Another classic trip for me, but this time in a marshalling capacity at Wilton House Wake Up on Sunday.
Venturing out in an eye-catching classic car is not the most inconspicuous experience at the best of times, nonetheless driving down an idyllic country road or blasting along a winding driver’s road in a cherished classic is one of the closest moments I get to nirvana.
The downside to trundling those nostalgic miles is that eventually you will hit the obligatory traffic build up, usually inflamed by well meaning folk looking for a good photograph.
Some love seeing a good old classic car, others muttering ‘I just don’t get it’ as they hop into their own characterless box of generic plastic.
For this reason I normally plan my routes away from Salisbury town centre (and more so recently to avoid potential poisoning).
However, there are times when a classic makes sense in a town centre. Even with recent events in the city it is still very busy and parking is hopeless at best but I have a trump card – our 1969 Fiat 500 and an end space on the 3rd floor of the multi-story car park.
This particular space is only half the width of the others, due to a rather strategically positioned concrete column lazing nonchalantly on route. Strangely this particular ‘space’ has still been marked out by the sensible thinking powers that be, if of course you can get in.
Many a time I’ve gleefully looked on as the SUV gang try and fail to squeeze into this frugal looking area. None of that tomfoolery for me in the miniature 500. I know that if I need to park in town there’s always a private space.
Well almost always, recently the space was taken by one of those ‘Smart Cars’.
Space stealing Smart Cars aside, I was still convinced that my genius discovery ‘select’ parking space would be there for the taking. Unfortunately my self-righteousness was about to be given a proverbial kick up the exhaust pipe.
Yes, the trusty Italian Fiat 500 was beginning to froth around the grille in stationary traffic on a hot sunny day, subsequently cutting out and wouldn’t re-start.
Ah Well, at least no one would see.. except it happened at lunch time, outside Weatherspoon’s.
Nothing to be done but wait for the engine to cool down so, with the help of a passer buy we pushed the car out of harms way and decided to wait. In that half hour period I must have taken more photos of people standing next to the car than ever before.
It may have upset my day but it made the day of a few people, and is another story of classic motoring to bolster my ever growing collection.
A short time later the legendary 500 fired back into life, then with some choice words from myself wanting to know why she let me down, I headed straight for home and a nice cup of tea – my love for classic motoring still unfazed.