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Classic car events calendar: great events for summer and autumn 2018

Paul Hudson
All set for a grand day out - Simon Clay

The classic car calendar is packed with events large and small, with something for everyone whether you're a marque aficionado or general enthusiast. Here are a few throughout the UK that are deserving of your attention, whether you're away on holiday or simply fancy a destination for a day out. 

We will be adding to the list every week as more events are confirmed. 

Please note that an earlier version of this page incorrectly listed the National Metro & Mini Show at the British Motor Museum as taking place on August 4, 2018. This event is actually taking place in on August 4 2019.

August 31-September 1: Déjà Vu Ulster Rally Reunion, Titanic Quarter, Belfast
An Audi Sport quattro S1 of the type that Walter Röhrl used to devastating effect in the 1984 Ulster International Rally

Rally legend Walter Röhrl will return to the scene of his dominant win in the 1984 Ulster International Rally for the latest in Déjà Vu Motorsport’s popular rally reunions, in aid of charity, which have already raised £70,000.

What’s more, Paddy Hopkirk, a five-time Circuit of Ireland Rally winner, has confirmed that he will be returning to his native Belfast to also take part.

It’s 34 years since Walter and his co-driver Christian Geistdörfer blasted their Group B Audi Quattro S4 over the Antrim, Down and Fermanagh stages to obliterate the opposition. Those who witnessed their performance rate it as one of the greatest drives in Irish rallying history. The unbeatable duo defeated luminaries such as Russell Brookes, Jimmy McRae and local hero Bertie Fisher by more than four minutes.

The Porsche-contracted driver will return to Ulster to head a cavalcade of historic rally cars over famous Antrim stages such as Glen Dunn and Torr Head. He will be joined by many of his contemporaries and a host of other rally stars.

The cavalcade starts at the Titanic Quarter in Belfast at 10am, taking in a 150-mile route over classic rally stages used in the Circuit of Ireland and Ulster Rally.

Afterwards, there is a gala dinner in Titanic Belfast with classic rallying videos, interviews with star drivers and other entertainment.

Registrations and tickets for the gala dinner can be reserved at the RPM Motorsport website below. All profits will go to Macmillan Cancer Support.    

Full details at www.rpm-motorsport.com/tours/ or email alan@rpm-motorsport.com

August 31-September 2: Concours of Elegance, Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey, Surrey
The Hampton Court Palace and gardens by the Thames form a splendid backdrop

Nearly 1,000 of the rarest and most important cars ever produced, from the 1890s to 2018, will gather in the beautiful gardens of the Palace for the annual Concours of Elegance weekend.

The event’s main display of about 60 vehicles will tell the story of the motor car from the 1890s to the modern day. Picking out the finest examples from the world’s most iconic and legendary car brands, the event is a celebration of rarity, craftsmanship, design and endeavour in the automotive world.

There will also be a range of exclusive supercars, displays from the owners’ clubs representing many of the world's most illustrious marques, as well as stands from purveyors of various luxury goods.

Many of the cars on display will be taking part in moving parades over the weekend. Cars already confirmed include Rolls-Royces with Figoni et Falaschi bodywork, rare vintage Bugatti prototypes and Ferraris formerly owned by Hollywood stars.

Tickets start from £25, with concessions from £17.50. Children under five and carers are admitted free of charge.

Full details at www.concoursofelegance.co.uk

September 1: Brighton Speed Trials, Brighton, East Sussex
More than 200 cars and bikes will be inaction on Madeira Drive in Brighton for the town's annual Speed Trials on the seafront

The Brighton National Speed Trials return to the seafront again this year with an action-packed series of timed sprints featuring more than 200 cars of all types and ages.

Len Wooller, chairman of the Brighton and Hove Motor Club, which organises the annual sprint spectacular, said: “Spectators will see a whole host of cars and bikes, from the ultra-modern to the old classics. Already lined up is a Lamborghini Countach, a Ferrari F40, Formula Ford single-seaters and an Allard.

“We will also have a display of cars including a Lamborghini Haracan, Aston Martin Volante, a Ferrari 488 and a Porsche 911 Turbo S.”

Entry forms are still available from www.brightonandhovemotorclub.co.uk.

Tickets are available on the day or in advance via the website above, saving 20 per cent on the gate price.

Spectators will be able to follow competitors’ progress live from the start line then through to the finish line via a 21sq metre LCD screen. The event will have a dedicated wheelchair/disabled viewing area as well as a 70m raised viewing platform.

