UK Barchetta Club Annual Meeting 2017 

A great time was had by all at this year’s annual event with record numbers attending  Fantastic drives through the south west region in glorious weather, followed by lovely meals and social time! 

International Club Meeting

Germany May 2017

Feldberg, Germany

We are grateful to UK club member Sandy Ranson for producing this account of the recent International meeting organised by the Barchetta Club Deutschland to which 11 of our members, in six cars, attended. 

We have been asked to organise an international meeting in the UK and are thinking about this potentially for 2019 – volunteers for the organising committee please step forward!

A total of 6 Barchettas from the UK made the journey over to the Black Forest region of Germany for this international meeting, hosted and organised by the Deutschland Barchetta Club. This represented the highest number of UK registered cars at any of the international Barchetta club meetings –  well done team GB! Our group was proud to note that we outnumbered representatives from France, Switzerland and the Netherlands and it was certainly appreciated by our hosts that so many of us had made the effort to cross the channel. One of our members received a special mention during the final evening’s celebrations, for having travelled the furthest distance to attend. UK member Ross Williams had made a journey of over 1000km.  

Day 1: Thursday 25/5/17

This day marked the official start of the international meeting. Some UK cars travelled in convoy and others travelled separately via different routes on the day, arriving at the Hotel Feldberger Hof in Schwarzwald by mid-afternoon. There were well over 60 cars at the meeting and hence, it was a logistical feat of organisation to book everyone in. Some much needed refreshment was quickly sought out at the hotel bar, once everyone had settled into their rooms in this family orientated ski-hotel.

Day 2: Friday 26/5/17

Following a buffet breakfast, there was an opportunity to renew acquaintances for some and make new friends for others. It is fair to say, that the British lack of facility with modern foreign languages was somewhat in evidence! However, this did nothing to dampen our enthusiasm for meeting and greeting our fellow Barchetta owners or indeed, admiring the range and variety of Barchettas assembled there. Cars of every imaginable shade were in evidence, including some customised examples (metallic paintwork, vinyl wraps, personalised accessories etc.)  Following the  pre-drive briefing, we set off in convoy to drive through the beautiful wooded countryside, taking in view points along the way. The scenery was spectacular and the Italian system of using successive cars to mark each route change throughout the drive, worked very smoothly. Great fun was had by all with lots of waving and hooting along the way. After lunch, the journey continued to the Rothaus brewery, which is notably situated at a higher altitude than any other brewery in Europe. The detailed tour culminated with the traditional tasting – much welcome on a hot afternoon. The return drive to the hotel was equally smooth and again, we were treated to some wonderful views along the way.

Day 3: Saturday 27/5/17

There was a slightly earlier start for this full day of driving through the northern part of the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) – yet again, our hosts had organised a superb route and the scenery was breathtaking. The weather was hot and sunny throughout the whole weekend – plenty of sunscreen required!  After a coffee stop, we travelled on to a small folk museum and traditional smoke house with plenty of hams in evidence. A lively lunch ensured, with range of cured meats and cheese followed by a scenic drive back to the hotel.

For the final evening, dinner was in an adjacent restaurant to the hotel. Speeches of thanks were made by the various national groups and gifts exchanged (many thanks to Phil and Linda Healey for organising all the gifts from the UK group).

Jorg from the Barchetta-club Deutschland was congratulated on being voted president of the German club. Unbeknown to the rest of us – our membership secretary Martin Garrad had planned a little surprise for Jorg with an ‘unexpected express delivery’ from Buckingham Palace, of a commemorative OBE signed by Her Majesty. Jorg was suitably impressed!

The festivities continued into the evening with a cabaret much enjoyed by the audience. A great way to relax and celebrate an excellent weekend with the Barchetta family.

Day 4: Sunday 28/5/17

After breakfast and check out, there was the usual photo-call with the assembled Barchettas looking very impressive in the sunshine. Time to say Goodbye, Farewell, Au Revoir, Ciao, Auf Wiedersehen and hit the road for the return journey to the UK.  Five  of the UK cars then travelled in convoy on a long and hot journey over the Vosges mountains and on to Reims, for an overnight stop. Our final (al fresco) meal was enjoyed in the environs of Reims cathedral and provided an opportunity to relax and unwind before the final leg of the journey back across the channel the next day.

Huge thanks to the German organising team of Baumi, Frank, Verena, Christian, Petra ,Michael and Carola – they did a great job!

