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The Pembleton Diaries

Chris Day

It is Sunday March 22, 2009 and I am in a pub on Exmoor sitting with a pint of Otter Ale and waiting for my roast of Exmoor beef to arrive. Outside the sun is shining and my Pembleton Brooklands is parked up with it's tonneau on looking almost unbearably lovely with its aeroscreens and riveted aluminium. Apparently I looked pretty good as well as I was assured by a passer-by who told me so, looking every bit the part in my Goodwood cap, dark glasses and Irvin flying jacket. By jove life is good. I know it and never forget it. The Pembleton is about these experiences, so, if you got one make sure you use it, if you are building one get on and finsh it and if you are thinking of getting one hesitate no longer.

Actually this is just todays experience but in my short Pembleton life of just 16 months I have had many wonderful times. It starts with a test drive in what is now my Brooklands. Bob Kennett built it and kindly sold it to me in November 2008. We drove around the Essex countryside in horizontal and very cold rain - and that was that. After that not much happened until the Citroen Specials Club week long rally in Belgium to celebrate their 20th anniversary. It was a slendid and fantastically well organised affair of unaldulterated pleasure involving the best of company, great driving and, amazingly, for last year, fine weather. It was my first real test of the Pembleton and it of me. Our relationship was confirmed as were my suspicions that 2CV Specials people have more fun than any other kit car group.

Next came the Dambusters Run and the hospitality of Colin and Jacqui Wilson and the fun of meeting other Pembleton people especially those stalwarts of the Forum, Mike Meakin and Duncan Grimmond, the ebullient Andrew Crathorne, the modest Clive Bray who had travelled up from Surrey and the intrepid David Stephenson - and others...

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The Dambusters meeting incorporated a trip to Cadwell Park to see VSCC racing which left me ask WHY hadn't I ever been to one of these meetings before. Still, the Pembletons lined up in the car park looked as good as anything else there if perhaps not quite as fast or quite of the character of the 4.2 litre V-Twin chain driven GN Thunderbug which left an indelible memory.

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Click to enlarge

Right, I've finished my lunch and although not being much of a beer drinker I have to say, that pint of Otter was pretty good but one more could make me reckless not say illegal. So its coffee and Ho! For the open road. It's Mothers Day so I'm hoping that most of the population will be stuck idoors having a tedious few hours and leaving the roads clear for me. Before I go I must tell you about the other notable event with the Pembleton last year. Goodwood Revival! I spent 3 days there with my 9 year old son and we had the best of times.

If you haven't been before then do your utmost to get there next time but if you go don't forget to dress up. Have a look at the Goodwood Revival website and search Youtube. Again the Pembleton looked the part parked up amongst the old and exotic and the cars - looking the part and more. Despite its 1986 registration plate I was ushered into the pre 1965 car park everytime.

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Since lunch I have been from Dulverton to Simonsbath, Lynton, South Molten and back to Dulverton and now stopped a few miles short of Tiverton for a comfort break. I can't believe I have lasted this long after the beer and coffee. Truth is I have been driving with clenched teeth and avoiding the potholes with more than the usual care for the last few miles. I was right about the traffic, I have had Exmoor to myself. Wonderfully sunny but much breezier and colder on the top and near the coast. On one of the high bits my hat blew off which, in the Pembleton, simply means reversing, reaching out and retrieving it before continuing with as much aplomb as can be mustered which, if there is an audience, is not easy as they are usually doubled up with laughter. One way or another Pembletons spread happiness wherever they go. There has been an annoying metallic tinkling noise from the right hand side which is proving difficult to trace.

I am now back in Bridport. I was going to turn off the M5 for Cullompton but decided that I was enjoying myself so much I went on to Exeter. Even the motorway section was great. The trouble with Pembletons on the motorway is that the other cars are so slow! Actually my Brooklands with it's high gearing gets on very well on motorways. The Pembleton is parked up in my yard with the engine tickover as sweet as could be. These engines are like Guzzi engines, they thrive on usage. I have driven more than 150 miles today. Have I enjoyed it? Do I want to go out again? Do I love my Pembleton? Stop asking such daft questions. Oh, and good news, I traced the annoying metallic tinkling noise on the right hand side - it was the double D-rings on my flying jacket collar!

Cheers
Chris


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