Drivers gather for Tojeiro rally

A Tojeiro design outside the cottage in Barkway where the factory was based

A Tojeiro design outside the cottage in Barkway where the factory was based - Credit: Archant

A CAR designer who built specialist vehicles in a Crow country village had his work celebrated at a rally.

John Tojeiro, a ground-breaking specialist car designer and builder, had a factory hidden away behind a thatched cottage in Barkway, which operated in the 1950s and 1960s. He died in 2005 at the age of 81.

Barkway car enthusiast Jim Dalton has been investigating Mr Tojeiro’s story, and that of another local engineer, Ernie Bailey, of Buckland.

He organised a reunion for surviving members of the Tojeiro and Bailey families, some of their employees, and present day owners of classic vehicles.

Forty enthusiasts, including Mary Tojeiro, John’s widow, gathered at the Cokenach cricket ground along with a number of vintage vehicles.

Mr Dalton said: “It was a thoroughly successful day. Everyone enjoyed reminiscing about the days 50 years ago when these cars were state-of-the-art race winners, and Barkway and Buckland enjoyed their short spell as centres of the motor industry. In fact, we plan to do it again next year.”

Tojeiro cars, mostly sports racing designs, were built to order at the Barkway factory, with one of his vehicles finishing eighth in the Le Mans 24 hour race in 1958. The roads around the village were often used for late night test runs of new cars.

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Mr Bailey was running his own successful coachwork company, where the body for AC Buckland tourer was built. Inevitably, the two engineers met, with Tojeiro designing the AC Ace, predecessor to the famous AC Cobra.

Two Tojeiro cars, one AC Buckland five AC Aces and a selection of other classic cars were on show, along with photos of the factories and of the cars in build and in action.

Later, the Tojeiros and ACs posed for a photo-shoot in Barkway High Street outside the thatched cottage that had witnessed their birth.

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