8th International MeetingAnnual Meeting Arnham
Having brought up the possibility of such a trip at the 1981 AGM enquiries were made and a plan formulated at the committee meeting held in February, 19S1 as to the best way of getting a reasonable number of club members and car to the seventh meeting of the Borgward interessengemeinschaft at Arnhelm Holland.
I was fortunate in working opposite John Plank Travel Agency, to who, I own much thanks for their co-operation in making possible
The story that I am about to unfold where 13 club members and friends, four Borgwards, one Ford Grauada and a Bedford van made their way to Holland.
I left Poole at 10.00 a.m. on Thursday the 26th August; in blazing sunshine. My car had earlier gone a thorough check over, new oil, level checks and a tweak-up of the lighting system (for more details see Fred Hovell's useful article on the same - believe Me everything hesays is true....) I took a leisurely run up to Horsham whereI visited the Reid emporium to find young Reld (our assistant news editor) putting an engine, gearbox and front axle into his brother's TS, the said vehicle being suspended some three or four feet aloft and looking to say the least precarious.
The weather by now had become exceedingly hot necessitating the other half of the fan being restored to its rightful place to aid the cooling of my car.
left Nick Reid's house at approximately 3.45 and high tailed It towards Maidstone where I was to meet Fred and Joan Hovell, George and Vera Crowder who were staying at Fred's daughter's house.
We had a meal of fresh trout and a super salad after which we had an early night being woken at 2.00 a.m. in order that we could start off towards Dover where we were to catch the boat. Unfortunately we were enveloped in thick fog which made the 111 mile journey seem an eternity and instead of having got there comfortably within an hour, as the result of roadwork’s and the fog it meant that Fred and Co., in Combi and myself in TS made the boat by the skin of our teeth so much that I had no sooner switched off my engine than up came the gangplank and we were off. The crossing was calm more than can be said for my nerves at the time).
Fortunately we met up with Derek Atkinson and his wife Cathy and daughter Julie who in their Granada, the coupe being too small for three of them and luggage, and Nick Driscoll and Matt Carter who had come in Nick's Coupe and from whom learnt that at 3.00 the previous morning he was still rebuilding his braking system to produce a pedal that activated the brakes from a position n quarter of an Inch from the top rather than quarter of an inch from the floorboards! When we all had breakfast at 5.00 in the morning, I can assure you that bacon, egg and sausage with lashings of fried bread and strong coffee was a most welcome mode of refreshment and it was plain we were all off' to a very good start.
We disembarked at approximately 5.15 Just as the dawn was rising and the French Customs were a littlie puzzled to see three Borgwards going out on to French soil. We ran down the road for a mile or so gathering In a lay-by so that everybody could get themselves organized and also to give Fred the opportunity of giving us a briefing as to the route which was to take us to Dunkirk, gent round the Peripherique at Antwerp them to Nimegen through Arnhem to Ede where we had booked in for our first night. Having got under way it was apparent that the sea mist was still with us which made the journey rather slow and quite hair-raising because French drivers were completely oblivious to the fact that they could not see beyond the end of their noses and kept haring past us in places where I felt they could not have seen even if the road had been clear and there had been no fog. However, no harm came to anybody more by good luck than judgment I think.
Time passed on and we got into Belgium and eventually stopped for Derek to pick up some petrol and thereafter we stopped off for a cup of coffee and some refreshments. The sun was high and the weather was very warm and the three cars parked in the car park looked a very pretty sight indeed.
Compared with the driving in France and Belgium, Holland was a blessed relief motoring on at between 55 and 60 miles per hour, which was our useful cruising speed/ giving me Lime to reflect back to when I was in Holland before and reminded me of the touring around northern Holland that my wife and I undertook with friends and where we stayed in this super little chalet in a pine forest near Dalfsen. Holland as you all know is as flat as a pancake and the Dutch are past masters at keeping water out of their country. They are also very masterful in the art of irrigation and they use a device that looks like an overgrown garden sprinkler through which water is pumped from streams that run down either side of the roads their tractors having been fitted with a mechanical pump for the purpose. The way they milked their cows is also interesting in that they don't have cowsheds like we do over here, but they use a portable milking machine which they tow around with a vehicle, the milking machine unit being driven from a power take off attached to the towing machine, this means that they can milk the cows in the field without having to bring them inside.
