Aston Martin Owners Club - South Australia

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Run and lunch at Bremerton winery, August 2020

Terry H, Chis Barron, Laura Rushton, Frank & Sue Grosser, Bec and prospective member Ben
Phil & Chris Moore, Chris Harris, Martin & Ange Farkas, Richard & Pam Dyson-Harvey, Cintra & John Amos
Megan Jones, Jenni Garton, Tom & Marnie Raggatt, Andrew & Brenda Paterson
Part of the group assembled in front of the cars with vines in the background
Astons with DB7 to the fore, parked in the carpark
cars at Bremerton
More cars with DB11 to the fore, parked at Bremerton carpark

The weather gods were not completely ‘on side’ as 18 members and guests of the AMOC SA branch assembled at the Mylor Oval in the Adelaide Hills at 10.30am on Sunday 23rd August. There had been a lot of rain in the previous days that had made the track around the oval muddy and certainly not suited to ground-hugging Aston Martins. This was not what Area Rep Terry Jones had in mind when he asked members to gather at the rear of the oval for photographs to adorn our web page and so this idea was abandoned. Cars ranging from a new DB11 owned by prospective member Ben to Terry H’s 1977 prototype Vantage were present and we set off on the 75km run at 11am.
The run took us south through Echunga, Strathalbyn and on to Milang on the shore of Lake Alexandrina. From there we turned east and then north passing through some very old vineyard country with the gnarled vines a testament to the many fine wines produced in the area over many decades.
We drove through Langhorne Creek and after few kilometers, we arrived at Bremerton Winery, the setting for our lunch. We had some brief showers on the drive but they had cleared by the time we arrived and the sun was shining though the wind was ‘bracing’. After a few photographs of the cars with the vines in the background, we went inside to the old stone building warmed by a log fire.
Seven additional members joined us there and we were spread over 3 tables to comply with the very sensible COVID restrictions.
A complimentary glass of wine was offered and Terry (and many others) chose the Tamblyn red blend that showed lovely fruit and tannin on the palate and a deep red colour in the glass – it has been one of Terry’s favourites for years. There was an abundance of food with starters, pizzas and a cheese board with coffees to finish, all at a very reasonable price. Many attendees were complimentary about the venue, food, wine and value for money.
Terry addressed the group, noting it was the tenth anniversary this month of his joining the Club and that he had chosen the drive and venue deliberately because it was the same drive and venue of that first run. Terry also observed that first impressions are always important and his first impressions of the Club (and particularly the members) was very positive. He hoped that the new and prospective member present would have similar positive impressions of the Club and its members as he still retained.
After much conversation, the meeting concluded around 3.30pm and we all returned home along more of the flat roads running through more vine country with the sun shining stronger as the afternoon progressed.
The next run will be in late September – details will be forwarded shortly.

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AMOC & BDC special 70th anniversary celebration

Aston Martins and Bentleys in front of Waterhouse Building, Prince Alfred College
The Mall’s pigs ignoring the Aston Martin AMV8
AMOC Area Rep Terry thanking Lord Mayor Martin Haese for his support
Astons in Rundle Mall
Some of the cars lined up at PAC
Framed photograph of WO Bentley and his grandfather, TG Waterhouse presented to PAC
An early Aston Martin DB2/4 and two early Bentleys at the head of the cavalcade

Purpose: To celebrate the historical similarities between WO Bentley, Lagonda & Aston Martin, their connections with each other and with the City of Adelaide.

On Sunday morning, October 29th, 30 cars and approximately 60 members of the BDC and/or AMOC gathered in Rundle Mall, the premier shopping precinct in the City of Adelaide, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the purchase, by David Brown, of both Aston Martin and Lagonda motor car companies.

David responded to a very modest advertisement for a ‘high-class motor business’ in The Times in late 1946 – that business turned out to be Aston Martin. While impressed with the car that Aston Martin were developing, he was less impressed by the engine. Consequently, when the opportunity arose a few months later, David bought Lagonda because he they had developed a modern, 6 cylinder, overhead cam engine. This engine was designed by WO Bentley and it was used in the early DB Aston Martins. In so doing, David created the 1st WO Bentley powered Aston Martin and forged a direct link between these three iconic British marques.

