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Bristol Hotrods - the History

Bristol Hotrods has a rich history dating right back to the beginnings of Hot Rodding in the U.K.

"All Souped Up and Nowhere To Go"

There had been no real 'club' scene in Bristol since the early days of The Renegades, a full on club that was started by the pioneer of rodding and customising in Bristol, Ian Furey-King. In the latter days of The Renegades era, a break-away group of diehard pre '49ers set up the Bristol Area Street Rods, but after this group faded away, not a lot happened - although the friendships that came with being in these Bristol clubs continues to this day.
With no scene as such, we all continued to meet up for the Billing Fun Run, the Hot Rod Supernationals, and other events large and small, plus the regular lads' meet at Merv Barnett's garage on Wednesday nights. Although the interest and support was there, we never actually got around to organising anything, so I decided to bite the bullet and try to get things started. I came up with Bristol Hotrods as a name - because that's what we were all about - and designed our logo, which was supported by whoever was at Merv's on that particular Wednesday night. Then we just needed a meeting place.

Traditionally, Tuesday night in Bristol was car night, going right back to Renegade times and the Tuesday nights at the well-known 'Springer' pub in Bristol. So the Tuesday nights continued (and still do).

Our first regular venue was the Sk8 & Ride indoor skate park in central Bristol, where we spent a busy and often packed first period. We had some serious interest from post '49 owners, so a secondary group became Bristol Hotrods and Customs. This group still remains but to a lesser extent. We eventually moved away from Sk8 & ride due to site redevelopment, and an aggressive wheel clamping company who didn't like anyone parking in their spaces even at night when they were closed.
Merv's garage and 'XFB 9T' - late 1970s
So off we went to a new venue at Bradley Stoke - a modern pub with a large car park and quiet Tuesday nights. Although the car park became busy the landlady was uninterested, with locals getting serving priority. This also became their busiest week night - word was getting around, and old and new faces were turning up.

The following year we moved on to the Folly Pub at Westerleigh where the Tuesday night became a local attraction, with joe public turning up to see the cars. On one memorable night the Apple County Boys turned up to make a great evening, and again the car park became rammed and too small for us.

The following year I found The Golden Heart where a very enthusiastic landlord wanted us at his pub, which had a large car park plus an overspill area. Unfortunately this guy was relieved of his post (shame) and although the new landlord liked the idea of us being there, promises of outside lights and extra bar staff didn't materialise. It was often difficult to get a drink because again Tuesdays had become such a popular night. We had all sorts turning up - I even remember in later years, a lady who must have been drawing her pension turning up on a Gold Wing trike - and a gentleman in his seventies in a '67 Mustang, on original ARE's, that he had owned for over 20 years - but again the pub seemed uninterested.

Tuesday nights at all of these venues became the pub's busiest week night - so you would think they would be more supportive, but as in so many previous years, we are now looking for a new venue for the coming year, so WATCH THIS SPACE...

The Club Today

We have become a close-knit bunch, and our ranks stay keen. We invite new people in when they show an interest in the way we are; it is not a free for all 'club', but certainly not elite. We have serious 'members' (for want of a better word) in Swansea, Newport Pagnell, Yeovil, Frome, Falmouth and Florida!

There is no committee, no money involved and hopefully no politics. We have a definite leaning towards certain vehicles - pre '49 glass or steel, post '49 Chevy trucks, Tri-Chevys and the like.

However 'club' nights are open to anybody in the spirit of having fun with cars, and we get a large cross section of vehicles on our Tuesday meets - including vintage, classics, bikes and scooters.

At some time in the future we would like to hold our own event for charity - this could possibly happen this year or next. Meanwhile, Phil Mitchell has worked very hard in building up a strong relationship with the guys at The Bristol Classic Car Show where many Bristol cars and others can be seen. We also have a strong turnout at two local events, the Bristol Volksfest and the Oldland 'Roadster' Show.

Of course, our biggest claim to fame is winning the music quiz at the Billing Fun Run in 2004 - we worked on this with help from Newport Pagnell Nervous Crew and the Swansea boyos. Our victory was a combined effort - we won fair and square with Keith Harman coming second - our winning had nothing to do with only two forms being handed!
Rod Rich's coupe under the BHR banner at a recent show
Rod Rich, 2007
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