Cholmondeley Pageant of Power – July 2011

Although the Goodwood Festival of Speed enjoys much praise for the variety of machinery on display and in action, it has become something of a victim of its own success, and stories of huge crowds have become legendary. Many have declared that the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, conceptually a similar sort of event, is very much like the Festival of Speed used to be, and as such it begged further investigation. Although my initial reaction was that it was rather a long way away from home, and I pondered whether an overnight stay was called for, it is in fact hardly any more distant than Goodwood, and took me a little over 2 hours to cover the 145 miles from Chateau Colin. The last 10 miles, west from junction 16 of the M6 are not fast, though, and there was a paucity of signs, but now I know where the Cholmondeley Castle is, it is actually easy enough to find. More of a potential deterrent was a weather forecast that promised heavy rain, and the fact that my ticket did not arrive (it duly turned up three days after the event!) made me wonder if I could get in without having to pay again, but, undeterred, I set off. I am so glad I did, as the weather did improve, and I was able to enjoy an absolutely brilliant day out. Jumping to the summary now, it was well worth the trip.The event takes place in the extensive grounds of Cholmondeley Castle. At the centre is a circuit extending a couple of miles, which is enlivened by the addition of a couple of straw-bale based chicanes. Many of the displays are located either inside the circuit, or just on the perimeter of it. These comprised a mixture of car club and dealer/manufacturer areas, along with a plentiful supply of trade stands and various forms of entertainment from mini tanks to arcade style games. A huge covered paddock contained all the cars and bikes that were to be seen in action on the track. At one end of the circuit, there is a section for rally cars, and an area where these can be demonstrated. There is an off-road course for some Land-Rover based vehicles, and elsewhere a much bigger area for tank rides. There is a lake, on which powerboats were zooming around. It was not all confined to the ground, though, with extensive helicopter displays and the Abarth stunt plane came and astonished everyone with incredible aerobatics. The Sporting Bears had an area from which they could take people out for rides, in exchange for a charitable donation. There was such a lot to see that even a long day such as I spent was not really enough.



Abarth UK’s stand was one of the first I came across, and as I headed towards it, I could see two familiar figures taking shelter from the rain: fellow Abarthisti, Lloyd and Andrew. That made meeting up with them very easy. We returned to the “mother ship” on a couple of occasions, not least to claim a free cup of coffee, and in the afternoon some biscuits as well. Ah, the joys of befriending those who run the Abarth trailers at events such as these. Becky told us that the event had been completely dead the previous day (Friday), and she had scored a record of literally no sales at all. There were few exhibitors and next to nothing going on on the track, which was quite a contrast to the day of our visit. A much longer conversation with the “boss”, Dave, elicited that Abarth now have 11 of these trailers, and they are out every weekend from February til the end of November. Outside, Abarth UK had a representative range of cars, including an example of the 500C with manual gearbox.

We had to go to the Bauer Millett stand, though, to see a 695 Tributo, and sure enough, the promised yellow one was on show. Draw your own conclusions on whether this colour is preferable to the alternatives of grey, red or blue.
Struggling slightly with our bearings, as we headed towards the rally car area, we suddenly realised that we could see the 2 Grande Puntos of friend Lloyd and Andrew, and source of another welcome caffeine upgrade.
Bauer Millett had brought along an 8C Spider, in its signature colour of pearlescent white. Lovely!

They also had a Giulietta and MiTo. The latter had some unique body wrap, which Mitch (the MD) asked us to comment on. I think the diplomatic phrases were “unique” and “different”. Not my taste doing that to any car. I think he rather agreed!
TD21 Convertible. Very nice.

Surprisingly few Astons on show, but we did see this DB7 and a V8 Vantage.

One Britain’s best seller, this Mark 11 Austin 1100 looked better in the flesh than it appears in the photo.

The ADO17 “Land Crab” never achieved the same level of success. A number of these spacious cars were on show.
A number of Sprites and Big Healeys were on show.

