Saturday 18th September
It’s the day of the concours, and predictably Neil is out before breakfast wiping the dew off my bodywork. I tried to tell him it would be easier to move me into the sun but I think he’s obsessed with microfibre cloths and polish. Latest in the armoury is a product called Lucas Slick Mist – a spray wax that he uses to freshen up my paintwork in-between washes. It leaves me with a high gloss shine and, presumably for no other reason than it’s American, smelling of bubblegum.
One of the things I love most about Bristol events is seeing other cars on the road. As we made our way from the hotel to the Airbus site we joined up with several other cars making the same journey. We were waved through the entrance and lined up in the car park that had been reserved for us at the top of the site. This was near where Concorde G-BOAF is displayed. This remarkable airplane, which made its maiden flight in April 1979, was used to prove the enhancements made after the tragic crash at Gonesse. G-BOAF was the last Concorde to remain flying and the last to fly supersonically. She made her final journey home to Filton on 26 November 2003.
My favourite story of the day was relayed to me by Neil after a conversation he had with a volunteer in the Concorde exhibition. When operating on the Miami service, British Airways had to lodge Concorde’s flight plan with the Pentagon. This was so they could instruct their spy planes operating over Cuba to move out of the way. I love the idea of American pilots in pressure suits and oxygen masks having to make way for a supersonic airplane at the edge of space full of Brits in shirtsleeves sipping Champagne.
I didn’t count them myself, but I have heard estimates ranging from 160 to 235 cars present. Whatever the final number, this was without doubt the largest gathering of Bristol cars ever with models from all eras represented. There was a strong showing too from the factory with Fighters, Blenheims and used cars on show. Neil was very taken by a dark blue Beaufighter and was overheard asking the price. I made sure I behaved myself for the rest of our holiday just in case he was tempted.