A farm on an ancient site laden with the history of ironmaking in the Weald hosted the start of the long-awaited Uckfield Lions Classic Car Run last Sunday.
Hogge Farm, Buxted, together with Hogge House, saw the foundation of an ironfounding furnace on a stream, north of the current A272.
Working with French-born cannon-maker Pierre Baude and for his employer parson William Levett, Hogge succeeded in casting the first iron cannon in England, in 1543. After Levett’s death, Hogge went into business for himself, producing cannons with the process he had helped perfect.
And last Sunday, Crosthwaite and Gardiner, suppliers to the motor racing industry based at Hogge Farm, welcomed drivers and passengers of more than 130 classic vehicles taking part in the Lions’ milestone annual charity event. The annual run 10 years ago saw 12 cars took part and last year’s drew 63. Drivers also visited the company’s workshops and thanked Richard Crosthwaite for giving them what they described as a ‘rare and fascinating opportunity.’ Their drive then took the slightly shorter route of 30 miles (compared with last year’s 50) through the countryside, followed - as usual - by a pig roast at the Halfway House pub, Isfield.
A Lions spokesman said: “We’re still counting the proceeds. Last year we raised more than £1,400 which sent to three local groups catering for disabled young people. We confidently expect to top that this year when we are giving 25 per cent of what we raise, plus an extra £1,000 to the Hospice in the Weald. This was the wish of Richard in memory of his business partner, John Gardiner.”
Entries ranged in age over 86 years from an old BSA three wheeler, a MG VA prototype built for the 1936 Motor Show, a prewar Stutz, numerous Jaguars, MGs, Scimitars, Minis, various Fords and even VW camper vans up to relatively modern Ferraris, Cougars and Porsches. The highlight was a genuine modern American Ford Stealth Interceptor police car built specially for - and only available to - police forces from Claire City, Michigan, powered by a V8 4.6l Raptor engine capable of reaching 60mph in 8.4 seconds.
Organisers said the US Police Interceptor, equipped with sirens, flashing blue and red lights, spotlight, airhorns and public address systems, kept law and order and ensured excellent driving standards on the run.
Historic racing was Crosthwaite and Gardiner’s original concept in the 1960s and they still aim to provide an expert service for all drivers and supporters.