News and events
The Federation of Historic British Vehicles Clubs’ annual Drive It Day kicked off in fine style on 22 April with a huge gathering of enthusiasts and machines for a special Sunday Scramble at Bicester Heritage, where a record 6000 people passed through the gates.
The former bomber station was swamped by more than 1000 classic and vintage vehicles, which flooded the network of roads and spilled out onto the expansive grass airfield. In excess of 45 car clubs made the trip, with one of the most impressive displays coming courtesy of the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club. ‘Green Goddess’ fire engines drew plenty of attention, as did a Lamborghini LM002 that proved a particular hit with younger visitors.
On-site specialists got into the spirit of the event, opening their doors to the public and swelling the number of display cars. Newly arrived Porsche specialist Sports Purpose (see p214), wowed visitors with a Lancia Aurelia B20 ‘Outlaw’ plus a selection of 356s and 911s, while 2010 and 2017 Mercedes Formula One cars and a gathering of other rare three-pointed stars including a 450SEL 6.9, a 560SEC and a 300SL ‘Gullwing’ impressed at the recently opened Mercedesbenz Motorsport Centre.
Meanwhile, Kingsbury Racing Shop showed off its restoration of a Bentley Speed Six Saloon, which benefited from a full mechanical overhaul while at the same time retaining its incredibly original interior and patinated paintwork. Robert Glover’s brand-new showroom in the Motor Transport Yard was open to the public for the first time, laying on a display of pre-war Alfa Romeos and a stunning 1936 Lagonda LG45 (p251).
Bicester Heritage also welcomed around 100 classics from Hagerty’s Drive It Day Tour (p204), which began at Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works in Ryton-on-dunsmore before following a tulip-style roadbook during the 2½-hour drive to the Oxfordshire airbase.
“Sunday’s Scramble was the best yet – a fitting milestone for Bicester Heritage’s fifth anniversary,” said managing director Dan Geoghegan. “Not only were we able to welcome more than 6000 visitors
and some 1000 classic vehicles to Bicester Heritage, but also the latest new specialists. Best of all, the atmosphere was both laid-back and inclusive.”
Elsewhere in the country, thousands of classics took to the roads for Drive It Day, with several key events also marking the anniversary of the 1000 Mile Trial. More than 300 entrants took part in the Charity Classic Vehicle Club’s Great War Rally, its eighth Drive It Day fundraiser. Crews left Sutton Hall, Rochford at two-minute intervals, following tulip-style notes through the Essex countryside before arriving at Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome, the 1916 home of B Flight No 37 Squadron. In addition to raising £5000 for charity, the run attracted a wide variety of classics including a 1949 Austin Atlantic drophead and, one of the oldest to take part, a 1913 Sunbeam 12-16.
Sticking with the military theme, the Alfa Romeo Owners’ Club UK descended on the Imperial War Museum at Duxford on 22 April, with as many as 600 cars on show ranging from the post-war years right through to the latest Stelvio SUV taking to the apron. A standout display came courtesy of the club’s 105/115 Giulia group, which gathered no fewer than 50 examples including Frank St George’s 1300 TI saloon, Peter Vaughan’s original 2000 GTV and Barrie Watts’ S4 Spider. Ian Jephcott’s painstakingly restored 2000 Berlina was a real treat, too.
In addition to the many register displays, attendees could enjoy watching spirited flying demonstrations from a Spitfire and a Harvard, as well as Duxford’s resident De Havilland Dragon Rapide.
Further south, the Headcorn Classic Car Meet held its second annual gathering at Headcorn Aerodrome, near Ashford in Kent. The former WW2 site, which is now privately owned and is home to the Lashenden Air Warfare Museum, played host to more than 100 classic and vintage vehicles. These included a rakish Chevrolet Biscayne and a smart Ford Consul Classic, each finished in a similar shade of red and representing a similar design theme, albeit from opposite sides of the Atlantic.
‘The Great War Rally attracted a wide range of classics and raised £5000 for charity’
Above: several ‘Green Goddess’ fire engines turned heads at Bicester Below: this Lambo LM002 was another star of the 22 April Sunday Scramble
Clockwise from top: F40 in the sun at Bicester Heritage; 1913 Sunbeam was one of the oldest Great War Rally entrants; impressive turnout at Duxford; Ford Consul at Headcorn; Rolls-royce and ‘Bullnose’ at Stow Maries