A fenced off area had an example of each current Bentley on show. Outside this was the Ice Speed record car, alongside a classic Blower model.

This 2000 was a refinement of the Herald-based Equipe.

We timed this one to perfection. Walking across a large grassy area, heading towards the Paddock, I suddenly spotted this Veyron heading straight towards us.

As well as selling Abarth and Alfa, Bauer Millett also have a franchise for GM US products and they had a couple of Corvettes and a Hummer on show. I seem only to have photographed one such.

Elsewhere, we came across this C3 model Corvette Stingray.
A local dealer had a mixture of Citroen and Suzuki cars on show. Although the DS3 has received plenty of good press, it is not a car that appeals to me.

Examples of the 458 Italia, 599 GTB and California represented the current UK range.

Elsewhere, there were several other cars on show, including a number of 308/328 based cars, the F355 Spider and this lovely 575M..
Oldest Ferrari at the event was this 250GT, which was originally owned by the late Mike Hawthorne.
Another older model was this lovely 330 GT. Yours for, well, they did not display the price, but it would not be cheap! It was parked up next to a 365 GT Berlinetta Boxer, also for sale.
It is notable that the Fiat Coupe is starting to become less evident at events like this. Have the cars reached the point where the cost to maintain them (the cam belt change at 72,000 miles is an engine out task on the 5 cylinder cars0 exceeds their value?

In celebration of the centenary of Ford in the UK, there was a Model T, suitably protected from the elements.

Parked up among the latest Fiesta, Focus and C-Max cars was an example of Ford’s best seller from the 1960s, the Mark 11 Cortina.
The Capri Owners Club had several cars, including a Tickford and a couple of the last of the line Brooklands models.
The RS Owners Club had a wide variety of cars on show including Sierra Cosworths, Focus and Escort models, as well as an Escort Mexico .
Other historic Fords included this Anglia
One new Ford GT was complemented by a number of GT40 (recreations).
Honda had their own stand, situated beyond Abarth, and there was nothing there which compelled me to want to go to look at it, sadly.

Elsewhere, we did find the CR-Z.

A Mark 1 3.4

There were several E Types, which is not at all surprising as this car is as popular now as ever.
The current product was also on show, with several of the facelifted XFs on show, along with the XJ and XKR-S.
Along with the Veyron, HR Owen had three Lamborghinis on display.

This Murcielago was parked up on one of the trade stands.
Among the Owners Club cars were this trio: Countach, Jalpa and Espada.
A further Espada was available for sale, along with a pristine and low mileage Miura and a Countach.
A small display of MonteCarlos joined the rally cars.

Plenty of variety to be seen among the Lotus Owners Club cars, including Elan, Plus 2, Excel

Examples of the latest GranTurismo and GranCabrio were attracting plenty of attention.

A W111 model 280SE.

There were examples of both the hatchback and saloon version of the new MG6.

Among the MGF and TF cars, we spotted a couple of the Chinese made cars.
Plenty of the ZT-based cars. These vehicles seem to have acquired a cult following and are already headed towards classic status.
Among the older cars were these: MGA
Plenty of classic Minis.

“New” Mini was on show, too, with the WRC cars as well as the road models on show.
No sign of a factory display, but there were cars from the Malvern Link marque’s long history, including an early Plus 4, a Plus 8 and the far more recent Aero 8.

This M600 was parked up right by one of the footbridges over the circuit. A second car was in the Paddock.

There were a quartet of M12 models, too.
Some lovely sporting Peugeots here, with 205s and an immaculate 306 Rallye to enjoy.

An early car, and now with significant collectible appeal.

A pair of Avantimes.

And a pair of Renault Alpine cars.
Several SD1s on display.

The 200 BRM car.
An amazing collection of the legendary Tiger. I cannot recall ever seeing so many of these cars gathered together in one place

A big display of sports cars were parked up by the Tigers.

