Prescott Midsummer Speed Fest – June 2013

With so much of the focus at the iconic Prescott Hill Climb, in the eyes of many, concentrated on the themed events of La Vie en Bleu and the season closing Autumn Finale, as well as the much loved VSCC gathering in August, it is easy to forget that there are other race meetings during the season which will likely yield at least as much entertainment and pleasure for those who love a day wandering around a Paddock replete with different classes of cars, taking a stroll up the hill and meandering around the car parks. Determined to make more of my membership, I spotted that just such a meeting, the Mid-Summer Festival, was due to take place on the last weekend in June, and with an otherwise clear diary, and a very promising looking weather forecast, I allocated the Sunday to be spent on the Gloucestershire slopes. Needless to say, I had a great day, during which I was able to appreciate the mix of cars competing in a wide variety of classes, and thanks to almost perfect conditions, to see a number of long-standing hill-climb records be broken. Here are some highlights:



In a bit of fun, and in honour of a number of Antipodean guests from Victoria, an “Ashes” contest was run over both days, with a team of British drivers competing against a team from the Rob Roy Hill Climb in Victoria, each driving a duo of Morgans. Points were scored for each run and the winning team was to be awarded a Brake Disk as a trophy. All did not quite go to plan when one of the Morgans got bent (a bit) on Sunday morning, so they were down to a single car. At the end of the day, the Prescott Ashes went to the home team. The contest will be repeated at Rob Roy in Australia in 2015.

 photo Picture014_zpse9d2c6b9.jpg  photo Picture013_zps95aea3d4.jpg

In furtherance of the theme, the duo who have been seen as French policemen on stilts at La Vie en Bleu had donned Aussie beach bum costumes and were to be found wandering around the venue engaging withe everyone with what sounded to me to be some surprisingly convincing sounding accents. There was also a didjeridoo player. If “player” is the right noun to describe someone who gets some sequence of noises out of this long wooden object! When I encountered him, he was pouring a bottle of water down the “instrument”. Apparently lubrication helps the sound quality.

 photo Picture066_zps0f5eb6c3.jpg  photo Picture123_zpsaebe9fc2.jpg  photo Picture122_zps027a4ee3.jpg  photo Picture126_zps2a38f791.jpg  photo Picture125_zps73a6f737.jpg


It would not be Prescott with a few examples of the marque whose UK home is here. Five classic models were parked up in the Upper Paddock, in an area reserved for the marque, and all took to the hill in a special class. As well as both the Type 13 and Type 22 Brescia cars were a couple of Type 51s.

 photo Picture114_zps0c37fc2e.jpg  photo Picture005_zpsd36ef912.jpg  photo Picture004_zps30bb7402.jpg  photo Picture110_zps06243e47.jpg  photo Picture109_zpse5760c87.jpg  photo Picture108_zps0b0ee61d.jpg  photo Picture052_zpsb547a5da.jpg


A very eclectic mix of cars and classes meant that there was everything from the serious and purpose-designed hillclimb cars to converted road cars of all ages from the 1960s to the present day competing for honours. Several hill climb records, including one which had stood since September 1984 were broken thanks to the almost perfect conditions, though there were also plenty of cars that left the track and had to be rescued or where a clean up was required as they scattered gravel and muck on the track.

 photo Picture063_zpsc96e9bcb.jpg  photo Picture127_zps75207c7d.jpg  photo Picture117_zps4884421f.jpg  photo Picture116_zpsc565e64c.jpg  photo Picture115_zpsd92fc518.jpg  photo Picture113_zps89dc5aff.jpg  photo Picture112_zpsac70f02b.jpg  photo Picture064_zps5bbc57e1.jpg photo Picture111_zpscb1a4a23.jpg  photo Picture058_zps1d9bc6fc.jpg  photo Picture057_zps3062f5ec.jpg  photo Picture055_zpsa52733fb.jpg  photo Picture054_zps740b9464.jpg  photo Picture050_zpse2134ecc.jpg  photo Picture049_zps8ce5041f.jpg  photo Picture017_zps54dcc066.jpg  photo Picture016_zpsb361028c.jpg  photo Picture015_zps8c187b3a.jpg  photo Picture012_zps62ccacd0.jpg  photo Picture011_zps68fed979.jpg  photo Picture010_zpsabbac0ff.jpg  photo Picture009_zps05bb497c.jpg  photo Picture008_zpsf6e12797.jpg  photo Picture007_zps966a68b4.jpg  photo Picture006_zps08716658.jpg  photo Picture003_zpsa4269809.jpg  photo Picture002_zps9cb368cc.jpg  photo Picture001_zpsee7e88f2.jpg

