Silverstone Classic – July 2012

Sometimes I think we really are spoiled for choice with events for the motoring enthusiast in the UK, and indeed when you look at the great variety of different things which go on almost every weekend from March to October at venues all around the country, it is clear that we are indeed very fortunate. Picking which ones to attend, therefore, can sometimes be quite difficult. A few are so good that are simply unmissable, and in my opinion and based on attending every year since 2007, the Silverstone Classic is in that category. A three day program with 24 races for historic cars of all vintages from pre-war to Touring Cars of only 10 years ago, along with more Car Club displays than your brain can assimilate makes this a weekend to look forward to. Given the challenging weather that has blighted most of the 2012 events program, when I saw that this event was timed just perfectly to catch the arrival of some real summer weather, my expectations were heightened still further. I spent two whole days, and walked countless miles, and took 1250 photos, which are assembled in some semblance of logic in this series of reports, which are split simply to get them to load on the website. Make sure you read all parts, as there are treasures depicted in all of them! and curse at what you missed by not coming and experiencing it all for yourself!


Over 70 Car Clubs had displays, with a vast array of different models, many of them rare on show, and seeing these could easily have occupied the entirety of a day. ON balance, there were probably more cars on show on the Saturday than Sunday, but there were plenty of cars which were only present on Sunday as well, easily justifying a second day at the event. Some Clubs were luckier than others in their location, as those who were were allocated a grass pitch had to content with the consequences of the Friday night downpour, which meant that the ground in some cases was seriously waterlogged. Getting cars in and out clearly did not help and plenty of them on the Saturday showed plenty of signs of the mud through which they had travelled. Things got better during Sunday, though I note that at last one Club (Reliant) managed to relocate completely to try to escape the problem. Included in this section are a few cars that were parked up on the infield even though they were not part of an official display.


No official Abarth presence this year, and accordingly, no Abarthisti presence, either. That said, a couple of people were quite creative in getting their cars into the centre of the circuit. Two of them including Mike Foster with his 1000TC were to be found parked up in the Sporting Bears display area.


Cobra is one of the models celebrating its half century in 2012, and accordingly there were a lot of this model on show, with models ranging from the early factory built cars through to some of the many more modern recreations.

There were also several of the predecessor car, the Ace and its fixed roof coupe Aceca brother.
The Greyhound
Just one of the 428 cars attended, a Convertible model. I heard several people comparing this to the Maserati Mistral, and the visual resemblance is indeed quite uncanny.
There were 2 of the ill-fated 3000ME models on show.
Considering the size of the Alfa Owners Club, the turnout on both the Saturday and Sunday has to be seen as slightly disappointing.

Highlight for me was this car, though, a simply fabulous 1932 8C2300.

This Series 3 Alfasud Ti was very nice, too.
From the 105 series were a few Spiders and a couple of GTVs as well as a very rare GTC model.
This 2600 Spider was also really rather nice.
There were a couple of Alfetta GTVs.
More recent cars included a couple of the limited edition Cup versions of the 916 series GTV and a 156 GTA
This SZ is a regular at all sorts of events, as is the Montreal that was part of the display..
An interesting array of these rare cars.

This event always attracts a good and disparate showing of Alpina models, and this year was no exception. Granted that the E21 based model was actually a recreation, but it was interesting to see some of the different cars that this brand has offered over the past 30 years.

A couple of early Astons were given pride of place in the centre of a large display area.

DB4, 5 and 6
DBS and V8
There were plenty of the all of the current models from V8 and V12 Vantage through DB9 to DBS.
There were three examples of the striking Lagonda, two of them were late model cars with the smoothed out lines.
RS2 Avant

Lots of Big Healeys, of course.

Plenty of the smaller Sprite, too.
Not quite the same strong presence as in previous years, but there were a number of Bentleys ranging from pre-war 3 litre cars, through the immediate post-war Mark VI and S Type to the Continental Convertible.

Rather more recent was this GTC SuperSports
BMW had a huge presence at the event, which is quite a contrast from previous years where they were very much in a minority. Much of this increase in presence can be attributed to the decision to host Z-Fest at the event, with a massive gathering on the Saturday of all kinds of different Z model, with over 200 cars on show. Most numerous, of course, were the Z3 and Z4 cars, with every model type displayed, including a surprising number of the Alpina 3.4S.

