After a very hot show season of sun cream and shorts the 2018 Sywell Classic Pistons & Props finally broke the mould with the weather changing it’s mind every hour for the two day event, keeping everyone on their toes.
With new attractions for this years event and an increasingly varied and diverse array of displays, whatever your interest whether winged or wheeled, four wheel or two, there was plenty for everyone.
New for 2018 saw a jaw dropping VW pick-up truck named “ Oklahoma Willy” powered by a 5000 BHP turbine in the form of a Rolls Royce Viper 535 jet engine. Originally this turbine powered a BAC Strikemaster fighter jet that spent it‘s life in the Omani Royal Air Force. Now rebuilt and with an afterburner added to the mix, on full power the turbine burns 31 gallons per minute.
Re-engineered and developed over four years to cope with the power output…if that’s possible, the pick-up’s main purpose is a show vehicle attraction, however it is also fitted with a period tuned engine, gearbox and running gear allowing the truck to be road legal and regularly driven on the road!!
On the racing runway F1, F2 and F3 racecars exhibited alongside hybrids, hotrods, dragsters and karting legend outfits. These karts would reach top speeds in excess of 165mph with a 0-60 of around 3 seconds. Impressive stuff when you realise that a fifty pence piece stood on its edge on the circuit would touch the bottom of the seat. If you haven’t seen these karts race it makes for exciting spectating with gear changes of less than a second between shifts, full bodywork and 250 race engines that sit just under the drivers armpit.
If two wheels is your thing, bikes ranged from classics to modern race bikes with a trio of Ducati’s and for the classic enthusiast an array of classic bike and sports car clubs exhibiting throughout the showground.
In the paddock the “Two Brothers Stunt Team” performed various stunts and tricks with precision accuracy on their modified drift bikes. In Hanger One all those requiring a little retail therapy found the Vintage Village offering goodies ranging from vintage clothes to memorabilia and curios.
With the inclement weather keeping everyone periodically heading for cover to their own club gazebo’s and tents. The Dax Sporting Club held their first rain cannot stop play ‘knockout’ conker championship. As competitors recalled their school day conker skills and shared advise on the best conker size, shape, string length and ‘secret’ technique to use. Tales around the tent could be heard of how they used to boil, bake, freeze, soak in vinegar and as one competitor confessed of his - gone but not forgotten - prize winning ‘35er’ conker called ‘Basil’, who’s inner strength was not down to steroids but was instead cunningly filled with epoxy resin.
With all modern health &safety nonsense cast aside, in favour of a more ‘living on the edge’ approach, the live action conker splitting, danger and recklessness began. As the competition progressed with competitors and conkers dropping by the wayside it was all down to the final two and then with the carnage over and all competitors surviving to tell the tale of their total disregard for health and safety. A winner ‘Anne Cawood’ stood tall and was crowned with the conker champion accolade and presented with the conker championship trophy.
Well done Conker Annie!
This event annually attracts in excess of two thousand exhibitors with some of the best cars on the show scene on display. Visitors to the event can see Super Cars, Classics, Sports, American, Kits, Custom, Hotrods, Movie Cars and more.
Following torrential downpours across the country on the Sunday, this two day event saw a larger than expected turnout on the Bank Holiday Monday as the Met Office forecast clear skies for the day. This is a familiar song amongst car show organisers, vehicle exhibitors and traders throughout the country as they all work hard towards a day that will hopefully bring sunshine, shorts and trophies.
So with clear skies ahead, it’s 7.30am and I head off south for a short seventy mile run down the A1 to Knebworth Park. This is always a pleasant drive and such an easy venue to get to. Apart from the one time I was driving down before sun up in a modern classic show car and was the unfortunate recipient of a forty foot artics unwanted amorous advances, as it decided to switch lanes and sent me spinning across the carriageway with more gusto than Louie Spence after his first coffee of the day. If he wanted an autograph that badly, he only needed to ask!
As I pull into the show ground I am quickly directed by marshals to my display area for the day alongside the main arena. A quick walk amongst the exhibits before the show opens, quickly proved that this show had turned up some real head turning exhibits and attracted a tremendous turnout from far and wide.
At the head of the showground The Motion Picture Motor Club were setting up with a very impressive line-up and already attracting a lot of visitors and “Wow”! What a line up of movie muscle, you could almost feel their magic aura and smell the testosterone dripping off the curves of these iconic works of art.
In the line up there was some genuine movie magic that instantly brought back memories of where you were and who you were with when you saw these iconic movie moments. First up I notice Dave waving in my direction with his fabulous 1968 Highland Green Mustang GT 390 Fastback with mounted lightweight Arriflex camera as driven by Steve McQueen and used for the interior driving shots of possibly the most famous car chase scene ever filmed in the 1968 movie ‘Bullitt’. Alongside the Mustang stood its counter-part from the chase scene the Dodge Charger 440 Magnum.
Following on with the Dodge Charger theme, I spot Bo and Luke Dukes 1969 (01) General Lee and as I approach I hear the sound of its unmistakable Dixie horn. Every week we would tune in to see the Duke boys with help from cousin Daisy and uncle Jesse as they tried to evade County Commissioner Boss Hogg and his bungling Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane by whatever means possible. When Warner Bros commissioned the series they ordered 340 General Lee’s to be produced and when the series ended six years later the stunt team had scrapped 323 of the original 340 cars. This car on display today was used in the original jump scene of the opening titles sequence.
