For the past five years, myself and an ever-expanding convoy of friends have been making the trip south to the annual Retro Rides Gathering. Most recently held at the historic hillclimb venue of Shelsley Walsh, and ending up being a long weekend of activities. The show may only be officially on the Sunday where it fills a huge field, and the pits of the hillclimb, but the action for us kicks off on the Friday! The <DIVERSION> crowd come mostly from central Scotland, and the North East of England, and will meet up along the way to our destination in Worcestershire.

This year a combination of lateness (and really not wanting to camp for more than one night!) saw me and Chris, with his V12 XJ-S, detour to Birmingham for a stay in a budget hotel. Luck had it that it was a bargain comfy and clean room. But as a bonus the hotel was a quirky Brutalist design (which I am a big fan of!). An unusual cylindrical building with a carpark several floors up above the reception, and on top of that, all the rest of the rooms! Odd I know, but concrete 60s design does it for me, so I had to grab a pic of the Cossie in it with the cool dated backdrop!

On to the campsite, and Saturday is a day of checking out other camper’s cars, stuff like the ‘tat auction’, and later on getting hideously drunk. In my book it’s the only way to cope when camping!

With the hangover cleared, it was time to get to the hillclimb. No time for cleaning off the swamp that the campsite had turned into overnight, it was straight to the track! The hillclimb is pretty simple; a couple of wonky straights with two tight corners, but the start line shenanigans have always been a highlight! Yes, it was time to smoke up the rears! Over three anti-lag filled starts I went for larger and larger smoke. Plus rubber-shredding launches purely based on maximum drama. It was all about the wheelspin and sideways show, I really couldn’t care less about what time I made it up the hill in! A little drift in the middle corners had to be done too, and then a high speed surge up to the top of the hill before hauling on the brakes in the very short run off area!

As fun as this all was, every time I skid the Cossie I’m reminded by just how snappy it can be. So just as well on the return leg of this trip I was going to collect my newly adapted six-degree beam from Mark at MC Fabrication. On seeing the beam I could easily tell that it was a quality job. Beautifully tidy welds, chunky heavy duty rose joints, and a clear pride in his work. This beam will allow full adjustment of the rear end’s camber, which is the obvious aspect. Tyre wear and grip are clearly affected by this, but the other is often more forgotten. Yes, rear toe dictates a considerable amount of influence into rear grip, handling and most importantly I feel, just how snappy the breaking of traction is. Currently the Cossie whilst mega-low is toeing in considerably. Great for traction (and looks), but horrendous when it does break free! I’m looking forward to a much more progressive response, I like to be able to comfortably drive my car at the limit, not be scared of it biting!

Next stop is a trip to Custom Coatings to get it fully blasted and protected, then MJ Racing will be tasked with getting it fitted. Can’t wait!




MC Fabrication –

Retro Rides track pics – Tony Harrison 




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