2023 dawned fair and mild in the UK, perfect for a drive in the countryside and where better to head for on the 1st of January than the Queen’s Head pub at Hawkedon, buried deep in rural Suffolk. By 10:30 the inn’s car park was disappointingly populated with vintage sports cars, had the wonderful turnout of 2022 been the peak of this event? Has the gloom that engulfs the world pervaded into this time-warp event? It looked that way, surely British eccentricity had not succumbed to a civilized world that has yet to become civilized.
No, worry not, by 11:00 those wonderful whacky people, who think air-con in a car is driving with both the windscreen and the hood folded down, had shaken off the gloom and were arriving thick and fast in their gems of motoring history. By mid-day, the Queen’s Head car park was more than full with vintage sports cars, of course in the UK it’s not unusual to see Humbers, Sunbeams, Bentleys, Alvis and Austins at such an event, but a Hotchkiss or a Lancia or Itala and two Bugattis all at one gathering is rare if not unique.
After a couple of hours, the Queens Head rivaled most concours events, not with gleaming and immaculate cars evenly spaced on a manicured lawn,but with a diverse collection of rare and driven classics. How refreshing to see these beauties from a bygone age out on the road and arriving ‘under their own steam’ all cared for but most not polished to within an inch of their life instead showing the patina of that life. You have the right to disagree, but this correspondent feels there’s nothing better that seeing an automobile doing what it was designed to do.
As ever this meet attracts a throng of onlookers many arriving in their own classics, albeit of a more contemporary vintage, for a quarter of a mile in all directions the verges were peppered with post-war rarities. It’s difficult to believe that this is an area club meeting on a ‘turn up if you feel like it’ basis but it would surely lose its unique atmosphere should it become more regulated. For the mid-day hours the area is awash with cars and enthusiasts enjoying the day.
With drinks drunk, lunch consumed and stories told the winter light begins to fade and its time to head home along the meandering lanes before there’s a need to use the glimmering light from those inadequateincandescent headlights, as in the past the VSCC members have provided a great start to a new year.