, but hosted an automotive school for women on the side.
Come the Second World War, 2.2 million women were building ships, aircrafts and automobiles for the war effort.

Post 1945

It wasn’t just automobile engineering and design that inspired women during the war era. Have you ever heard the expression, ‘Women can’t read maps’? Of course you have – there was an entire book written on the subject in 2001 unfairly attributing this stereotyped trait to every woman on the planet. However, the next time you’re assigned such a fundamental cognitive flaw, remember to remind your accuser that it was, in actual fact, a woman that invented the famous London A-Z book of maps. Her name was Phyllis Pearsall and she was a British artist that dedicated her adult life to documenting the streets of London so that motorists and pedestrians could navigate their way far more easily than ever before. Impressed? We certainly are!

Come the 1950s, women started to be accepted into broader areas of automobile culture. Aside from contributing to the engineering and maintenance of motors, women began to play a hand in Formula One racing.


(Photo credit The Telegraph, Rex Features)
Maria Teresa de Filippis (pictured) was one of the first female Formula One competitors, participating in a total of five World Championship Grand Prix’s. While she scored no championship points, Maria showed the cynics that it was possible to participate in a male dominated world and be taken seriously.

The 1960s

One of the defining moments of the 1960s was the release of the Ford Mustang. You may not know this, but the Ford Mustang was the first car marketed solely at women and was advertised in the women’s section of over 2,600 newspapers. The campaign worked, and the first person to buy this iconic car was Gail Brown, a 22-year-old schoolteacher from Chicago (pictured), for $3,419.

(Photo credits adramch, & Forbes)
In terms of a wider movement, the 1960s saw the first formal protest for equal pay. While this fight is still ongoing, it may interest you to know that it was at the Ford UK factories that the first strikes took place.

Come 1962, the British Women’s Racing Drivers Club was established, allowing women from all walks of life to learn the sport and meet likeminded people.

Onwards and Upwards

There’s been much success in the world of motorsport since the 1960s – far more than we can credit in one sitting. However, some names worth a mention include Lella Lombardi, the first woman to score points at a Grand Prix in 1975, Michelle Mouton, who won four rallies for Audi in the 1980s, Jutta Kleinschmidt, the winner of the notoriously tough Dakar rally in 2001 and Dancia Patrick, the first (and so far only) woman to win an IndyCar race in 2008.

An interesting contrast to just 100 years ago, women now make up around 16% of the automotive trade in the U.K, many of whom are holding senior positions, with a record number of women now applying to become mechanics. Furthermore, a wide range of cars have been created over the last 60-odd years with us petrol-birds in mind, making it more enjoyable than ever to show off our superior driving skills in comfort and style.

So, if you’re keen on cleaning the cobwebs off your classic speedster this spring and taking it for a well deserved drive, head over to our page and stock up on the gear you need so that your next ride is a smooth one.

Bromyard Speed Festival 2017

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On Sunday 2nd April we will be returning to the streets of Bromyard to celebrate the annual Bromyard Speed Festival.

Every year, over 5000 spectators travel from all over the country to watch more than 140 vintage and classic cars and motorcycles drive through the picturesque market town streets of Bromyard.
As part organisers of this charitable event, Holden Vintage & Classic join The Morgan Motor Company, Brightwells Classic Vehicles and a wealth of partners and volunteers to coordinate one of the most exciting events in the classic car calendar.

As you may already know, Bromyard has a rich motoring history. As the birthplace of Morgan Cars and with a manufacturing history dating back to 1910, it couldn’t be a more appropriate setting for a classic car enthusiast to spend the day.

Last year’s festival was a triumph and featured one of the most incredible cars in motoring history – the Sunbeam 350hp ‘Sunbeam Bluebird’, which broke the land speed record in 1924 at 146.16mph. The car was originally driven by Sir Malcolm Campbell, who later went on to improve his record in 1925 by reaching an impressive 150.76mph.
You may be interested to know that Lord Montagu, conservative MP, activist and founder of the British Motor Museum, purchased this car in 1957 in poor condition. After spending many years shelved in a museum without a working engine, the car underwent over 2000 hours of reconditioning before taking to the streets again in 2014.
A real hit with spectators, ‘Bluebird’s’ thunderous engine echoed through the market streets of Bromyard stirring excitement and curiosity from all corners and creating quite a spectacle for both the eyes and ears.

This year we’ll be spending some time with ‘Babs’, the land speed record holder driven by John Parry-Thomas in 1926 that reached an outstanding 171.02mph. The car was restored in 1969 by Owen Wyn Owen and will be causing quite a buzz in Bromyard this April. Furthermore, we’ll be joined by Malcolm Campbell’s ‘Napier Bluebird’, which achieved the world land speed record in 1927 at Pendine Sands. A re-engineered version then recorded over 200mph at Daytona Beach the following year.

As well as these land speed record holders, we’ll be celebrating the legendary Laverda motorbike. The first Laverda model (the Laverda 75) was introduced in 1950 and went on to have great success in Italian Championship Motogiro. Following this success, the Laverda 1000 and Laverda 650cc were born, with the company going from strength to strength from there onwards. It’ll be exciting to see a number of Laverda motorbikes on display as well as the Laverda Owners Club in April and we’re very much looking forward to it.

The Bromyard Speed Festival, as well as being an opportunity to showcase and view a range of classic vehicles, is a fantastic family day out.
The cars run in batches throughout the day starting in the town square on Broad street and returning via Rowberry street. Ordinarily the running starts with Morgans and Austin Healeys as well as a mix of other classics, then moves on to racing and rally cars and concludes with a series of stunning motorcycles. Each batch drives for approximately 15 minutes and is accompanied by a running commentary from the public address system. With the offer of both morning and afternoon sessions, there’s no reason for you to miss out on any of the festivities.

When stationery, the vehicles are held in paddocks that are open to the public for £3 per person. That means you can get up close and personal with some of the most famous and sought after cars in the world. Excited? We certainly are!

But that’s not all. Trade stands and entertainment will also scattered around Bromyard, as well as plenty of places to grab a hearty lunch, a snack or a cool drink. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet a wealth of likeminded enthusiasts and industry experts that share in your passion for classic and vintage cars.

So don’t delay! Head over to www.bromyardspeedfestival.co.uk now for more information.