There were 28 Z1s, too. One of them is the beautifully repaired ex Jonny Malim car, and looking at it you would never know what an adventure it had a couple of years ago! Purely by chance, I chatted to the couple who had been in the car immediately behind Jonny on that fateful day, and they related how they watched it all happen with some alarm.
The Z1s were nice, but my real favourite Z car is the Z8. Funnily enough, most of the owners had the same idea that they would differentiate their car from the others by arriving with the hard top on, so there were more closed than open cars on show.
Oldest BMWs were this pairing of a Dixi, the car that started it all, based on an Austin Seven built under licence, and a 315.
This 2000CS was a stylish and costly coupe made in small quantities in the 1960s, and the clear precursor to a far better known model.
That better known car was the E9, manifest in a display of several fabulous 3.0CSL cars as well as the “ordinary” 3.0 CSi.
After struggling with their large cars in the 1950s, BMW tried again with the E3 model launched in 1968. This elegant sports saloon is now a very rare car indeed, and one that I like very much. There were a 2500 and a 3.0S model here.
There were a couple of E21 3 series cars. One was a 316 in automatic guise – surely one of the slowest BMWs of recent times, and very spartan indeed inside as this was from the era when pretty much everything other than the steering wheel was a cost option.
The E36 based M3 GT was a rare model, easily identified from its unique shade of green paint. One such example is a regular at this event, but this year there were 3 of the cars on show.
Other models included a couple of E24 6 Series cars, a very nice E28 M5, a couple of E30 M3 Saloons and a Cabrio as well as an 840Ci.
A small collection of Bristol Cars ranged from a 402 Convertible through the 406 to a 603 S2.

A large collection of the ever popular Seven based models.

The Corvette Owners had a sizeable display of models from all 6 generations of one of America’s most popular sports cars.

An interesting display of both generations of the Viper/SRT10 cars, in roadster and coupe guises.

This Challenger R/T was parked up in the infield.
Among the more unusual models on show were this pair of GSAs. I guessed, incorrectly, that the blue one belonged to Classic and Sports Car’s David Evans, but it turned out that it was not, and was another car, in apparently better condition outside, but looking rather worn inside. The red car sported “SE” badges which is a model derivative that I do not recall from when the car was new.

The only other evident Citroen were a quintet of SM models.
A good showing of the SP250 “Dart” sportscar.

There were a small collection of the classic 240/260Z models on show on the hard-standing near many of the other Clubs.

Parked up very centrally by the Italian supercars were a couple of more recent Nissans, the current GT-R and a special import Skyline saloon.
Most of the De Tomasos were Pantera models, with a number of different ones on show

On the Saturday there was a lovely apple green Mangusta, a car which appears at quite a few Italian car events and which always attracts lots of interest.
Parked up in really gooey mud were a number of these Elan-like sports cars


This event is always a great place to see just about any type of Ferrari made as the Ferrari Owners Club always turn out in force. 2012 was no surprise, with several hundred cars on show. Highlight of the highlights was the spectacular showing of the F40, arranged to celebrate the model’s 25th anniversary. I’ve read several reports which all cite a slightly different number of cars in attendance, but the figure most consistently quoted is 62 present on the Sunday, of which 4 did not participate in the parade lap around the track at lunchtime. All of them red, and most of them sporting an F40**** number plate, they made for a striking sight indeed, though I guess you would have needed an aerial shot to get the full effect. A sight I will probably never see again.
The rest of the cars were separated by category, with a separate area for the pre 1970s cars, the V8s, the V12s and the most exclusive models of recent times. Just about every single model type from the past 40 years was represented by at least one example. The vast majority of the cars, even the recent ones, were red, meaning that the few that were not  

250 GT Lusso
This 275GTS was among my favourite of all the Ferraris. Someone asked me how much they would cost, and I guessed at around £200,000. A little research suggested that I was rather optimistic thinking that such a nice car would be so little, as the price guides suggest that double that would be required to get a really nice one.
The 275 GTB is worth far more than that, of course, with these cars heading close to the £1m.
330GT and 365 GTC/4
One Daytona on the Saturday and two on the Sunday.
Several of the lovely Dino 246 GT
Dino 308GT4
308/328 GTB and GTS
348 tb and ts and F355
360 and 430 Modena
One lone 512i Berlinetta Boxer
Several Testarossa and 512TR cars
550 and 575 Maranellos
456GT and 612 Scaglietti
Among the 458s were a couple of the newly released Spider models.
There were a couple of 599GTBs and these were joined late on the Saturday by a GTO model.
288 GTO
There were a couple of FFs on the Sunday, both different to the one that attended on the Satuday.
No official presence, but I did come across a couple of different model types: a lovely Dino Spider and a pair of the cute little Nuova 500.
There were not many Fords on show, but I did come across a couple of Mustangs a Mark 2 Zodiac, a couple of Escorts, as well as a very late model Cortina.