Sandy and Paul Ranson.

Post-script: -We have been asked to organise an international meeting in the UK and are thinking about this potentially for 2019 – volunteers for the organising committee please step forward!

AutoItalia Day at Brooklands Museum

29 April 2017

AutoItalia Day at Brooklands Museum took place on Saturday 29th April.  One of the biggest events of the year at Brooklands celebrating the UK’s obsession with all things Italian. This was Auto Italia’s 32nd Spring Gathering – the UK’s first and finest all-Italian car event. The site was bursting with all types of Italian cars (and a few motorbikes)!

I went along in my barchetta with myself and my car mad grandson.  We parked in the area set aside for Italian cars and were delighted to spot at least 10 other Barchettas. (And their crews!).  

Martin Garrad

UK Barchetta Club Annual Meeting

29 June to 2 July 2017

2017 event

Members are invited to join the registration list for the annual meeting.  At this early stage we already have ten cars registered. Further interest has been expressed by another 20 members.

This year the event is proposed for three nights, although members may join us for two if preferred.  As many members will be travelling a considerable distance to join the event  you may consider three nights makes good sense.  

The trip begins on Thursday 29th June with a night in the Webbington Hotel with spa, just south of Bristol, close to the M5 and includes dinner.  Arrive early to enjoy the free pool and spa.

Friday 30th, the planned trip is to drive through Cheddar Gorge (missing the sheep and tourists) and onto The Haynes Motor Museum at Sparkford on the A303 for lunch. We will then drive to Exeter via the Blackdown Hills, to arrive at the Devon Hotel in Matford. Dinner at the hotel will be included. 

On Saturday 1st July we drive through the Dartmoor National Park (again avoiding the sheep) then stopping in the Tavistock area for lunch and onto the Barnstaple Hotel in Barnstaple for the night, again dinner will be included.

On Sunday 2nd July we will drive along the A39 (supposedly one of the best drives in England) stopping at various locations to admire the views. We will stop for lunch and the meeting will conclude.

The average driving distance per day will be in the region of 100 miles.

The cost for a double/twin will be approx. £ 500 inclusive of rooms, breakfasts and dinners per couple, excluding your booze!!

If you are interested in joining please contact Martin Garrad (barchettaclubmem@btinternet.comand your details will be passed to the trip organisers; Martin Johnson and John Capon.

Silverstone Classic

2017 event – 28-30 July

Jane and Richard Keogh visited the Silverstone Classic event this year and had a fantastic time; you can read about their experience in the article below.  At least two barchettas are going to this year’s event on the Saturday.  If you are also interested in going please book tickets using the link below.  It’s an event for the whole family and provides the ultimate annual celebration of classic cars.

Silverstone Classic

July 2016 –  a fantastic event!

by Richard Keogh

This year, I was treated to a day at the Silverstone Classic with Jane. The packed weekend of the Silverstone Classic provided spectacular classic motor racing on the world famous circuit, impressive track parades, infield displays from over 100 car clubs (we could be there next year folks!) featuring more than 10,000 classic cars, plus interactive driving activities and dynamic demonstrations. 

There was plenty of non-car entertainment to enjoy too, with live music from headline acts The Boomtown Rats and The Stranglers, aerial displays, a vintage fun fair, and a shopping village. 

On the day we visited there were 11 races to watch plus other driving sessions:

Morning 09:00 – 13:10
Race 1: Commander Yorke Trophy For Historic Formula Junior

Race 2: Stirling Moss Trophy For Pre ’61 Sports Cars 

Race 3: Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy For Historic Cars (Pre ’63 GT)

Race 4: Royal Automobile Club Woodcote Trophy For Pre ’56 Sports Cars Presented By Jaguar

Session: Legends Of Modern Formula One

Afternoon 14:10 – 21:00
Race 5: FIA Masters Historic Formula One

Race 6: JET Super Touring Car Trophy Session: 90s Endurance Legends

Race 7: Can-Am 50 Interserie Challenge

Race 8: Maserati Trophy For HGPCA Pre ’66 Grand Prix Cars

Race 9: FIA Masters Historic Sports Cars

Race 10: International Trophy For Classic GT Cars (Pre ’66)

Race 11: Group C

Annual Club meeting

24 -26 June 2016 – Amersham

This year’s annual UK Club Meeting weekend took place on the 24-26th of June in the Chiltern Hills, Buckinghamshire.

