- My son with a classic car

Gawsworth Hall Car Show 1st May 2017 #Classic-cars

Observations about the stately home classic car show and the denizens of these events. #Porsche, #ferrari, #bond, #lotus

So, this bank holiday we went to the Gawsworth Annual Classic Car show. It's on every year, event details are here:- www.gawsworthhall.com/car-show/

We took the kids and our German friends. Our friend from Jena in East Germany owns a Triumph Spitfire he bought in San Francisco and shipped backed to Germany. He's very much into classic cars, though he claims to prefer 1960's and older cars. The show was interesting to him, as you apparently rarely see British cars at German classic car shows.

I've been to this show before. It's local to me and they always DO have some interesting cars, new and old. Shortly after arriving at the show, we witnessed a minor commotion. Paramedics sprinting through the concourse carrying first aid kits while a man in high-vi radioed in for an ambulance. I'll be honest I don't know exactly what was going on. However it occurred to me that most motorists are older than their cars, and many of the cars here were well over 80 years old. The vintage and veterans have a lot in common with their drivers - a certain charm about them, interesting, but slow, requiring a lot of maintenance and prone to breaking down. I hope whatever was happening, the individual involved was okay. The point was, a lot of the people showing their cars, particularly the older cars, were quite 'senior' to put it kindly. I'm not complaining, I'm just reporting my observations on the sort of demographic that attends these meets. I'll be honest when I think of classic car shows, I tend to think of a joke, fake sign I was shown some years ago welcoming people to Brighton and Hove:-

Welcome to Brighton and Hove! (Yes I DO like beards, tattoos and craft ale!)

Welcome to Brighton and Hove! (Yes I DO like beards, tattoos and craft ale!)

The thing is, this demographic exists too. There's something really nice about the breadth and depth of the classic car demographic. All of these vastly different individuals, young and old, can talk enthusiastically and in a friendly way about their common interest. I don't tend to feel inclined to walk around photographing people's cars, it feels vulgar and I'd rather talk to the owners about interesting ones. But this one I had to get a snap of:-

Bond Bug

Bond Bug

This Bond Bug was restored and owned by a bearded twenty-something school teacher. I've always been proud of my knowledge of the little-known British marque 'Bond' but in discussion I felt I was put to shame. My father had a Bond mini-car for his first vehicle, which had a kick-starter under the bonnet and the engine turned with the wheel. The Bug was a much more sophisticated and stable design. It was probably more stable than a Robin or Rialto of the same era, though perhaps not much. This particular example had had the suspension overhauled and refined for stability and the 750cc engine replaced with a more modern 850cc with 40HP for more performance, though it was mated to the original box. The boot lid which was originally made of ply, he'd replaced with plastic, which he'd laser cut using the school's laser cutter. The guy was a real Bond enthusiast! He knew all about the mini car, and even the rare 4-wheel Bugs, though I didn't talk to him about the little-known and rare Bond Equippe.

The Bond Equippe. (There wasn't one of these at the show - I don't think there are many on the road now.)

The Bond Equippe. (There wasn't one of these at the show - I don't think there are many on the road now.)

The Equippe was built onto a Triumph Herald chassis. A guy who used to live in Fegg Hayes near to where I used to live, owned a tatty old white one for years. I was a little sad the first time I drove past and found that odd-looking wreck missing.

I had a nice chat with a girl whose fella owned a Noble M400. He was apparently off looking at a Ferrari. Embarrassingly, she overheard me verbally deliberating over whether it was an M10 or an M12. She WAS impressed that I knew it was a Noble and had a Ford engine, but I really should have recognized an M400. Had a few words with an older chap with an Elise too.

There was a good number of Jensen Interceptors, MGs, Panthers and Morgans on show. The Morgans are strange. There was a 1980's and a 2006 Morgan parked alongside each other, and without looking at the plate it was hard to tell which was which! There was an Aero 8 too, but personally I prefer the old-world charm of the +4.

