A Mini adventure

Ferrari California
A few hardy Bristoleers  braved the cold last Sunday to go to the PistonHeads Sunday Service, held at the Mini factory in Cowley. Bristols always seem to get a mixed reaction on the PistonHeads forums, threads usually started by someone who has never seen or driven a Blenheim getting very angry that other people would consider paying so much for such an ugly, outdated car. There is then a long discussion about how you either “get” them or you don’t, and people singing their praises as the last gentleman’s car. I think the older cars tend to avoid such polarisation of views, but as ever the 412 does come in for some stick and divides opinion like no other. (Although that’s also true to a certain extent even among Bristol owners themselves!)
410, 411 S1
Anyway, there we were, bright and early, queueing for a rather good sausage and bacon bap. There was a pretty varied selection of cars present. Lots of TVRs, MX5s, Porsches, BMWs and other modern sports cars, as well as a couple of new Rolls-Royces borrowed by the organisers for the weekend. A sprinkling of Ferraris were present, but unusually only one Lamborghini was there, a pearlescent Murcielago that drew a crowd when that big V12 was fired up.
Lamborghini Murcielago
There was a smattering of other classics around the place. A pair of lovely P5 Rovers parked in one corner, one a V8 coupé and the other an early three-litre saloon, a nicely patinated 1970 Mercedes 300SE 3.5 saloon that the owner mentioned was only giving 8-15mpg (when he started it, it sounded like the engine and exhaust were slightly ‘patinated’ as well…), a tidy MGA, and various others.
Rover P5 coupe and saloon
All in all an nice morning out. The 410 was going well, and although it was grey in Oxford, it was a beautiful sunny morning most of the way over, with good empty roads over the Lambourn Downs. The PistonHeads meetings are held several times a year, and the summer ones especially can attract some pretty serious machinery. The Bristol contingent this weekend seemed to go down pretty well, with lots of favourable comment. Stuart, the PistonHeads director, commented, “Favourite cars for me included the box fresh white 997 Turbo S (dream spec), the gaggle (I don’t know the correct collective noun) of Bristols, the Rover P5B and the Aston Martin Cygnet which turned up unannounced and was a big draw.” (I was sorry I missed the Cygnet – it would have been interesting to see what a Toyota dressed by Aston Martin looks like.) Some wag said that perhaps the collective noun for Bristols should be a cleavage. I’ll suggest it to Toby and see what he says.
Rolls-Royce drophead
A Bristol also made it into the official report of the meeting, with the first photo starring Gavin’s lovely 411 to show the variety of attendees at a Sunday Service. See you next time!
S2000 and 412

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