Practice runs start at 8.45am, with timed runs starting at 11.15am. Entry (including a programme): £15 or £12 when purchased in advance online at www.brightonandhovemotorclub. co.uk

September 2, 2018: Blenheim Palace Classic & Supercar show, Woodstock, Oxfordshire
The spectacular line-up at last year's inaugural Blenheim Palace Classic & Supercar show Credit: Rachel Palmer

This family-friendly event returns for 2018 with more than 300 of the world's greatest classic and supercars, set in the spectacular grounds of the Blenheim Palace World Heritage Site.

One of the highlights will be the Pirelli Prestige & Performance Competition, featuring 80 supercars and hypercars built between 1978 and now, split into eight classes of 10 ground-breaking cars.

Full details at blenheimclassicsupercar.com

September 15-16, 2018: Kop Hill Climb Festival, Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire
Credit: Richard Daniels

Back for the tenth revival of the early-1900s hill climb, this charity festival in Buckinghamshire packs in more than 500 cars and bikes on the hill and on display in the paddock.

Kop Hill’s unique combination of beautiful location, historical significance and family fun day out has made it a major fixture on the historic motorsport calendar. The event has raised well over £500,000 since it began back in 2009.

Notable attractions this year include the John Player Special Lotus transporter carrying two very different cars than those in period – Formula 5000 and CanAm racers, the Napier Railton from Brooklands, which will take on the hill, and the most extreme car yet from McLaren, the Senna.

Other exhibits include a display commemorating the First World War centenary, a 70th annversary celebrations of the Jaguar XK120 and the Land Rover.

Credit: Richard Daniels

Families are also well catered for with a fun fair, complete with Ferris wheel and dodgems, the Kop Hill Soapbox Challenge, with new and exciting features, including a foam ‘kartwash’, and a packed live stage programme. Enjoy the relaxed, village atmosphere with some great food and drink and browse the many trade outlets.

Come and meet Antiques Roadshow expert Eric Knowles together with Paul Hayes and Tom Keane, who will be offering free valuations and advice over the two-day festival.

Full event details and advance ticket purchase at www.kophillclimb.org.uk

October 6: Autumn Classic Historic Racing Festival, Castle Combe circuit, near Chippenham, Wiltshire
Happy days: a Hillman Avenger Tiger at Castle Combe - a  circuit which, like many in Britain, is based on a former military airfield Credit: Scott Boulton/Alamy

Castle Combe Circuit’s military-based beginnings are being celebrated during its Autumn Classic meeting when the Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust (ABCT) will unveil one of its prestigious markers to denote the site’s contribution to aviation heritage.

The ABCT is a charity recently created to help raise awareness of the importance of historic airfield sites across the country by erecting memorial marker stones.

Operations at RAF Castle Combe commenced in 1940 as a training base although it soon grew in status and eventually featured amenities such as two steel-mesh runways and multiple hangars surrounded by a paved perimeter track.

The site was decommissioned and reverted back to farmland in October 1948 and the surviving perimeter track and outbuildings were transformed to create Castle Combe Circuit in 1950, where famous names such as Stirling Moss and Mike Hawthorn would race.

The circuit layout is pretty much as it was in 1950, while eight of the former RAF buildings remain, most significantly the old control tower which is now the race control building.

The 1.4-tonne ABCT memorial stone will be officially unveiled during the Autumn Classic by the circuit’s managing director, Graham Marshallsay, with members of the ABCT presenting short talks about what made RAF Castle Combe so important.

This not only ties in with the RAF’s 100th birthday celebrations, but also represents exactly 75 years since the initial construction of the perimeter track which eventually became a circuit.

Full details about Castle Combe’s Autumn Classic race meeting at www.autumnclassic.co.uk

More on the Airfields of Britain Conservation Trust charity at www.abct.org.uk

October 6-7: Prescott American Autumn Classic, Prescott Hillclimb, Gotherington, nr Cheltenham​
Ford Mustangs, such as this 1964 example, will be much in evidence

The American-themed Autumn Classic returns, celebrating the biggest, brashest and most revered US cars in Britain and Europe.

There will be a special classes for American cars and hot rods on the Bugatti Owners' Club hillclimb, as well as American car displays, a dedicated concours area and US-themed entertainment. The paddock will feature classics, hot rods and muscle cars including Mustangs, Cadillacs, Pontiacs, Buicks, Camaros, Dodges, Corvettes and Chevys, along with Indian and Harley-Davidson motorcycles and custom choppers.

