A very well attended committee meeting and AGM was held on Sunday May 14th.
At the AGM I was able to reflect on the past year with some pride. The VBOA had held a very successful National Rally at Billing, the inaugural Vauxhall Heritage Centre open day had brought more people to the venue than any other Vauxhall promotion, we had launched our web site ( www.vboa.org.uk ), purchased VBOA outside display equipment and the International Rally in Holland had been enjoyed by a large entry from all over the VBOA world. If anyone wants to see it, the full chairman’s report from the AGM is reproduced in the news section of the web site.
The only small setback had been the second Spring Parts Day & Autojumble held in March this year at the Warwickshire Exhibition Centre. After a loss in its first year, we had hoped it would break even this year, but unfortunately we recorded another loss. The way forward was discussed at the committee meeting and it was resolved that we would promote the event again in 2007, but at a different venue. The event definitely fulfils a valuable role for many people but everyone agreed that the formula needed some tweaking. John Ankerman and Barry Harvey had located a new exhibition facility in the Coventry area. This offered either comparable or superior facilities to Warwick but came at a much more favourable price. This venue also gives us the space to add extra attractions and we are looking at proposals such as a rolling road and a kiddie’s play area. At the next committee meeting, we will schedule time on the agenda to brainstorm ideas to further enhance and promote the event. And the venue? It’s called The Sports Connexion and is on Leamington Road, Ryton on Dunsmore, just off the A45 Coventry Ring Road.
Inevitably at this time in the VBOA year, we spent much of the committee meeting finalising the arrangements for the VBOA National Rally in association with CCC Insurance Limited at Billing Aquadrome on July 8th and 9th. Once again organised by John Ankerman, it looks like being a cracking show, building on the enhancements we put in place last year.
The central display this year moves from competition cars to a “back to the future” theme. Supported once again by Vauxhall and for the first time, Adam Opel AG, we look like having a fascinating collection of vehicles which will embrace concept cars, dream cars, prototypes and other one-offs. Star of the show will probably be the replica Opel RAK 2 rocket car. This is literally a rocket on wheels: the original was part of a series of special experimental cars developed by Opel in the late 1920s with a young Austrian rocket engineer called Max Vallier. Driven by one of the Opel brothers, Fritz von Opel, these cars brought tremendous publicity to Opel. RAK 2 has sizeable wings on each side to give negative lift and it appears it was very much a case of “light the blue touch paper and stand well back”! Accompanying the RAK (short for rocket in German) will be one of the latest Opel/Vauxhall family of record breakers, the gull-winged door diesel ECO Speedster. Other stars will be the trio of privately owned Wayne Cherry concept cars, Silver Aero, Silver Bullet and Black Magic, plus the Vauxhall owned XVR dream car, a mental 888 modified Astra Van and the VX Lightning speedster concept car first shown at the Vauxhall Centenary celebrations in 2003. Adding a little decorum will be two cars from the Royal Family: a unique Viceroy estate car which once belonged to the Queen (complete with corgi-proof floor covering) and the electric Bedford CF van used by the Duke of Edinburgh for personal transport for many years. A very early example of green thinking, Vauxhall entered limited production of this vehicle as a joint project with Lucas. We have a number of other cars lined up or under negotiation so I think we can guarantee an unusual and certainly unique collection of vehicles for your entertainment. Unfortunately however, unlike last year when we were able to fire up Andy Frost’s Red Victor 2 dragster, I am told RAK 2 is most definitely not going to run!
Like last year, the Saturday at Billing is essentially “club day” with no display ring activity. But on Sunday we have a full day of club displays in the ring starting at 10.00am, followed by the judging for the Chairman’s Cup competition for “best vehicle in show” and the presentation of the best club stand award. The autojumble display demand is building up to the usual high numbers, so there will be another chance to buy those parts or accessories from traders who specialise in our cars. If the weather is as good as last year then I predict this will be the best Billing ever, so I hope I see you there.
Later this year its back to the Heritage Centre for the VBOA open day on Sunday October 8th. This event lends itself to a nice autumn road run finishing at the Luton site with refreshments and a look around the centre and the fascinating collection of club members’ cars in the car park and outside the venue. The Heritage Centre is rarely open for viewing so I recommend you take this opportunity.
Finally, later today some 15 intrepid Brits will be heading for Harwich to start the journey to this year’s VBOA International Rally organised by the Svenska Vauxhall Registret, the Swedish Vauxhall Owners Club. Organiser Kay Mordza has lain on a great programme and has won sponsorship from Total Vauxhall magazine and Vauxhall, who are sending over their 1903 model. The journey will. I’m glad to say, be mainly by ferry, but on the way out we have an interesting drive up through Denmark. Next year it’s the turn of Switzerland and we will be working with the Swiss Owners Club to determine the best way for UK based entries to get there. The German motor rail service sounds like a good bet. In 2008 its Australia’s turn and getting there is really going to take some figuring out. However, we have got a couple of years to work on it!
The next VBOA Committee meeting will be held on June 18th