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37th time lucky: Palladium goes for a drive


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On 4/29/2023 at 6:41 PM, brownnova said:

By some ridiculous oversight, I hadn’t read this thread in about 4 years! Just before the first Palladium trip! 

My admiration for your car purchasing is exceeded only by my admiration for your epic adventures in pre war tin! 

Being ginger takes precidence

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  • barrett changed the title to 37th time lucky: Not everything is shit
  • 6 months later...

Gosh, not much has happened since then has it? In fact, not much happened at all in 2023, motoring wise, for me. No silly car-buying adventures, and most vehicles off the road for longer than they were on the road meant fewer road trips. Also money is just really tight now innit, which makes everything less fun, and I'm definitely feeling my age these days and am less willing to jump into untested cars and drive a million miles without stopping. I've also somehow avoided doing much article-writing which meant fewer cool cars to drive. Anyway, here's my very brief 2023 in review (comprised entirely of quick phone snaps with very little thought, sorry):

January started on a high note. On a bitterly cold day I ventured into deepest Surrey to get up close and personal with one of my dream cars, this Flaminia Sport Zagato. It was everything I expected, but I think I'd still rather have a PF coupé (which is lucky for my bank manager)


In February I went to Rétromobile, which was back at almost-full-size and filled with cars I desperately wanted to bring home with me. Plus, food, wine, friends etc, so it's always a good trip. I particularly fell for this little Simca


and also this outrageous Buick Woodie


But for some reason I couldn't ignore this dreamboat P6, a V8 in avocado on French plates just looked so cool


March (it was only on the last page of this thread!) saw another journey for the Riley from Sussex to mid-Wales for the VSCC Light Car weekend. As ever with this car, it ate up the miles and performed perfectly. Always a calendar highlight, this.



In April nothing happened, apparently. In May a friend organised a little drive in the country and lunch but selfishly had a heart attack in the morning. He insisted the rest of us carry on regardless, but it was a bit of a muted affair (don't worry, he's fine!)


the same month I bombed up to the Field of Dreams for the first time, with the sole aim of lovingly rubbing a sponge over this absolute beauty


June was the epic drive, to the centre of France in the Quadrilette


a lovely run down, followed by an incredible weekend surrounded by cyclecars, cheese, bread, wine, friends, wine, cheese and wine


Slightly scuppered by the exhaust falling off on the way back, but we got home eventually and the car followed soon after (thank you, European breakdown cover!) although it's still not fixed.

In July, more cyclecars! I got the opportunity to drive a Seal, which I doubt anyone else here can say. It was... mental, but fun


Although I got a bit sophisticated and really fell for this Ceirano S 150 instead. To the point that I was quite seriously working out how I could buy it, but thankfully the moment passed. It was very nice, though (full story in the February issue of The Automobile, etc)


In August I drove the Peugeot 202 solo to Prescott


were it rained, horrendously, briefly clearing up enough on Sunday to take two photographs



Must get an SM1500 at some point.

In September I finally got my Rover back from its six-month spell away from home, not actually fixed but at least vaguely functional, so I drove round in that for a bit


I also went to Beaulieu Autojumble, where apparently the only photo I took was of this food stall. I had the prawn noodles with surry sauce, it was good (not many options for a non-meat eater at car events)


Also September, Goodwood Revival. Track porridge:


and car-park chod:


In October I thought I was going to die, and then went to look at a car for sale whilst in the grip of a sustained panic attack. I did not buy it because it looked like this underneath, but I'm I sort of think I should've done it anyway


In November the R16 was dragged out of its barn storage and cleaned up


And in December it sold, and that was all that happened.

Car resolutions for 2024: Buy more cars, sell some cars, more wine, more France, more events generally, more road trips. Drive the Palladium?!?!?!

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  • barrett changed the title to 37th time lucky: 2023 in review
  • 3 months later...

Last weekend was the VSCC Light Car Section Welsh weekend. this year marked 100 years since the RAC Small Car Trials, which inspired the event, and in which a Palladium did exceedingly well over 1000 miles of hard test driving at the hands of its designer H F Smallwood. Since the aim has always been to take my Palladium on this event it was absolutely essential that it was back up and running in time. Sadly it hasn't been driven for about 4 years, since it suffered some mechanical problems (on the way home from Wales, funnily enough) which resulted in a load of water in Number 4 cylinder and a couple of bent valves. Anyway, we rallied some troops and had a mad week of putting it all back together (absolutely minimal input from myself, obviously) and a few days before the trip it was running for the first time and sounding nice and healthy. I did a quick trip round the block and all seemed well, so all that was left was to keep a positive attitude and pack lots of tools. Here's how things looked after about 100 miles.


And approaching the border


Noo hood or weather equipment wasn't great considering we were in the grip of Storm Kathleen, but the weather was pretty kind on the way up and I did 200 miles behind the wheel with no problems whatsoever. Made it to Wales and spent two days fannying about, actually much more challenging than the drive up, driving on small roads with lots of hills etc. Here it is in the middle of a section through normally-closed Forestry Commission roads


It shed a sidelamp lens going over a nasty bump annoyingly. Here it is resting at the summit of Bwlch-Y-Groes, 'the Welsh Terror', a absolutely nasty very long climb which saw off a few competitors back in 1924, but which the Pall sailed up without any problems (in first gear)


And here it is going down the other side


After all that, we set off quite early on Sunday. The first leg was quite tough going with awful rain and wind, but the last 100 miles were pretty great going.


Got back by 6pm which was alright. The best part of 700 miles covered in four days, which might not sound like much but it takes a huge amount of concentration and energy to drive this thing at speed. Apart from a blocked slow runnning jet there were zero mechanical issues for the whole weekend. The number plate bolts came loose, one of the wing valances sheered the rivets holding it in and was rattling around, I think the gearbox is possibly even nosier than it was before but otherwise it was smooth sailing! So glad to actually get this heap to Wales and re-enact the 1924 event, which was the marque's most notable achievement, particularly on this anniversary year. Next stop: get a hood made.


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  • barrett changed the title to 37th time lucky: Palladium goes for a drive
1 minute ago, Asimo said:

Does the car really stay so clean or did you wash it for each photo?

Welsh rain my friend. Combined with the horizontal breezes it’s like  Karcher on steroids.

 I’m dying to checkout the upper body and head apparel needed for this oddessey?

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Nah it's fuggin' filthy, it just doesn't show up too well in the pics


4 minutes ago, EyesWeldedShut said:

Welsh rain my friend. Combined with the horizontal breezes it’s like  Karcher on steroids.

 I’m dying to checkout the upper body and head apparel needed for this oddessey?

Old military overcoat (surprisingly water-resistant) and a woolly hat, no North Face rubbish here!

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10 hours ago, Saabnut said:

@barrett what diameter is the missing side light glass? I have a box of odd ones, happy to donate if I have the correct size

Thanks! It's a 2 3/8in 'bullseye' type

10 hours ago, High Jetter said:

Stunning. Just how old is this heap marvel of engineering again? Hope you feel you did it proud.

It's 101-years old, which is nuts really. In my mind a 100-year old car is a Brighton Runner, not something anyone could jump in and drive without instruction, or drive to Wales and back without feeling like a mobile roadblock. Just reinforces quite how fast car design was moving in the first few decades of its existence. And this thing definitely wasn't cutting-edge in any way (except the front-wheel brakes, which were unusual on a car of its class/size, and the four-speed box). Realistically it could have been built in 1913 with the available tech.

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15 hours ago, barrett said:

The best part of 700 miles covered in four days, which might not sound like much

It does. There are many, many cars on AS that have a lower annual mileage!

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