My spin in a Jaguar XJS cost my friend an afternoon tea!

Motoring with Paul Jolly: A welcome return of classic car shows

Paul Jolly

What a welcome sight to see classic car shows appearing once more, and especially so here in the West Country.

One of the best events is at Chanters House, Ottery St Mary, on the August bank holiday.

It is well organised, set in a beautiful location and draws a great and varied selection of cars.

Entry is free and is a must for any classic car enthusiast.

I visited a Jaguar owners’ event some years ago and my dear old friend and his wife Doris were in attendance with their prized bright red Jaguar XJS, which they had entered into the precision driving obstacle course held at the end of the afternoon.

I was not eligible since I had arrived in a Rover.

This contest was set against the clock and consisted of various manoeuvres with plastic bollards marking out the course.

Come the time to compete, my friend was in deep conversation with an old chum so said would I take his place and handed me his car keys.

Not one to miss an opportunity to put this high-performance car through its paces, I set off at maximum speed for the first ‘U’ turn with spectators kept back by a white tape.

Unbeknown to me, Doris’s fine bone china picnic set was in the boot, ready for afternoon tea later on.

The first I knew of it was the crashing and splintering from behind me as I barrelled around the course.

Damage done, I quickly concluded that there was nothing I could do to save the situation so carried on regardless.

Mums and dads watching the drama scooped their children up and ran for safety as the china crashed into smaller pieces on every turn making the most dreadful noise.

On handing the keys back, I said to my friend there was good news and bad news.

The good news was I had won the contest but would he like a beer in the tent instead of tea?

If you attend an event like this yourself, I suggest a quick look in the boot first might be prudent!

Written by Paul Jolly, classic car specialist and valuer

Paul Jolly, classic car specialist and valuer
Paul Jolly, classic car specialist and valuer