There was a whole class dedicated to Alfa-Romeo and the competing cars were a mix of Giulietta and 105 series Giulia including the very rare Giulietta TZ

 photo Picture061_zps0fd2fb7f.jpg  photo Picture121_zps0408e977.jpg  photo Picture120_zps32e55b1f.jpg  photo Picture119_zps50b40d79.jpg  photo Picture118_zps4125f42a.jpg  photo Picture060_zpsf632ebd2.jpg  photo Picture059_zpsa7deb54c.jpg  photo Picture047_zpsc226cc2c.jpg  photo Picture046_zps50613252.jpg  photo Picture062_zps77adbf27.jpg  photo Picture051_zps2eb76982.jpg

One of the most splendid cars of all was this C Type Jaguar. A chat with the owner revealed that it is not actually a genuine 1950s car, but a recreation made about 40 years ago. It is mechanically correct, though he said that the suspension is different, and it is currently on 15″ wheels as someone sold the original and genuine 16″ ones a while back, and to replace them would cost £2500. He plans to do so at some point but is currently happy to enjoy this splendid machine.

 photo Picture178_zps65dc554d.jpg  photo Picture177_zpsc15647fe.jpg  photo Picture179_zps90fc6580.jpg  photo Picture128_zps597b928d.jpg  photo Picture065_zps21322469.jpg


As ever, there was at least as much interest in the car park as there was in the Paddock.  I recognised a surprising number from Castle Combe the day before, so it was not just me that split their weekend’s entertainment in this way.


Although a planned huge assembly of Alfas was supposed to be taking place at Beaulieu, the Giulietta Owners Club had decided to make Prescott their base instead, and there was a most impressive assembly of more than 15 of these supremely pretty cars, with roughly an even spread of Sprint (coupe) and Spider models, as well as a couple of Berlina (saloons). Talking to some of them, I have finally learned how to tell the Spider models which are Giulietta (1300cc) cars from the Giulia models (1600cc). the clue is the shape of the bonnet. The early cars have a chrome strip down the middle, and the latter have a raised central section needed to clear the bigger engine. The display included one of the 105 series 1750  GTV cars as well.

 photo Picture191_zps3b8a7792.jpg  photo Picture190_zpsc079f04e.jpg  photo Picture189_zpsb5d58198.jpg  photo Picture165_zps6dde03c3.jpg  photo Picture164_zps513d4845.jpg  photo Picture188_zps67f026c3.jpg  photo Picture181_zps13c967d6.jpg  photo Picture185_zps60f293bb.jpg  photo Picture184_zpsdd2c146e.jpg  photo Picture140_zps261d836e.jpg  photo Picture139_zps2fc634d3.jpg  photo Picture138_zpsad3b160b.jpg  photo Picture137_zpsa6a17d39.jpg  photo Picture136_zpsc22d2af1.jpg  photo Picture135_zpsf3fda529.jpg  photo Picture134_zps46709791.jpg  photo Picture133_zpse1a06abb.jpg  photo Picture132_zpsf9e22f9b.jpg  photo Picture187_zps8682ef02.jpg  photo Picture183_zpsd5667013.jpg  photo Picture186_zps91cfdd4d.jpg  photo Picture163_zps73fe9ef4.jpg  photo Picture162_zpsedc083df.jpg  photo Picture161_zps26d99958.jpg  photo Picture160_zps0aff9c33.jpg  photo Picture159_zpsad1c903e.jpg  photo Picture158_zps434a76c2.jpg  photo Picture143_zpsacd674f8.jpg  photo Picture142_zps4bfa94d6.jpg  photo Picture141_zps7e3d0e64.jpg  photo Picture182_zpse9f1cbb5.jpg  photo Picture020_zps9f070ff7.jpg  photo Picture019_zpsbdf204bb.jpg photo Picture092_zps79b0064f.jpg  photo Picture091_zpsbdf4df1c.jpg  photo Picture090_zps6f1011f1.jpg  photo Picture018_zps1e2bf292.jpg  photo Picture077_zpsb59a02a1.jpg  photo Picture076_zps410ff9a1.jpg  photo Picture075_zps85703572.jpg  photo Picture074_zps903375b6.jpg  photo Picture073_zps93df4233.jpg  photo Picture131_zps819f8d32.jpg  photo Picture095_zps3b710398.jpg  photo Picture094_zpsc6533882.jpg  photo Picture093_zpsaf773bb4.jpg  photo Picture130_zps860b2164.jpg  photo Picture129_zps9c4909b9.jpg  photo Picture041_zpsfaee0f3c.jpg  photo Picture038_zps690745ac.jpg  photo Picture037_zps45c63c20.jpg  photo Picture089_zpsee05c049.jpg  photo Picture079_zpsd850f5b3.jpg  photo Picture078_zps672d9ccf.jpg  photo Picture040_zps1d092623.jpg  photo Picture080_zps62402663.jpg