Many of these, along with a host of other American vehicles, will take part in a cavalcade up the hillclimb.

On the Saturday, the event will also include competitive championship rounds for the TVR Car Club, the BOC New Barn 'B' Licence, Downton Motor Club and TR hillclimb championships, supported by saloons, sports cars and single-seaters in the Bugatti Owners' Club Handicap.

On the Sunday, competitive motorsport includes the 500 Owners' Association, the Aldon Classic Championship, Morgans, Austin Healeys, Flatheads and invited American Cars.

Away from the hillclimb, don't miss the Demon Drome Wall of Death, the oldest surviving Wall of Death, as well as live bands throughout the weekend.

Prescott will be play host to the last ‘heat’ of the prestigious Classic American ‘Car of the Year’ competition 2018, in which aficionado Ben Klemenzson will be looking for cars either original or restored. The winner will be guaranteed a place on the Classic American stand at the Classic Motor Show at Birmingham’s NEC in November. All American vehicles on site will be part of the judging process.

Advance tickets cost £15 per day or £25 for the weekend (£20 and £35 on the gate). There is free parking, while children under 14 are admitted free.

Full details at www.prescott-hillclimb.com

October 7:  Shuttleworth Race Day Sprint, Old Warden Aerodrome, nr Biggleswade, Bedfordshire
The sprint is a timeless display of historic cars and motorcycles on the grass runway of the fantastic Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden 

The season finale at the fantastic Shuttleworth Collection of historic aircraft and automobilia celebrates founder Richard’s Shuttleworth’s passion for racing, veteran cars and vintage aviation.

The Shuttleworth Sprint is a ‘classic’ sprint course along a grass runway. It’s purely fun, non-competitive or timed and no racing licences are required, though some of the world’s finest veteran and vintage race cars and motorcycles will be taking part.

Entry applications are welcome from all pre-1939 vehicles - and visiting car and motorcycle clubs are welcome.

As well as the smell of oil and the roar of engines at the sprint, expect vintage aircraft flying displays, live music, period paddock and exhibits, along with activities to amuse and delight visitors of all ages.

Full details at the www.shuttleworth.org/events/raceday/ website.​

October 19-21: Lombard Rally Bath, Somerset
1972 AND 1998 FORD ESCORT RALLY CARS

Although not a competitive event, this celebration of the classic era of rallying takes place on part of the route of the 1976 Lombard RAC Rally in historic rally cars.

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, the Lombard RAC Rally was the largest spectator event in the UK. To recall those days, the new tour was conceived by former rally driver Tim Nash as a predominantly social event and a reunion of former competitors, and already more than 120 cars have been confirmed to take part.

And the drivers! Expect to see Stig Blomqvist, twice a winner of the Lombard RAC Rally; Jimmy McRae, five time British champion; Louise Aitken-Walker, Ladies World Champion; Rosemary Smith, not only a former Ladies Champion Driver but the oldest person to drive a Formula 1 car, aged 79; former manufacturer drivers Terry Kaby, Graham Elsmore, David Llewellin and Robin Eyre-Maunsell.

These and many more will arrive in Bath on October 19 to attend a Rally Question and Answer Forum at the Bath Spa Hotel. On the Saturday morning the cars will leave Bath to visit former rally stages at Longleat and Cricket St. Thomas, before arriving at the “Spectator” stage at Wiscombe Park between Axminster and Honiton in Devon at about 11am.

Lunch will be taken in Minehead before the cars run up the Porlock Toll Road and then return to Bath, where they will be displayed whilst the drivers attend the Rally Dinner on the Saturday evening.

The oldest car confirmed so far is a pre-war Alvis Special, which will join hordes of classic rallying machinery such as Minis. Ford entries include a 1958 Zephyr, Cortinas, Escort Mk1 and Mk2, Sierras, Puma and Escort Cosworth, while Triumph will be represented by a TR4, Dolomite Sprint and a selection of the brutal V8-engined TR7s. Less likely rally cars include the Rover SD1 and Volkswagen Beetles and Golfs.

No such event would be complete without the cars that changed the face of rallying in the 1980s – Audi Quattros and MG Metro 6R4s, among others. 

As the tour around the old rally venues will be conducted at a leisurely pace, spectators will be able to approach the drivers and get a close-up of the cars. 

Full details at www.lombardrallybath.co.uk 

 

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