This was the first time there had been a mass gathering of cars in Rundle Mall (a pedestrian shopping mall) and hence there were challenges getting the cars into a semi- circle around a raised platform due to the many fixed obstacles. When all the cars were lined up, the organiser, Terry Jones (a member of both AMOC and BDC), welcomed the attendees to the Mall and outlined why the event was taking place on this day (70 years and 7 months since David Brown bought Aston Martin). He then welcomed the Lord Mayor of the City of Adelaide, the Right Honourable, Mr Martin Haese to the ‘stage’. Martin, also a motoring enthusiast, arrived in his V8 powered Jensen Interceptor that impressed the crowd. Martin explained to the attendees why the meeting was being held in Rundle Mall.

The reason was that 177 years (and approximately 177 days) earlier, a 29yr old Yorkshireman named Thomas Greaves Waterhouse boarded the 475 ton ship Lysander in London and after a 100 day voyage, he landed in Adelaide.   At that time, the port of Adelaide was not fully established and it had yet to acquire its first wharf for unloading passengers and goods.   Passengers were therefore rowed ashore, often up the Port Creek to the Port Creek Settlement (now Port Adelaide) and when the rowing boats could go no further, passengers (with their luggage) would have to traverse a few hundred yards of mangrove swamp and then a sandhill before reaching the road to Adelaide! The port was also known as ‘Port Misery’ as a consequence of this inconvenience, abundant mosquitos and dust.   Thomas was apparently not deterred and he started a very successful grocery business, with his brother, on the corner of Rundle Street and King William Street. At the time the building, known as Waterhouse Chambers, was the largest commercial building in the CBD and it was immediately outside this building that the Lord Mayor addressed the gathering. The Mayor advised us that Thomas was a shrewd businessman who made a fortune investing in the highly successful copper mine at Burra in the mid-north of the state of South Australia. He was a founding member of the Bank of Adelaide and he also profited by buying many Adelaide CBD properties at depressed prices when the Victorian gold rush lured swathes of Adelaideians to seek their fortunes in the neighbouring state. When they returned a few years later and property prices recovered, Thomas enlarged his fortune considerably.

The Lord Mayor further advised that Thomas married Eliza Faulding, (who also hailed from Yorkshire) at Trinity Church, Adelaide in 1853. Eliza was the sister of another Adelaide identity, FH Faulding who started a very successful chemist & druggist business that survived through to very recently. Thomas and Eliza had 5 children and the eldest, Emily, was likely born in Waterhouse Chambers in 1853.   The family returned to England in 1868, apparently because Thomas did not like the extreme heat of the Adelaide summer.   Emily later married London businessman, Alfred Bentley and together they had nine children, the youngest being Walter Owen Bentley. When Thomas died in 1878, he left £60,000 in trust – Emily was to live off the interest and her children were to inherit the money. It was this money that provided WO with his education and later the opportunity to buy the UK marketing licence for the French car, DFP (Doriet, Flandrin, Parent) in 1912. Hence, the Mayor observed that the family fortune, made in South Australia, funded WO’s early development and his start in the manufacturing of motor cars.

At the end of his address, Terry Jones thanked the Lord Mayor and presented him with a copy of Classic and Sports Car™ from his own collection that carried a story comparing the Aston Martin AMV8 (that Terry owns) with the Jensen Interceptor (that Martin owns).   The Lord Mayor thanked Terry and then instructed drivers to ‘start their engines’. The noise/music from the 30 cars (many V8s) was most impressive in the built-up Mall. The cars then made their way in convoy to Prince Alfred College for morning tea (that tragically didn’t arrive).

The reason for choosing Prince Alfred College as the second venue was that Thomas Waterhouse was a significant philanthropist and he gave generously to many causes, including a £4000 donation that allowed the building of the College (the 1st Wesleyan College in Adelaide) that was named after Prince Alfred who opened the building in 1867. When we arrived at PAC, the headmaster Mr Brad Fenner, informed attendees of this link between TG Waterhouse and the College and invited us to examine the painting of their benefactor that has hung in the headmaster’s office since the 1870s.

The cars were parked in a large semi-circle on the lawns with the Waterhouse Wing in the background that presented a perfect picture opportunity. To mark the visit, Terry Jones and Terry Holt (also a member of both the AMOC and BDC) presented the College with a framed picture that incorporated photographs of both TG Waterhouse and his grandson, WO Bentley along with the BDC and AMOC logos.

