Shrewsbury School

Salopian Drivers' Club

Thursday 1 July 2021

Report on the Surrey Hills Tour 19 June 2021

What do you get if you combine an 88 year old movie star, a 68 year old grey lady, a 54 year old whippet, a 27 year old upstart, ten gallons of petrol, a load of hills, six Old Salopian and a pub? A jolly good day out, that’s what. Seldom has the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty seen such an eclectic mix of vehicles take on her vertiginous inclines and punishing hairpins.

We followed a route inspired by road cycling and so narrow, steep, and tight was the order of the day. The challenge was met in style and we conquered the famous climbs of Box Hill, Whitedown Lane, Green Dene, Crocknorth and more before repairing to The Volunteer in Sutton Abinger for refreshment and revelry. The weather was kind, and a great day out was had by all. 

Miles & Jane’s view from the imperious Rolls: Climbing and descending steep lanes with an endless stream of aspiring Olympic cyclists, negotiating parked farm trucks with three inches on each side was a most memorable experience! I enjoy the challenges that driving an old machine like that present. It was rather like taking a stroll without the effort of having to walk! Thank you very much for a great day! 

Alan’s view from the oh-so-elegant Alvis: Apart from a moment of sheer panic, as we descended a very steep hill and I wondered when I had last checked the brake fluid level, the trip was very enjoyable and superbly organised with charming company. As my 68 year old car was put through its paces I could only recall the words of the 1950s 'Motor' magazine review of the Alvis Grey Lady: 'This is the way to go motoring'.

John & Charmian’s view from the young gun MX5: Such great company...people and cars...and some spectacular views on the Surrey Hills. We were the babies of the group though, with our MX5 at a mere 27 years old and with the benefit of power steering we felt we had it easy on the winding roads up and down the hills. Such a very enjoyable day and so well planned by Stephen. So good to be out enjoying our cars.

Steve’s view from the impatient Lotus: The sight in my rear-view mirror of our proud mini-convoy effortless negotiating the hairpin on Whitedown (25+% incline) was one to behold. Lucas the Lord of Darkness paid a fleeting visit to the Elan’s ignition system, but it was quickly fixed at lunchtime and the Lotus was back to her punchy best.

Attending:

· Stephen Heath (SH 1986-91) 1967 Lotus Elan S3 SE dhc

· Miles & Jane Preston (DB 1963-68) 1933 Rolls Royce 20/25 Sedan a de Ville, bodywork by H J Mulliner

· Alan Mills (I 1963) 1953 Alvis TC100 dhc “Grey Lady”

· John & Charmian Gilbert (R 1956) 1994 Mazda MX5 Eunos

It was an absolute pleasure and a privilege to share Surrey’s secret backroads and lanes with such a great group of likeminded Old Salopians and their beautiful cars. Can’t wait for the next one!

Stephen Heath

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