A warm sunny Friday at Alford brought together people from around the world when a group of international friends and their valuable vintage and classic cars arrived at Grampian Transport Museum on the final day of their own ‘Tour of Scotland 2019’. Organisers Chris and Claire Keith-Lucas from East Sussex, in their racing pedigree 1959 Jaguar XK150S, get together annually with friends from the south of England, Holland and Canada to give their lovely cars an airing on an informal tour. This year they chose Scotland, meeting in Pitlochry at the beginning of May and making their way around the NC500 coastal route, spending two days together on Orkney and ending up near Grantown on Spey on Thursday evening. Friday was the last day of the trip and Chris remembered visiting the museum 10 years ago, so called earlier in the week and arranged for the tour to drop in.

Assistant curator and events coordinator Neil Thomson took the call “Chris asked if we could accommodate up to 19 cars, including Jaguar SS100, XK 120s, 140, 150s and E-type, Bentley 41/2 litre, BMW 327, Mercedes 300SL and Porsche Carrera 3.2, it was a very exciting prospect and we were delighted to see them. We have an exclusive ticket for car clubs and organised tours like this which includes lunch in the entrance price and so they made GTM their lunch stop. The cars were superb, all quite rare and many with competition pedigree, they made a wonderful sight and sound.”

The 1928 Bentley 41/2 litre was owned and driven by Bob and Pam Francis from Calgarie, Canada. Bob also owned one of the Jaguar XK120’s, being driven by a friend. “We keep the cars in the UK because these are the roads they should be driven on” said Bob “This is a wonderful museum, we have really enjoyed our tour of Scotland and our visit today, you’re all so friendly”.

One of the admirers of Bob’s Bentley was another visitor to the North East after a long absence. Alan Taylor left Aberdeen at the age of two when his parents emigrated to Perth, Western Australia, 53 years ago. On his first ever trip back to his birthplace to visit relatives in Aberdeen he was at the museum when the tour arrived and couldn’t believe his eyes. “This is amazing, to be here on such a special day and seeing some of the cars I’ve only ever read about. This is a day I won’t forget”

One of the most special cars was an original 1936 SS100 Jaguar, owned and driven by Brian and Pat Arculus from West Sussex. The SS 100 was the first Bill Lyons car to bear the Jaguar name, originally as a model name but later adopted for the iconic British brand. This rare car isn’t hidden away though and Brian also regularly competes with it in historic racing events.

As they left the museum for their ‘end of tour’ dinner back at Grantown, Chris and Lesley Challacombe from North Devon, driving their classic Porsche Carrera 3.2, summed up their visit “The Grampian Transport Museum is one of the best we have visited. We’re so glad we came and we’ll be back one day!”