An Article from the July -August 2012 Mascot -
Eurotour 2012 - An Alpine Amble - from Chris Hayward
Driving my Gazelle convertible, in May I joined over fifty classic cars for a fortnight’s motoring on the continent, travelling via eastern France to Switzerland, where we spent four nights in Interlaken. The 1500 mile tour was organised by the North Herts Centre of the 750 Motor Club, so there were forty-one Austin Sevens taking part, dating from 1926 to 1939,
The weather was pretty mixed: dry and sunny for the first and last few days, but with falling snow as we crossed the Jura into Switzerland and a lot of rain in the Lake Geneva area. My convertible is not bad when driving through even heavy downpours, but
poor earth strap connection to the battery terminal.
On the first day I had a rendez-vous near Arras with Frédéric Struyven, a new ASCO member who lives nearby, and handed over two sets of non-metric combination spanners I had bought in England on his behalf to assist in his major restoration of a 1951 4AB Roadster. He turned up in a rare and valuable Simca 8 cabriolet with Monte Carlo Rally history, and took some photos as we drove in convoy towards Arras.
and from the post-war era a variety of MGs – two Bs, a TD (from Norway), a Magnette and a TF replica – and single examples of Panhard, Austin Healey, Lotus 11, Sunbeam Rapier, Triumph Herald, Wolseley 16/60, and Mercedes 300SL. Similar tours have taken place every five years since 1992, and this is the fourth I have attended. Although I have often been abroad solo in my classic cars, I enjoy trips such as this Eurotour because there is so much expertise and helpfulness among fellow-
drivers to compensate for my lack of mechanical know-how. This year I was responsible for the route, so I had written a provisional detailed itinerary from maps, then test-driven it in a modern car last September. Austin Sevens are at their best on minor roads, but France in particular has a great network of secondary roads, so our route very rarely went on N roads or into big towns, apart from our over-night stops. My Gazelle and a modern Land Rover were support vehicles for the tour, but we were not kept very busy. Of course, there were minor niggles with some cars, but only one Austin had to come home on a trailer - not a bad record for such old machinery. In Interlaken on the fifth day, my car was reluctant to start, but the problem was traced by the Land Rover driver to a
water tends to get in if the car is standing in continuous rain. Fortunately it was fine while we were in Interlaken, and we had a glorious boat trip on Lake Brienz.
All in all, an enjoyable and memorable Alpine Amble.
Singer follows Austin,
Photographed from the Simca.
Burgundy Vines through the Windscreen