A huge thanks to Colin & Denise for organising a thoroughly successful club weekend, with more members attending than in recent years.   A great time was had by all, with interesting visits and wonderful drives through the local countryside, including celebrity spotting! (Photographs of the event will follow)

Members enjoyed:

  • A guided historic walk through the old town before an evening meal
  • Exploring the Chiltern Hills, a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and probably the last chance you will have before they start building the High Speed Rail Link straight through it!
  • A visit to a picturesque retirement home for horses
  • An invitation to ‘drop it down a cog’ and roar up Aston Hill (observing the highway code of course) venue for a noted hill climb event of the 1920s and inspiration for the name of the famous Aston Martin car company
  • A visit to Royal Air Force Halton House, a Rothschild built country house and now an operational officers’ mess and the location for many of your favourite films! This venue is not usually open to the public, but for us, as well as a house tour there was the opportunity to park in front of this magnificent building for photos.

Mid-Sussex Day Drive

28 May 2016

Thanks to those intrepid few who joined the Mid Sussex Day Drive on Saturday 28th May. We had a total of six cars meet near Brighton for a farmhouse breakfast before undertaking an exhilarating top down spin (not literally) through the lanes and villages from Pyecombe to Ditchling, Danehill, Ardingly, Balcombe, Handcross and many more. We stopped to see the grave of Lord Nelson’s Sister, to add a little edification to the occasion, just before completing the day with a pleasant pub lunch. Two local members Paul Martin and Kevin Galway joined Andy Weeks all the way from Bristol, Chris Rocker and Sharon from Bournemouth and Kim and David Davies from Hemel Hempstead. The weather was, eventually, fine!

Martin & Jenny Garrad

Monthly Vintage and Classic car meeting

Plough Inn, Ripple Kent

Geoff Norton is the contact and would be happy to assist in finding, joining and taking part in this monthly event.

“The number of classic/vintage car and bikes attending has been increasing lately so plenty to see and friendly company. I always get questions about the Barchetta and most people are interested in what is becoming a rare car.”  Geoff Norton Jan 2018

Club Meeting in France

September 2015

For the second time this year, UK Barchetta car club members enjoyed an excellent club meeting. Following on from the very successful Yorkshire weekend in June, this slightly extended meeting saw 7 Barchettas getting together for some serious driving and sight-seeing as we headed down to the Charente-Maritîme region of France. The meeting was organised and facilitated by club members Jerry and Hilary Larthe de Langladure who are local residents – huge thanks to them for all their hard work in making this trip so enjoyable.

Day 1: Five Barchettas and their passengers met at Newhaven on 23 September for the cross channel ferry to Dieppe. Our destination was Angoulême with an overnight stop in Chateauroux on the way. For this first stop, we stayed at a lovely family-run guest house on the outskirts of the small town. Our host prepared a delicious evening meal which was served in a family setting at one large round table in very stylish surroundings and was just what we all needed after a long day’s travelling.

Day 2: – Weather was fair and we had time to explore the local town with its pretty shops and cobbled streets. There were references to WW2 resistance activity in the town and some interesting 18th and 19th century buildings. After a quick lunch, we started on the second leg of the journey and headed off for Angoulême. We arrived in good time thanks to sat-nav (and passenger map-reading skills!) and spotted hosts Jerry and Hilary outside the hotel as we drove up – perfect timing! After check-in and time to unpack – we headed off for aperitifs and the customary Italian meal, out of respect for our Barchetta heritage. In the restaurant we met up with another club member, who had travelled separately via the Cherbourg ferry, thus completing our party of 7 cars and 13 club members for this trip.

Day 3 – Beautiful drive through the rolling countryside as we headed over to Brantôme, known as the Venice of Perigord, via a coffee stop in La Tour Blanche, a typical Charentais village, where we had the first photoshoot (of many). Parking up near the riverside in Brantôme we were intrigued to spot another Barchetta in the car-park. It had obviously been there a while, so probably hadn’t made an appearance just in our honour. For the style-conscious, it was a fetching shade of teal and would certainly have added something to our line up!

After an excellent al fresco lunch by the river, we drove on to visit the Chateau De La Rochefoucauld. This was particularly interesting as the chateau houses archived documents dating back hundreds of years, all neatly kept in numbered boxes. The evening was spent back in Angoulême. We really enjoyed this vibrant and exciting town with lots of street music, bars and restaurants and another good evening was had by all.

