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The First Wessex Advanced Motorists Annual Classic Car Show 2017

Posted on 29/07/17 |

I remember it well. T’was the April committee meeting of  2016 when Brian Howe, Honorary President of our august Group and all round stalwart of what was then called the TGAM Classic Car Show,  announced to a stunned audience that he was giving up organising the annual old cars for old blokes night. Officially known as the TGAM Classic Car Show.

You could hear a pin drop in the silence that followed this announcement.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that we all felt full of sympathy for Brian and understood why, after all these years of being worn down by the yolk of servitude, that he felt enough was enough.

No. The thoughts of everyone around the table was more along the lines of  “What daft idiot’s going to take that on now?”  I know, I was thinking exactly the same thing.

But what bothered me in the eerie silence that followed, was that as I looked around my fellow Committee Members wondering which one would take up this poisoned chalice … er, mantle of honour, I saw 7 pairs of dead eyes bore into mine.

“Oh no! No! No, no, no.  NO! Definitely not me. I’m too young for all of this! It needs an older, wiser head than mine, to take this on” I whined.

And as I appealed to each and everyone of my fellow Committee-ites  around the table, with a show of support that would have done Judas Iscariot proud, each and every one of them silently turned their chair and sat with their back to me.  

I was alone! Cast adrift in a sea of uncertainty and organisational nightmare. And what’s more, they’ve abandoned me to it again next year, too. The fiends!

And so, in order to spread the pain as much as I could, for the 2017 show I conned :

  • Brian Howe to escort the Mayor (Ha! If he thought he’d got away with anything in this riot of dis-organisation, he was in for a shock!)
  • Andrew Griffiths to MC
  • John Gilbert to work the gates
  • Mike Wotton to press-gang new members
  • Matt Murray into taking the photos. Good, aren’t they?
  • Janet Loader into mugging everybody with the raffle
  • and David Walton to find last year’s cup winner. (Well, we wanted it back for this year’s winner, after all).
  • I even managed to get the Sea Cadets to come along and lend a hand herding all of the visitors and exhibitors into the right place at the right time. And my heartfelt thanks to them for a sterling job well done, too! I can honestly say that without the night wouldn’t have gone as smoothly as I’d hoped. I will definitely be asking them for help again next year.


Special thanks go to our Guest of Honour, Cllr. Hazel Prior-Sankey, the Mayor of Taunton Deane who was completely unfazed by the breakdown of our PA system and happily used the alternate that was supplied. (See the photo).  Despite not being a car nut herself, she still managed to thoroughly enjoy herself despite the occasional chaos that ensued.

To see all Matt’s photos,go to

Alternatively, you could have a look at next weeks’ Somerset County Gazette. That’s because we had a roving photographer / reporter from that eminent publication and although she wasn’t in time to get her copy in for the print run on Wednesday evening, her report & photographs should appear in next weeks’ issue.

And talking of copy; in his article of last years’ event, Brian noted that the show seems to grow year on year. Well I’m happy to report that this year was no different. We had about 60 cars, one motorbike and over 150 people grace us with their presence. And because it went off pretty much with a hitch, I’m very pleased to report that the evening was a roaring success, and for that I owe a debt of thanks to all those who helped and to all who attended. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

But back to this year. As you can see from the photos, a small selection of which I’ve included below, we had a really eclectic display of cars and vehicles ranging from a 1957 Austin A35 (we also had a 1959 one too) to a 1965 VW Beetle. And as you can see from the photo of the Mayor, above, we even had a fully spec’d out  Chicago Police Department Cruiser, without whom we’d have struggled because our own PA system went down so we used the one from the cruiser! See? No problems, just solution!

The oldest car we had on show was a pristine looking  1926 Model ‘T’ Ford. The youngest was a 2017 Morgan. As I said, a real eclectic mix. We even had a Mini Moke on site!

Originally it was planned to hold the event, as usual, on the car park of the Village Hall, but by the time Monday 17th rolled round I’d had so many people phone or email me wishing to register that I knew the car park wouldn’t be big enough. With that thought in mind I contacted Steve Williams & Maureen James, Chairman & Booking Secretary respectively of the Village Hall committee and sought permission (readily granted) to use the sports field as our exhibition arena instead. I really am most grateful to them for allowing us to use it because without that extra space, the night would have been a chaotic nightmare instead of the success it was.

DSC_5714Judging was carried out by Tony Vaughn-Read, gentleman & connoisseur of all cars over a certain vintage. Throughout the event he could be seen quietly going about his business, pad in hand until eventually he revealed the winner of the show to be Mark Deacon’s wonderful 1960 Vauxhall Cresta. A really superb example of its’ type.            

Mark was so astonished about his car winning that he had to be brought back from the burger bar to collect his cup! But, here he is, receiving his award from the Mayor.

DSC_5751Although this was really quite hard work to organise, (I can see why Brian stopped doing it) it was a really fun evening and from the feedback that I’ve received, an evening that was enjoyed by everybody who attended. We even had one lady, staying at the hotel across the road wander over and ask if she can join us next year. And she lives in Yorkshire!

To my mind there was only one fly in the ointment and that was the rather long delay for people at the burger bar. For that I can only apologise. It won’t happen again next year. We’re already looking at different ways of organising the catering and one (different) outside caterer is already provisionally booked. We also have it in mind to book one, maybe two others as well. Watch this space!

And, talking of next year, our Guest of Honour will be Paul Woozley, IAM RoadSmart’s Head of Membership. (See things are being organised already!) As usual the day will be the 3rd Wednesday of the month which means that the 2018 Classic Car Show will be held on Wednesday 18th July 2018. I hope you can be there.

Aside from presenting the winner’s cup and raffle prizes, The Mayor was also good enough to present pass certificates to those Associates who had passed their advanced driving course in the last month or so.

Paul GDSC_5755reen has the distinction of being the first to pass his course under the new banner of Wessex.

Not only that but he scored a full set of 1’s giving him a clear and well deserved F1RST.

Not to let such talent go to waste, he’s been press-ganged by Andrew, who was his Observer,into training to be an Observer.

DSC_5756Here’s Richard Garratt getting his certificate. He passed his course with a very respectable mark on 23rd May. So very well done, Richard. And although he’s waited a little while to receive it, I hope he found the wait well worth while.

His Observer for the course was Brian Dodd.


Our third certificate of the night went to Andrew Harrison. Andrew also scored a F1RST on his test, so very well done to him, too.

Andrew’s Observer for his course was Isobel Jennings.

So that you’re able to have a quick glance at some of the cars on show, below is a selection of just some of the cars (and the bike) that came along.

DSC_5680John Gilbert’s Morgan Plus 4.

DSC_5713John Slocombe in his Morris 8.

DSC_5688Margaret Yarde’s. Austin A35

DSC_5702Mike & Betty Amor’s beautiful little ‘bug’

DSC_5731Robin, actually looks as if he’s been pulled over by the police!

DSC_5732Chris Baker’s immaculate Model ‘T’

DSC_5707Steve Morris in his pristine Buick Skylark.

DSC_5703David Healey in his lovely little Morris Minor.

DSC_5734Andy McPhail’s gorgeous Mini-Moke.

DSC_5763Nick Jones’ 1933 Rover Sports Tourer


As I said, an eclectic mix and to view or download all of the photos that Matt took on the night, please visit

Happy viewing!

If you’d like to register a car for next year’s show, then please feel free to contact me on either 01823 – 254621 or 07776 – 124001 or email me at .


For news about our recent test passes, go to Congratulations!