My wife was worried that the kids would find the show boring, but actually my son was fascinated. He loves cars, but he's not interested in models - he says he only likes real cars.

I actually saw some really rare cars too. A Porsche 928 convertible for example! The owner claimed they were aftermarket conversions, but that only a couple existed. It was a strange looking car with a huge bulbous rear end. It looked a lot like this one:-

Porsche 928 convertible

Porsche 928 convertible

I even saw a real hen's tooth, a genuine, Lotus 7! It was a bit sad though, it was kind of tucked away behind a tree in a quiet corner of the show, while a plethora of 7 inspired Caterham badged, trackday weapons were lined up, looking resplendent and having a gaggle of track enthusiasts standing around talking around them. Guys, if you come to the show again, find the poor guy who owns the Lotus 7 and give him centre stage with your Caterhams! His car is the REASON your car exists! People would be interested to see the classic that inspired the legend!

There was also some pretty tasty exotica on show. The Manchester Porsche owner's club had a huge area with everything from the rare 928 convertible to 911s and Boxsters. It highlighted something to me, which I've thought for a long time. When I was a kid - in the 1980's, I really saw Porsche and Ferrari's as rivals, as similar cars if you like.

However, I've become convinced - I was wrong. Comparing them is like comparing Autumn and purple. Porsches are very comfortable, very fast, very capable cars. They are interesting. They're just different enough to shout, 'I am a petrolhead!' while still being boring and practical enough to use every day to go to work in or pop the shops in. Ferrari's though, are something else. If you had a scale of boring but useful to exciting and interesting, but with compromises, BMW and Audi would be broadly the same. Ferrari's would towards the end of the scale with Lamborghini's and McLarens and Porcshe would be in between BMW and Ferrari. They are closer to being automotive art than a Porsche. Is one better than the other? I think it depends. These cars and the silly-mobiles, like the bright orange Lamborghini Miura that was there, have an undeniable desirability. They look special. They look exciting to be in. The Porsche, doesn't, at least not on the same level. HOWEVER, I have to say I could imagine myself driving a 911 every day and only resorting to the wife's barge if I was doing a DIY run or similar.

I suppose the answer to the question 'Which would you have?' is BOTH! Something like a 911 for the commute and to do business in and an F360 Spider for the weekend!

It's a curious hobby, being a classic car enthusiast. Some of the cars on show would be an absolute hoot to drive. Some of them are truly beautiful pieces of automotive art. However, some of them simply aren't. Some of the cars on show are basically 19[insert decade here]'s rot boxes that were awful to drive and broke down a lot, restored to premium condition. I can understand the guy labouring over getting his Bentley Blower or his Lagonda in tip-top condition, but what about the geezer whose spent years carefully restoring a Vauxhall Viva?

I suppose it's nice to have something different. People talk to people at these meets, they share stories, knowledge and a passion. If you've got something nobody has seen before and they're interested in cars, they're quite likely to ask you about it.

Overall it was a great day. The fantastic weather helped, but it was a good atmosphere and I saw some interesting cars. I might even go to the one at Capesthorne on May 28th 2017! I could get into the classic car shows... I suppose if I did - I really ought to restore something suitable to roll up in and get the reduced entry fees... Hmmm, what could I go for?

Something old enough to be a proper classic, but with four seats so I could take the wife and kids along... Hmmm...

Something like this?

Something like this?

I may have to clear the garage out and borrow a MIG welder, but the idea is tempting!

Martyn Stanley

#classic #classic-cars #classics #classiccars #modernclassics #classiccar #story

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Comments (2)

  • Yes, a Jaguar Mark II, 3.8L. You needs it.

      4 years ago
    • I did think about a Jag Series II with XJ with the vinyl roof and a webasto sunroof. Saw a nice Turqouise one yonks ago! It was the 5.3 L V12!

        4 years ago