Spring Meeting at Denbies Wine Estate – 17th April, 2016

The Spring gathering for the South East area ​of the E-type and XK Club was held at Denbies ​Wine Estate​,our cars parked in impressive rows, with the m​odels​ opposite each other. Motivated by the chance to see so many cars together, meet with friends old and new, sunny weather and possibly the chance to try the local wines, the Clubs had a record turn out for the day.

Denbies is now a well established vineyard complex, which includes a craft shop, farm shop and small garden centre, as well as both the Garden Room for private functions and the bright conservatory cafe for those dropping by for an informal lunch. A small train takes visitors around the vineyards if desired, and there are lots of Denbies’ wines and wine related kit available to buy in the shop.

Although the weather was glorious for our gathering, with Peter Spackman announcing that it was “always” fine weather for the Spring meet, (and thus annoying the Weather Gods for next year….) the vineyard had had to use hot air blowers on the vines just the night before, due to frosts. There was also a special birds of prey display and flight demonstration, just reminding us that our beautiful streamlined E-types cannot compete with what Nature had already done in designing those magnificent birds.

E​-t​ype bonnets aligned, it was time to enjoy the variety of ages, engines, specs and colours in front of us. A few bonnets were up and ​Richard Harrison’s CHP 678K caught my eye. A cream Series III…..but where was the V12 engine? This was a very rare 4.2 litre which had a letter explaining that there had been, “no production run of this model.” The few cars made to this spec were used by the employees, and any thoughts of making more were evidently ditched in favour of the V12 ( purr, purr.).
Gold heads on an immaculate red Series I were glinting splendidly in the sunshine, and our curvy bonnets were all set off well by the sunny day.

A different cream 4.2, RLE 32E
Peter Spackman’s E – owned from new!, had an interesting plaque on the centre console stating that it had taken part in a parade at Brands Hatch in 1970 marking the 21st anniversary of the first international race victory by an XK engined Jaguar. Many of us will remember our own slow laps, four abreast, at Silverstone to mark the 50th anniversar​y of the E-type, with the subsequent verification by Gu​inness World Records that this had been the largest number ever in one place.

Still slightly on the XK theme, I noticed an XK120, PPC 120 ( a mere coincidence of course……) which had Brooklands aeroscreens and looked like it was probably a competition version. This super example happens to belong to our own Peter Spackman!​

Lunch was served in The Garden Room, with members coming from as far afield as France, South Africa ….. and The Isle of Wight, as well as more locally. Our round table comprised of fellow V12 owners, and some hadn’t been to a Club event before. We all had a jolly time and pleasant lunch, my husband Simon on my left and a delightful Brazilian, Luiz, and his charming daughter on my right. The Club has a great diversity of owners’ backgrounds and experiences, making for very civilised conversation. Some car related, of course; I’m interested in the supposed softer ride of the new Blockley t​y​res and had a chat about them. And I wore my ‘growler’ pendant in honour of the occasion.

After a welcome by Peter Spackman, Peter Hugo, of Win Speed presented ​the ‘most interesting E-type’ to chassis number 40, an E-type coupe​, owned by Alan Moralee,​ that had been found in a French barn and sympathetically restored​.​ Long-standing Club member, David West’s XK120 ​Fixed Head Coupe​ won ​
the ‘most interesting’ XK award. We enjoyed our three course lunches, a brief post meal speech and then Club member,​ James Turnbull led a short auction in aid of Prostate Cancer ​UK​, raising £170 for this important cause.

It had been a most pleasant way of spending a warm Sunday, and I know many members will look forward to the next gathering. As the cats purred their way homewards and scudding light clouds sped past above our open topped V12, we remarked on what a charming day it had been. A big thank you to
Peter,​ Louise and all the team and to WinSpeed for their kind support.

June Keeble, petrolhead.

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