Car possibly owned by Dam Busters test pilot to feature alongside other classics at Leamington car show

It is thought to have been owned by the Vickers chief test pilot Captain Joseph Summers, who flew the Wellington bomber during the testing of the ‘bouncing bomb'

Monday, 13th September 2021, 11:03 am
Updated Monday, 13th September 2021, 11:25 am
Mike Darby with Poppy, an MG TA. Photo supplied

A car that was possibly owned by a Dam Busters test pilot is set to feature alongside other classic vehicles at a car show in Leamington later this month.

The pre-war MG car will be among some 160 classics lining up in the Pump Room Gardens on Sunday September 26 for the annual ‘Cars at the Spa’ show, organised by Leamington Rotary Club to raise money for local charities.

The car, built in Abingdon in 1934, is thought to have been owned by the Vickers chief test pilot Captain Joseph Summers, who flew the Wellington bomber during the testing of the ‘bouncing bomb’, which was used against German dams in May 1943.

Owner Mike Darby, a model engineer from Warwick, said: “We believe it was first owned by Captain Summers, who was the test pilot for the experimental bouncing bomb dropped from a Vickers Wellington near Portland, Dorset.

"He had been given the task by his close friend and inventor Barnes Wallis, who was depicted in the famous film about the raid, The Dam Busters.

“The MG is a quintessentially British car and this one was originally painted in British Racing Green but by the time I bought it six years ago it had been repainted red and was known as Poppy.

"It keeps me pretty busy as the maintenance is always ongoing, a bit like the Forth Bridge,” said Mike, who has just re-done the cylinder head.

Mike’s company, Chuffed 2 Bits, provides quality garden railway services and accessories for 16 mm and G scale garden railway enthusiasts.

He also makes a variety of models, including radio-controlled installations for film sets at Pinewood Studios.

Poppy will line up alongside scores of cars from individual owners and classic car clubs across the region. Admission is free to the public between 10.30am and 4pm and there will also be live entertainment throughout the day, plus food and drink outlets and a picnic area.

Rotary fundraising committee chairman Barry Andrews said that every penny raised would go to deserving local charities whose fund-raising had suffered during the pandemic.

“In addition, we will be inviting visitors to make a donation and there will also be programmes on sale,” he said. “I would also like to thank our main sponsor, Warwick Kia, as well as Leamington BID, the British Motor Museum and Newsline PR for their generous support.”