Passion for classic cars lands Ian award

Newton Poppleford resident Ian Hartnell is pictured with his stunning 1964 Rover P4 and his Viking a

Newton Poppleford resident Ian Hartnell is pictured with his stunning 1964 Rover P4 and his Viking award for Member of the Year and also with fellow club member Colin Newton with his 1972 Rover P5B with their club's Branch Award. The pair are looking forward to the classic car show at the Blue Ball in Sidford on June 25. Ref shs 23-16SH 7478. Picture: Simon Horn. - Credit: Archant

A car enthusiast from Newton Poppleford has been named the best Rover car club member in the country.

Ian Hartnell was presented the Viking Award for his services at an award ceremony.

The chairman of the Devon branch of the Rover P4 Guild is now gearing up for the Devon Classic Car Show, which returns on Saturday, June 25.

The branch also won the Simon Bedford award for the best branch in the country.

Ian said: “We were standing around while they were doing the presentations and the chairman of the national guild was talking about this chap who did this and that. I thought ‘he sounds really keen’ and then he said, ‘Ian Hartnell’. I was absolutely gobsmacked.”

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The grandfather-of-four began his love affair with the Rover P4 at the age of 17, when he worked as a gardener at a home in the Bickwell Valley. “I was asked if I could get the car out of the garage and it was a beautiful Rover 75,” he said.

“When you were used to driving an A35 van, it was quite something. I fell in love with the car.

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“In its day, it was classed as a gentleman’s car and I knew that I wanted one. He lent me the car for a weekend and I felt like a millionaire - until I had to put petrol in it.

“I drove down to Torquay, Taunton and Minehead.”

Over the years, Ian has bought and restored three P4s, which were produced by Rover between 1949 and 1964.

His passion for the model led him to launch the car show, bringing together fellow car enthusiasts to raise money for charity.

The event attracts 108 vehicles a year and features a number of stalls and a grand draw.

The show has supported Sidmouth Lifeboat for the past five years and, in 2015, raised £1,000 for the charity.

The Devon Classic Car Show will run from 11am to 4pm on the field near the Blue Ball Inn, Sidford, on Saturday, June 25.

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