Editor’s Thoughts

By Helen Harkness

(You weren’t expecting that one were you? & I warn you, I’m feeling quite emotional)

Hello all,

Way back in September 1978, when “Tyred Topics” was only on edition no.99, and we were still filling 9 pages of A4, the late Bob Harrison wrote of how he ‘accidentally’ came to join Spadeadam MC and the pleasure & friendship it had brought him. He described the club at that time as a “happy and very competitive car club due to the fact that no-one is left on the sidelines”.  Bob was only a relative newcomer when he wrote that. He’d only been a member for 2 years, but reading some of the old “TT’s” you get a sense of why it had made such an impression…. Spadeadam M.C. is, and always has been a club that runs with it’s own new ideas and has it’s own personality!  38 years later, it’s comforting to read that some things don’t change much; 12 car entries were way down one year. Membership numbers had fallen, but then picked up again. The chancellor of the exchequer had just hit motorists hard in their wallets and it looked like it was the end of rallying. Committee members didn’t agree on some item on the agenda and it took a tediously long meeting to decide an outcome! The other thing that I like to think has not changed is the enthusiasm, the humour and the friendship within the club. Because really, without Spadeadam Motor Club and its members I know that my life would be that much poorer; I’d never have done closing car for 3 stages on the RAC; I’d never have won or even driven on a road rally; I’d never have been stood at 2am in a service area in -18 ºC temperatures. I’d never have navigated in a stage rally for Rob or Nigel and so much more. And I’d never have met the really wonderful folk who have helped me on the way. To borrow from Whyte Melville “I freely admit that the best of my fun, I owe it to Spadeadam Motor Club.”

But then again, some things have definitely changed…for example back in 1978 we ran an autocross event at Gilsland show and it was sponsored by “Scottish & Newcastle Breweries” and “Marlboro Cigarettes”!!  Can someone tell me if the winner received cigarettes & alcohol as a prize? And I really, really want to know why we no longer have a fancy-dress disco?! I think that should be on the next AGM agenda.




It doesn’t sound like a sowing machine…

By David Love

You know how it is; the wife is dragging you around a shopping centre and you wish you were at the dentist instead, getting a tooth pulled without anaesthetic.  Then you see salvation, a cool car on display in one of the intersections of the walkways.  You beg, tell the wife you’re just popping over to have a look at it and you’ll only be a minute and before you get a lecture you rush over to it.  It really is impressive close up and as you stand there drooling a minder comes over and starts telling you about the wonderful technological features of the car.  He then offers to take your contact details to keep you informed of special offers and developments, you feel sorry for him being stuck there all day talking to hundreds of tyre kickers so you give him your details and wait to get pestered on a weekly basis.

Well, that was me last September and surprisingly I’d only had a handful of newsletter type of emails from them since then.  That was until a couple of weeks ago when my mobile phone rang with a call from a Manchester number.  Now I normally ignore calls from numbers I don’t recognise but for some reason I answered this one.  ‘Good morning, this is Thomas from Tesla Motors, is that David?  OK, somebody’s winding me up but it doesn’t sound like any of the guys from work.  I give a tentative yes and he says “ We’re going to be in Carlisle next Tuesday and wondered if you like to try the Model S.  “You have to ask!”  I think to myself as I say “Yes” and everything is arranged. Continue reading

Things Ain’t What They Were

By David Love,

Thought this 1974 advert might stir the memories of our more mature members and surprise our younger ones. Look closely at the car (Morris Marina) and you’ll also see it didn’t have door mirrors either. We didn’t worry about what was behind us in those days! Come to think of it I don’t even pay a lot of attention now!


Small Wonders

By David Love

No, I’m not going to write about people like our Newsletter Editor although I will say that Helen does a marvellous job with the limited contributions she receives I’m sure her compact dimensions have nothing to do with it.

I have long had a fascination and appreciation for small detailed creations especially if it’s a small-scale replica of a full sized item. I’ve even found myself looking at Lillyput Lane pottery houses but the less said about that the better. It probably all stems from when I was a young child and discovered Matchbox toys, younger members Google it. I thought it was great that you could hold a car or even a lorry in your hand. Of course as I got older I turned to Airfix kits, most of which were aircraft but there were a few cars in their range and amazingly some are still current models. They include E Type, Triumph TR4A, Triumph Herald and 4½ litre Bentley. I did assemble a few aircraft kits but only so I could set fire to them to watch them crash and burn in the dark. Health and Safety warning, don’t try this at home kids, melting Airfix kits and skin cause tears if they come into contact with each other.

Pilot 1 After watching films such as Duel and Convoy and selling Foden trucks for a year or two I moved on to building plastic 1/24th scale American truck kits. British and European trucks just weren’t available at that time. The problem with plastic kits is that once built they are quite fragile and bits drop off when you touch them. They were also long, a tractor unit and trailer were nearly 2 foot long. I needed something stronger and smaller so in the late 70s, the 1970s that is, not my 70s, I discovered white metal kits from Grand Prix Models (GPM). Despite their name they also produced kits of rally cars in 1/43 scale with the Eaton Yale Mkll being one of their first kits. Some of the early castings were a bit rough and lacking in detail but they could be filed, sanded with wet and dry and sprayed with car paint aerosols. If you used car paint on plastic it had a tendency to melt. GPM also sold kits by other manufacturers, mostly Continental, but the only way to find out about them was to take out a paid subscription for GPM’s monthly newsletter which mainly consisted of low resolution black & white photos of the built version of kits they were selling. It was difficult to get a clear idea of how accurate the kit was until you’d parted with your money and the kit arrived in the post. Some of the kits were poor quality but once you paid your money you were stuck with them. Continue reading