There was a special display of Sierra Cosworths. The Moonstone Blue car is number 499 of the 500, and is currently offered for sale looking for offers in excess of £75,000. This may sound like a lot, but the car has spent most of its life in storage and is absolutely pristine.
A display of GT40s included several cars, though I don’t think any of them were original, but all were high quality replicas. Parked up separately was Chris Notley’s lovely model that is “original” in the sense that he created it from genuine parts over many years.
There was a separate display of Lotus Cortinas, but they had one of the wettest parts of the ground, so inspecting them was all but impossible!
For a relatively obscure marque little known even in Britain, it was quite a surprise to find that several of the cars on show had Belgian number plates. Among the cars were several of the more recent G32 and G33 cars, as well as the G15 and G21 from the 1970s and a very rare G10.

One of those marques that you hardly ever see, but which can be guaranteed to have cars on show at this event. There were 4 GTMs on show.

Not quite as many cars as last year, but several models of the Healeys that few have heard of, which pre-date the association with Austin. Among them were a Silverstone, an Elliott and a Tickford.

Three types of Honda constituted the Honda display. Most numerous were the NS-X supercar, with examples of this model ranging from some of the first cars through to some of the last ones which foresook the pop up headlights for those displayed under a glass cover.

Next most numerous were the S2000 cars. This sports car is much loved by its owners, who lament the fact that Honda have never bothered to produce a successor.
Final car was a lone S800 Coupe, a diminutive machine and such a contrast when parked up next to the NS-Xs.  
Three Grifos were joined on the Sunday by a Lele and a Fidia, though both these latter two seem to have eluded my camera.

There were lots of E types, with coupes and convertibles from all three generations. I noted that “BOO”, the much loved car owned by Gaynor Cauter which features regularly in Classic and Sports Car was among them.

Oldest Jaguar was this lovely SS100.
Also lovely were the C and D Types on show.
There were plenty of the XK120, 140 and 150 cars.
Saloon cars ranged from the smaller Mark 2 models, through the first S Type, the 420 and 420G, and all generations of the XJ6/12.
Several XJS cars as well as the follow on XK8 and XK models.
Two XJ220s were a striking addition to the Jaguar display.
No Car Club Display, but this CV8 was parked up in the infield.


Oldest Lamborghini was not a car, but this tractor, made in 1960. Before Ferruccio started building cars, this was his business.
This car is absolutely unique, as it is the only one ever built, a Monza 400GT.
The bright green Jarama was joined on the Sunday by a rather more soberly hued model.  
There were several Espada models at the event  a very striking 4 seater from the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Although the Countach is now a 40 year old design, it still pulls the crowds wherever one appears, and this event was no exception.
There were several of the equally dramatic Diablo, including a Spider model.
There was one example of each of the three iterations of Lamborghini’s “entry level” model from the 1970s and 1980s, namely Uracco, Silhouette and Jalpa
Murcielago was also in evidence with the LP710 model attracting special interest, quite understandably.
With over 10,000 Gallardo now made, it was no surprise that there were several of these on show, with the Superleggera and the Performante among them.
There were 2 of the gargantuan LM002s at the event, one of which was the car under restoration which was at Brooklands earlier in the year.
Two separate displays of Lancia models. One was confined to the Stratos, with plenty of these (mostly recreations) in their colourful liveries to enjoy.

Lancia Owners Club cars ranged from another showing of the fabulous Appia Van which first made its UK debut at this event in 2010, along with an Appia Berlina.
By some measure the oldest Lancia model on show was this Lambda. It was joined by an Aprilia.
Fulvia models included a couple of Coupes.
There were several Delta Integrales, as you might expect.
Beta models were mostly the MonteCarlo sports car as well as a Spider and a Coupe.
The Thesis was never sold in the UK, but this examples has found its way here.
This Prisma Symbol has been a regular at events this year thanks to a recent change of ownership.
My favourite duo were the Flaminia Coupe and a 2000 HF Coupe.   
We were promised a large display of Lotus cars in honour of the 50th anniversary of the Elan, and were not let down. Oldest cars were four cars from the 1950s, which included the 2 which I first saw at Goodwood, a 6, one of the earliest 7s and an 11.

Ist generation Elite
Elans of very model type and colour were well represented.
There were plenty of the larger +2 model as well.
This pair of the Winterbottom styled Elite attended last year and are rare cars now. There were no Eclats at all on show, and surprisingly few Excels.
There were several Esprit, ranging from a very early S1 car, through one of the limited edition Essex Turbos to some of the last V8 and Sport 350 cars.
Front wheel drive Elan
Among more recent cars was a lone Europa and a few Evora.
Lots of these characterful British sports car, showing an evolution from the very cleanly styled Adams shape of the early cars to the ever more brutish models of the 1980s and 1990s.

