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16th September 2004

Uxbridge Auto Show 2004

What is it about west London? What with the Ace Caff and the LMM, the classic bike scene seems to be thriving in the capital. Roy Workman investigates another classic event...

I had not been to this show for a couple of years when Dave Bullion, a fellow driving instructor and Royal Enfield owner, offered me a free ticket into the show. He also offered to show my bike on the Enfield Club's Surrey Branch stand. I was pleased to take up Dave's offer, as this is an excellent show, which has been running since 1984. The show is organised by the Rotary Club of Uxbridge, and it has raised over 200,000 for local, national and international charities.

You want me to go over there and do what?

Last year there were over 2000 vintage, veteran and classic cars on display, including motorcycles and commercial and military vehicles. The gates open at 7.30 am for entrants and exhibitors, and the organisers like all the vehicles to be in position by 9.30 am. However Dave had invited us around to his place for tea and a Cornish pasty first. There must have been a dozen of us there, and bikes were parked everywhere, so we were a little late.

We arrived at the show and were efficiently shown to our allotted space. There was a steady stream of vehicles coming in for the next hour or so. There were roughly seventy clubs stands and dealer / trade stands, together with autojumble and crafts. I got lucky and bought four 'green uns' and 'blue uns', one of which contained an excellent article on an Ariel Square Four.

Dave and I wandered around the show. We fancied a drink and something to eat and we were spoilt for choice. We picked a food van with a shortish queue, and we ended up with a drink and huge roast pork baguette each.

The London Motorcycle Museum brought their own portable barn.

The London Motorcycle Museum was there - they often support local shows. They had a nice covered canopy which would help keep the bikes dry if needed, but, as it happened, it served as a sun shade instead as the temperature rose steadily during the day. The Museum had a nice display of machines, some of which the owners had ridden in. One owner was trying to spray paint the new springs on the seat of his machine - these were bare metal and they had just been fitted. It had started to drizzle and he did not fancy cleaning the rust off them later.

They don't make 'em like that anymore...

Whilst walking back to the Enfield stand I spotted a Speed Twin outfit which I was certain that I recognised. It belonged to friends, Mike and Ann. They have a few machines, and this one had sat in the previous owner's garden for the best part of twenty years. Mike got the outfit home, separated the bike from the sidecar and then spent the next year refurbishing the Triumph. When it was done to the standard that he liked, he said to Ann that he would take the old sidecar to the dump.

'No way' said Ann 'the outfit had been together for many years and it's staying that way.'

Joke about Mike's bottom rusting away deleted for obvious reasons.

Mike looked at the sidecar and discovered that the bottom had rusted totally away, so that kept him busy for quite a while, but eventually the whole thing was up and running.

We got talking about the new Triumphs and how pleased we were that they are selling well. Mike said that he had ridden the new Bonneville. He said it was so smooth, but he felt that his 750cc Tiger was a little quicker and that it handled a bit better as well.

The Enfield stand created quite a lot of interest. There was a nice Crusader Sports and several Bullet models. Several people stopped to talk about their adventures in India when riding the machines. The new Enfields were also a talking point for those people who fancied a classic machine, but without the possible hassle of owning a fifty-year-old machine.

It was all in all an excellent day. The early drizzle gave way to a really hot and sunny day. Thanks to The Rotary Club and their helpers for a well organised day. Let's hope that they raised a substantial sum for their charities This show is well worth a visit.

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