Day 4 – Again – we enjoyed the beautiful ‘top-down’ weather that was to characterise our whole trip. We took a scenic drive to Cognac through the vineyards, and more pretty villages criss-crossing the Charente river. We arrived at Domaine Remy Martin where our guide Margot gave us a very informative and interesting tour of the domaine. We sampled two cognacs (unfortunately not the Louis Treize at +6000€ per bottle!) accompanied by canapes made by their personal chef … lovely. After lunch in Cognac we drove west to the Île d’Oleron – where we were able to walk along the seashore and enjoy visiting the port and fish market. Again – a superb evening meal was enjoyed by all on the last evening of our organised trip.

Day 5 – Fond farewells and a final car photo-shoot after breakfast and then return journeys began – 5 cars drove up to the north of the island where we swapped 4 wheels for 2 legs and walked along the coast and and up to the lighthouse. Views from the top of the lighthouse were spectacular and everyone enjoyed the fresh air and chance to stretch our legs before making the return journey. This time our overnight stop-over was based just outside Angers.

Day 6 – Angers is the central town in Anjou and proved to be fascinating. There was time in the morning to walk around the historic centre of the town and to visit the cathedral and the 12th century castle with its 17 towers, roof gardens and vineyard and stunning Tapestry of the Apocalypse which is housed in an extensive hall. It was a real privilege to see this amazing piece of history.Our 5 cars made perfect time in reaching Dieppe for the return ferry back to the UK.

This was a very memorable trip continuing the high standard set by the UK Barchetta club members. Thank you once again to Jerry and Hilary for their superb organisation and to everyone for their friendship and contribution to making this a great trip away. We’re already looking forward to next year’s ventures!

Webmaster Note:

With many thanks to Sandy & Paul Ranson who wrote the visit report and to all the photographers who provided a wealth of pictures of which we can only show you a few.

International Meeting

July 2015 – Italy

Day 1. After a 2 day drive and 850 miles, we arrived in Modena the night before the meeting. (Check out Hotel Costello on trip advisor, fabulous place and great value)

Day 2. As soon as we arrived at the restaurant in Marenello and met the Italian crews that had driven up from Rome and Naples, we enjoyed the Ferraris being tested along the highway, so we knew we were in for a good time. We had a superb lunch followed by a visit to the Ferrari museum, then a drive in convoy to the hotel (minimum speeds of 70 mph!) on the shores of lake Garda. Dinner of unlimited pizza and beer before late bedtime.

Day 3. Up for a 9 am Briefing – the convoy of now around 80 cars drive right into the centre of Verona, Piazza Bra – what a magnificent sight – made even better when our friends from Holland and Germany arrived making a line up of now 100 Barchettas. Great photo opportunity for many tourists of all nationalities curious as to the car and its history . We flew the Union Jack with great pride.

Day 4. Another early briefing, then ” make your own way” to Torino, 3.5 hours away down a very fast moving motorway. Joined a small convoy “cruising” at 90mph on the motorway – hair raising! Then to the old Fiat Lingotto factory, now a hotel, for a drive up onto the famous rooftop test track, sadly no longer used. The drive up much like that of a multi storey car park was exhilarating in itself but the view from the top was second to none and another photo opportunity. From there all 100 cars now moved across Turin City, in the rush hour and 34 degrees of heat, to Hotel Art Olympic, where it became a work of art to fit us all into the underground car park! Evening meal outside on rooftop, great food, but very late, and up again early tomorrow!

Day 5. Another early briefing. Organisers abandoned the usual convoy system due to so many cars, so those with a “navigator” (Sat Nav) told to use it! We Followed a small group to the Museo Automobili i Torino – fabulous- interactive! Then after lunch off to Piazza Vitoria in Torino for another exhibition of cars, and 1.5 hours free time. That evening was a gala dinner in a Riverside Restaurant in Turin – it was amazing what evening clothes people produced from the boot of their Barchettas! Guests of honour were the three ex-Fiat Design team who designed the BARCHETTA and who signed autographs all night like rock stars.

Day 6. Last day of the trip. Briefing at 9.30 then off (by navigator) to “Centro storico fiat” in Torino, a great little fiat museum, including cars, boats, planes. Finally off to Mirafiori motor village for a final lunch with our new “amici Italiani”, followed by two laps of the test track following a 595 Abarth! By then it was late afternoon, so after our goodbyes we set off for SUSA in the Italian Alps, then a further two days through France to the joys of Calais and the port workers strike! But a wonderful trip with lifetime memories of the heat, food and mad Italians in their Barchettas!