The tree life in Holland is sporadic, but many trees are planted as wind brakes because there is precious little else around to do that job. I referred to Antwerp Peripherique earlier and this is a large motorway complex with about 8 lanes all going to different places and it is imperative that you get in the right lane and stay there. Nick Driscoll who was having a rest from driving (Matt Carter having taken the wheel) was somewhat stunned by this complex and provided lane discipline is strictly adhered to, there is no case for concern.
Little else of any note occurred on the outward journey which finished at Ede at approximately 2.45 p.m. and we booked into the hotel De Passberg which proved to be a quiet and reasonable hostelry, the hotelier speaking reasonable English as did his gray parrot, but not perhaps his large SC. Bernard dog. We enjoyed a wash and brush-up and one or two of us had an hour or so's sleep after which a welcome evening meal followed leading up to n walk around the highlights of the town ending up drinking beer at a chic little place In the main street run by a bud who was Holland's answer to Basil Fawlty - he was amazing, I quite expected Manuel to scuttle around the corner with a frying pan full of burning fat!
Next morning saw a refreshed party raring to go. Nick Driscoll, however, had complained of a rumbling in the rear end or his Coupe' and he investigated the cause and found one of his wheel weights had parted company with the wheel and he changed the said wheel and the problem seemed to sort itself out.
We took off for the Krooger Mulier Museum boasting Van Gogh modern art, which was not everybody's cap of tea, but before looking around this we had an early lunch and during this time David Stride and his friend John appeared on the scene having motored over from Sheerness and I think spent the night in Eindhoven. It should be noted , folks, that David Stride's Coupe was all one colour, i.e. white, hitherto we have only seen It in a variety or colours ranging from bonder primer red, white and at one time green - it should he emphasized that the car Is particularly nice for those who have not seen his photo album relating to his "on the hoof " rebuild, should do so - it is an amazing feat or enthusiasm and dedication.
After our meal we made our way in search of the wildlife park, hut this seemed to allude as all afternoon and those who wanted to, ended tip hiring pushbikes and riding off around the park killing time until we were able to make our way to the Papendal just outside Arnhem where the Borgward treffan was to he held, we were booked in for 6.00 and as time drew near, we departed towards Arnhem and it was during this trip that Martin Carter became our roving cameraman using my cine camera and Filming the journey standing in the seat of DavId Atkinson's Granada, Matt himself poking out through the sun roof.
Our arrival at the Papendal was greeted by a number
or German enthusiasts who had already arrived and there an array of Borgwards
parked in the car park, one of which was a superb black Coupe, obviously very
carefully restored. Also parked was a B552 fire truck converted into a motor
caravan and which looked absolutely superb with Its red and white coach painted
Sadly, there was a hitch in the accommodation resulting in more people than there were beds to put them in culminating in myself, Derek Atkinson, his wife and daughter having to be taken to Arnhem where we stayed at the hotel Hendriques which was to say at the least was rather grotty and it was the only place I have ever slept in where by putting a door at each end of the passage they created extra bedrooms on the basis that such bedrooms can be used as a fire escape in the event of fire. When we first went there because the hotel consisted or a lot of passages in a warren like, Derek Atkinson unfortunately, so he says, stumbled Into a bedroom which turned out to belong to a young lady who at the time of Derek's clandestine entry was walking around her room stark naked - Derek beat a hasty retreat mumbling profuse apologies.
Saturday morning dawned and I was up bright and early because I wanted to go and see the famous bridge in Arnhem about which so much has been said and written and upon which so many people became heroes - there is a fine new bridge there now which perhaps lessens the affect and helps to dull the memory of the tragedies of World War 2.