From PAC, the cars proceeded on a drive through the Adelaide Hills (set by Terry Holt) arriving at the final venue, Mount Lofty House around noon. This was yet another ‘significant’ building in the story because Arthur Waterhouse (Thomas’ eldest son) bought the stately home as a summer retreat. After welcome drinks and canapes, a lovely lunch was served and the ‘two Terrys’ addressed the crowd with a fuller expose of the historic links and similar aspirations of WO Bentley, Lagonda and Aston Martin. This included a photograph of the Waterhouse Chambers building from 1866 that also showed a 3hp vehicle (a heavily laden wagon pulled by 3 horses!) as well as Holden’s saddlery premises – the fore-runner of the GM Holden car company that has only just ceased manufacturing in South Australia.   Terry Jones advised that WO had been very successful at the Aston Hill Climb in June 1912 (2 years before Lionel Martin) and that if WO had had the same idea as Lionel (to capitalise on the success he had at the Aston Hill climb by adopting the name Aston as the first name of the car), we could have been driving ‘Aston Bentley’s’ and perhaps ‘Bamford-Martins’!

Terry went on to outline the history of Lionel Martin, Robert Bamford and WO and noted WOs contribution to the 1st World War effort when he was among the first to use aluminium alloy pistons to improve performance and reliability of early aeroplane engines. The BR1 (and later BR2) engines powered many Sopwith Camels and Snipes. Similarities between the marques that were noted included the successes of the three marques at LeMans and financial difficulties before and during the Great Depression that resulted in both WO and Lionel Martin losing ownership of their companies. WO left Bentley Motors (now owned by Rolls Royce) in 1935, to join Lagonda and this was remembered by the presence of two beautiful cars of the period – a 1935 Derby Bentley and a 1934 Lagonda in the group of ‘display cars’.

Terry Holt educated attendees about the very complex WO designed engine that attracted David Brown’s interest in 1947 and how it was used and developed in the early DB series cars.

Having established these links and shared heritage between Bentley and Aston Martin, Terry proposed that it would be a good idea to have a regular joint BDC & AMOC meeting in the ‘far-flung outpost’ of South Australia. The general consensus appeared to be that this meeting had been a success and it would be a good idea to meet regularly. Many members gave their assent to this idea to Terry Jones in person after the event.

The weather for the day was ideal but there was a dire forecast for high winds and rain in the early afternoon. Fortunately the weather front did not arrive until much later in the day when attendees had reached their homes and the cars securely stored in their garages.

The event was made possible because of the generous support and involvement of several individuals & companies and Terry Jones thanked them for their contributions. These included the Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Mr Martin Haese, The Rundle Mall Authority, Prince Alfred College and Solitaire Motors, Adelaide agents for both Bentley and Aston Martin. Solitaire’s contribution included having a new Bentley Bentayga and Aston Martin DB9 in the group of display cars for members of the clubs and public to admire and generous financial support for the lovely lunch.

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Report of AMOC run & lunch Sunday July 26th

At 10am on a cool winter’s morning, some 30 AMOC members and guests assembled in the carpark of the Crafers Primary school in the Adelaide Hills. A variety of Aston Martins that spanned 60 years of Aston Martin production were present including two new DB11s and two not-so-new DB4s. Three other members (including Area Rep Terry Jones) drove ‘improper cars’ due in two cases, to mechanical problems with their ‘proper cars’ but there were no complaints from the friendly group.

Drive sheets had been emailed to allow members to print their own – a safer COVID 19 practice than handing them out on the day. Terry reminded members to maintain physical distancing and noted that in South Australia we had been very fortunate to have very few cases of the coronavirus while our colleagues in neighbouring Victoria had not fared so well. For many days now, many hundreds of new cases had been reported and several deaths, especially in nursing homes had been reported. It is a stark reminder to all that any slip in ‘safe operating procedures’ can allow the virus to gain a foothold and spread.

Our drive started in Crafers, then headed south on some lovely Adelaide Hills roads that afforded views of the hills and valleys that extended down to the sea. We drove through Ironbank to Clarendon where we ‘picked up’ local members Andrew & Brenda Paterson then we drove on to Meadows. We then turned north on Battunga Road that, being flatter and straighter, should have allowed a more spirited drive than the twisty, undulating roads that we had traversed thus far but there was some traffic that slowed us somewhat. Worse was to come when our route was blocked by a police vehicle and we were required to take a detour. Fortunately Adelaide Hills resident, Phil Moore was in the lead and his knowledge of the local roads was sufficient to get the convoy back on track just before Mylor. A final turn onto the narrow, twisty Aldgate Valley Road led us to our luncheon destination, the Aldgate Pump pub. We had done this run in March, just when the COVID pandemic was starting. Our anticipated numbers were dramatically reduced as a consequence but the Aldgate Pump were very understanding and Terry thought the run should be enjoyed by more members and the pub should have more of our custom. We had a room to ourselves and conversation flowed freely, the a la carte menu was good and the local wines and beer were enjoyed also. Terry thanked all for attending and advised that the next run would be in 4 weeks time. He also proposed a vote of thanks to Phil for returning the convoy of lovely Aston Martins to the planned route after the road was blocked – we learned later that there had been a fatal accident on the road that required a road closure.

