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A recent survey showed that the club had in it around 75 different makes of classic cars – from about 175 Austins and several motorcycles to one or two veteran vehicles.

The year was 1966. Tony Pelton, a schoolteacher from Newcastle, noticed a lot of cars on the road were Austins. Austins were plentiful and cheap at the time, so in a move to start up a car club for Austins, anyone he saw driving a 1930s, or later, Austin would be stopped, and a membership form thrust into their hands. Try doing that now!

Let us introduce you to North of England Classic and Pre War Automobiles Club

The Club catered for enthusiasts from the Scottish borders to below York and across to the historic counties of Cumberland and Westmorland. Roll forward almost 60 years and the Club is now a multi-marque classic car club and the largest historic vehicle club in the North of England, with 850+ members and growing. We caught up with Dave Stanley, Editor, NECPWA News, to find out more…  

Dave, please tell us more about the Club’s evolution

The Club, originally called the North-East Club for Pre-War Austins, was founded in 1966 by Tony Pelton and other pre-war Austin owners, in the absence of any such nearby organisation, primarily in the Newcastle upon Tyne area. With Tony’s re-location, it spread to the York area, and the club covered from the Scottish border to below York and across to Cumberland and Westmorland.

Because the Club covered such a large area, a series of local branches were set up. The branches were run by volunteer classic car owners in Branch Chairman and representative roles, with the main Club electing Chairman, Treasurer, and Secretary.

Branches at present are Tyneside, Cleveland, Durham, Bishop Auckland, North Yorkshire and York. Carlisle Branch closed a few years ago owing mainly to limited support.

With the Club’s wide coverage, it was almost inevitable that owners of makes and models other than Austins asked to join, and it gradually became a multi-marque club. To avoid confusion, it was agreed in 2012, to change the name to North of England Classic & Pre-War Automobiles, thus keeping the NECPWA acronym, but covering all marques.

How much are the membership fees?

Membership is £15, per year, and £25 for overseas members – yes, we have one! We have about 850 members. A dozen or so are under 30 years old whose memberships are free. This was introduced a few years ago to encourage young classic car enthusiasts. The NECPWA is, we believe, the only club in the UK doing this.

Please introduce the team who run the club

The Club Executive Committee consists of the Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Secretary, Regalia Officer, and Magazine/Advertising Editor. Other officials are Webmaster, Magazine Distribution, Librarian, Club Stores organiser, and DVLA Contact. All six branches also have Representatives/Contacts. We’re all volunteers; the Club has no paid officials.

For those that might not know, tell us a bit about the vehicles that are covered by the club

A recent rough survey showed that the club had in it around 75 different makes of classic cars – from about 175 Austins and several motorcycles, to one or two veterans.

The Club runs a stores department, can you tell us more?

Approximately 75% of the Club Stores consist of used parts collected over the years – some dating as far back as 1966. These, whether new or used, were donated by garages (usually for free) who were keen to dispose of stock no longer required. Other spares have been donated by club members or purchased from auto-jumbles and the like.

Most of the new stuff includes gaskets, spark plugs, points, condensers, carbon brushes, inlet and exhaust valves, some front grills (some still in original packing), radiator hoses, the list goes on! We also have a number of new road springs and exhausts, albeit unsure of what vehicle they fit! Used spares include engines, gearboxes, radiators, shock absorbers, and instruments.

How about you Dave, how long have you been involved?

A neighbour, who was an Austin 7-owning member in the early days of the club, encouraged me to join the Club in 2007, to attend local rallies, as Reliant Sabre and Scimitar Owners Club meetings for my Reliant Scimitar SS1 are mostly much further down the country. I was also interested in all kinds of makes since my first everyday car, an Austin A35 in the early ’60s. I volunteered to take over the editorship of the Club magazine, NECPWA News, in 2010 when the then editor resigned.

Do members receive any benefits or discounts for being part of the club?

Members receive a hard-copy 40-page Club magazine eight times a year. It can also be emailed as a PDF. Regalia Officers sell badged T-shirts, sweaters, baseball caps for rag-top drivers, etc. at reasonable prices too.

North of England Classic and Pre War Automobiles Club members receive a 15% discount on their classic car insurance premium with ClassicLine Insurance. Be sure to mention that you are a member of the North of England Classic and Pre War Automobiles Club when requesting a quote.

How often do members meet?

Social calendars are organised and operated by local branches and will tend to be pub meetings during the winter season, and evening runs out in classics during the rallying season.

The meetings during the summer months are generally on weekdays, once a month, and may be at a pub, a picnic area, and by arrangement at Garden Centres where refreshments are available.

NECPWA members often attend rallies by other classic car clubs, by invitation, via “Morgan’s Historic & Classic Vehicle Events Yearbook” or other club websites.

Some non-members may attend Tyneside Branch rallies on payment of a small fee for a ‘Season Ticket’ – those who do may be encouraged to join the Club!

Does the Club organise an annual rally?

The two major events are Bishop Auckland branch’s event at Newby Hall in July, and the main all-Club event is at the end-of-season Derek Cansfield Memorial Rally held at Beamish Museum usually at the end of September. Derek Cansfield was a long-standing Chairman of the Club.

The are other events organised by the branches, including week-long holidays and similar trips to Northumberland’s historic sites, exhibitions at NEC, the North East 500, and most of the car museums on the European continent and the east and west coasts of the USA.

What do you feel most proud of?

The small subscription compared with many single-marque clubs.

What’s your view on the future of the classic car scene in the UK?

The overall scene is changing for classic cars as pre-war cars move towards collections and museums, rather than on-the-road use, and modern classics are becoming more widespread. Home maintenance is also becoming rarer as even classics of the more modern era need computer expertise to fault-find.

And finally…

We’re looking forward to the Club’s 60th anniversary in 2026! Membership details and event dates are available at

So, these are the people behind one of our partner car clubs. Working hard behind the scenes to encourage the restoration and regular use of historic vehicles in the north of England. North of England Classic and Pre War Automobiles Club, thank you for taking the spotlight.

ClassicLine Insurance offers a range of car club insurance schemes that can provide revenue for your club as well as benefits and discounts for your members. To find out more about this and our specialist club liability insurance, visit our car clubs page.

All photos kindly provided by North of England Classic and Pre War Automobiles Club