The Car’s the Star – Could your classic win the Layer Marney Cup?

Entries have poured in from across the country but there’s still time to enter a revival of one of Britain’s earliest motor sport events.

The Layer Marney Cup, a fuel efficiency trial, first took place on 6th June 1914 and is being re-run (16 August 2015) with a whole host of machinery from across the decades since, but organiser Sheila Charrington says there’s still time to enter and she’s particularly on the look-out for cars from four different eras.

I’ve been surprised and delighted by the response from car enthusiasts throughout Essex,” says Sheila, whose family owns the 16th Century Tudor gatehouse, near Colchester. “There’s still time to enter before the event runs on Sunday 16th August, from 10:30 AM. I’m especially keen to attract entries from owners whose vehicles were built in the following decades; 1915 -1925, 1936-1945, 1966-1975 and 1986-1995.”

Two of the latest cars to be entered reflect British engineering at its finest from two very different eras. “Philip Clegg’s 1926 Rolls Royce is an absolute cracker,” explains Sheila. “It is quite beautiful but we also have a lovely 1956 Morris Minor in absolutely pristine condition. It belongs to Michael Gutsell and was originally bought by his aunt. He still has the original bill of sale and details of the garage that sold it. So as a piece of genuinely local motoring history, Michael has a real gem.”

 Michael Gutsell  and his Morris Minor r

The original trial, designed to test the vehicles’ fuel efficiency, was won by F C Byford who achieved an average of 42.26 miles per gallon in his Unic. To create a level playing field amongst the varying sizes of the entrant’s vehicles, the organisers weighed the cars and set the Ton Miles Per Gallon rule, by which the impressive trophy was ultimately awarded.

Byford managed 50.07 ton miles per gallon, pipping AMF Keddie’s De Dion by just 1.3 TMPG.

 Starting in Southend, the latter day Layer Marney Cup will leave Southchurch Park, pass through Shoeburyness before heading up to Stow Maries Airfield, where lunch will be served in the original Officers’ Mess. In time-honoured fashion, the cars will be weighed at Stow Maries and will then continue on to Promenade Park, Maldon before completing the event at Layer Marney Tower.

Car manufacturing giant Ford is also taking part, sending four cars from its past and present model ranges; a 1976 Ford Fiesta 1.0L – featuring the peppy little 957cc Kent engine that was used in Formula Ford single-seater racing for many years, a 1978 2.8L V6 Cologne edition Granada and two 2015 models, a 2.0L TiVCT hybrid electric Mondeo plus the Fiesta’s latest version, a 1.0L GTDi. Local dealerships Toomey and Roy Tolley are also joining in the fun, sending vehicles along to the event.

For more information, including an entry form and copy of the rules please contact, or visit

For ideas and inspiration for other great drives in Essex, motor over to


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