Thursday November 15, 2018
How can you possibly hope to select a personal Car of The Show out of 3,000 vehicles and 300 club stands? When faced with this demanding task, the only logical response was to devise my own categories and to adopt a rigorously biased and subjective approach:
10) The Lancaster Insurance Pride of Ownership Stand. Each entrant was so stunning that they merit, and will receive an individual, blog. Without singling out any single entrant at this stage, I will simply observe that Rob Sargant’s Cortina Savage positively exudes late 1960s “press-on” motoring; Rothmans in the glovebox, Kenny Everett on the MW/LW radio and Jackie Stewart-style sideboards. It was also one of the finest Q-Cars of its day.
9) The Emergency Service Vehicle of The Show. This was a tough decision indeed. There were the Volvos of the fair county of Hampshire (I warned you I was biased), the London Met. Jaguar S-Type Area Car and I am just about old enough to recall Morris Minor 1000 Panda Cars in service. The Maestro 1.3 Clubman of Anthony Ellis was not just a tribute to all involved in its restoration but a reminder of how remote the early 1990s really do appear. Then there was the 1978 Police Mini Van evoked memories of when similar vehicles patrolled rural districts. However, the prize goes to the ex-Lancashire Constabulary Rover SD1 of Martin Wade, from the “jam stripe” to the vast “Police Stop” sign on the rear spoiler.
8) The Van of The Show. The Morris J-Type vans were highly tempting, as was the 1977 Marina Van but as I am a Sotonian by birth, my choice would have to be any of the Ford Transits. A further reason is that Peter Lee’s award as “Club Personality of the Year” from Classic & Sports Car, supported by Lancaster Insurance is much deserved as he has done so much to further interest in one of Britain’s most famous commercial vehicles.
7) The “My Mum/Dad/Uncle/Aunt/Grandparent/Woodwork Teacher Had One of Those” of The Show. Essentially, take your pick. The Vauxhall Chevette 4-door and the black Chevette Estate, the Leyland Princess 2200 “Wedge”, the Austin Maxi, the Triumph Herald 12/50, the Hillman Avenger Estate…
6) The Phenomenally Rare Sight of the Show. Again, visitors were spoiled for choice but I was especially taken with the Dodge 1800 – aka a version of the Avenger made by Chrysler’s Brazilian operations. That said, the Fiat Abarth 1000 Coupe was fairly stunning.
5) The 1980s Nostalgia Moments of the Show. This encompasses many of the Metros, Maestros and Montegos, the Y-registered Alfasud, the 1987-model Fiat Strada to name but a few.
4)The 1970s Nostalgia Moments of the Show. Nearly all of the Austin Maxis, the MGB GT V8 and, in particular, the Bond Bug, a three-wheeler that equals an episode of The Persuaders! in terms of sheer grooviness.
3)The 1960s Nostalgia Moments of the Show. Many and various – but the FD-Series Vauxhalls did have me humming the theme of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased).
2) The Cars I Craved If/Once I Won the Lottery - of the Show. Keith Hudson’s 1961 Maserati 3500G and the Fiat 2300S Coupe would occupy my garage, partially because of my appreciation of post-war Italian automotive engineering. However, a further element is a love of 1960s Italian cinema and the delusion of being the next Marcello Mastroianni. Naturally, there would also be plenty of space for a Talbot-Matra Rancho, a Wolseley 25 Drophead and, for the weekend and holidays, a Borgward Isabella Convertible and a Riley RM Roadster. Plus, a Citroën SM for special occasions.
1) My Car of the Show. This decision was arrived after careful deliberation, hours of careful thought and vast quantities of blatant subjectivity. Put it this way, my record collection spans the years 1953 to 1967, and this governed my choice of winner. The Vauxhall Cresta PB with its ultra-smooth Gerald Palmer styling was a strong contender, as was the Standard Vanguard Estate – a veritable Jack Hawkins of British cars. Martin Hamilton’s Morris Oxford Series IV Traveller was the sort of vehicle that would make any chap say ‘gosh’ as was the world ’s oldest surviving Minor Traveller. But the prize had to go to the Riley Two Point Six of Bernie Peal – it is, quite simply, the epitome of gentlemanly motoring of the 1950s. And here’s to next year’s show…