VSCC at Shelsley Walsh – July 2010

Ever since the very first TheMotor Forum meet at Prescott, this Gloucestershire hill climb venue has featured prominently in the events program, and it is no exaggeration to say that every trip has always been fun, even when the weather threw the worst it can do at us (and it did, more than once!). However, there are plenty more hill-climb venues in the UK, and I thought it was about time to sample another one. Shelsley Walsh, located in rolling countryside about 10 miles to the west of Worcester, has in fact an even lengthier history than Prescott, with the first competitive run up the hill taking place in 1905. The course was lengthened slightly in 1907 and has changed little since. It has a long standing association with the Midlands Automobile Club, who took out a 99 year lease on the hill back in 1905. That meant that there was something of a problem in 2004, but sufficient funds were raised to be able to take out a further 99 year lease and so hill-climbing at this historic and scenic venue is as secure as any such event can be. I chose to make my first visit to Shelsley Walsh to coincide with the annual visit of the VSCC, and had an absolutely fantastic day.
Unlike Prescott, almost all the cars in Paddock get their own covered space. With over 170 cars competing for honours on the Hill, there was much that was of interest and fascination being prepared in the Paddock.


A 6C 1750 Zagato. Just fabulous, as ever!

There were three of these iconic British sports cars at the event, and they set some impressively fast times. Well below 40 seconds for the best runs.

A lovely Ballila sports car

This monster sports a 24 litre aero engine. When it set off, the clouds of smoke took some time to dissipate, and you could still smell the after effects 10 minutes later!

Not the most subtle of vehicles, this American monster clearly had a large V8 engine under the bonnet.

A 1930s Dolomite

The course is 1000 yards long, during which distance it climbs 368 feet. The steepest gradient is 1:6, with an average climb of 1:9. That means that it is rather steeper than Prescott, but with less in the way of tight bends, this is more of a test of coping with the inclines than the tight turns, though one hapless contestant did not seem to understand this and as he rounded Top Turn, he went straight on, up the steep bank and through the fence. Luckily, he was OK. It would seem that there is no separate return road, so every now and then, proceedings stopped and all the cars that had climbed the hill came back down, almost in parade style.

Be warned that the path that goes alongside the hillclimb is also rather steep. There are viewing points more or less all the way up the hill, though, and there is a plentiful supply of seating. There are refreshment stalls en route, too.
When we were chatting to one of the Stratsone Sales Managers at Prescott, he did tell us that the firm owns the cottage at the base of the hill, so it was no surprise to find that Stratsone had a comprehensive display of both Jaguar and Land Rover cars on display. No-one seemed to be paying them much attention, though, and the man we had met a couple of times before at Prescott was not on site today.

There was a truly amazing variety of cars to be found in the car park, and I wandered round the field where everyone was parked up a couple of times, and took plenty of photos. Here are just some, but by no means all, of the highlights:


Just one lone Abarth, as I had taken the Audi for the day.

This Bristol engined Aceca was parked up just near my car. Stunning.

This is a much earlier car
A 6C 1750.

Lots of Alvis cars. This 4.3 litre was once described as the “best” British sports car of the 1930s

A 1930s Saloon.
This is a TF, a car whose virtues are now being valued by a commensurate increase in value.  
A rather nice DB5 Volante

A 1920s Ulster
There were a few of the V8 models in attendance, including this one
This original Quattro was rather nice

Plenty of Austin Sevens, ot course.

This A35 was in less than pristine condition.
There were plenty of Big Healeys, ranging from the 100 models to the later 3000 cars
There were a lot of classic Bentleys in the car park, and all of them were stunning.

This lovely 326 saloon is a car that I have seen at previous events.

Technically this is a Frazer Nash, and it is the same car as we saw at La Vie en Bleu. A 1937 model  319.
This is one of a small number of Conquest Roadsters that was produced in the mid 1950s. The car was not a success.

This Consul Capri GT is a rare survivor from a car that had a short production life, and was not exactly well regarded when new.

This is a Popular from the late 1930s.
There were some of these British sports cars in the car park as well as the Paddock.

Invader Series 3. These cars cost more than an E Type when new. Thanks to their grp bodies, the survival rate is very high, and now they are highly rated by those who know what they are.

XK models, of course

There were some E Types, as well. The one parked right next to me was finished in a Rover Group colour, but consensus was that it suited the car well.
This appeared to be a genuine SS100 and not a more recent recreation
The Jupiter, a sporting model from this Bradford based maker

Plenty of these 1930s sports tourers at the event.

This one was badged Rapier, and I was informed by one of the attendees, that this was later spun off as a separate (and unsuccessful) marque
This rather tatty saloon dates from the very early 1950s
A Fulvia Coupe – one of those really pretty mid 1960s Italian coupes that we so need to see reappear in the market!

There were two of the very innovative Lambda cars in the car park, the more usually seen open tourer and a closed model
Yet another forgotten marque, there were several of these cars in the car park

The classic Elan and Plus 2

The rather nice 220SE Coupe from the early 1960s

So many classic MGs on show, it is hard to know where to begin.

I particularly liked this glorious fastback.

There were plenty of other 1930s cars.
Plenty of the T Series cars, from TC to TF
This Plus Four Plus is extremely rare. Just 26 of these cars were made, following a 1963 debut, but the idea of a “modern” Morgan simply failed in the market. It is understood that just 8 of them are in the UK these days, so this was definitely one of the more unusual sightings of the day.

What can I say? Just splendid!

Not a marque many have heard of, but there were a few of these British cars parked up

Hot on the heels of seeing one of the last of these cars at Gaydon last weekend, here is another of the small Reliant sports cars that must have seemed like such a good idea until the MX5 came along and stole the market away. This is a Scimitar SST model, the successor to the initial Scimitar SS1, of which only 40 were built before the model changed again into the final Scimitar Sabre.

This is a late model left hand drive R4, badged “Clan” which was the replacement for the long-running TL trim level (ignore the GTL badges, that became the Savane).

Sporting saloons from the 1930s included the Kestrel and Monaco and there were examples of both parked up.

This 1.5 litre saloon shared a body with the Wolseley 1500, and was from a design intended to replace the long running Morris Minor. Only Riley and Wolseley cars were made, from 1957 to 1966, and the Minor outlasted it by some years.
The Silver Shadow Coupe, from the time before these cars became the Corniche

Several pre War models, too, including a 40/50 and a 20/25 (I think)


This canvas-bodied Nine was Singer’s answer to the big selling Austin Seven and Morris Minor.

The LeMans was a sports car alternative to the MGs of the era.
A Tiger.

Well regarded sports tourers from the 1930s, there were a few of these in the car park, to join those which were competing up the hill.

A much earlier car than the ones we usually see from this Czech marque

There were plenty of TR models, from early TR2 cars, through to TR6s.

There were quite a few TVR in the car park, though nothing compared to the Gaydon showing. This S caught my eye, and camera.

The 30/98 was an expensive and fast sports car in its day. Not quite the image that we have now when we think of Vauxhall

This 14 saloon appealed. A luxury family car of the 1930s.

There were plenty of other ’30s Wolseleys at the event, including these:
This was an excellent day out. It is just 70 miles from home, so it is pretty accessible. The meeting on 21/22 August includes a special feature with the Alfa Romeo Owners Club. I’ve put it in my diary now!
2010-07-05 06:56:54

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