NEC Classic Car Show – here we come!!!

Its less than 2 weeks to the biggest show of the year here in the UK, there are as we write clubs, cars, enthusiasts all polishing, preparing and getting right excited!!!

Us lot here the SOC are no exception, we have 2 fabulous cars for you to come and see over the 3 days.

First we have “Rally Stag” – that marvellous machine that lead the Trans American endurance rally for 16 days. We will have for all 3 days the 2 fantastic guys that took her across just over 5800 miles – Phil and Kieron. The guys will be giving 3 talks each day, at 11:00, 13:00 and 15:00 (times subject to change of course but we will post them on the stand) to give you insights into

  • Preparing our Stag for a 6,000 mile endurance rally across America
  • Navigation and rally competition on Trans America coast to coast rally
  • Trans America Rally route, highlights and challenges

Also on Sunday the guys will be joined by Mick and John from EJ Ward, the Stag specialist that helped get the car ready for her journey.

Come along to the stand and have your photo taken with the car and the guys and we will print it for you to take away as a momento.


While your with us why not decide on a name for “Rally Stag” – we are running a competition to give her a new name – pop your entry on one of the forms on the stand, at the end of the weekend Phil and Kieron will decide on their favourite.

So whats the second car I hear you say!! Well we have another treat for you. As “Rally Stag” was prepared especially for her amazing journey we have another Stag that has been lovingly finished just the way that her owners dreamed of. When you have a Stag you have a wonderful car, adding in you own personal touch then gives your car just that little bit more!!! Here’s a sneaky peak…..


Once you’ve done all of that there will still be time to visit Mike and Edd at the Wheeler Dealers stage, see Ant Anstead and Fuzz Townsend on the live stage, visit the hundreds of car clubs and feast on the wonderful cars and of course do a bit of shopping  – there is always something to buy for your classic!!

See you there – Hall 3 Stand 492.

I am looking forward to meeting Mart – from One Man And his Mustang – a blog that I have been following for as long as our little blog has been going. He may not have a Stag (will forgive him because he has a beautiful car!!) but I have learned quite a few things from reading his blog, and his last post let me know that his long-awaited project is almost complete and will be on show at the NEC!! I’m excited to see it!!

Da Da Daaaa – RALLY STAG!

Thanks to the guys at EJ Ward for telling their story……..

With the recent hubbub over a certain Blue Stag and its forthcoming appearance on the Stag Owners Club Stand at the NEC Classic Car Show – 13th to 15th November, we thought you might like to hear about how E J Ward Motor Engineers turned a run of the mill Stag (although some would say that a Stag is never run of the mill!) into a – Da Da Daaaa – RALLY STAG!

Rally car finish

We’ve known Phil Garratt and his Stag for many years.  We’ve also known for some time about Phil and his friend Kieron’s penchant for the adventurous sport of international classic rallying. We also knew they were pretty damn good at it, having won the Peking to Paris in their classic Chevy.  However, what we didn’t know, until they asked us to prepare the Stag for the 8000 mile, Nova Scotia to San Francisco, ERA TransAmerica Rally, was quite how far they were prepared to go to fulfill their Stag’s rallying ambitions.

I guess most logically, preparation started with the engine.  We completely rebuilt it to E J Ward spec with balanced components and a lightened flywheel, stainless valves, bronze guides with the addition of Phoenix Manifolds, coated by Zircotec in a silver thermal barrier coat to reduce the under bonnet temperatures.

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It was then onto the carburetors which were rebuilt with richer needles to complement the improved breathing produced by the K & N free flow air filters and exhaust manifolds.  We then fitted an overhauled Distributor with electronic ignition system.

We completely overhauled the suspension using new Superflex bushes throughout, with 25% upgrade on front springs and 50% upgrade on rears.  The length of the springs was increased by 25mm to give improved ground clearance over gravel roads. The GAZ adjustable shox were fitted with limiting straps on the rear to prevent over extension over deep pot holes, or in the event it becomes air born.  How thrilling! (I’m thinking in the style of the General Lee in the Dukes of Hazard!) The front drag struts were reinforced on anti-roll bar brackets and track control arm mounting points.  And even with the inclusion of 6 ply van tyres to reduce the risk of a blowout the road handling was still very impressive, even at speed.

