Historic Rally Car Register Open Day, Gaydon – January 2013

There are not many events for the motoring enthusiast in January, but one which I had read about does take place at the Gaydon Heritage Centre in the middle of the month, and so I thought it was about time I went to see what it was like. The Historic Rally Car Register Open Day promised much, with images in my mind of all manner of Escorts, Minis, Chevettes, Sunbeams, perhaps the odd Audi Quattro………

It was not quite like that! The main parking area in front of the museum was almost full when I arrived, but there was no sign of the rally cars. Then I spotted a discrete sign indicating that they were assembled round the back. What I found was an eclectic collection of cars, most of which looked like they had been converted into rallying guise, although to be fair, most were based on models which had been known for a certain amount of success in the forests and on the special stages in their youth.



There were road going versions of some of the cars, and these were all rather nice.



The main part of the meeting seemed to be taking place inside, where I did find a couple more cars, but this was dominated by lots of stalls where organisers of all manner of local rallies were touting their wares, as were a number of stall holders.


So, not quite the “show” that I was expecting. Luckily, all was far from wasted, as I had also read that there would be a sizeable representation of cars from the Imp Club in honour of the model’s 50th birthday. And indeed there were. A glorious array of models, ranging from one of the very early cars with the automatic choke and pneumatic throttle which proved so troublesome, right through to one of the limited edition Caledonian cars from 1976, last year of Imp production.


As well as Hillmans, there were several of the more luxurious Singer Chamois models, and plenty of the sporting Sunbeam Stiletto cars.


Even more sporting was the Clan Crusader, which was based on Imp mechanicals, and a couple of these were also present.


Perhaps the rarest car of the lot, though., was this Hillman Husky, an estate model based on the Commer Van of the period.


There was interest in the car park, too, with a number of classics and other rarities coming out for a day’s exercise, including these:



Needless to say, I also took the opportunity to have a good look around the Museum, which had undergone some change since my last visit in 2011. A separate report will document that. So, not perhaps the event I was expecting, and probably not really worth the trip if I am being brutally honest, so when I stare at thin looking events listings in early 2014, I will know that I need a little more patience before things really get underway again.

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