Princess and Ambassador
 Owners Club.

 

NEC Classic Motor Show, October 2004.

Driving a Wedge into Publicity:
Times they are a changin’ was the thought I had as I left the NEC after helping dismantle the show stand space. The Wedge is finally gaining popularity and a momentum that I firmly believe is going to continue into next year and beyond. I could not believe the number of people that flocked to the stand, a stand that was the product of hard work and effort from Alex, Kevin, John and Craig aided by John Johnson and of course Harry.

Thursday was ‘set up’ day at the NEC and the fruits of an idea Alex and Harry had had the previous year, endorsed by Kevin in the February and culminating in an application acceptance in July for a 120square metre stand -now what do you do!

Well the thing is to consult Alex’s Dad on accessorising and before long John and Harry had acquired a vanload of carpet tiles, light in colour. They did a great job of anchoring the cars and promoting the paint palette colours akin only to the seventies. Kevin arranged a visual display of the ‘Wedge story’ with adverts and literature that backed the stand space. While Alex arranged an array of period electrical hardware to form displays of club details and the most fantastic period film of 18/22-launch material, an internal BL publicity video well worth a purchase from motorfilms.com –lock up your filler caps chaps!

Less was definitely more in view of the stand layout that was praised by organisers; it had a kind of show room appeal, with open access and plenty of space allowing people to sit in the cars and reminisce about the past, ironically I heard no stories about rogue drive shafts or displacers! Each car donned its original sale price in year of registration, which provided endless entertainment for the public, but it did emphasise the crazy inflation we experienced all those years ago with Craig’s car being almost twice the price of Alex’s in less than 4 years.

And as for those cars, we had on the far left Craig Lewis’s 1981 spec 2200HLS auto in Champagne beige with the tasty Paprika trim. Next John Capons lovely 1978 Reynard Metallic (a favourite colour of mine) series 2 2000HL with Sorrel trim followed by Alex’s 1977 Vermillion 2200HLS auto complete with unmarked mink interior, another peach. Alex’s has recently bought back this car from John but that’s another story -eh Alex! Finally lying in waiting on the far right was ‘Snappy’, Kevin Davis’s rare Snapdragon yellow 2000HL auto with black trim. Snappy as you may know has been tastefully modified from stock in a period ‘sports styley’ donning Ambassador alloys, de-chromed trim and ST badging among other up grades.

Alex is keen to persuade an Ambassador owner and car to the 2005 event, and show something rare - like a Morris, so get polishing Daniel!

So the scene was set for Friday the opening day, the quietest of the weekend but eventful with a surprise visitation of an artisan. Stand staff were star struck when Harris Mann made an appearance. Casually sitting in the cars that he had penned all those years ago he remarked on their condition and the stand presentation. The guys I understand were a little dumb struck in his presence but welcomed the encounter. Later came the TV crews for regional news which translate into a 10 seconds of footage of Alex’s Dad adjusting the fury dice in the Princess. The News promoted the show with a tag line ‘from Porsche to Princess’.

Saturday was the busiest day with on average two dozen people on the stand at any one time, listening to the tales of Princesses past I think the chaps managed to persuade a few of them to join.

Sunday was also a popular day with club members turning up for a chat such as Roy Adams from Bangor Northern Ireland as well friends of Robin Cameron who was unable to come due to family illness. Over the three days the media had dropped by. Keith Adams of Austin Rover.com and Classic Car Weekly snapped many photos and remarked on the quality of the cars, as did Richard Gunn of Classic Car weekly. So we anticipate a few column inches of publicity in the forth-coming print.

What a great weekend, well don’t take my word for it just look at the pictures. Thanks once again to those who took part –a job well done. I look forward with excitement to the next year and the celebration events; lets take this opportunity to really drive a wedge into the media and public forum for the car, the club and its members with interest and enthusiasm.

 

Jim Inshaw.  November 2004.