I start my notes with the sad news that Bryan Goodman passed away on 25th May after battling with Parkinson’s disease. Bryan had been a VCC member for 60 years and in that time he had done a huge amount for the Club including being Chairman of the Executive Committee between 1983 and 1985. Bryan had amassed a huge photographic library of early cars and he regularly supplied high quality pictures for the Gazette. Bryan also compiled the Gazette crossword for many years. Over the years Bryan owned many special cars including the magnificent 1904 CGV 6 ¼ litre which he bought in 1969 and kept for the next 31 years when he sold it to Mike Bradbrook.. Others cars include a 1911 Silver Ghost landaulet, 1908 Hutton TT winner, 1913 Sunbeam, and his beloved 1926 Amilcar that he had owned since 1956.
But the car many will remember him for is the 1900 Benz Victoria 3.5hp. The Benz was bought new in 1900 by a Reigate doctor named Wakefield. When Bryan bought the car in the late 1950’s he became the car’s second owner. His first Brighton Run was in 1959. In 2000 Bryan held a garden party to celebrate not only the 100th birthday of the Benz, but also 100 years of the Benz living in Reigate. Bryan wasn’t impressed when the organisation of the Brighton Run was taken over by Motion Works in 2004. He said they were turning it into a circus. He pledged that once he had completed 50 Runs he would sell the Benz and have nothing more to do with the Run. True to his word he offered the Benz for sale after the 2008 Run. Later I asked Bryan if he had sold the car and his reply was “Sold it? At the price I got I gave it away”. I guess many of us like to think our cars are worth more than they really are!
In 2009 I asked Bryan if he would be watching the Run but he replied that he wasn’t interested in watching that circus. Many people found Bryan difficult to get on with, and I can understand why, but he would always come over for a chat whenever he saw me at events or at Surrey Vintage Vehicle Society meetings. He was full of encouragement for new and young members. His funeral was for family and close friends only, but a few weeks later a memorial service was held at his local church. Unfortunately I was away so couldn’t make this but Ron Clark tells me the memorial service was very well attended and he estimates there were about 80 people present. On the green opposite the church a line-up of 8 old cars was headed by Michael Doughty’s 1910 Renault, as seen in the picture supplied by Ron. With the passing of both Bryan and Mary Goodman the VCC and old car world have lost a couple of very loyal supporters.
The Best of West Kent run took place on 24th July in blazing sun with temperatures in the low 30’s. The entry list was slightly down this year with only 49 Club eligible cars, and several of these failed to appear. However, it was still an impressive turn out of early cars including several that were new to this event. The event followed its now familiar format of starting from Penshurst Place, the Bonhams sponsored coffee stop at Chiddingstone Castle and a picnic lunch at Hever Castle. Once again John Kemsley and his team planned a superb route through this lovely part of Kent and found many roads we hadn’t used before. At Hever we seemed to have a much smaller area roped off for parking and there seemed to be a mad dash to get there first to be able to park under the trees for shade. There were many superb cars there that I could write about but I will just mention a couple that caught my eye. Malcolm Barber took part with his 1914 Cadillac. This 50hp machine is extremely large and impressive. It appears to be in very original and unrestored condition. A car I hadn’t seen before was the 1907 Daimler 45hp entered by Nicholas Murray. This parked next to me at Chiddingstone so I was able to have a chat with the owner. I learned that he bought it two years ago but then stripped it down for a mechanical overhaul. Fortunately he didn’t touch the paintwork which has a wonderful patina to it and was probably done in the 1950’s. Nicholas said that he has only had the car back on the road for about 3 months so is still learning how to drive it. It was good to see Michael and Bridget Doughty at Hever. Michael is unable to drive at the moment due to the continuing arm problem but fortunately he is able to whiz around on his electric scooter, Thanks to John Kemsley and his team for another great event and I look forward to the next BOWK.
Our Section’s AGM takes place at Hickstead Hotel on Sunday 24th November. Details and a booking form will be emailed to all members nearer the time. The AGM will mark 7 years since I took over writing the SE scribe notes. How time flies! I now feel that I would like to take a break from writing these notes so please consider if you would like to take over from me. I am quite happy to come back for another term later on but for now would like a break. It’s not a difficult task as you only have to write them 6 times a year and just report on what’s happening in the South East. Although I am currently on the committee this isn’t essential for the Scribe. Please do give it serious consideration as it’s important that the South East Section continues to have a presence within the Gazette. Maybe one of the ladies would like to give it a try? Feel free to give me a call if you would like to discuss it.
David Ralph (Section Scribe)