An Interview With… James Ball, Classic Automotive Journalist

This week, we were thrilled to interview James Ball, a freelance classic automotive journalist and Deputy Editor of MOG Magazine. James has also written for Performance Ford and Octane Magazine as well as contributing photographs of classic motoring events far and wide.

What first got you into classic cars?

My dad has always loved cars and my grandad was into motorbikes. For many of my birthdays I often spent them at Donington Circuit. For the most part we went to the classic and historic events, and my interest in all things retro stems from there.

You’re an automotive journalist. Where does your job take you?

I have been working for MOG magazine, the official Morgan mag, for nearly four years and contributed the odd freelance piece to other motoring mags such as Octane. I’ve been lucky enough to drive a show car (80th Anniversary 4/4) straight off the stand at Geneva and back to the Morgan factory in Malvern. I’ve also driven through the pyrenees and had a close shave in a 3 Wheeler – a TT racer ditched a car on the Isle of Man mountain course. Thanks to the mag, I’ve driven thousands of miles in Morgans both old and vintage. My first Morgan drive was in a 1935 model, with its accelerator on the steering wheel!

What’s your favourite Motoring event? Have you attended any recently?

I have to say, your very own Bromyard Speed Festival is one of the best. It has all the cars you see at the likes of Goodwood, but less fussy stuff. The cars take centre stage. I quite like the Chateau Impney hillclimb too. Anything with a whiff of Castrol R in the air and I’m there.

What car or motorcycle do you aspire to own in the future?

I’m a big fan of Royal Enfield motorcycles. They’re affordable modern classics that are true to 50s design. As I have limited space at home, a motorcycle makes sense for me right now, however, I do see myself one day owning a Morgan car and am really thrilled Holden-Morgan are opening a Morgan show room at the Holden premises in Bromyard. Holden have a great reputation as a parts dealer and I’ll certainly be visiting soon.

Do you have a story to share? Perhaps a passion project or ongoing restoration? Get in touch via Facebook or email to be featured in our blog.


Product Of The Week – 2 Tonne Light Duty Car Jack

One of the most important pieces of equipment you can own for servicing your classic motor is a car jack. A car jack is critical for maintenance and repair and is therefore a staple tool for anyone who’s serious about keeping their classic car in tip top condition, or undertaking a restoration project.
So what do they do? Well, car jacks are used to lift the car high enough to access the essential components during a repair procedure. You might use it to complete an oil change, or to replace brake pads, tires and rotors. As well as raising the car itself, jacks can also elevate the motor. This is to provide additional clearance within the engine bay, for example, during an engine mount replacement procedure.
When working with a jack, safety is advised. The use of axel stands will prevent avoidable accidents and damage. It is also important to think about the maximum weight load you’re looking to support and match these between the jack and the axel.
Our product of the week is a trolley 2 ton light duty jack.
A trolley jack is a type of floor jack. It consists of a trolley with four wheels that contains a hydraulic cylinder which is responsible for raising and lowering a lever arm. This lever arm has a small platform that interacts with your car or truck. The advantages of working with a trolley jack over alternative designs is that they are extremely easy to use as they do not need you to put in much physical effort to lift a vehicle. The rear swivelling castors help to keep the jack properly positioned underneath the car which conveniently minimises the risk of jack lean and makes for an all around safer repair session.
The trolley 2 ton light duty jack features a 2 tonnes capacity and a lifting range of 130 to 350mm. Its overall size is 492 x 218 x 132mm.
So, if you’re interested in purchasing a jack or looking for similar models in our range, head over to our dedicated page now and place your order.

The Clevedon Lions Classic Car Show Review

Hundreds of classic motors gathered today for a sunny afternoon by the sea in the picturesque town of Clevedon, North Somerset. Organised by the Clevedon Lions in aid of various local charities, the event (which has been taking place annually for 9 years) started at 10.00am at Cadbury Garden Centre, Congresbury, followed by a 28 mile countryside drive that concluded at the Salt House Fields where spectators got up close and personal with the cars.

