The 4th European Austin Healey Tour – Part 1

By Eric Ritchie

Things did not look promising when 97 MVK passed out when climbing out of Greenhead Bank on Saturday afternoon. However, I managed to get the Froggie back to the Sands Garage at Brampton on a trailer, and David and Robert removed the fuel tank and cleaned out 53 years of muck from the bottom. Convinced all was well, Linda and I set off on Sunday to Creiff Hydro, the centre of our adventure for the next week. However, six hours to do 120 miles certainly challenged us a bit. I even pushed the car 3/4 of a mile along the duel carriageway from Dunblane.

We triumphantly made it to Crieff, 30 minutes before we were due to sit down for dinner. We quickly checked into the hotel and joined the champagne reception. Full of relief and champagne, we sat down at an empty table in the massive dining hall, and were joined by two couples who became our friends for the week.There were 260 Healey’s on the event and over 500 people. Cars and drivers came from Australia, Japan, America, Sweden and of course Aglionby. Included in the 260 Healey’s were only 7 Frogeyes. Why then should we be joined by Kees and Heleen from Holland: Frogeye owners of a supercharged 948! We had a fantastic evening and Kees arranged with Stephen Leckie, CEO of the Hydro that we should tale my Froggie to his garage on Monday morning. Stephen was even gracious enough to wipe the small drops of oil from the floor of his immaculate garage as he took his 1916 Rolls Royce off the four poster lift to allow us to work on my car!!h1

Cars had been shipped from America for concours. NOJ 343 the historic Le Mans racer involved in the tragic death of so many spectators when the Mercedes launched itself into the crowd after using the back of the slowing Healey’s as an impromptu flight ramp, was considered to be a sure certainty to win. The unique car had been bought for a record breaking £850k and restored to perfection. Pauline and Emerys from a small garage in Wales had personally built their Frogeye over the last three years. It was unheard of for a Frogeye to win concours in such an event, but they did just that. Monday night’s celebrations were fantastic. They must have heard us in the Welsh valleys. Our after dinner speaker was Stuart Turner, introduced by Graham Robson. I has heard Stuart at the Stoneybeck Inn three weeks earlier, but to his credit he modelled a completely new script for the Healey audience.

Tuesday saw us on the road to the west of Scotland, and Linda learning tulip navigation. We made it the 30 miles as far West as Loch Earn before we ground to a halt. I almost cried. However, like-minded people inevitably pull together. Having changed everything on the car, Alic from Switzerland, concluded that the recently replaced mechanical fuel pump was probably the cause of the recurring problem. He presented us with an electrical fuel pump from the boot of his Healey 3000.

Wired up and ready to go, we simply flew the miles across to the Rest and Be Thankful. How good was it after our two days of challenges for Linda to be met by Stephen Kinghorn at the top of the Rest and to be handed a glass of champagne and given a huge hug. We felt on top of the world!Untitled

To be continued in September’s Tyred Topics….