Happy memories, good company and back to the future at SGMW Heritage Day

The good old days were revived with the return of the SGMW Heritage Day at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu.

Fourteen members and a large contingent of 22 motoring PRs and friends from the industry enjoyed our fourth heritage day at the Hampshire venue, home to a huge part of our motoring history.

The weather was kind to us, which made a welcome change, with early-morning drizzle soon making way for a dry, warm and, sometimes, even sunny day!

The cars available to drive included:

  • BMW – New M440i Convertible and 2011 1M Coupe.
  • Dacia – New Sandero.
  • Ford – New Mustang V8 Convertible and Mustang Mach-E.
  • Jeep – 1982 CJ-7.
  • Kia – 1991 Pride, 2006 Cee’d and 2007 Sorento.
  • Mazda – 1990 MX-5.
  • Renault – 1991 Clio 1.4RT automatic.
  • Suzuki – Ignis Hybrid Allgrip and Swift Hybrid.
  • Toyota – GR Yaris and 2001 Yaris; RAV4 Hybrid and 1994 RAV4.

There were two prizes at the event for car of the day and members’ car of the day, voted for by SGMW and the PRs. Both contests went right to the wire with only one vote separating the winners.

Car of the day, and a bottle of bubbles, went to the Stellantis group’s Jeep CJ-7 while Mark Bursa’s Kia Pride was judged members’ car.

Mark did the double by also topping our fun motoring quiz, getting all 10 questions right, to win a box of chocolates.

Rounding off the event, heritage day supremo and secretary Chris Rees, said: “It’s been really great – thanks for your support. It’s all gone really well.”

Chairman Ian Robertson ended the day with a special presentation of a Marks & Spencer hamper to Erica Haddon to mark her retiring as PR operations manager at Toyota (GB).

Ian said: “Erica has been a stalwart of the industry. She is brilliant and has been fantastic.”

Our heritage day is popular with both SGMW members and PRs and many of the latter also took the opportunity to try out competitors’ offerings and revive memories with cars from the heritage fleets.

Tom Richards, press relations manager of Kia UK which sponsored our pre-event dinner to mark the brand’s 30th anniversary in the UK, said: “This is an ideal venue because it has such history to it for cars in general, and the automotive industry, whether people are here to drive one of our original 1991 Prides in Kia’s 30th anniversary year in the UK or something from other manufacturers.

“It’s good weather, good company and fun as well.”

Alun Parry, Suzuki GB head of press and PR, said: “What I really like about this day is that it’s relaxed and a good way to catch up with people, particularly this year after nearly two years’ absence and not being able to work with and see everyone. Thanks ever so much for organising it.”

He particularly enjoyed driving the BMW 1M Coupe.

“I wanted to drive that to bring back memories of the original rear-wheel drive cars without too many driver aids. That car is exactly as I thought it would be to drive and every bit as good as I thought it would be.”

He also got behind the wheels of the Kia Pride, Renault Clio and original Toyota Yaris which had just 340 miles on the clock.

“That brought back memories of the Yaris launch when I was at Toyota,” he added.

Scott Brownlee, head of press relations and social media at Toyota and Lexus, said: “I always like coming here to the SGMW Heritage Day.

“It’s nice to drive old cars, Beaulieu is a nice place to come to and it’s nice to see all you guys. What’s not to like.

“We even come here when it’s raining and flooded!”

He added of the Jeep CJ-7 car of the day winner: “It’s the first car I have been in where you get wind round your ankles!”

SGMW members had gathered at Bartley Lodge Hotel, at Cadnam, the previous day where they were hosted by the Kia UK PR team to mark the brand’s 30th anniversary in the UK.

Before convivial pre-dinner drinks and a three-course meal, there was business to be done with 13 members present for an express AGM which had been postponed earlier in the year because of Covid-19 restrictions.

Great cars and good company made the return of the heritage day a blast from the past as SGMW members look forward to the future and an events-filled calendar.