The bodyshell was strengthened at the load points and stitch seam welded throughout the sills, chassis legs, inner wings, bulkhead, rear arches and shocker mounts.  The seat belt anchorages were made for 3 point harnesses and the boot floor and rear wings gusseted to protect the fuel tank in the event of a side swipe to the rear. We also fitted a boot floor towing eye and tie down point.  The sills were fitted with tubular jacking points braced across inner to outer sills to facilitate the use of a light weight, quick lift jack. The exhaust, engine and gearbox were protected with an alloy sump guard skid plate, mounted from the front chassis rails and cross members.  On the body we then finally tidied up the paint work and gave it a bit of spit and polish.

The manual gearbox overdrive and (although we didn’t know it as the time, what was eventually to be their nemesis) diff were entirely standard.  We rebuilt the gearbox with new bearings and the overdrive was bench tested.  The diff nose housing was also strengthened as this is a weak spot.

There was much discussion as to which driveshafts to use.  In the end we fitted the Proptech, Rilsan coated driveshafts with heavy duty UJ’s.  This eliminates the well know ‘Stag Twitch’.  A pair of Classic Driver Development splined hubs were also fitted as they are lighter weight, stronger hubs, with the advantage of better bearings.

On the cooling system we fitted a Kenlowe electric fan to the existing aluminium radiator, and also fitted one of our aluminium header tanks with a silicone T hose kit from Classic Silicone Hoses.

So that’s basically all you need to do to create a ‘Rally Stag’.  But actually all that gubbins is nothing if you haven’t got tenacity, the desire to win and a spirit of adventure.  Which luckily Phil and Kieron have in spades. We feel privileged to have been chosen to go on this journey with the guys and have enjoyed every bit of it.

You probably all know by now that Phil and Kieron lead the race for 16 days.  We all thought they were on for the win, but that was until the ‘standard’ diff expired.

Rally Car Idaho

Although they gallantly made it to the finish line they’d lost too much time during the diff replacement to make a good finishing position.  Damn and blast that diff!   However, by the time you read this we’ll have carried out our forensic examination of the offending item (and probably kicked and sworn at it a few times too) and discussed the new diff to be fitted.  Because not to be put off by a little thing like a failing diff, it’s looking very likely that this is just the first of many adventures for – Da, Da, Daaaa – ‘Rally Stag’!

Come along and meet John and Mick from EJ Ward at the NEC Classic Car Show on Sunday 15th November.

The Stag Owners Club Stand in Hall 3 Stand 492 will have the Rally Stag on their stand for the 3 days of the show. This is what we have in store for you at the show –

Meet Phil and Kieron, have your photo taken with the car and we will print and frame it for you as a memento of your visit.

Name the Car – Rally Stag needs a name, so come along and enter our name the Stag competition.

And finally saving the best to last – on all 3 days the guys will be giving talks about their fantastic achievement, so come along to the stand to hear about the preparation of the car and the rally. There will be 3 talks each day – check our Facebook page or the stand for times.

See you there!!!!


Clackett Run and Brands Hatch Day

One of our main events of the year is the Clackett Run and Brands Hatch day, this is always popular, but it did bring a few fraught moments beforehand in organising the tickets etc. We had 43 Stags booked in for the run from Clackett Lane Services to Brands Hatch and the cars set off in a fairly organised convoy for once.

It is always interesting to see the faces of other motorists and you can virtually lip read what they are saying on seeing so many Stags in one place. The day itself was a blistering hot day, which was a result for us as we changed the day from our usual Sunday to the Saturday as the National Day in Kent was double booked with us and the Sunday was dull, overcast and raining all day. We had all the cars attending out on the parade laps, to which this year we had two laps of the long Grand Prix circuit.

They limit these laps to 50mph for safety reasons and normally only let 10 cars out at a time (also we were not paying) The reason is that it does not cause delay to the racing programme and helmets have to be worn over 50mph, but some say that they touched 70mph at times.

