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Classic bikes and cars to tour the island

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Paul Joy is behind a parade of classic cars and bikes that will tour Bermuda on Sunday. He’s pictured with the white 1968 MGB convertible he built last year in the background (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Classic car and bike enthusiasts are planning a tour of the island on Sunday (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Anyone with a classic car or bike that is 25 years or older, is invited to join in the Classic Vehicle Tour on Sunday (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Triumphs, MGBs, Mobylettes …. if you love the classics, keep your eyes peeled Sunday as some of Bermuda’s finest are expected to travel the island.

Paul Joy is behind the parade. A huge fan of vintage automobiles, he’s eager to meet people that share his enthusiasm and to display the 1968 MGB convertible he restored only last year.

“It’s a group of us that have classic cars and bikes,” he said. “We thought it would be a fun thing to create a day for people to get their vehicles out.

“Basically we are doing a classic bike and car drive along the island for like-minded enthusiasts of classic cars and bikes that are older than 25 years.”

Interested owners are invited for a 10am coffee at the Fairmont Southampton. The group will leave promptly at 10.30am for Hamilton, where they will stop briefly at City Hall before travelling along the North Shore to St George’s.

Said Mr Joy: “We’re going to park in [King’s] Square for people to enjoy and see the vehicles and then we’re going to have refreshments at White Horse [Pub & Restaurant].”

Anyone with a classic vehicle that’s more than 25 years old is welcome. There is no cost attached.

“Lots of people on the island are not very open about it but there’s a lot of enthusiasts,” he said. “Anything to do with classic bikes and cars – they take it very seriously.

“We’re aware that there could be as many as 20 or 25 classic cars that are on the island that are of that age. Now whether or not we’re going to get them all … realistically we’re thinking maybe 15 cars and probably 20 to 30 bikes.

“It could be anything from Triumphs to old Cyruses and Mobylettes and things like that on the bike side; on the car side it will be Morris Minors, MGBs, MG TCs and things like that.”

His convertible was a birthday present from his wife last year.

“I’ve always been a car guy – literally since I was five years old sitting in my father’s lap, steering the wheel. That was 56 years ago so yeah, I had the bug very early on.”

As far as car choice, he thinks there’s an element of “nostalgia” that led him to his MGB.

“My cousin Ken Dear used to be one of the top boat racers here and he and all of his friends, when I was a child, all had MGBs. For me it was a case of wanting to, but I thought I never would, until my wife gave me it for my birthday.”

Restoring the derelict car so that it was fit for the road became a labour of love.

“The way it works in Bermuda is that you can’t bring a vehicle in. You actually have to have a vehicle that is licensed here on the road. If you’re lucky enough to find one that is in good condition and somebody is willing to sell it to you, obviously you can buy that.

“In our case we bought a wreck; a complete salvage job but of course because it had a license and so forth. Because it’s been registered on the road you then can build it up but you have to literally start from scratch.”

It took Mr Joy six months to get in the necessary parts and complete the rebuild.

“The result is really good,” he said. “It’s turned out very well. My car’s 52 years old and it’s great to see it back as it was when it was brand new, which is kind of the goal.

“I think it’s just an exercise of patience and enjoyment. In some cases it’s people who want to customise older bikes – like with some choppers and other [models] on the road – but in a lot of the cases there are people who want to create an original authentic car as mine is.”

Vespas, Lambrettas and Triumphs are all popular rebuilds. It helps that vehicle parts are in plentiful supply and readily available.

Said Mr Joy: “It’s not difficult to find parts, just expensive to do.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re just “a gentleman enthusiast” as mechanics can help through tough spots such as building and painting, he added.

Aside from their appearance, classic cars are easily identified by their license plates which limit their use to Sundays and holidays.

“You can’t have it as an extra car on top of the car you have on your assessment number,” Mr Joy said. “You don’t actually have to have an assessment number for a classic plate.”

The Classic Vehicle Tour will leave from the front car park of the Fairmont Southampton at 10.30am on Sunday, weather permitting. Anyone with a classic bike or car is welcome to join

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Published October 30, 2020 at 12:00 pm (Updated October 30, 2020 at 12:09 pm)

Classic bikes and cars to tour the island

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