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Fuzz’s Favourite Car Shows

By Fuzz Townshend

You don’t have to have a fabulous classic or sports car to go to a car show and revel in the sights and sounds of the beautiful machines on display, and there doesn’t need to be an actual car show for there to be a gathering of superb saloons and convertibles.

An internet search for ‘car shows’ will reveal a layer cake stratum of events being held at a variety of venues. Some are totally dedicated to petrol-powered passion, while others may be pub car parks, or fields next to village halls. 

Many cafes, restaurants and bars have sprung up around the country, providing focused destinations for those with a passion for all things cars and bikes.

Take ‘Caffeine and Machine’ for instance, with three venues offering a range of events and meets throughout the year, including regular Friday ‘Sundowner’ gatherings. Here, you may get to see some truly awesome cars and bikes, as well as being able to enjoy their entrances and exits, with attendant sounds and aromas to enhance the experience.

“Check out the programmes of village fêtes near your home. You might find classic cars listed as one of the attractions, and although there are unlikely to be huge numbers attending, it may present opportunities to engage in conversation with the owners and enjoy the histories of their charges.”

Some stately homes have embraced car events of many kinds, from simple ‘park and present;’ shows in beautiful surroundings, to classic rally stages, and trial-type competitions. 

Clubs and single-marque gatherings often favour such venues for annual events. If you have any doubts regarding entry, contact the event organisers, who should be able to inform you of ticketing arrangements. Of course, you could just place yourself somewhere along the route and watch the entrants arriving and departing.

When is the best time to look?

During the summer months, the number of AutoJumble events increases. If you’ve never attended such a thing, think car boot sale, but for Automobilia and Petroliana. Everything from switches and gaskets to period signs and petrol pumps may be on sale, not to mention complete cars, bikes and the like. Naturally, attendees often turn up in or on interesting vehicles, so a simple stroll around the car park can be a rewarding experience, too.

Among my personal favourite AutoJumble events is the Beaulieu International AutoJumble, usually held annually in September, where traders from around the world bring their stocks of rare parts and ephemera, hoping to find buyers. The huge event runs for two days, plus set-up and trade days, so it is wise to find accommodation nearby if you want to really immerse yourself in the atmosphere.

Another fabulous way to enjoy an eclectic mix of classic cars and motorcycles (or even modern types) is to attend an auction. Often there are dedicated viewing days, but it’s sometimes possible to view on the day before the auction itself. 

My favourites to attend are Morris Leslie Auctions, at Perth, Scotland, where the classic car auction dates ordinarily fall on a Saturday. Manor Park Classics near Runcorn is another that I enjoy, again often on a Saturday. 

There are many others throughout the nation with which I am as yet unfamiliar, but their catalogues often contain temptations I dare not speak of at the dinner table. But don’t worry, a twitch or sneeze at a car auction won’t land you with a rare supercar, unless of course, you want it to.

“Many auctions can now be followed live online, so here’s an event type you can enjoy from your own armchair.”

There are, of course, enormous annual shows held at huge exhibition centres, bringing together cars and enthusiasts from around the world. Indeed, if you fancy venturing further afield, there are many gloriously spectacular events held around the globe, where you may see many, less familiar and beautiful creations.

An event (and country) that I have enjoyed immensely is the Malta Classic, normally held around early October, with events and displays throughout the island. Presentation standards are superb, as is the cuisine. Go on, treat yourself.

Back at home, other events see cars being put through their paces in trials, reliability runs and rallies, thus bringing fleeting glimpses of rare machines as they growl, bark and snarl their way through cities, towns and countryside the length and breadth of the nation. Check with organisers to confirm the best and safest places to view the action, or for where you can see cars making their way between stages.

A useful link is www.carevents.com. Here you can find links to many events encompassing cars, motorcycles, trucks, buses and military vehicles. Whatever type of event you choose to attend, you’re sure to find other like-minded folks of many cultures and backgrounds.

Have a fantastic summer.


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