A particular highlight of the show was Duncan White’s Austin Healey 1006 BN4 (pictured below). Having owned the motor for 13 years, Duncan rebuilt the back half of the car while managing to retain its original appeal. It features disc brakes all around, a 2.6 litre engine and has overdrive in 3rd and top gears. It is also rumoured to be one of the run of 100 standard road cars with discs all round that was needed for the race and rally cars to be homologated as standard production. Duncan attends the car show annually, while also partaking in numerous local rallies.

Another highlight included Peter Osbourne’s 1962 Mercury Monterey S55. A beast of a car, this left hand drive automatic (pictured below) was originally painted beige! It has a 5.8 litre engine and was certainly a big hit amongst spectators.

Ken Todd’s Ford F100 was also a focal point of the day. His enormous bonnet was raised to display some interesting Jack Daniels features within, explaining that his kids’ escapades with the drink inspired him to incorporate it into the design of his car during restoration. The car had recently undergone an entire restoration from the inside out and it has been finished to an extremely professional standard.

Pat Leech arrived in his gorgeous Buick 6 (pictured below), a 3.3 litre engined classic car that spent most of its life in Australia and New Zealand before arriving in the U.K just over 6 years ago. Minor modifications have been made to the car including within the petrol pump, air filter and indicators but otherwise it remains pretty much in its original state. The foot controls are standard except for the brake which is on the right hand side, and an extra rear light has been fitted as it only came with one. Pat has taken the car to numerous rallies, including ones in Belgium and France.

Last but not least, we wanted to show you Richard Clark’s BMW Isetta (below). With only two seats compacted in a very tight space, this amazing little car actually requires the driver to climb out of the front of the car in order to exit! It features a 300cc engine with 13 horsepower and has been fully restored from the inside out.

So, if you’re looking for something to do next year, head over to North Somerset and get in on the action!

Product Of The Week – POR-15 Engine Paint

The aesthetics of your classic car engine are important, especially if it serves as a focal point for your vehicle, which is why we recommend POR-15 Engine Enamal.

If you like the idea of painting your classic motor engine, you should know in advance that you will not be able to use standard car paints. Engine paint uses a specific formula in order to withstand extremely high temperatures while resisting gasoline, oils, and other chemicals – something that standard paints simply do not do. Furthermore, the paint needs to be robust enough to last a long time without chipping or wearing away, so it’s important you select the correct brand.

POR-15 enamel paint offers a glossy, hard finish and maintains excellent colour retention as well as optimal heat resistance. A decent engine paint like POR-15 is designed to withstand around 500 degrees Celsius so that your under hood temperature will not affect the engine’s appearance.
Furthermore, POR-15 enamel engine paint provides excellent chip resistance, and also helps prevent rust – which, in the long run, saves you money on restoration and cleaning.
Painting an engine can be done either before assembly or after, it doesn’t really matter. However, always make sure pre existing paints have been properly removed before applying POR-15. Here’s our tips for application:


1. Create a well ventilated environment before you begin painting, with an ideal temperature being 22 degrees Celsius.
2. Take some time to sand the engine. You can use a wire brush to remove old paint and debris. Rust is ok to paint over, but loose rust will be problematic if not removed.
3. Clean the block with a grease and wax remover to get rid of unwanted oils.
4. Wipe the engine down to minimise loose particles.
5. You will not need to apply a primer when using POR-15.
6. Stir the paint. Do not shake.
7. You may want to thin the POR-15 engine paint with a thinner, but do not do this by more than 20% (1 part thinner, 5 parts enamel paint)
8. Use a brush to apply the paint. One coat should be sufficient.
9. Allow to dry for at least 8 hours.
10. Should a second coat be desired, wait 24 hours before applying.


POR-15 boasts a superior colour and texture to other engine paints on the market. This is because POR-15 mix their paint in such a way that it has a composition of 80% solids. This means a high proportion of paint goes onto the engine and less solvent disperses into the atmosphere.