A great celebration of the “little boat ” we all love.

Philip Healey

Annual UK Club Meeting

26 – 28 June 2015

Friday 26th June saw 12 Barchettas and their crews (20 all told) gather together at the Holiday Inn near Wakefield. After freshening up, we congregated in the hotel bar to meet friends old and new until our transport arrived to take us to dinner at Miller’s Restaurant in Ossett. The restaurant is attached to the Brewer’s Pride traditional real ale pub which has a large selection of beers to choose from – these went down well particularly with the men in the group! After an excellent dinner, we returned to the hotel to get a good night’s sleep ready for the main event the following day.

Saturday morning was sunny and warm, definitely top-down barchetta weather. Our convoy (flotilla?) of little boats made the five mile trip to the National Coal Mining Museum for England at the former Caphouse Colliery which ceased production in 1985. After being kitted out with hard hats and safety lights, all but two of the group made the 140 metre descent into the mine in the cramped “cage”. All the tour guides at the Museum are former miners, all have a very dry Yorkshire sense of humour and all have appropriate nicknames; our guide was Trevor, initials TC, so is nicknamed “Top Cat”, while another who had an unfortunate accident underground is called “Kebab” (he commented that his daughter wasn’t impressed “… her name is Donna”). During the 90 minute tour, Trevor was a “mine” of information (sorry!) about how hard life was underground in the early 1800s when whole families worked together, including children from the age of 5 upwards. He explained how mining is the origin of several everyday phrases, for example “shut your trap”, “not worth a light” and “falling off the perch”. The tour moves forward through the 1800s into the 1900s and ends with the massive modern machinery which took a lot of the back-breaking manual work off the miners. We emerged from the darkness of the mine into brilliant sunshine and then had an impressive lunch/afternoon tea in the Museum’s café – every car took away a “doggy box” containing all the cakes which we couldn’t eat.

After a 30 minute drive through some beautiful West Yorkshire countryside, our next visit was to The Carding Shed and Oil Can Café at Hepworth near Holmfirth. This quirky venue, formerly a large textile mill, has something for everyone. There’s a classic car restoration workshop, a small display of interesting vehicles and motoring memorabilia, shops selling arts, crafts and retro clothing and of course the eponymous Oil Can Café itself. After an hour or so here, we left in convoy back to the hotel. Dinner on Saturday evening was at the superb Bella Roma Italian restaurant in Wakefield – it was just a pity that we couldn’t take the barchettas to show to Felice, the restaurant’s very enthusiastic owner.

On Sunday morning our convoy made its way through varied scenery – rolling green hills and vales and barren moorland – to Holmfirth Vineyard. You would probably expect a visit to a coal mine in Yorkshire, but a vineyard? Once again, our tour guide Luke had a typically droll sense of humour – many of us thought he could have a second career as a stand-up comedian. Luke was very enthusiastic and informative about the vineyard and by the end of the tour we all wanted to meet the mysterious “man from Luxembourg”! Moving indoors he told us all about the production and bottling process, and then it was time to taste the wines themselves. Everyone was surprised by how good the Yorkshire wines were and most people bought at least one bottle to take home. Lunch was in the vineyard’s restaurant with its impressive panoramic view over the Holme Valley. All too soon it was time for the Meeting to end and for everyone to say their goodbyes before setting off for home.

Jenny and I would like to thank everyone who attended the Meeting for making it such a memorable weekend – even the Yorkshire weather behaved itself! We hope you enjoyed yourselves as much as we did and we look forward to seeing you all again in 2016.

Steve Auty & Jenny King

The Day Meet at Elveden

12 October 2014

Paul is Very Pleased to announce that the re-scheduled summer day meeting went ahead on Sunday 12 October. Seven cars, including 4 new recruits, completed the 50 mile trip taking in parts of Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. It was great to welcome several new members to the Barchetta owners’ club. The day started at Elveden and covered Thetford Forest and parts of the Cambridgeshire levels, passing through Brandon, Mundford, Lakenheath and Lode, where the journey concluded at the National Trust’s Anglesey Abbey.

UK Weekend event

2013 – Suffolk

Southend Italian Festival

August 2012