The TVR Owners Club can be relied on to put on a good show at most events, with plenty of variety provided by not just the different models, but also the vibrant colour schemes in which many of these cars were painted. This event was no exception!

The very informative “” site informs that there are very few Mark 1 Cavaliers left, so this trio were clearly rare. What became apparent is that one of the cars is in fact the every first Cavalier made, and another is the sole surviving LS model, a late addition to the range which initially comprised L, GL and later GLS cars.

This Chevette dates from a similar period, and cars like this are also rare.
There was also a pair of the rally-based cars, with an HS and an HSR parked next to each other.
The Droop Snoot Firenza was parked up at one end of the display area.
The FD Victor cars were among the first volume cars to feature an overhead cam engine, and also the then fashionable coke bottle styling. Sadly, the engine were troublesome and the cars rusted so few survive, but there was an estate car and the sporting VX4/90 to enjoy.
This Cresta dates from the mid 1950s.
There was a separate display area billed as “Green Car Live”. It did not amount to much, with a lone 3 series BMW and Mini facing an array of cars with some form of alternative technology such as the Lexus CT200h, a Leaf and this Infiniti M35h.

Tucked away in one corner of the grounds, we found the Sporting Bears parking area. We were headed there as another Abarthisti had let on that she was going to have her X-Bow there, and sure enough we bumped into Shirley before we got to the cars. We did not see much of her, as she spent most of the day taking people out. Things only eased up when the price of a ride in the Murcielago was reduced, and suddenly that was the car it seemed everyone wanted to go in. That was the point when Andrew decided he wanted to go out in the X-Bow, so Lloyd and I retreated back to Abarth HQ for coffee and biscuits! Getting into the X-Bow is easy if you are familiar with it, but it would seem that the passenger needs help to be strapped in!

Other cars in the Sporting Bears parking area included a Ferrari 275 GTB, several 911s, an Abarth 500 (from the other local dealer, Corkhills), a lovely Delta Integrale, a couple of TVRs, an Ultima and a XJ220
As well as a line of military vehicles, some of the tanks were heavily used doing laps of the field. We were quite surprised that despite all the rain, this area was more of a dustbowl than a muddy swamp. There were long queues to go on these vehicles, unsurprisingly

Although we watched quite a lot of vehicles at various points around the circuit, the only one I seem to have photographed is this tiny machine.

I did have a good look around the Paddock, though. Among the many highlights were these:
This D Type Auto Union dates from 1939 and was driven by the legendary Hans Stueck.
Having seen this 42 litre Packard Bentley at Brooklands, it was fun to hear the engine fired up and see it in action. The driver took it rather gently on the track!
This AC Cobra is the car that we have to thank for the 70mph speed limit, as this is the one that hit 185 mph on the M1. The full story will be in next month’s Classic and Sports Car.
One of the highlights was the fact that a number of Vanwalls were gathered together, all of which were in action on the track.
I don’t seem to have any pictures of the Ariel Atoms that Messrs Cropley and Prior had taken to the event, but I can confirm that they were there, and I get the chance to speak to them both. Despite what they said in the magazine they had not camped on Friday evening when the weather was unspeakably dreadful, and who can blame them? Matt said that the V8 that he was driving was such fun, and he was wondering how many kidneys he would need to sacrifice so he could keep it!
Tucked up among the more historic cars was the very latest McLaren MP4-12C,

Fun? You bet!

Splendid variety, from the iconic Stratos and Sport Quattro, to the less well known Corolla and Visa Chrono.

Prize for generated noise must go to this Chevrolet engined Firenza. Just epic!
In case you have not guessed from my enthusiastic comments and the splendid variety of things depicted, this really was a fantastic day. We are already making plans for an official Abarthisti presence in the display area for 2012. it’s going to be good. Keep your diaries clear for the middle of July, now!
2011-07-19 18:54:23

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