Report from Richard Sloman

The Hotel in Davos was a little strange, having been a sanitorium until recently, it was however comfortable and the breakfast set us up for the day.

The first task was to move the Cortina as it was blocking in Phil and Jenny in their Savage and they were keen to get going. Unfortunately, the Cortina was misbehaving and picked that moment not to start, so we pushed it out of the way and the early risers got on their way. As the rest of the team, Steve and Rob Weston, Rob Sergeant, Graham Brown and Pete Cooper were not yet ready to go, I thought I would sort out the few minor problems with the car, and make it start! In Cortina the drivers door had decided to stick shut for no apparent reason, resulting in undignified scrambling in through the passenger side, so I took off the door card and without doing anything else it cured itself! So I squirted the mechanism with WD40 to make me feel like I’d done something and put it all back together. The non-starting issue was cured by replacing the distributor cap and also the spark plugs, which were very black and lumpy, probably from the high altitude and coasting.

We set off in convoy with Steve and Rob in the lead as usual, Rob having honed his navigation skills over the previous twelve days to a faultless level. Out of Davos we went through a long curving tunnel which seemed to go on for ever. Rob, as usual, was unable to resist the temptation of hearing the roar of the Essex V6 in his Savage and gave it a bit of welly! Through the green valleys between the Swiss mountains we ended up driving alongside a train which kept pace with us for a mile or so. The roads were rather wider and more sweeping than we had got used to over the previous few days and we made good progress. Brett and Sally in their brown Mk4 estate joined the back of our convoy just before we reached Lichtenstein. We later found out that they had little or no brakes, which is a little alarming when they are following you!

Lichtenstein was very clean and neat with some interesting modern architecture, plate glass buildings reflected our little convoy of Mk1s, 2, 4 & 5 Cortinas. We stopped for petrol as the petrol prices were surprisingly low in Lichtenstein. As we came into Bregens at the southern end of the Bodensee, the traffic became rather heavier and we struggled to stay together, but once out of the town Rob and Steve lead us on some great driving roads, between the hop gardens. Fast sweeping bends with good views ahead, made for some fun driving. We reached Ravensburg early in the afternoon and caught the school traffic, we weren’t delayed for long and soon found our way into Weingarten and the hotel, we knew we were in the right place by the six Mk2 Cortinas lined up outside! After checking in, I found my way into the centre of Weingarten, having been told by Linda and Charles that the Basilica of St Martin was a must see. The church was indeed spectacular, with a “wedding cake” baroque interior – the organist started playing as I came in to create an extraordinary atmosphere. Weingarten was a delightful little town with a pleasant pedestrianised centre, although there seemed to be rather a large number of familiar faces eating ice cream in cafes.

Magnus and Graham got to the hotel rather later than everyone else. After an comfort earlier stop where the Lotus F1 team were having trouble with a back door on the truck, they’d had a rather extended lunch break due to a a serious bodging session on a broken exhaust on Graham’s MkII estate.

That evening we met up in the hotel bar. It was the second Tuesday of the month which means it’s our local Cortina pub meet, normally held at the Marquis of Granby in Esher, Surrey. At least half of the usual attendees were in Weingarten, so we went for a traditional German curry, inviting Rob Sargent along to represent the West Country! The waiter had worked in Manchester so the ordering was not too much of a problem, although the food was rather more fiery than any of us were used to, even the Korma! We adjourned to a nearby bar for a nightcap or two and found the Hill family and Brett and Sally already there. A late night caused a few sore heads the next morning!

That’s just one day of an amazing fortnight, which truly was the trip of a lifetime. I would like to thank Graham Orchard and Pete Pascoe for organising the trip and Rob Sargent for organising the Millers sponsorship, and all the other participants whose company made it such an enjoyable trip.

Day 13

All photos © Cortina MkII Owners Club LTD