For us “Petrol Heads” there are few days more enjoyable than a potter round a car show. Add to that the stunning setting of Castle Howard in North Yorkshire and you have a winning combination. The sun made an appearance and despite the enormous queues to gain entry spirits were high. I am pleased to report that despite it being called a “Classic Car Show” it wasn’t just wooden Morgan’s mixed with the odd Triumph Stag and a reem of Mini’s. Happily, as most of the cars on show seemed to be linked to owner’s clubs there was a real mixed bag of examples from all era’s.
As you drive onto the Grounds of Castle Howard you are greeted with the grand property itself. Despite my dislike for the TV show you can’t help but picture Downton Abbey as ladies is domed dresses with parasols strolling the grounds was surely a scene the building will have witnessed as some point. The grounds are pristine and opulent in a way we don’t really see today with sprawling lawns as far as the eye can see adorned with huge lakes and fountains. In 2018 if someone has this sort of wealth they vanish to an island far away from prying paparazzi and who can blame them.
Normally the trudge from some distant parking space to the show itself is a necessary evil we all dislike but not here. In a distinct contradiction to modern life, not one soul in attendance was in a rush and this relaxed feel to the day felt very indulgent. People sauntered carrying pic-nic baskets and took photos of family with the castle in the background. We were doing the same without a care in the world and with it being Father’s Day too, the family vibe to the day was clear.
We passed the largest fountain I have ever seen and crossed a bridge to the show itself. Oddly the first stand that greeted us was a Vauxhall dealership flogging modern blandness. Not a great start but we pressed on. Secondly came the Saab owners club stand. I was worried. I apologise to you all but there are few things in this world less inspiring than a SAAB to me. “Nigel”, Radio 4 and a spiel about fighter jet technology is all I expect. I didn’t hang around to see if I was right.
Happily, next we were then greeted by an array of TVR’s gleaming with their flip painted curves and simply the most perfect Jaguar E-Type I have ever seen. I had the pleasure of driving one once and it will stay with me forever. It sits very low down the list of fine machinery but as an event it was amazing. You will never feel as cool as the day you drive an E-Type. This is a fact. God knows what it was worth but when my wife said “oh that’s nice, how much are they” I couldn’t help but laugh.
The show was delightfully varied with American Muscle cars, kit cars, the obvious classics but there were future classics there too like the Lotus Exige S. The pick of the day for me simply as I had never seen one in the flesh before was the Lamborghini Countach. Ill admit it was a little scruffy in truth but still…… its either “Cannonball Run” or “The Wolf of Wall Street”. If you have seen the films, you will know what I mean.
In amongst the sizable volume of cars were some real gems. The reason cars shows are a draw to people who are passionate about cars. There were cars that in truth it was fairly likely you would see in your next week of motoring but then sat next to a fairly ugly GMC truck was a Shelby Mustang GT500 from the last 60’s. Gleaming in silver and simply perfect. No, flawless. Even brand-new cars are sometimes not 100% perfect, but this was. It sat there gleaming as if nobody had even opened its door. It really was a thing to behold. There was a whole section of cars I will admit I know nothing about. The era looked to be circa WW2 and the links to Al Capone or Dick Tracy come to mind toting Tommy Guns while wearing pin striped suits.
I was pleased to see the Ford section drawing a crowd and rightly so. There were three Escort Cosworth’s sat next to each other, all totally original and again concourse. Owners of these cars must be rubbing their hands together as values will only sour as the years tick by. One surprise of the day was a Lamborghini Huracan that pulled in as we wandered past the Supercar section. I can now see why the “Performante” variant of this was needed. It looked so soft and was pretty much silent as it parked up. Don’t get me wrong, it was stunning, but it did lack that poster car factor that a Lambo should have. They should be loud, they should be over the top. The standard Huracan in my opinion was confirmed as being a little too much Audi and not enough Lamborghini. My dad’s standard comment about speed bumps surfaced at this point. Such a practical mind.
I am sure this show is an annual affair, so it is one for the diary next year if you can make it. Beautiful surrounding and a delightfully varied collection of vehicles for adults to admire and kids to dream of owning one day. All in all, a lovely family day out, take a hamper of grub, get there early and I hope to share next year with you.
THE AUTO VIP.