Archive for the ‘Editorial’ Category

Images – Harpenden Classics on the Common 2008

If I had a stick, a very big one, and if I had the mind to shake it at all the classic cars at this year’s classics on the common event in Harpenden the stick would have felt completely inadequate. There were what felt like an infinite number of cars, with infinite variety, though I suspect that’s just my aching legs talking.

This year’s event was a special one as one of the driving forces behind it, Peter Madden, has been named as the 2008 Meguiar’s ‘UK Car Enthusiast of the Year’. Deservedly so I think.

Photographing the cars at this kind of event is a little problematic as the number of visitors and the number of exhibitors makes it virtually impossible to photograph anything without there being people and other cars in shot. I mean, just look:


Unless the idea is to create documentary images, it can be very frustrating. Basically, the choice is to either to frame the shot and hope you get a fraction of a second when luck smiles upon you, or forget about shooting the whole of the car. I tried a bit of both.

This year I turned up relatively early and was greeted with the most spectacular convertible Ford Zephyr.


I had a good long chat with Terry, the owner, including a guided tour of the machine. Not just any ordinary Zephyr this one. It just may well be the last surviving original example. It also has a somewhat glamorous history; it was once owned by the bass guitarist of the Shadows, it starred in a number of commercial ventures and is soon to feature in the up and coming film Telstar. As Terry walked me around the car I couldn’t help admire all the work that has gone into it. It’s the same feeling I get at all these events. If it wasn’t for the dedication and, I suppose, the obsession of owners like Terry cars like this would have been consigned to a few old photographs and a breakers yard.

Talking of films:


I had a chat with the sound man, who was standing nearby with one of those squirrels on a stick. The crew, a British one, were filming the event for a TV program called Car Crazy (this one perhaps). It won’t be shown in the UK but is intended for the exclusive consumption of our American cousins. “It’s a very English affair” I said. “All we need now is some people eating cucumber sandwiches”, he replied.

Did I mention there was cricket:


One of my favourite marques is Triumph and I’ve been a Triumph owner for decades. There were quite a few of them there including this TR4 A:



It’s about at this point that the event was overwhelmed with people and, even though I was sure that there wasn’t a free patch of ground available anywhere, exhibitors were still turning up:


I had a good twenty minutes to get from the centre of the event to the side of the road to take that shot. You can hear an AC Cobra coming from miles away.

I had a good chat with the owner of every car that I shot, unless I couldn’t find them, which is always a great part of covering an event like this. They all have a story to tell, particularly the lovely lady who turned up in a mini which was sporting a Rover V8 engine under the hood …. and in the front passenger compartment. By this stage I had pretty much given up hope of shooting a whole car for the rest of the day. People, people everywhere.

I gravitated toward a beautiful black Jaguar E-Type and got chatting with her equally beautiful owner. She imported the car from California and her husband had rebuilt the engine … in the kitchen I think.

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“It must be great to have someone around that’s so handy with mechanics”, I said. “I never see him”, she replied. I think she was joking.

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The thing about E-types is no matter where you point your lens, there’s something beautiful to photograph.

The rest of the day was spent in enjoying even more automotive splendor.

Rolls Royce grill and lights
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Bentley dash
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Chevrolet Fleetline grill and light
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There’s something special about the Harpenden event. There are no competitions, no separate classes, no wandering judges, just a whole heap of wonderful cars and a huge number of people.

All that remains is to congratulate all the people involved in organizing the event. It was spiffing.

Note to editors: MakingImages has a stock archive of images from the 2008 Classics on the Common event. Please contact us to discuss your image needs.

Contact details:
MakingImages – Photography by John Joannides
t: 07976 651133