This year’s historic vehicle conference staged by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) looks set to be a classic and the October event is a late season date that must surely go into any enthusiast’s diary.
In fact such is the growing popularity of the event, FBHVC have been forced to relocate it this year from its traditional home at the Rolls Royce Owners Club HQ at Paulerspury to the British Motor Museum, Gaydon.
As communications director, Geoff Lancaster explains, “We loved holding the conference at Paulerspury, it’s such an atmospheric setting but last year was heavily oversubscribed and we had difficulty seating everyone for lunch so a move was inevitable. Following its development and re-opening, Gaydon is ideal. The conference facilities are superb and the museum is well worth a visit.”
Last year the focus was on parts supply and rising vehicle values, both topics which drew an enthusiastic crowd, but this year’s themes are set to break record attendances. This year being World Motoring Heritage Year under the patronage of UNESCO, heritage will be the keynote theme. How fitting therefore that the very symbol of British motoring heritage, Gaydon, should be the venue and that the keynote speaker should be Loyd Grossman, chairman of the Heritage Alliance. The Federation is a member of the Alliance, which is the biggest coalition of heritage interests in England, bringing together over 100 independent heritage organisations which represent interests as diverse as architecture, transport, ecclesiastical buildings and even organs. We can expect Mr Grossman as an acknowledged expert over many years to provide insights into the value of heritage to the UK’s culture and economy and to paint a picture of the context in which our own interest in ‘moving heritage’ sits within the wider heritage movement. There are also several challenges that are common across heritage sectors such as legislation, fiscal policies and the relative importance of preservation versus restoration. We can expect a lively debate.
Continuing with the theme, the greatest danger to the preservation of heritage is ignorance. Knowledge and awareness are the keys to preservation and it is therefore vital that we promote learning and knowledge transfer around historic vehicles. The Federation does this in a number of ways including encouraging young people through the Restoration Apprenticeship and through academic social and economic research. The latest piece of research carried out has been the 2016 National Historic Vehicle Survey (2016 NHVS) and the results of this will be launched at this conference. This has been the most extensive study ever undertaken into the historic vehicle movement and for the first time in addition to polling attitudes and opinions amongst enthusiasts the opportunity has been taken to survey the general public to provide a national context for our movement. Moreover, also for the first time the DVLA database has been acquired, analysed and cross- verified with survey responses to provide the most accurate information ever gleaned.
“The launch of the 2016 NHVS at the conference marks a very significant step forward for the historic vehicle movement in UK,” said FBHVC chairman, David Whale, “In particular knowing the value of our movement to the UK economy gives us tremendous power in our negotiations with government. This ensures we retain the current benign legislative environment and that is what allows us to freely use our historic vehicles on the nation’s highways. Several of our overseas colleagues have not been able to be so persuasive and now suffer restrictions on these freedoms”.
The FBHVC 2016 AGM and Conference will take place on 15 October 2016 at the British Motor Museum, Gaydon with the conference scheduled for the morning and the AGM in the afternoon. Admission is open to all member clubs and their affiliates and is free. Early applications should be made to the Secretary, Rosy Pugh. Lunch is available on a chargeable basis and admission to the museum is free. Trade supporters and other relevant parties requiring exhibition or display space should apply to the secretary, Rosy Pugh. Journalists seeking accreditation should contact the communications director, Geoff Lancaster.