Talk – Is that an Escort Mate? – Feb 2021

 The above line was the title of Marius Hopley’s talk to the club on Friday 12th February. He’s not only a classic car enthusiast, but also our District Governor, so members were all on their best behaviour. And it soon became clear that it wasn’t a Ford Escort, because his car of choice is the Vauxhall Viva.

The enthusiasm started as a teenager, when his father bought a brand new yellow Viva back in the 1970’s and he was hooked. Like so many “petrol heads”, I completely understand where he’s coming from. My father bought a new VW Beetle when they first came into the country in the 1950’s and although I don’t own one now, they always bring back great memories whenever I see one.

However, Marius is more than just an enthusiastic driver. He’s also a very hands on restorer, having completely renovated 4 different models of the Viva, including cutting and welding in new panels to eliminate the rust, rebuilding the engines and suspension, replacing the wiring – and he still owns all four cars, which he regularly uses and takes to classic car shows. More than that, one of the cars is his father’s original Viva, which he is currently rebuilding for the second time and intends to replace the petrol engine with an electric motor powered by batteries. Nigel Deakin will be impressed!!

Marius enthusiasm and knowledge of his subject was obvious and members clearly enjoyed the talk, it being followed by an interesting questions and answers session.

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