Derek, myself and the two girls motored back to the Papendal and parked the cars together with the other Borgwards which were starting to arrive in copious numbers ranging from the big four wheel drive H2000 personnel carriers to the little Lloyd 4 and 600 c.c. saloons, but the model that was the most plentiful was obviously the Isabella Borgward of which there was an example of every model produced including the rather splendid Cabriolet versions of the saloon and the Coupe, neither of which I personally have ever seen before. By the time all the participants to the meeting had arrived, the organizers counted no less than 153 Borgward vehicles (more than / personally have ever seen in my Life).
There were a variety of activities during the Saturday afternoon, ranging from the auto jumble stalls (this was somewhat disappointing compared with what I thought I was going to see). There was a flower-arranging contest, a musical chairs contest for the ladies In which Joan Hovel! took part and thoroughly enjoyed herself, there was a driving test for the boys and Indeed some girls took part in this as well and it is pleasing to note that Nick Driscoll and David Stride between them took first and second prize In this event.
The meeting was truly international, we had cars from Spain, Italy, Holland, United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and of course, Germany. Our right hand drive examples caused quite a stir because our handbrake and gear change selection system is totally different from left hand drive versions and it must have taken the German company some time to work oat the best method of coping with the problem when the cars were first introduced to the United Kingdom.
The rain showers were short lived and soon we were enjoying glorious sunshine. In fact, the sun was very very warm so mach so Chat I personally got a burnt neck and it was only that evening that 1 realized how red it had become.
The afternoon was not without Its formal side, our having a speech given to as by the Mayor of Arnhem which took approximately 20 minutes, the Mayor himself reminding me of the late Carl F. W. Borgward himself. Of the other entertainments the Darrel. Organ proved to be one of the main at and al though it was trailed to the event, the jockey wheel was powered by a small petrol motor enabling the machine to be maneuvered around the place.
As the evening drew in we adjourned to get changed for the barbeque which was he Ed the other side of the sports center near the camp site and the meal consisted of steaks, beef, potato salad and everything that one would expect to find at a barbeque, all properly cooked, very enjoyable indeed. The meal was plentiful and as we did not have to drive it didn't really matter. The hand lived up to its expectations being not too noisy and there was a raffle and prize giving and in addition to the prizes Chat Nick Driscoll and Dave Stride obtained for their driving in the driving test, the club as a whole was given a beautiful clog which was engraved with words to the effect that the German club welcomed the British club Co their meeting and hoped that such meetings with the English club were one or many.
In the shadows caused by the artificial Light one could see various
Borgwards attracting the dew of the cooling evening and a white Big 6 parked behind. A nicety preserved Isabella 60, of 1959 vintage would have made the late Car! F. W. Borgward a very proud man If he had been alive to see it and I thought then as 1 have se many occasions - how could any person or institution have let such good product go by default?
As the evening drew to a close, a large Volvo coach took us to the hotel whilst the campers had very little distance to go to their camp site not 50 yards away, the rest one way or another Found their way hack to the residential quarters in the Papendal.
Sunday was a bright and cheerful, day marred only by the fact that
Helmut Loges having had his car broken Into and money, Borgward regalia and other bits and pieces removed from it. I was concerned for our party that we might have been included in the burglars travels. However, it was a relief to find that nothing had been toached. The day progressed with a cavalcade of Borgward officianados and vehicles from the papendal into Arnhem around the centre and back to Papendal. Our intrepid cameraman, Matt, handled the cine as the front seat passenger in my car and Derek Atkinson and his family also came with me so that everybody could at least be in a Borgward for this rather splendid cavalcade. All the traffic was stopped in the centre of Arnhem and we were expected to go over the lights when they were red and there were police flying about all over the place making sure that the cavalcade was not interrupted. I think many people were late for church that morning!
From where we were, at the back of the queue, there were Borgwards stretched for as far as the eye could see and it made a very splendid spectacle indeed and one which I hope I shall be able to enjoy once more as and when the club goes aboard again (there is talk of Bremen, Western Germany for 1982).
Once returned to the Papendal, it was time for many of the Germans to leave for home hearing in mind that as far as they were concerned, the visit was only a long week-end unlike our club members who had taken several days off work to be able to come along to the event.