Assistant Area Rep, Terry Holt joined us later (after attending the Bentley Driver’s Club run) and he asked members sign a get-well card for AMOC member Conrad Fletcher who had had surgery in recent days. We were happy to hear he was progressing well.

We had a set time slot (because of COVID restrictions) from 12.30 to 2pm but that was adequate for our needs and as the clouds started to descend, we naturally disbanded to head for home after a lovely run. Many noted that we were very fortunate to reside in South Australia where we have virtually zero COVID cases, where we have close proximity to the lovely Hills with its great drives and where we produced some of the best wines and beers available. And Terry suggested we drove some of the best cars and had some of the most congenial AMOC members to share our common interests.

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Report of ‘virtual run’ held on April 26th

In these ‘physically distancing’ times, ‘proper’ runs have not been possible and therefore Area Rep Terry Jones decided we should try a ‘virtual’ run, following a run sheet much as we would for ‘proper’ runs but seated at a computer rather than in our lovely cars.

Terry emailed the run sheets to members the day before and suggested members start the run at 10am using Google maps street view. To make the run more interesting, members were invited to find as many connections as they could find with the route directions and Aston Martin.

The first connection was fairly obvious as we started in Vantage Way, Crafers in the Adelaide hills (a name applied to several Aston models since 1950). At the end of this road was SPA track (Aston Martin won at Spa, Belgium in 1948 and the winning 2L car was auctioned by Bonhams in 2015 and sold for USD781,000!). We proceeded to Salmon Ave (Joseph Salmons was the carriage maker that ‘morphed’ into Tickfords in Newport Pagnell. Tickfords was purchased by David Brown in 1955 and Aston Martin production moved to the Tickford facility) then LIONEL Drive (Lionel Martin was a co-founder of Aston Martin), BROWN St (David Brown was the owner of Aston Martin from 1947 to 1972), MARTIN Rd (see earlier point.

We also travelled via ROBERT St (ROBERT Bamford was the other co-founder of Aston Martin) and DAVID St (see earlier point) then WILLIAM St (In 1966, William Towns started working at Aston Martin designing seats. He became the designer of the DBS/AMV8, Bulldog and Lagonda cars before leaving in 1977). We drove through the town of STIRLING (STIRLING Moss was the lead driver for the very successful Aston Martin team that won Le Mans and the World Sports Car Championship in 1959) and down CRICKLEWOOD St (a ‘distant’ connection here in that WO Bentley’s early factory was at Cricklewood and he designed a 2.6L OHC engine when employed by Lagonda that was the reason David Brown bought the company – the engine was used in the early DB series cars).

A little later we drove down ETON Rd Aldgate (Lionel Martin was educated at Eton) and MILAN Tce (Zagato was founded and located in Milan – there has been a very longstanding connection between the Italian coachbuilding company and Aston Martin).

Terry was very impressed by the industry of some of our members who were making jam or ploughing fields while their partners were doing the run. He was also impressed with the connections members made that he did not and while this made judging more difficult, Terry managed it.

Terry did the run with the computer set up on his AMV8 with a glass of red to lubricate the driver (something not allowed on ‘proper’ runs!).

The winner of the competition was Sally Clarke who did the drive on her computer located in her study that is adorned with numerous motoring memorabilia and she advised Terry that she intends to put her prize (a numbered bottle of Stirling Moss 722 Chardonnay named after the 1955 Mille Miglia that Sir Stirling won) in one of her ‘trophy’ cabinets.

Both Sally and Terry noted that the ‘virtual’ run took about as long to do as the ‘proper’ run might have taken and while it was much more economical, it wasn’t as much fun.

With good fortune, we shan’t need another ‘virtual’ run as the State opens up more and we shall be able to get back to our usual way of operating.

Terry Jones

Sally doing run in her study.
Sally doing run in her study.
Terry doing virtual run aside his AMV8.
Terry doing virtual run aside his AMV8.
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Aston, Bentley, Lagonda & Armstrong Siddeley event

In November 2018, a combined event between four of the car marques that WO Bentley was associated with during the course of his highly successful career took place.

Starting at Prince Alfred College, we passed the home of WO’s grandfather and finished with lunch at the Yalumba Winery in the iconic Barossa Valley.

The connections between Adelaide and WO Bentley (and thereby our car marques) was highlighted throughout the day.

 

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