Lovely as they all were, in some ways my favourite Alfa of the day was not parked with them. This utterly droolsome 105 series Giulia GTC is one of around 1000 cars that were produced in 1965/66. I’ve seen this car at Prescott before, and noted that it has Members car stickers on it, so can but hope that I will see it again.

 photo Picture033_zps66582968.jpg  photo Picture167_zpsea8e3d6c.jpg  photo Picture166_zps0ec76805.jpg  photo Picture156_zps17b7490c.jpg  photo Picture155_zpsf262cf41.jpg  photo Picture145_zps69a42787.jpg  photo Picture144_zpsa84a64b7.jpg  photo Picture032_zps500292d3.jpg  photo Picture157_zpsb5a95c5f.jpg  photo Picture088_zps776ebd7d.jpg

This S4 Spider was also to be found in the Orchard.

 photo Picture153_zps3707aae5.jpg  photo Picture070_zpsdec145a9.jpg

This particular SZ is a stalwart of all manner of events in the South West.

 photo Picture027_zps754b4a5e.jpg


A “Duck’s back” 12/50

 photo Picture022_zpsfecc4ae7.jpg


This pair of pre-war Astons were parked up in the Paddock, but took no part in the hill climbing activity, so rightfully belong in this part of the report. The dark green car is a 1930s Ulster.

 photo Picture048_zps8104f487.jpg  photo Picture053_zpsa62597b5.jpg  photo Picture107_zpsc9e6b8f3.jpg  photo Picture106_zpsb40b3a6a.jpg


This is just the sort of event where you expect to see an Austin Healey or two, and sure enough, they were here, both in 100 and 3000 guises.

 photo Picture069_zps49f091f2.jpg  photo Picture175_zps07bc6c06.jpg  photo Picture101_zpsd3c442a5.jpg


The most elegant of BMW’s current range, the 640d Gran Coupe.

 photo Picture152_zpsd02f07de.jpg


An example of the V8250, sister model to the far better known Mark 2 Jaguar, a car now rated quite highly for its relaxed and effortless cruising capabilities, but which recent press articles have suggested was not at all well regarded by Norman Dewis, works test driver, when new.

 photo Picture085_zps66f19f34.jpg


Parked at the end of a row, this Viper was attracting a lot of attention as you might expect. Not a car for the introvert owner!

 photo Picture067_zps322366c3.jpg


This 599 GTB had arrived at the recent La Vie en Bleu event and then done a vanishing act, so I had been unable to see just how unappealing were the various carbon fibre additions that the owner had put on it. This time I got a close up, and rather wished I had not! The 458 Italia next to it was far more to my taste, as it appeared unadulterated!

 photo Picture105_zps157ec363.jpg  photo Picture104_zps5ea8ee59.jpg


From what was once the prosaic side of motoring was this 1970s Avenger GLS. Now ready for the track, I would guess, judging by the lack of rear seat!

 photo Picture103_zpsae473c7c.jpg  photo Picture176_zps779b2eed.jpg  photo Picture102_zpsa396a4b9.jpg


Glorious XK150 Coupe.

 photo Picture087_zps7ec411c9.jpg  photo Picture168_zpsc300a69c.jpg  photo Picture086_zpse00f450e.jpg

