John Billington and his organising team should be very proud of themselves with their very first Tetbury Classic Car Show that took place Sunday 8th September 2013 at the Town’s recreation ground.
Primarily a fund raiser, the event pledged to donate all proceeds to allsorts a locally based charity that supports families who have children with disabilities or additional needs, and the regeneration of Dolphins Hall that sits in the entrance way to the event’s location. The Tetbury Classic Car Show used the vast expanse of well-presented turf available to good effect; only the cricket pitches were out of bounds. Straight rows were market out with numbered places for over 400 display cars and 29 motorbikes. There was also room for sponsor stands with Tetbury Audi and Williams Morgan both providing backing, industrial vehicles and is customary for any event held in the countryside, tractors.
It is true that despite a full program not all the allocated spaces were filled on the day, well not during the time we were there anyway, but that didn’t really detract from the event as a whole as there was still plenty to see. For instance greeting you immediately on entrance was a bright red bus cleverly converted into a bar, a must-have for any classic car show surely. Plus those tractors we mentioned, all in a line, and with one exception all finished in bright red or bright blue paint, engine and all. It seems detailing in the tractor world means something different.
Of the car clubs present North Wilts Morris Minor OC had some fine examples on display, including a post office van. After that clubs could be divided into two groups, those like NWMMOC dedicated to a single marque such as Mini Rebels for instance and others open to all from a single location such as Norton Radstock Classic Vehicle Club. All apparently enjoying lunch in their respective Gazebos as dark clouds loomed large overhead.
Most entries to the Tetbury Classic Car Show, and this what makes these events so utterly marvellous, were cars presented by their proud owners who had made the effort to turn up and take part? Some clearly more dedicated to staying in period than others with their choice of dress code, picnic hampers, authentic publications and valve radios. When walking up and down the rows it was terrific to appreciate the utter simplicity of say an Austin A35 one second and then be drawn towards the raw power of a Ford Mustang the next.
Surprise finds included a genuine Ferrari Dino GT that had made the journey all the way from Brighton and completely original 1979 Escort RS1800. A car that would have left the factory in Germany over thirty years ago a Mexico before having a Cosworth BDG engine fitted here in Blighty and sold through Ford dealers as a homologation special. Rare doesn’t even begin to describe it and the fact this RS has survived so long without wheel arch extensions or roll cage fitted is quite incredible.
Not everyone appreciates classic American cars, but whatever your taste you cannot help but marvel at their sheer size and scale. Dominant at the Tetbury Classic Car Show were a 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk and Ford Thunderbird. Both cars boasting trademark expansive external dimensions with extremely large bonnets and boots. The latter is utterly bizarre when you think about it with so much of each car dedicated to carrying stuff, especially when the net effect appears to result in a relatively cosy cabin.
Our personal Tetbury Classic Car Show highlight was a mint 1987 BMW E30 M3 which of everything present struck the biggest chord. A combination of its close competition connections, raw and high revving 2.3litre 4-pot motor, dog-leg gearbox, racy but still equally appealing leather interior and those beautiful boxy arches, lovely.
The inaugural Tetbury Classic Car Show allowed everyone who attended to indulge their passion enjoying a wide variety of classic and vintage cars, commercial vehicles, those tractors and bright red bar bus.
How does this event make you feel?
In one word: Amazed
As a favourite meal: Food options were a bit light and so tea and cake served out of the (Dolphins) Hall who will benefit from any proceeds raised
Anything Else: Enter a large field of classic cars and see what rocks your boat the most. We’ll have a 1987 BMW E30 M3 please.
Key Ingredients: Open and friendly, £3.00 entrance fee, wide selection of cars and other vehicles present from virtually every era.
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