Centre-piece of the Maserati display was this lovely car, a 1934 4CS 1500. It is believed that 15 of these cars were built, with a clear remit for motor sport, and that 6 survive.

Also intended for the track was this 300S.
Among the road cars were examples of most of the different models that Maserati has offered since the early 1960s, starting with the 3500GT and Sebring
Quattroporte 1
There were both coupe and convertible examples of the Mistral.
Also from the 1960s was a Mexico, an Indy and a couple of Ghiblis
As well as the regular Merak, the unusual Saurer bodied car that I saw earlier in the year staged another appearance.
The Khamsin achieves its 40th this year and there was one example of this very elegant car on show.
There were far fewer of the modern generation Maserati in the display with surprisingly few of the BiTurbo generation represented, but these cars did catch my camera.
There were also a number of the 3200/4200GT cars in Coupe and Cabrio form.
The MX5 Owners Club had a vast array of models on show with plenty of examples of all three generations of the model.

This F1 was parked by the bus stop at the new Pits complex and was attracting, predictably, a lot of attention. Although a 20 year old design, it still impresses now like it did when new.

A varied display of Mercedes cars indeed, with the oldest being one of the most intriguing. There were no details associated with this car, so I am not sure precisely what model it is.

No doubting this one, though, the iconic 300SL “Gullwing”
The 190SL was visually similar but under the skin completely different and far cheaper to build and hence buy.
From the 1960s, there were a couple of examples of the large W108 saloon cars that would now be called S Class.
These 220SE and 280 SE 3.5 Coupes were particularly elegant, but they were trumped by one of the less than 100 right hand drive 280SE 3.5 Convertibles built. Desirable though they are, I was a little surprised to learn that these cars sell for over £150,000.
For that money you could have one of the C63 AMG Black Series Coupes, of which a couple were on show.
Precursor to that, I guess, was the 190E Cosworth, and there were couple of the Evo versions of that present.
Among the more prosaic Mercedes was a W114/5 “New Generation” car from the mid 1970s and an example of its replacement, the W123.
This W100 600 is rather imposing.
Finally, there were lots of SL cars, ranging from the W113 “Pagoda” through the long-running R107 cars of the 1970s and 1980s to the more recent R129, R230 and R231 cars.    
The evergreen MGB also celebrates its 50th this year and we were told that there would be a special display in the cars honour. I am not sure that there was that, but there were plenty of this much loved sports car to see.

There were also several of the smaller Midget
The MGA was also well represented.
This was one of surprisingly few MGCs
One of the rarer MGs now is the ADO16 based 1100, but in fact this is another model with a 50th to celebrate this year.
There were a far smaller number of the most recent MG sports car, the MGF and MGTF along with a couple of the MG R V8 cars .
There were very few older MGs present, though this TF was in the infield area.
Lots of Morgans in a very central display area. The majority were the 4/4 and Plus 8 models of relatively recent times, though there were also a few of the more recent Aero 8 .

A couple of earlier cars were attracting lots of attention, with the 1947 Plus four proving to be of particular interest.
Morgan UK had a series of cars showcasing the current range, with the 3 wheeler joined by the newly relaunched Plus 8 as well as an Aeromax.
Not many Morris, but the evergreen Minor could not stay away!

This pair of PM2 sports cars, made in the early 1970s, stage a regular appearance at this event, and indeed this is about the only time in the year when you are likely to see a Piper.

A vast display from the Porsche Car Club meant that there were examples of just about every type of Porsche ever made on show (except the Carrera GT which was notable by its absence this year).


924, 944 and 968
Boxster and Cayman
As if that was not enough, there were smaller displays grouped by colour, with a series of red cars and a series of black ones.
There were also a line of brand new models, all finished in white, showcasing the current range.
Reliant definitely had one of the boggier stand locations, and indeed they moved on the Sunday to somewhere less churned up, in the hope that more people could get up close to their cars. Oldest were a couple of the Sabre 6 models in Coupe and Convertible guise.

As well as the Scimitar Coupe, there were lots of the Scimitar GTE and GTC cars, of course.
Two of them were actually Middlebridge cars and an enthusiastic owner gave me a lot of details on the differences. The car he owns, the dark blue was the prototype and he has owned for all but a month or so of its existence. He took it on from Princess Anne who had it until her own car was ready (and she still has it, apparently).
There were also a number of the brave SS1/Scimitar sports cars from the 1980s on show.  
A couple of Alpine A110s and some of the later A610 models were joined by a row of Clio V6s and an R5 Gordini Turbo that escaped before I got its photo.

