ACTION ….1960s ICON AUDREY SET TO TOP THE BILL AT STRATFORD FESTIVAL OF MOTORING
A 1960s icon will be the star billing at this year’s Stratford Festival of Motoring over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend.
Audrey - the last known surviving vintage mobile cinema of her type - recently featured in George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces hit TV show. Described by Clarke as “the most amazing cinema bus in the world”, she is set to wow tens of thousands of people expected to attend the two-day festival on Sunday, April 30th and Monday, May 1st.
And it will be a bit of a homecoming for the 50-year- old classic beauty – whose Bedford SB chassis was fitted with coachwork by Coventry Steel Caravans.
Audrey was one of seven custom-built mobile cinemas built by the Government in 1967 to tour engineering companies around the country promoting modern production techniques in an effort to help improve UK productivity.
Auctioned off in 1974 at the end of the project, she is believed to be the only survivor of the seven. Over the years since various owners have lovingly completely restored her including upgrades to the engine, gearbox and brakes to handle modern traffic conditions, enabling her to tour events around the country for all to enjoy.
Her cinema has been given an update too, with modern cinematic technology replacing the original 35mm projector housed in a perspex dome above the driver’s cab, including a High Definition digital projection unit and Dolby 7:1 surround sound for the full cinema experience.
Today Audrey is owned by Ben Moorhouse who bought her in 2015. He said: “Stratford sounds like the perfect event that Audrey is great for, and the kind of audience that will be there will be incredibly excited about it I think.”
Speaking about his dream to now restore Audrey’s original matching trailer that was found on a Sussex farm in 2015, he added: “The plan is to turn the trailer into a cocktail bar, or a space that can be used for all kinds of functions. I suspect Audrey will still be the priority for people’s bookings, but this is more about restoring the trailer.”
Work on the trailer is set to start soon and will be part funded by a crowdfunding campaign which will be launched just after the Festival.
Festival visitors will be able to watch Pathe archive newsreels dating back to the early 1890s, as well as material provided by the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust and hear about the plans for the trailer. Audrey’s attendance at the event is sponsored by local classic car hire company - The Open Road.
Tony Merrygold, of The Open Road, said: “The appearance of such an important piece of British motoring heritage is a real coup for the Stratford Festival of Motoring.
“The combination of the Vintage Mobile Cinema, Pathe newsreel films of Stratford and the Heritage Trust films of Jaguars will provide something for everyone who visits Stratford over the festival weekend.”
The event – which last year attracted 60,000 visitors - will include around 300 classic cars parked throughout Stratford town centre for the two days.