After last year’s horrendous heavy rain, this year’s Wolverhampton Steam Fair and Transport Rally was a complete contrast. Warm and sunny it brought the crowds back like it did for the 2008 show. As usual, it was organised by Wolverhampton City Council over the weekend of June 5/6 and held right in the city centre West Park, a glorious park dating back to the early Victorian times. Along with loads of classic cars and commercials, there was an excellent turnout for the military vehicle section, with some new local Midlands vehicles attending for the first time. Spread over two days, the Saturday includes a parade through the city centre where even the ring-road is partially closed for a convoy of vehicles to snake it’s way along, including some early steam traction engines. We attended just the first day this year, as the family had plans for my gardening skils the next day !!!
First we spoke to Christopher Tallents with his superb Land Rover S3 Shorland Armoured Car which had a Ulster Defence Force flag flying from it. He’d had it a number of years and bought it from Budge’s over in Nottingham. He said they had a whole row of them at the time wedged in between two buildings, but the best one, which Christopher chose, had to be lifted out by a giant crane. He’s traced the history and it was used by one and then another regiment of the UDR in Northern Ireland.
It was also good to see Phil Palmer once again with his marvellous Dodge Weapons Carrier in US Navy colours and also his Leyland Hippo 10 Tonner, which seems to get better each year like a good wine or a fine Stilton cheese.
Paul Wallis and his crew of two made a fine appearance with his rare GKN Simba armoured car. We asked if it was a development of the Saxon armoured car, but Paul said only the wheels and axles wrer common to it. This actual vehicle was used by the GKN sales force for demonstrations and for exhibitions and was in just like new condition. We watched and listened as they drove of at the end of the show on Saturday and it had a lovely deep throat growl to it. Fantastic !!! Other photos taken last year of the Simba have proven from our statistics to be one of the most viewed, and especially with our Japanese visitors, which we mentioned to Paul. No surprise, he said, as most of the sales of Simba’s were to the Far East.
We ventured over to the commercial section and found an ex-RAF Dodge Commando RG13 Coach that had been converted to an ambulance which you see below.
Also was a lovely Bedford OL 3 Tonner truck, which at first I walked by until I noticed on the back it had ‘ex-WD’ painted on. So I set about looking for the brass plate on the chassis that would reveal the old army registration number. Round the corner came Peter and Judith Bott, the owners who wondered what I was up to ! We then had a chat about the vehicle’s history. It had been bought from an ex-army sale in 1966 by Peter’s father and used in the family coal delivery business until being retired and renervated by Peter. Since the show we’ve emailed Peter with the details of the Royal Logistics Corps Museum at Deepcut Barracks so he can trace the service record of his Bedford.
So once again a great show and we can’t wait for next year !