The dark winter days between Christmas and New Year, any chance to get out of the house is welcome, especially if it involves checking out some neat cars, so when our friend Chris Smith suggested a day out on a garage tour in deepest Hampshire, we were there, camera charged and ready. The main purpose of the trip was for Chris to inspect some details on another ’36 Ford to aid the reassembly of his own 3-Window (See earlier post ‘From the Shires’ of Chris’s car), so Chris had been in touch with Simon Phillips of the Rolling Blokes club, and a trip South was arranged. We managed to visit three of the ‘Blokes’ and check out their garages, but on this post we’ll start off with Simon’s impressive place, tucked away down some leafy lanes somewhere in the Meon Valley.
Simon’s garage was originally an open-sided barn, typical of the area where owning and keeping horses is very popular. It’s taken a lot of work to convert the long building which originally had a dirt floor, to the garage that it is now. It’s actually deep enough for four cars nose to tail, and just inside the front door was Simon’s chopped ’34 Five Window Coupe, originally an old ex-drag car that he imported from California back in 209. We’ve seen this car at many VHRA events both with and without its fenders, but it always looks cool. The Coupe has recieved many traditional updates at Simon’s hands, with the latest being a new French block taken out to 293ci and stuffed with all the right parts, courtesy of Jim Turnbull’s Royal Kustoms. Look for it at Pendine Sands in 2015.
Further back in the shop was Simon’s latest aquisition, a cool ’65 Falcon Convertible. We hadn’t seen this car before, or knew he owned it. Although appearing mostly stock with all the original trim, apart from the chrome smoothies and low profile rubber. The most noticeable thing about the car though is its super low stance, yes its bagged, and with the top down, the whole car is scarcely waist high apart from the windshield frame. The fine Ford retains its six-pot and three speed, as it’s strictly a summer cruiser.
Delving even further back, behind the Falcon, we recognised the car that Simon is most known for, his English ’32 Sedan hot rod, built over ten years ago now, not that you’d know to look at it. We’ve seen Simon and family in it at many rod runs over the years, and at the drags, so the car has seen plenty of highway miles. Sat in the garage it looked as if it was a new build, it was that clean. The all-steel Sedan features a Chevy 350 V8 under the hood. and for our money, is the nicest English-bodied ’32 Sedan around. In case you’re wondering, the most obvious differences, are that English ’32’s have ‘suicide’, or rear hinged doors and a different roof line above the windscreen. Co-incidentally, Chris also has one, a car with a lot of UK history, though when its rebuild is complete and it hits the street again, it will look very different than before. We look forward to seeing both these sedans together one day.
Completing Simon’s collection, and just visible behind the Sedan, is Simon’s Series 1 Land Rover 88-inch WB Pick Up. The little Landy packing a 3.9 V8 Rover motor under the hood, in case Simon fancies a bit of green laning! Simon certainly has built himself what may rodders would consider a dream garage, plenty of space, plus some cool cars to work on. Not only that, he’s generous enough to share it as there is a games/club room upstairs, where the Rolling Blokes get together to watch DVD’s, maybe crack a beer, and generally socialise, having now seen it, we just wish we lived closer!
Stay tuned for the next instalment, when Simon took us to visit fellow ‘bloke’, Brian Newman, and his garage.
Our thanks to Simon and his lovely wife Zoe for letting us snoop around, and for the pizza and cups of tea!