The Club once again attended the premier Classic Motor Show in the UK with a stand and was generously supported over the three days by other Club members Guy, Barry, George, Tim W. and myself
This Show marked both 50-years since the Club was formed and the 12th occasion that the Club has participated at this prestigious event, the first being at Alexandria Palace in 1979 when it was known then as the Classic Car Show. This year, we were lucky to have three cars that, based on feedback from the many visitors to the stand, were considered to have well represented that produced by both Universal Power Drives and UWF Automotive Engineering in their various guises.
Guy, as will have been seen in the Club’s Blog pages, has been working flat out this year to complete the restoration of his 1969 UWF built car in time for the Show, but the old saying that 'the last 10% of the work takes 90% of the time' eventually came true and so the car was displayed with still a few tasks to complete. This car has had a complex and well-travelled history over the years, being bought by Guy with a Mini Metro Turbo engine fitted, and following some difficult decisions about its restoration, was displayed at the Show with a superbly presented Swiftune prepared engine along with refurbished suspension and padded dashboard. Most of the interior re-trim was complete (the carpet material had arrived late) as were all the Braking systems, Windscreen wiper mechanism, Fuel tank and Cooling systems. However, it was the striking paint colours and superb finish to the new factory correct body panels that really set the car apart, with its Amber/White two-tone colours exactly the same as his father had his then new car painted in 1969. When finished this car will be one of, if not the best example of the marque and a true homage to its owners father.
Second, we had the 3rd Competition chassis built by UPD, completed in very early 1967 and is now red following being painted yellow by a previous owner. This is a Customer Competition spec ca and displayed the various differences from the factory ‘Works’ cars along with a number of other changes applied by successive owners over the years since being first purchased in June of 1967 by Jan Odor of the well know Janspeed Engineering. The car was driven in a number of races that year by the notable Geoff Mabbs, who also drove the car in a non-championship race at Jarama, Spain that same year. The car was then sold on and three of its numerous following owners took to the tracks to both sprint and race the car with differing success. Its current owner of nearly 3-years now, has carried out extensive renovation work to the lower chassis to rectify long standing problems consequential to its chequered history and previous ownership. The work has been carried out to a very high standard indeed and has ensured that the chassis will now be sound for many years to come. Now road registered it was driven to the Show and attracted considerable interest during the Show. The Club very much thanks its owner for releasing the car from his collection for the Show and for Barry for bringing it along on his behalf.
Lastly was my ex-Works raced Competition chassis resplendent in its Unipower Yellow paint. This chassis is the first production chassis sold (January 1966) and then built with unique changes to its chassis in early 1966 by UPD, although for reasons well detailed in my book, had its chassis number changed from originally being 1 to 2. Initially owned by Emlyn Newman and driven by John ‘Turner’ Miles, the car was purchased and raced in the UK by Piers Weld-Forester who would go on to purchase the Unipower GT production from Tim Powell at UPD in late 1968. Raced also by Piers’ good friend Robert Hurst in 1968/69, the car was to be upgraded further as a Factory works entry in the Nürburgring 500kms and Barcelona 12hrs later in 1969. Subsequent owners only sprinted the car until I bought it in 1976, when I would begin a successful series of races over the years in Modsports and HSCC Historic races such as the high-profile Guards Championship. Notable success was winning the then very competitive 1300cc class Forrest-Lycett Trophy for 5-years in succession at the Brighton Speed Trials (never to be repeated in a class at the Trials) and a Championship 2nd place in the HSCC Atlantic Computer Leasing 2ltr Championship in 1986. The car is now retired from racing and is only used at Test days and remains the last remaining Works raced car.
The Show was very well attended, especially on the first day, when it seems that the more knowledgeable enthusiasts and industry visitors attend. Of note this year, was that we had many visitors who said they had not seen the Unipower GT before or even heard of them !. But all were very impressed by how impressive they were and interestingly on this occasion, that the race cars were of particular interest.
We were also honoured to have Gerry Wheeler and his son Simon, come along as guests of the Club. Gerry is one of the last survivors from those who worked for UPD and UWF, initially as a coach trimmer, but who gradually learnt diverse new skills from others there, making him an integral part of the production team. Guy of course took the opportunity to get Gerry’s advice on how some of the interior trim on the car would have been originally fitted. As Gerry said, it brought back many wonderful memories from all those years ago.
The Show concluded on the Sunday and we all helped to dismantle the stand and load up. Guy had kindly arranged for his car to be transported to and from the NEC, all the way from Cornwall with myself also transporting my car and the stand setup by covered trailer. Barry drove its owner’s car back to its storage facility.
Our feelings were that having participated again this year, we had again demonstrably improved awareness of the marque and that all the effort had been worthwhile. Whilst in the past the Club has supported the Show every other year, we have now done 2017, 2019, 2021 & 2022. A decision on whether to revert to our previous attendance frequency will be taken before next years deadline.
Lastly the Club wishes to thank in particular Alison Judge, the event's Club administrator and all others from the Organisation of the Show for all their help and assistance in enabling our participation and for putting on such a wonderful event.