As we said our good-byes, which ranged from an actual handshake or the tooling of car horns as people drove away, it left us all without exception, feeling flat. The time seemed to go so very quickly 1 suppose because we had all been involved in a period
of intense activity and enjoyment. I myself, felt it particularly so as I had been involved In the organization from the travel point of view as far back as February this year, but t was not alone because on talking to the others they felt just the same as I did.
The quietness of the then empty Papendal began to grip us as by then other visitors not connected with the Borgward Club had also left, i.e. the Dutch week-enders, the visiting Australian basketball team, all gone to other places.
However, one should always look forward and not back and our stomachs were beginning to rumble to the extent that it was decided that we go down to the restaurant at the end of the road for an evening meal. It was a fine little restaurant which is more than can be said for its service because we waited and waited and waited and by the time the meal did, in fact, arrive many of as had gone past the stage of wanting it - a great shame really because it would be a fine way of rounding off what had been a most enjoyable
day. That evening enabled us all to be housed at the Papendal residential complex, l, for one was extremely tired and very glad to he able to sleep on a pillow which did not feel like a bag of cement. Monday arrived In a blaze or sunlight and was a day which was to be an extremely long one bearing in mind that we were due to return to Calais which would mean a 200 mile or so drive. It was planned that in the morning we would visit a local zoo in Arnhem and in the afternoon visiting Arnhem itself so that some shopping could be undertaken for the purposes of buying mementos of the occasions and thereafter at about 6.00 having a good meal prior to leaving for Calais. The day went as planned and the safari was most I interesting although Fred Hove 11 admitted that he did not particularly enjoy having to stop his car to let a lion walk across In Front of him and it made him feel most unconformable. The zoo Itself had a wide variety of animals, my favorites being the Vietnamese pigs who were completely oblivious of the onlookers and snored contentedly In the hot sunlight without apparently a care In the world. The afternoon walk around Arnhem was n very leisurely affair and nil those who wanted to managed to obtain their mementoes for Friends and loved ones.
The evening meal was n very much more successful affair with speedy service and good Food. Nick Driscoll and Matt Carter, for reasons best known to themselves decided to indulge in a pizza inferno which had a kick like a mule and I think a taste that lasted in their mouths for about the next three days.
The journey back to Calias was as uneventful as it was peaceful resulting in n nice steady drive with only one slight mistake In the map rending near Dunkirk, but by the grace of God an man in an Opel Rekord stopped and gave us direction enabling the journey to be completed. We made Calias Is in plenty of time which was just as well judging from the queue of traffic that had already gathered. Once on board we all indulged in breakfast hearing in mind that the moment of departure was 4.00 in the morning and we ail had quite a long way to drive at the other end.
At the Dover end Fred Hovell and co. departed towards Maidstone where he was Co spend approximately a week with his daughter prior to returning to Padworth. Myself, Nick Driscoll, Derek Atkinson trundled off towards Mnidstone but unfortunately this particular part of the journey was not without incident so far as I was concerned In that My car for some unknown reason suddenly decided to develop an appetite for spring washers, one of which unfortunately fell Into number 2 cylinder cruising rather an ominous knocking noise. Fortunately this happened at tick over speed and at thought at the time we were not cure what the cause was, it was generally considered that no real damage would have been done. I am pleased to say that I. am a member of the RAC Recovery Service and after about three hours they came and rescued me and took myself and my ailing Borgward all the way back to Poole in Dorset and I must say that I was very grateful to Derek Atkinson, Nick Driscoll and Matt Carter for staying with me during my hour of need. I am pleased to say that no real damage was, In fact done to my car and whilst it was in pieces I have, in fact, removed the engine, gearbox, and front axle with a view to checking for wear and tear, etc., replacing the clutch and generally titivating the Front end .... but more anon.
Overall, a most enjoyable five days, a trip that I would undertake at any time notwithstanding the disaster that befell my own motor car and furthermore I hope that those of you who did not Join us in ORV will feel Inclined to do so in 1982