ROBERT BAR­RIE

FOR ROBERT, CLAS­SIC PORSCHES – AND OTHERS – ARE NOT IN THEIR NAT­U­RAL EN­VI­RON­MENT ON THE MAN­I­CURED LAWNS OF A CON­COURS EVENT. MAYBE IT’S TIME FOR A NEW-LOOK SHOW…

Classic Porsche - - Contents -

On con­cours events –and more

Iam not a nat­u­ral con­cours fan. I'm not sure old cars are at their best on posh lawns with well-dressed peo­ple tot­ter­ing about with silly drinks. How­ever, I did at­tend a cou­ple of events in Lon­don re­cently. The first was the City con­cours at the Honourable Ar­tillery Com­pany's open space at the south­ern end of City Road. It's an im­pres­sive back­drop and a rather bright idea – where bet­ter to show­case some se­ri­ously spendy cars than the Square Mile?

Even so, the for­mat felt a lit­tle tired and some of the cars weren't quite right. An early 911Shad wide wheels and tyres and a Lotus Elan had an af­ter-mar­ket steer­ing wheel. I'm not sure any of that mat­ters out­side the con­cours arena, but I thought it did in­side? Maybe not. Two sim­i­lar 2.7 RSS were dis­played near each other. Not that close, but not that far away. It looked as if no-one else had no­ticed their sim­i­lar­ity.

The ring of traders' tents around the perime­ter was too ob­vi­ous and a lit­tle off­putting. A promis­ing start with room for im­prove­ment. I'll be back – if in­vited!

The St Johns Wood Pageant was more to my taste. The nor­mally-busy High Street was closed and the cars were dis­played down both sides, with not a blade of grass to be seen. There was some im­pres­sive ma­chin­ery on show, too, in­clud­ing one or two cars I recog­nised from the City con­cours the week be­fore.

I found a few fa­mil­iar old car peo­ple to chat to while the as­sorted family mem­bers with me amused themselves by pop­ping in and out of clothes shops. A win-win! The star of the show, in my to­tally bi­ased opin­ion, was my old 356 Pre-a (see photo).

The car was parked out­side its new owner 's premises and car­ry­ing fly­ers for this year 's Clas­sics at the Cas­tle, and next year 's 356 In­ter­na­tional. What a lovely lit­tle thing it is. It slightly hurts to ad­mit it, but the ad­di­tion of bumpers with Gt-type trims has made it even pret­tier than when I owned it. Hed­ing­ham, in­ci­den­tally, is ex­empt from my dis­like of posh lawns.

Not long af­ter the two Lon­don events, the hefty but ex­cel­lent Luft­gekuhlt pic­ture book ar­rived with a thud. A great flick-through for all clas­sic Porsche fans. I haven't been to the Cal­i­for­nian event – though I do have the Deus ex Machina T-shirts – but it looks stun­ning. That's partly be­cause the pho­to­graphs in the book are so good, but only partly.

In the spirit of my views on con­cours, there are no lawns, the peo­ple are dressed in T-shirts and jeans and I don't see any silly drinks. If any­thing, it looks like an espresso and Diet Coke crowd. I'll have one of each, please. The cars are a mix of the orig­i­nal and the mod­i­fied, as well as the sig­nif­i­cant and the unim­por­tant. It all seems to rub along to­gether and it would be great to see some­thing sim­i­lar in a suit­ably car-friendly site in Europe.

Maybe Lon­don is not the right venue – we tend to take our cars and our­selves too se­ri­ously. I won­der if it's more some­thing for Ber­lin, Mi­lan or Glas­gow. I'll cer­tainly make the jour­ney if it hap­pens.

A friend kindly in­vited me to join him in try­ing Porsche's cur­rent range at the Sil­ver­stone Ex­pe­ri­ence cen­tre. We started with the Panam­era and the Ma­can. The first was too big and the sec­ond not big enough. I get the com­mer­cial case for both, but these com­pli­cated and com­pe­tent cars seem more or less un­con­nected – other than by the badge on the bon­net – with the older mod­els we know and love. I like the look of the Panam­era es­tate but I am not sure what it has to do with any­thing from the past ei­ther.

Next, a driver drifted a Cay­man GT4 around while I sat in the pas­sen­ger seat. It was like a big an­i­mal in a small cage. The cir­cuit next door would have suited it more. At this point, I no­ticed that some of the staff had taken to call­ing me Mr Grumpy! Never mind, my mood was about to change.

I got into a man­ual 911 Gt­sand it all started to make sense again. I was dis­mis­sive of the lat­est 911 model ini­tially, think­ing that, much like my­self, it had bulked up a bit over the years. I must say it car­ries it well. The new car can still be driven hard and, when pushed, it is recog­nis­able to any­one fa­mil­iar with older 911s.

Into the Cayenne and proof, if it were needed, that as well as build­ing large sa­loons, Porsche also builds large on/off-road­ers. Great. We ended with the new Boxster and Cay­man. The cars have taken some flak over the noise of the new flat four en­gines. They sounded fine to me. The ir­reg­u­lar off-beat rhythm was an­other echo of cars gone by – in this case the 356. There are still some clas­sic Porsche themes and val­ues in the cur­rent range, but you have to look, and lis­ten, quite care­fully to find them. CP

“THE CARS WERE DIS­PLAYED WITH NOT A BLADE OF GRASS TO BE SEEN…”

Robert's for­mer Pre-a 356 caught his eye at the St John's Wood Pageant, where cars were dis­played down both sides of the nor­mally crowded High Street…

Robert Bar­rie is a clas­sic Porsche en­thu­si­ast through and through. As well as com­pet­ing in his­toric events with a va­ri­ety of early Porsches and or­gan­is­ing track days, he's also a pur­veyor of fine clas­sic au­to­mo­biles

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.