We are proud to offer a range of POR-15 engine paints, so head over to our dedicated POR-15 page now and place your order. There’s also an instructional video you can watch for further information on engine paint application. Please note that typically a pint (0.473 litre) is enough to cover an entire engine.

Why We Recommend Cibie Lighting Systems

Drivers don’t tend to pay much attention to the lights on their cars, unless of course they’re failing. But as you know, they’re absolutely critical to a car’s overall functionality, and without them it simply can’t run. That’s why it’s essential to install lights onto a classic car that are hardwearing, reliable and don’t require a second thought once you’ve hit the road.

While many believe that Lucas or Bosche are the largest producers of car lights, you may be surprised to know that Cibie actually take first place.
Founded in 1919 by a young French technically talented man called Leon Cibie, the company benefitted from the get-go from his lighting expertise and enthusiasm. With a love for all vehicles, not just motor cars but aircrafts too, Cibie helped revolutionise what was, at the time, emerging technology and create robust and effective lighting systems.

At the beginning of the First World War, Cibie was asked to develop and manufacture lighting systems for night-flying aircrafts and broke new ground by inventing the world’s first mobile lighting system, in which the generator was controlled by a voltage regulator and was used to light takeoff and landing strips.
The company continued to expand and by the end of the Second World War, the Cibie factory was located in Rue Haxo in the 20th arrondissement of Paris. Following the liberation of France, the company was nationalised and became the sole supplier of production headlamps for Renault – a relationship that continued for many decades to follow.
The factory in Rue Haxo was too small to keep up with the massive growth in Renault production and so it was transferred to Bobigny, where it covered nearly 12,000 m2.
In addition, Peugeot and Simca, as well as many other new customers, joined in using Cibie as their main supplier of car lights.

For the past few decades, Cibie have continued to be the top pick for driving lamps, sports lamps and fog lamps and have supplied to numerous motorsport teams and disciplines such as the Monte-Carlo rally and Le Mans series. The lights are very easy to fit, and classic motorists benefit from a powerful beam while enjoying minimised energy use and consumption.

The legendary Oscar is the most famous of all the sporting lamps, hailed throughout the motorsport world. Its trademarks include the chromed rim, black painted domed steel shell, and E marked hardened glass concave lens. It can also be used with a variety of lenses. Throughout the years, the Oscar has been fitted as original equipment to many of the worlds finest cars and used by many rally teams.

We’re proud to supply a huge selection of Cibie driving lamps, fog lamps and sports lamps, so head over to our dedicated Cibie page now and place your order.

Bromyard Speed Festival 2017

At 10am on a crisp Sunday morning, Peder Nielsen, Bromyard’s Town Crier, formally announced the opening of Bromyard Speed Festival – the much anticipated classic motoring event that attracts thousands of classic motor enthusiasts from around the country annually.

You might be wondering – why Bromyard? Nestled between Worcester and Hereford, it turns out this charming town has a rich and fascinating classic car history. In fact, it has played a central role in the birth and development of the motorcar itself, with Morgan, Austin and Bean originating in surrounding areas. It’s no wonder people journey far and wide to celebrate motoring history in this picturesque setting.

It was clear from the offset that this year’s event was incredibly popular, with nearby parking lots filled to the brim and the narrow streets packed with thousands of onlookers from all walks of life. Queues of excited spectators lined up to gain access to the paddocks and given the turnout we can assume with some certainty that local food vendors were kept extremely busy all day.
As well as bringing together enormous crowds of likeminded petrol-heads, the festival provided a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with some seriously impressive classic cars and motorcycles.

Three land-speed record holders were displayed in a paddock for the public to view and photograph. These were the Beast Of Turin (pictured), a tremendous car that achieved 116mph in 1911, Babs, who beat the land-speed record in 1926 and The Napier Bluebird, a replica vehicle that achieved 174.883mph in 1927. Both The Beast and Napier Bluebird later took three laps around the streets (and may have shattered a few window-panes as they did). Babs, however, decided to remain in her paddock for the day and soak up the glory – we can’t blame her really!

