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Visitors to motor gala take journey through time among the displays

Proud Bognor Regis classic car owner Trevor Philipott has shown his four-wheeled pride and joy for the first time.


Trevor was among some 160 motoring enthusiasts who took part in this year’s Drive Through Time motor gala.


The town council-held event in West Park on Sunday marked the public debut for his 1977 Triumph Stag.


Trevor, 63, said: “I’ve only owned the car for a year. I bought it because it’s something to tinker with. It’s about reliving my youth a bit as well.


“I did my mechanic apprenticeship in a garage and a lot of drivers would bring their Triumph Stags in.


“I live in Bognor Regis five minutes down the road from here and I thought I had to show my car at my local show. It’s as simple as that.


“I’ve been to Drive Through Time before as a visitor. As an owner, it’s all about meeting people and seeing other people’s cars. A lot of people have said they used to own a car like this. There’s also one or two other owners here as well and it’s good to talk to them.


“The Stag is good fun to drive and I’m amazed that it’s so extremely comfortable. It’s not so fast as modern cars but I don’t care about that – and it has got a lovely sound to it.”


The gala was the eighth to be held but it had looked in doubt in the early morning when light rain began to fall.


The sky partially cleared by the time the gates opened at 11am. Town council events officer Kirsten Fitzpatrick estimated 2,000 visitors had attended during the day.


“We had 15-20 no shows because of the weather earlier on,” she said, “and, because of that, the number of owners who turned up was slightly down on previous years.


“There have been a lot of familiar faces among the entrants but also a number of newcomers.


“It has still been a good day. A lot of people have said they like the general atmosphere around the event.


“There are not just the vehicles to enjoy. There is the F1 British Grand Prix live on the giant screen, the kidszone, which is always popular, and 20-plus stalls for people to look around.


“I hope the event will take place again next year. I will be reviewing all aspects of it before I give my recommendation to the town councillors, who will make the final decision.”


One of the younger visitors was Calee Booth, ten. He said: “It’s been good. I’ve been to nearly every one of these events.


“It’s got all sort of cars and I like seeing the motorbikes as well.”


The cars on view spanned the decades and included a 1938 MG TA, military vehicles from the Second World War, a 1953 Chevrolet Belair, a Rover 95 from 1963, a 1977 Ford Granada Mk1 GL


Saloon, a Jaguar XJS Cabriolet from 1987, an Aston Martin DB5 built in 1995 and a 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser.


One of the most eye-catching cars was the Lotus Espirt, of John Brandhuber, painted in the custom colour of Norfolk Mustard.


Felpham resident John, 69, said of his 1985 Series Three model: “It’s good fun to own. It’s only a toy. I don’t use it for day-to-day driving.


“I used to own a tank for 18 years. That was good fun but it was getting harder to drive and is serious when it comes to using petrol.


“About three years ago, I decided to have a look at classic cars and I now own a Lotus Elise as well.


“It’s a very nice drive and comfortable and I enjoy owning it a lot.


“This Lotus does not turn as many heads as the tank did but I still get people wanting to take photos of it when I’m filling it up at Tesco.


“It’s generated quite a lot of interest today as well. Most people know these cars because they appeared in two Bond films and was used in one of them as a submarine.


“They were the Series One and Series Two models, but they all look the same, and the cars had that Seventies wedge. People can’t believe it was 34 years ago that the cars were in the films.”


John has been a participant in several Drive Through Time days starting with his tank.


“It’s well organised and you get a lot of interest here,” he said. “There are more people here than there are at a lot of the other events I go to.”

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