This 4CV was parked up in the infield.
No Owners Club stand, but I did come across this early model Silver Shadow in the Paddock.

The only Sunbeams present were a small gathering of the desirable Tiger model.

Sole Toyotas were a small gathering of MR2s. Although billed as the MR2 Mark 1 Club, I noticed that some of the cars on display were the later second generation cars.

The Stag Owners were one of the few clubs in the same spot as previous years, even if it was rather soggy this time round. Lots of cars showing the wide variety of colours in which this elegant tourer was sold in the 1970s.

Lots of TRs of every generation
Spitfires and GT6s a plenty, too.
The Vitesse is another of the 50 year olds this year, and there were a few of these along with the simpler Herald on which the car is based.
Among the saloons were a couple of Dolomites and a 2500.
There were a small number of these British sports cars made in the late 1950s and early 1960s, based on TR mechanicals.

As ever, the TVR Car Club had a vast and colourful display of models in attendance, ranging pretty much from one of the first models, to some of the last.

Earliest car was this Grantura, one of just 63 such cars made.

Cars from the next generation included a Vixen, a Taimar and a 3000S.
There were a few of the “wedge” cars, too.
TVR’s real rise in fortunes came with the launch of the S in the late 1980s and there were lots of these on show.
This car bore the badge Sagora, and caused more than a few puzzled moments, as it has the Sagaris front end, and a Tamora back end.
As is usual at Classic events, everyone has completely unrestricted access to the Pits and paddock and can wander freely among the cars and mechanics. Both the old and the new Pit complexes were in use. This was the first time I had visited the new Pits and they are far larger and more spacious than the old ones, but they also felt that bit soulless. Nonetheless, and noting the varied categories of race that were scheduled across the 3 days, between the two complexes we came across all sorts of interesting machinery.

Much debate about whether these lovely cars were actually genuine or recreations. I am inclined to believing the former.
A lovely Otto Vu (8V).

Most of them were in something of a state of undress when we arrived at their pit area, as they were being prepared for their evening race, but some were complete enough to face the camera.

One of just three 6 wheelers ever made, the 1976 March Cosworth 761

This stunning replica W196 that I saw at Cholmondley was making another appearance here.


As a major sponsor of the event, the AA had a vast area for a whole range of activities from static displays on aspects of their work, to challenges for all the family to join in, a small circuit on which people could drive, and a showing of just some of the patrol vehicles which have seen service over the years.

Not to be outdone, there were a couple of vintage RAC patrol vehicles, too, an Austin Seven and an A35 Van.

A number of manufacturers had their own displays. BMW had two, one in AA World and a larger one in the very centre of the track, whereas the others were all rather low key stands at AA World.

BMW included a series of heritage models as well as the latest M5, M3 and M6 cars in the very visible area, and had an M135i at the AA World

Aston Martin had a couple of Cygnets as well as a Virage on show.
Ford had the B-Max and Focus ST (undepicted).
Maserati had a GranTurismo and a GranCabrio to see.

Lotus had the V6 Exige on show.
A small display from this excellent museum included 5 vehicles: an early Rover, a Lea Francis, a 1953 Austin K8 Van, an Alvis TE21 and a 1934 Hillman Minx

It’s a long walk around the perimeter of the circuit, and with only the old tunnel and the bridge near Stowe Corner, getting from the outfield to the infield is not easy. as we found out when we wanted to get to the new pits/paddock area from the outside of the circuit. It took 40 minutes, plenty of queuing and two bus rides. A whole fleet of historic buses had been sourced for the event, and these made for a splendid sight, as they were all from a far gone era.

There were plenty of other attractions. The Breitling Wing Walkers came to visit on Saturday lunchtime, the Wall of Death was in action all weekend, and there was much much more………


No pictures, I’m afraid. As if 1250 photos were not already enough! I did rest my legs and watch a few of the shorter races, but from a vantage point where getting pictures of the track action was not easy.

For sure, this Silverstone Classic is not cheap, with tickets, even when bought at the special prices before the end of March costing £75 for the weekend, but it remains a fantastic event, with far more to see than you can possibly accomplish in one day, or even two. The weather did its best to spoil things early on, with quagmire conditions making life very difficult for many Car Clubs, and doubtless deterring some from even attending, but once the sun came out, it was easy to ignore the muddy shoes, and to revel in what was on show. I will be making my booking for 2013 well in advance, for sure.

2012-07-26 18:36:42

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