September 2008 - Organiser - Lawrence Wood (Mk I Roadster)
After much anticipation, an impressive collection of 11 surviving Costello GTs and Roadsters gathered by the village green of Tilford, Surrey on the 5th September 2008 - the first official meeting of its kind. All gleaming in the late summer sunshine, they represented the largest gathering of Costellos ever, and one that it is hoped will be repeated next year with yet more cars present.
Guest of honour was Ken Costello himself who took great pride in seeing so many of his own creations assembled together and in such pristine condition. He wasted no time in getting under the bonnets of every car present, enthusiastically answering questions and posing for photographs. Ken later confessed that he was "blown away" by the whole event and is looking forward to attending the next one, this time driving his own car!
Many thanks are due to those of you who made the effort in driving to Surrey, and sharing your enthusiasm for your special car. Listed below are those who proudly showed their vehicles:
Harry Irvine - MkII Roadster, Lawrence Wood - MkI Roadster, Peter Brodt - MkII GT (Germany) - Special thanks to Peter who drove over 600 miles to be present, Richard Fairclough - MkI Roadster, Alan Worth - MkI GT, James Ostler - MkII Roadster, Laurie Way - MkII GT, Garry Heath - MkII GT - Trailered, Oliver Marchant - MkI GT - Trailered, Roger Barker - MkII GT (Avon) - Trailered, Thierry Denant - LHD Mk I GT (France)
And to those Costello owners enthusiastic enough to join in but unable to bring their restoration projects with them: Roger Cook, Ben Tovey, Steve Wright, one-time owner Steve Whistlecroft who just happened to be passing, and of course Ken Costello.
A special mention for involuntary absentee Thierry Denant and his unique automatic left hand drive Costello GT. Having left home in Paris at lunchtime, he drove North to within a whisker of the Calais ferry terminal only to suffer a failed fuel pump. Stranded by the roadside, he telephoned Lawrence the evening before the meeting to express his disappointment in not being to meet Ken and the other owners, but a strengthened resolve to attend the next meeting.
Finally, the gathering over, four cars enjoyed a blast through the Sussex Downs followed by lively conversation and late afternoon refreshments at the Noah's Ark in nearby Lurgashall. Lawrence remarked that it was quite something seeing three other Costellos in his rear-view mirrors, and listening to that wonderful V8 engine note as they chased him hard over the hills.
Ken pronounced himself touched and amazed by it all. He'd never seen so many of his cars in the one place before, nor been the focus of such an enthusiastic gathering. "I've had my brains picked so often," he said happily, "I'm surprised there's any left! When's the next do?" The date and venue for that has still to be decided, but in the meantime keep an eye on the site as a dedicated page to this event will be launched shortly. Also keep an eye out for more coverage in October's Octane.
You can enjoy more pictures from the event by clicking on the Google Picasa gallery logo below. If you were there taking photographs yourself and would like to share them with other enthusiasts, please send them to Lawrence (preferably in jpeg form) and he will include them in the gallery.
A Happy Coincidence
Not long after our cars were all lined up along the green, a passing motorist stopped and joined us. Steve Whistlecroft's father (see picture bottom left) had apparently owned a Costello some thirty years ago and Steve hadn't really seen any since. Yet there were a dozen of them, all in a row! No wonder he stopped. It turns out that the Costello in question now belongs to Patsy Turl, and Steve has kindly taken the trouble to bring us up to date on its early years. Take a look in the Roadsters section for his story and on Patsy and Chris' Turl's own page.