See Dave and Ruth’s view of the circuit (link will take you to our YouTube page)

Anyway everybody was pleased with the experience of driving on the circuit. There was some good racing there too, but my favourite is always the Historic Touring Car Championship, but many of us were also interested in seeing Paul Hollywood of the Great British Bake-off smoking his XJ120 Jag around in the Jaguar Heritage Challenge, he was also polite when Russ “Kryten” was talking to him about his bread dough recipes. Many happy faces at the end of the day and a lot of appreciation from those attending made it all worthwhile.

Thanks to Bob Heritage for the article, with some pictures from Dave Bower.

Laon Historique 2015

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I must have had too many shandy’s one night last year as I suggested to a couple of buddies that we should do the Laon Historique. I’ve read great reports on this event in this mag and elsewhere so it was booked with a MG Midget and Lotus Elan in mind as fellow tourists. Sadly the Elan hasn’t quite finished its rebuild but no matter we were booked and raring to go. I’d been to the Le Mans classic accompanied by Tim in his classic MG Midget a couple of years ago and really enjoyed the trip as much as the event so even though the prospect of a c800 mile round trip was daunting it was equally exciting. We did though consider having the odds stacked a little better in our favour and elected to travel from Hull to Zeebrugge overnight and cut out the long boring motorway miles in this country. This seemed a great idea and as the event drew closer it was made better by colleagues from Cleveland and Durham also doing this trip.

The initial journey over the Yorkshire Wolds was pleasant but with a couple of the bigger hills it was me who had to have the bonnet up first as MEF just wasn’t performing well uphill. A cursory inspection soon showed a plug lead off…so no dramas there. Plug Lead replaced we resumed our journey, thankfully on 8 cylinders rather than 7 !

Once out of the port in Zeebrugge we’d somehow got split up so a few hurried phone calls and we had a rendezvous at the first petrol station…where else ! Resuming our journey it was fairly uneventful through the initial flatlands of Belgium until we came to a road closed and Tim indicated it was his turn for a problem. It seemed that his brakes and clutch were becoming very unresponsive and all fluid appeared to have escaped somewhere, but from where ? There were no obvious traces on the road but something wasn’t right. We eventually found a garage and tried to explain our predicament, but even though the fluid was topped up this didn’t solve the root cause of the problem. Unbelievably the garage mechanic explained he had a colleague who restored classic Triumph’s and MG’s and he was only 10km away !! Even though it was a Friday afternoon with many miles ahead of us we continued undeterred to get the problem fixed. The garage itself was superb, the garage owner clearly knew his stuff and getting the car on the ramps showed that the problem was a broken brake pipe where it entered into the slave cylinder. An hour later and we were fixed on rolling again. It did just give me enough time to look at the classic Austin Healey 3000’s that he had along with classic Jaguars and Triumphs.

Saturday dawned bright and clear and we met up with Ron Davey from SOC Herts who as well as being a real gentleman is a seasoned foreign traveller and was able to give us some top tips on the weekends activities. Vehicles at the Parc-Foche where we met at registration were superb – such a variety of cars from classic super cars like the De-Tomaso Pantera GTS to the 1914 14.5 litre

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Simplex chain driven car. Then we set off on the recommended tour. Being driver and navigator was not something I relished so we elected to follow 2 gentlemen of a certain age <ahem> who were driving a classic open top Bentley. Surely they would find their way around…..alas it was not to be – they turned into the Hotel car park, which meant car number 2 expressed his alarm over leading a group of classics on a 140 mile tour around !! Sure enough, we drove round and round until Tim pulled over and lead our little convoy which by this time was just 4 of us, the Midget, 2 Stags and a Lotus Elite Turbo. Soon we were making great headway and polling along quite nicely top down and seeing fantastic scenery and classic cars.

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Lunch was held at a beautiful chateau where everyone congregated before setting off for the return trip to their hotels. At designated stops along the way eager locals were happy to offer bottles of water and other gifts, sunglasses, newspapers, chargers, and even a bottle of delicious local cider. If a route turning wasn’t 100% clear there was usually a local who popped up indicating the route and on most roads in the countryside local children were usually on hand with cameras or mobile phones taking videos and pictures etc.

Saturday evening the three of us Roy, Tim and I returned into Laon for an evening meal with our colleagues from Cleveland and Durham SOC where we had a really pleasant meal and sampled a little of the local produce !