There were a few E Types as well, ranging from an early Series 1 Coupe to some later cars.

 photo Picture096_zps76680861.jpg  photo Picture081_zps6e6597c3.jpg


An early Range Rover

 photo Picture097_zps8d8bcd2d.jpg


This Esprit was particularly conspicuous with its bright yellow paint work

 photo Picture039_zps3a2a108f.jpg


Almost every event I have been to recently has included at least one “Pagoda” SL car, and every one has been different. This one was yet another immaculate example.

 photo Picture173_zps588505c3.jpg  photo Picture099_zps5096f43f.jpg

Much more recent was this modern C63AMG.

 photo Picture149_zps4874ce93.jpg


When I saw this MGR V8 GT, I assumed it must be unique, but a chat with the owner revealed that there are at least half a dozen such cars known to the MG Owners Club. This one, which he bought after someone else had spent the money creating it, is the fusion of a classic MGB bodyshell with MGR parts from an accident damaged later car. Although the styling does not quite work from all angles, there is no disputing the quality of the work which is absolutely first rate.

 photo Picture068_zpsf9522590.jpg

There were a number of other classic MGs including a pair of T Series cars plated from Victoria which had come over with the Australian contingent as well as an MGA and several MGB.

 photo Picture030_zps5c04f1ba.jpg  photo Picture029_zpse9158d83.jpg photo Picture071_zps77c9b209.jpg  photo Picture028_zps53417808.jpg


There was a very nice 1960s Mini Cooper and a much later 1990s version of the car.

 photo Picture036_zpsc6d478c4.jpg  photo Picture146_zpse82c0891.jpg  photo Picture031_zps3604c6e9.jpg


 photo Picture021_zps97b2096e.jpg  photo Picture124_zpsa5306b26.jpg  photo Picture056_zps74de3395.jpg  photo Picture180_zps2ebba18b.jpg  photo Picture026_zpsfbd34df3.jpg


Plenty of 911s of all ages, including a 997 GT3 car I had seen at Castle Combe the day before.

 photo Picture084_zps333207e0.jpg  photo Picture083_zpsecb8be3f.jpg  photo Picture147_zpsb6dd9275.jpg  photo Picture034_zpsa96b65e4.jpg


This GTA was parked up on the hill for a short while.

 photo Picture045_zps0e8e7d83.jpg


A couple of P6 models.

 photo Picture035_zps6f7b5057.jpg  photo Picture100_zps27e4019d.jpg


One of the rarer cars on show was this SVX.

 photo Picture042_zpsb642e624.jpg  photo Picture170_zpsa5ff871e.jpg


Even rarer was this Soarer Limited, a high end Japanese luxury coupe made in the mid 1980s, never officially sold in the UK.

 photo Picture151_zps51a89657.jpg  photo Picture150_zps20559b86.jpg


It was the TR models which dominated, with TR4 and TR6s both in evidence.

 photo Picture098_zps03e5175f.jpg  photo Picture171_zpsee1b5d92.jpg  photo Picture148_zps988e80b8.jpg  photo Picture082_zps84018adb.jpg  photo Picture072_zps87f7b787.jpg


This fabulous red Tuscan had been at Castle Combe the day before, and was well worth seeing again.

 photo Picture025_zpsefefbc75.jpg  photo Picture169_zps5cbfb797.jpg  photo Picture024_zps25700b2f.jpg

There were a number of other TVRs, including a couple of Chimaera.

 photo Picture174_zpsba7f270d.jpg  photo Picture044_zps7208a190.jpg


One of those instant classics, the VX220.

 photo Picture043_zpsbf9482ba.jpg


Most notable classic VW was this first generation Golf Cabrio.

 photo Picture154_zpsf8a6edbf.jpg


This Hornet Mark 3 looked except for the Minilite wheels which looked rather out of keeping with the rest of the car.

 photo Picture023_zpscbdcbae7.jpg

Also badged Hornet, but 30 years older was this sports car from the 1930s.

 photo Picture172_zpsa2831ed5.jpg

Make no mistake, this was a fun day. Prescott does not need a huge crowd to be enjoyable, but good weather certainly does improve things, and that is exactly what I experienced. My nose is peeling a bit, but that is a small price to pay for a day seeing such variety in this lovely setting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *