1939 electric carriage nod to the future at West Berks classic vehicle meet
For several hours on Sunday, the cars and motorbikes just kept on coming and queues of pub customers were non-stop at The Bell at Aldworth, enjoying a sunny informal afternoon meet of classic cars and motorbikes.
Ray Prior from Hampstead Norreys drove into the field in what he described as “the future from 1939”, a rare Murphy auto-electric carriage, made in Maidenhead. “You just charge it overnight. They were built between 1929 and 1940, so this is a late one, but its one of only four in existence now – this one road registered, one in New Zealand and two in bits." It was, in its day, he said, a luxury – as evidenced by its leather seats – and although his carriage was bought for an invalid, this model wasn’t an invalid carriage which came in later – the sales pitch for his carriage was ‘Why trouble to walk?’.”
Casper McDonald brought what he described as his ‘pride and joy’, a 1960 Aston Martin DB4, which he has owned for a year. “I’ve had a bit of work done, steering gear, gearbox and suspension, but nothing enginewise or exterior. I absolutely love it.”
Peter Hemmings restored his 1935 KN Magnet in the 1990s. “Actually it’s my wife’s – it was her father’s, he bought it in 1966 for £50 as a wreck obviously. The car, from University Motors, was called the Speed Model. It sports an MG number plate as University Motors bought up all the MG plates at the time. Peter also has the original advert for the car.
Aldworth villager Frank Hughes didn’t have far to travel in his 1961 Alvis TD 21 that he bought in August 2020. “I’d had enough of lockdowns so I thought I’d go and buy myself a car. There were only just over 1,000 of them built and I like to this this is one of the best.”
Philip Hogburn built his Ford Popular hot rod from scratch. It has a 350 Chevvy V8 engine and he has had it for about 30 years. “It only comes out on special occasions,” said his wife Maia.
Maureen Aitken has had her 1986 Mercedes 300SL from new. “It’s turned into a classic along with me!” she said.
From four to two wheels, Brian Sarney rode his 1920 Indian Powerplus motorbike up from Wokingham. “This one has a 1918 engine, but it’s still going very well,” he said. “I’ve had it about 5 or 6 years and it’s tricky to ride, but great fun.”
The meet was organised by Compton classic vehicle enthusiast George Simmons.
Pictures Geoff Fletcher