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Sunday morning wasn’t quite such good weather for the closed roads circuit of the town but the sheer spectacle of so many classic cars from simple 2CV’s to the more exotic and expensive was great to see and participate in. I must confess that after a couple of laps of the circuit though Tim and I elected to take a short tour to the old Reims motor racing circuit where en-route the weather seemed to clear up for us. Although Reims circuit hasn’t been used since the early 1970’s most of the buildings and grandstands are still there and for confirmed petrol heads like us it just had to be done ! Another fine evening was spent in good company with our friends in Laon sampling the fine wines and local produce (you can never be too careful !)

Sadly though all too soon the time came on Monday morning to head back North – we naturally elected to take a more scenic route staying off the motorways and whilst MEF was performing well, my overdrive noises suggested not all was happy down there. Eventually we reached Bruges and called in for an hour or so doing a quick tourist thing before heading back to Zeebrugge for the ferry home.

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We had an absolutely fab time and I’d be looking forward to doing it all again.

Thanks Andy Mathers for sharing your trip with us.

Higham Ferrers Chichele Northants Classic Car Show


What a glorious sunny Sunday we had today for the Rotary Club of Rushden Chichele Northants Classic Cars Show in Higham Ferrers. Its the first Sunday in quite a few weeks we have had a full day of great weather and it brought out the crowds!!

This years Classic Car Show was held to raise funds for Rotary Charities. There was a full turn out of Classic vehicles (generally pre 1990) on display to the general public at the towns Castle Fields.

We had a full stand of 7 Stags

Its quite a small show but very well organised with some lovely stalls to suit all tastes from hand made greeting cards, old toy cars and books, to car accessories (including classic car oils!!)

There were also plenty of stalls if you were a little peckish from the expected burger and chips to a very nice hog roast, with ice cream or cup cakes to finish you off!!

The stars of the show were the cars, wonderfully presented and such a wide array of classics some quite unusual to see out at an event like this.

My favourites of they day were these

Lovely MG V8 and rare to see Aston Martin DB5 (James Bond was not in need of it today!!)

And where ever you have classic cars you can always get some bonnet up action!!

IMG_0226And last but not least, a lovely XJS (with an admiring Stag owner – one day I would like one of these, perhaps put it on my Christmas List!!)



Bromley Pageant of Motoring – 7th June 2015

We all had a fantastic day, with support from no fewer than 55 Stags from South East London, East & West Sussex, Kent, Surrey and as far afield as Bristol and of course not for getting Harry’s Darlek from the original Dr Who movie.

This was truly a Regional Event!

Now here’s the good news, considering that Bromley Pageant is billed as the largest one day Classic Car Show in the world, we managed to secure the top prize …….

Special Club Display ……. “WINNERS” …. Did I say winners, I certainly did, 2015.


It was a true team effort from all that attend both in support for the Stag Owners Club and the efforts by everybody to promote both the Club and the fact that we are indeed  very SOCial Club.


Martyn Smith passes on his thanks to all those who attended whom without, the winning of this award would not have been possible.  A special thanks also to Ian & Pat Saich (Deputy Co-ordinator South East London area), who were responsible for most of the planning/organisation of the day, Andy Potts, who on the day did such a great job in co-ordinating the stand and Russell Mortlake-Mees who gave endless technical advice to so many visitors to our stand.

Our area goes from strength to strength and we managed to secure several new members including some re-joins

Martyn Smith

ESM 2015 – Netherlands

The Stag Club Netherlands hosted the 33rd European Stag Meeting.  They organised a very full programme with routes of between 70 and 100 miles per day for the 125 cars from Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands.


The detailed routes guided us through country lanes, around pretty harbours,  over dykes alongside canals and lock systems and along North Sea beaches and even through the narrow base of the Heimolen, a windmill dating from 1866. We visited the beautiful Basilica of Ooudenbosch,  built between 1865 and 1892 as a scaled replica  of St Peters in Rome,  the old Town Hall in Bergen-op-Zoom, the Markiezenhof, the Marquises Palace built in 1485 in Bergen op Zoom, the oldest in the Netherlands, Watersnoodmuseum (the Great Flood Museum).  It was a fabulous weekend visiting places we would not have found on our own.