The morning and afternoon saw groups of cars take a few spins around the town while being cheered on by the excited crowds. Categories included ‘vintage cars’, ‘rally cars’ and even ‘electric cars’, giving spectators a wonderfully diverse range of motors to view and enjoy.

Local classic car owner Brian Bedford had a particularly popular motor that certainly got people talking. His one-of-a-kind 1952 Ford Prefect Police Car (pictured below) featured a 11 72 side valve and had been recently restored to an immaculate standard. It even had a working siren that could be heard for miles as it raced around the town.

The Laverda Club were there displaying a range of legendary motorcycles, and owner of Slater Laverda Richard Slater was also present alongside many of his employees past and present.

Holden Vintage & Classic along with Morgan Motor Company, Brightwells Classic Motoring, South Hereford Garages and a range of other organisations sponsored the charitable event and pitched stalls in the market square where the cars commenced. Jeremy Holden, founder of Holden Vintage & Classic and Holden-Morgan, said, “The crowds and cars this year were fantastic and we couldn’t be happier with the turnout. It was a wonderful day with perfect weather. We are so thankful to the volunteers, local businesses and participants for their enthusiasm which helped make the day so spectacular”.

Photo credits Rhiannon Carvell-Crook

Product Of The Week – Classic Castrol Oil

Choosing the correct engine oil for your classic motor is critical in ensuring it runs smoothly with maximum wear protection.

Older vehicles require a different formulation to newer models. Unlike engine oils for modern engines that are required to adhere with the most recent API ratings of SN/CF as well as ACEA and OEM specs, classic car oils tend to have somewhat opposing characteristics. They feature cork or graphite seals, a greater dependence on ‘splash’ or ‘cling’ lubrication as well as lower revving with greater machine clearances.

That’s where Classic Castrol Oil comes in.

Castrol is the world leading manufacturer and distributor of lubricating oils to the transportation industry. Based in the UK, the company operates directly in over 40 countries, with a delivery network that branches throughout over 140 countries.

Founded by Charles “Cheers” Wakefield in 1899, the company (named CC Wakefield& Company) began by producing lubricants for trains and heavy machinery before expanding to automobiles and planes in the early 20th Century. Faced with new engine types, a challenge existed in trying to manufacture an oil that was slippery enough in cooler temperatures and thick enough to withstand hotter temperatures in order to work efficiently. After some research, Wakefield noticed that adding castor oil created the ideal consistency – hence creating the brand name ‘Castrol’.

Promoting his product through the sponsorship of landspeed record attempts and motoring events, Wakefield was able to expand the brand, introducing new lines of lubricants catering to car manufacturer’s individual engines.

Since then, Castrol oil has played a key role in many exciting transporting events, from lubricating the largest ocean liner of its time’s maiden voyage in 1967 to having direct involvement in NASAs first ‘Rover’ mission to Mars in 2012. It’s probably safe to say that when Wakefield invented the substance he never imagined his product would end up assisting in an interplanetary space mission a century later!

So what is it about Castrol classic engine oil that sets it apart from the rest? Well, there are a number of things:

1. It remains the right consistency in hotter temperatures. This is very important because clogging can easily occur in the oil galleries if the oil becomes too thick.
2. It features less detergent than modern oils. In classic vehicles, carbon has built up over the years which can be scoured off by detergents, causing it to flake and create blockages. Sometimes this can cause oil leaks, because it breaks away carbon that is actually acting as a seal. So, Castrol uses less detergent to help maintain good vehicle health.
• Castrol oil has anti-wear additives which ensure that if there is a breakdown in the oil film between moving parts, permanent engine damage is prevented.
• It contains the correct anti corrosion inhibitors, so that the components are well protected.
• It is designed using the original formula as a foundation, but also with the latest appropriate technology and carefully balanced additives for optimal protection.

So which Castrol oil product is right for you? Well, the answer depends on your vehicle type and age. We have a wide range of Castrol engine oils, gear oils and two stroke oils so head over to our dedicated Castrol Oil page now and place your order.