Does the sight of a long, gleaming car bonnet leave you aquiver? Does a straight six make your heart beat faster? Do you like your twin chokes open, your supercharger surging and your pedal flat to the metal?
If so, you’ll be delighted to know we love classic cars too. And to help you get your fill of the scent of scalded tyres and hot motor oil, here’s our pick of this year’s top classic car events, plus how to look good as you chew the rubber with your fellow aficionados.
Watch classic cars from virtually every period of motor racing history battle it out on one of the country’s best spectator tracks. From pre war “Mad Jack” racers, to the battle for the pre 1961 Stirling Moss trophy, to beefy tourers of the pre 1991 era, there’s something for everyone at Donington Historic Festival:
“At the Festival the race paddock is open to all spectators, so you can get up close to the cars and the stars, at no extra cost.
So, if you’ve ever wondered exactly how little room there is inside a Formula Junior car, have always wanted to get a photograph of the dashboard of a pre-War Bentley or feast your eyes on a D-type engine, this is your chance!”
With open paddocks, you’ll have full access to all the top the stars – the cars. Dress for the weather – a wax jacket and flat cap if the spring turns out to be a chilly one, otherwise it’s jeans and a nod to the glory days of British motorsport – a tweed jacket.
An annual celebration of racing at Brooklands, this festival is timed to coincide with the opening of the track in 1907. Known as the “Double Twelve” this summer weekend of classic racing is just one of the motoring events on the calendar at the site of what was the the world’s first purpose-built racing circuit:
“On Saturday 15th June the cars head across to the Mercedes-Benz World circuit for the Speed Trials. On both days there will be Concourse Judging and on Sunday 16th June the Driving Tests will be taking over the Museum site.”
Your chance to see some of the world’s rarest vehicles, you’re sure of a wonderful atmosphere – check out the Test Hill challenge on Sunday when you’ll be able to see everything from motorcycles to giant pre-war racing cars and over-excited children sprint uphill at high speed.
From humble beginnings in 1990 the Silverstone Classic now attracts in the region of 100,000 visitors and 1,000 entries for the racing and high speed demos. There’s also great live entertainment – previous headline acts have included The Stranglers, The Boomtown Rats, and last year’s special guests, UB40. And with the 2019 event celebrating the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, expect tributes to Hendrix, The Who and Joe Cocker.
“This summer’s Classic has the honour of hosting the very first round of Aston Martin’s newly announced Aston Martin Heritage Racing Festival Series.”
As well as paddocks full of cars to die for and more classic racing than you can shake a stick at, there are also 4×4 rides, stunt driving displays, a fun fair and much more. The Silverstone Classic offers a spectacular day out or weekend for quality time with all the family.
Your chance to indulge in what is arguably the UK’s most exclusive classic car event, the Concours of Elegance takes place at Hampton Court Palace under the watchful gaze of patron Prince Michael of Kent.
“The crown jewels of the automotive world – 1896 pioneers to present day supercars, the Concours of Elegance brings together a selection of 60 of the rarest cars from around the world – many of which have never been seen before in the UK.”
Choose from a range of ticket options – if you opt for the picnic package, for example, you’ll receive a Tom’s Kitchen Deli packed lunch served in its own jute bag sporting the Concours logo. Be warned – it’s a £50 picnic – best wear your best blazer and Panama.
Showcasing a wide selection of vintage and classic cars in the wonderful surroundings of a stately home and ancient deer park, this event is also within a mile or two of the seaside. Welcome to the Historic Vehicle Gathering at Powderham Castle near Exeter, surely one of the season’s most relaxing and enjoyable events for car enthusiasts.
This year’s event features: “Classic cars and motorcycles, buses and coaches, military vehicles, steam engines, tractors, and modern classics. There’ll also be car club displays, a fun dog show, auto jumble, music and more.”
Enjoy motoring at its hazy summer best – Powderham is a distinctly casual affair. Your chino shorts, deck shoes plus a weekend shirt ought to do you.
Your chance to immerse yourself in motor racing’s most period-authentic spectacle, the Goodwood Revival is your chance to look the part. Dress in the fashion of wartime Britain, the post war consensus, or the swinging sixties. There’s even a hair salon for ladies to get their beehives fixed, and a traditional barber’s shop for the gents.
“The only historic race meeting to be staged in period theme, recreating the romance and glamour of motor racing as it used to be, the Goodwood Motor Circuit comes alive for Revival, both on and off the historic track.”
Tickets are capped at 150,000 for the weekend and are only available in advance. Sunday is the highlight, featuring the Royal Automobile Club TT Celebration – a race for some of the world’s most valuable GTs – the cars which once fought it out for the Tourist Trophy races. Shop the look – a tweed suit, cap and brogues are perfect for Goodwood.
We can’t all shell out for tickets to classic motoring events, so how about a magnificent motor show that won’t cost you a penny? The Regent Street Motor Show is a magnificent motor show that is free for all to view.
On Saturday 2nd November 2019 from 10.30am – 4pm, the iconic London street is closed to traffic in order to present over 120 years’ worth of motoring history.
If you would like to see Veteran cars on the move, the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run starts at the crack of dawn (6.56am), on Sunday 3rd November 2019. Veteran cars will line up in Hyde Park from 6am to start the historic journey which passes through Crawley (between 9.30am and 1.45pm), and finishes in Brighton, the first cars of which are expected from 9.56am.
Had your fill of old cars that you could never afford to own, even in your wildest dreams? The Festival of the Unexceptional is for you. A drive down memory lane, it features the old models we all used to putter about in. Here’s your chance to say to your family “I used to have one of those,” and watch them roll their eyes at the mediocrity of your personal motoring history. Or why not go one better?
“Do you think that your vehicle could be one of fifty specially selected Unexceptional models vying for title of Best in Show? Show us what you’ve got.”
An event that promises at least one Talbot Alpine plus 49 other old favourites used for shopping, commuting and going on holiday, the Festival of the Unexceptional is held at the lovely Claydon Estate in Buckinghamshire and promises a day of nostalgia for the common man or woman.