A great big thanks to The Stag Club Netherlands!!!




For more pictures visit our Facebook Page

Silverstone Classic 2014

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At last its that time of year again, time for 3 fantastic days of classic cars and top quality racing, and the great British weather decided to smile upon us and has given 3 days of hats, suncream and plenty of drinks!!!

SOC stand was well attended, we had over 30 Stags with us on Saturday

There were so many things going on this weekend, from the BMW wheel that gave fabulous views over the whole site, hot air balloons in the early morning and late in the eventing gave a spectacular start and end to the day. There was live music both Friday and Saturday evenings, the Paras also dropped in on Friday with a great display.

Of course the main attraction was the many varied races that took place over the whole weekend, from F1, touring cars, sports cars and GT’s. Here is jus a selection of some of the pics – see more on our Flickr Page.

On on Saturday during the lunch break, we were treated to a parade of Ford Mustang’s as they were celebrating there 50th anniversary. (Just for you One Man And His Mustang)

And heading up the pack was Wheeler Dealers Mike Brewer in his fully restored 1967 Mustang Fastback

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As all these beautiful cars were taking in the sun and soaking up the atmosphere of driving this wonderful circuit there name sake arrived to fill the sky’s

stag and mustang


Great weekend – looking forward to next year!!!

Stoneleigh Triumph and MG Spares Day

Been a busy ole weekend, first we attended Club Expo at Gaydon yesterday and then off to the spares day today (sunday).

The guys and galls were over at Stoneleigh Park yesterday setting up the stand and getting the 4 cars into position and gleaming after a final polish.

This year the format was a bit different, the Triumph and MG spares days are usually separate but this year they combined them and it took place the weekend after Race Retro, so all the layout for that was still in place. So this year we had a very nice covered walkway between the halls and cattle sheds and heating and carpets in the sheds where our stand was – all in all loads more civilised and more importantly not as COLD!!

Our stand was busy with folks all day, it was as usual a wonderful day to catch up with other members and also chatting to the people at the show!

We (thats me and my much better half) have both a Stag and an MG so for us these two shows being combined this year was just a win – win for us. It did feel generally busier too and hope that the format suited others as well, its nice to be able to see other cars at these events, and there is always the chance that some of those MG owners will also see the light as we have and get a Stag too!!

There were some nice cars on display from all the clubs that attended, so well done all that  came to display there prized possessions. Its a great shopping event but would be no where near as good without all those wonderful cars to look around too!!!

Thoresby Hall Classic Car Show 2013

For once August Bank Holiday Monday coincided with a hot sunny day much to the pleasure of the thousands of folks who enjoyed the hundreds of classics attending the Thoresby Hall Classic Car show. The event is set in the grounds of the grade I listed country house which is one of four neighbouring country houses and estates in north Nottinghamshire known as the “Dukeries” – so named as all were occupied by dukes at one time in their history.

The show is mainly focussed on Minis and TVRs of which there were hundreds in attendance, nevertheless many other interesting classic cars and bikes were also displayed including five Stags from Notts and Derby and two from the Lincolnshire area courtesy of Dave and Baz.

A good look round the whole site took a very pleasant couple of hours with all sorts of vehicles to admire including a large selection of Yanks and even a massive Peterbilt tractor unit which was beautifully turned out with more chrome than all our Stags put together. During the day the central arena saw many car and bikes shown off and judged, I don’t know who was commentating but he certainly impressed me with his huge knowledge and boundless enthusiasm for the subject – he made it really interesting and informative for both public and the enthusiasts.

Next stop was the many trade stands and for some reason my wallet seemed much lighter after I’d left them but shopping still beckoned so a visit to the Thoresby Courtyard shops was next. Precious jewellery, handmade glass ornaments, exquisite fashions and artworks all shouted out “buy me” but thankfully I resisted and left that to the ladies, my wallet only being further lightened by a rather nice ice cream.

I hadn’t attended this show before and to be honest didn’t expect a lot but ended up really enjoying myself with great company, plenty of variety, a lovely setting and of course that yellow orb in the sky – all in all a great Bank Holiday day out.

Click Here for the rest of the photos from the day