Elegant Conkers

It was the BOC Concours d’Elegance this weekend. Since I am obviously sans Bristol currently, Andrew Blow kindly offered me a lift down to Blaise Castle, the venue for the concours in Bristol. I jumped at the chance as I knew he was taking one of the cars he currently has for sale – the Beaufort. Believed (though unconfirmed by the factory) to be the only one built, it is effectively a fully convertible Beaufighter. Heading off on a grey morning to Bristol, roof down, it was apparent what a wonderful car it is. Effortless power means relaxed cruising along the motorway, and it was relatively buffet-free at speed. (My current haircut is not designed for convertibles though, but that’s another story!) Andrew, a 2-litre fan through and through, said that if he was going to have a V8 it would probably have to be this one (or possibly a 410 – another fine choice!), so that’s quite a recommendation. I have to say though that I’m not really a convertible person. I can see the appeal absolutely, but for me I tend to prefer tin-tops. However, the Beaufort is seriously tempting. If I had a home somewhere warm and sunny, and a spare £60,000, I’d certainly snap it up.

The concours itself passed off smoothly. The venue had been changed at the last minute due to the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease, as the original venue in Leicestershire has a herd of longhorn cattle on site. That Bristol City Council could accommodate us at Blaise at such short notice was fortunate. (Not entirely unexpectedly, I did hear of one member who had unfortunately driven from Wales to Leicestershire and was understandably peeved to find we were all back in Bristol, a town he’d passed some hours previously.)

There was also a treat this year in that Sid Lovesey was on hand to distribute the prizes. Mr Lovesey is the factory manager for Bristol Cars in Filton, and I hope it gave him some pride to see so many of his babies lovingly polished and shining for him. The company and the owners’ club have not always seen eye to eye, for reasons that predate my joining the club and that I don’t really understand. I know that most other manufacturers support their owners and that heritage is the one thing you can’t make up. I’d have thought that Bristol would like to help promote their history, but as we all know, Bristol is not most other manufacturers.

As for the 410, I’ll let you know how things progress. Suffice to say, I’m reasonably confident that it will be at next years’ concours, wherever it may be.

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