Continuing with the American theme I spot the black Pontiac Trans Am with its 6.6 Litre V8 sound track as driven by Burt Reynolds and runaway bride Sally Field (Frog) in “Smokey and the Bandit”. Four cars were secured for the movie, one of which was destroyed during the jump scene over the dismantled bridge. The Trans Am used for the jump was equipped with a booster rocket, the same type as used by Evel Knievel during his failed Snake River Canyon jump.
The movie follows the story of trucker Bo "Bandit" Darville who is offered $80,000 from wealthy Texan Big Enos Burdette and his son Little Enos to haul 400 cases of Coors beer from Texarkana, Texas back to Atlanta in 28 hours. With “Bandit” driving “blocker” for "Snowman", Bo picks up runaway bride Carrie who is being pursued by her jilted clueless groom “Junior” and his hypertense father “Sheriff Buford T. Justice”…and the chase is on!
Moving back across the pond for a UK based TV series I come across a white Volvo P1800 registration number ST1. Driven by Roger Moore in the ‘The Saint’ which aired from 1962 to 1969. The series followed the exploits of Simon Templar a suave, well to do London based Robin Hood style globe trotter who took on the causes of those less fortunate than himself whilst still trying to stay one step ahead of the police.
In the Motion Picture Motor Club line up of exhibits there were some absolutely amazing and iconic cars that have been watched in awe on the big screen with our favourite movie stars sitting in the driving seats and now here they are so close that you can actually reach out, touch and feel the movie magic through your finger tips. This was an awesome display of movie magic and one thing is for sure, they all invoke memories of where we were, who we were with and the feelings we had when we first sat and watched these celluloid magic movie moments.
As the show drew to a close and anticipation mounted for the awards, I was requested to attend the arena Concours Masterclass ceremony to be presented on arrival for the second year running with the honour of a little more ‘Bling’ for the mantelpiece. This is a very well attended and organised show in a prestige venue with something for the whole family. A great day out and well worth attending in 2019.
In Memory of Burt Reynolds 1936 - 2018
This is a real family show with all proceeds going to support local charities. Whatever your passion whether two wheel or four, vintage, modern classic, American, kit or custom there was something for everyone. On arrival the event marshals welcomed exhibitors and speedily direct them to their show locations.
Around the venue traders were setting-up shop with the guys from the Bulwick Farm Shop firing up the Hog Roast, while the live bands tune up opposite in the marquee.
With Concours judging scheduled to take place between 12.30 & 3.00 restorers and exhibitors are lovingly prepping and polishing every last detail of their pride and joy, while their kids head for the bouncy castle and fun attractions.
With exhibitors gathered, it was an absolute honour to hear that my Seven styled Hardtop Coupé design and development had caught the judges eye and was presented with the 2018 Concours winners plaque.
New to the show calendar for 2018 and held within the estate grounds of Belvoir Castle courtesy of the 11th Duke of Rutland, the event attracted cars and bikes from far and wide.
What ever your passion whether two wheel or four there was something for everyone from Classics to Sports, Kits, Customs, American Cars and Trucks to Vintage Motorcycles.
With such a beautiful array of cars and bikes on display one vehicle of note was a unique home designed and built one-off creation taking it’s design styling from the F4 Phantom jet fighter aircraft complete with twin hydraulic opening canopies as seen on it’s airborne counterpart. This project has been a seven and a half year labour of love with the designer /builder naming the car ‘F4’ for it‘s obvious inspiration.
With the town centre closed to traffic and months of planning and preparation finished, all fingers were crossed for that one uncontrollable variable of British summertime…the weather. As day breaks across the sleepy Fenland town of Bourne, Lincolnshire, anticipation is running high as curtains are opened to reveal luck is on side with another glorious sunny Sunday for the third annual Bourne Car & Bike Carnival.
Between 1950 and 1977 the BRM Team started in 197 Grand Prix with 17 wins, 1 Driver World Championship with Graham Hill in the driving seat and 1 Constructors World Championship. In 1965 Jackie Stewart was hired to partner Hill and took his first Grand Prix win at Monza in his debut season.
This quiet little Fenland town has a big history and heritage that could so easily be missed by travellers as they pass through on their daily journeys from A to B. For me this event is just a stones throw from my home and a real change from the early mornings usually encountered when attending national events that sometimes require hotels, planned fuel stops and hours on the road. ‘This is spoiling me as I’m even getting a lie-in’.
Upon entering Bourne traders are already busy setting up shop and there is a real buzz in the air. The live music stage is set up and ready to go and there are marshals at most corners pointing the way to vehicle exhibitors, entertainers, traders and visitors. I can already see a good mix of prestige, sports, kits, hotrods, classic vehicles and motorcycles. With such a diverse mix of vehicles on display there is something to suit every taste whatever your interest.
This event certainly pulled out all the stops and is a true family day out with something for everyone.
Billed as the largest kit car show on the planet. 2018 saw over one hundred club stands, new manufacturer launches, trade stands galore throughout the exhibition halls offering everything from a single stainless steel nut & bolt to a ready to roll…leather lined…turnkey 5.7 Litre Cobra.
Outside saw live action ‘Have A Go’ attractions to include ‘Drift Rides’ and the muddier Dakar 4-wheel drive circuit.