Silverstone Classic – July 2013

After a relaunch a few years ago, with new organisers in charge, the Silverstone Classic has further strengthened its appeal as one of those absolutely unmissable events of the year. Core to the three day program are a series of 24 races, ranging from 20 minutes to an hour or so, covering all manner of historic racing machinery from former Grand Prix Formula 1 cars of relatively recent vintage, through to sports icons of the 1930s, and with everything in between covering Formula Junior, Touring Cars, GT Cars and the unmissable Group C machines from the 1980s and 1990s. As if watching the battles on the track and unrestricted access to the paddocks and pits, both of which are in use throughout the weekend, is not enough, then more than 8000 cars are assembled by a long list of Car Clubs, and you can pretty well guarantee that among the exhibits will be some particularly rare machines which you have not seen for a long time, or maybe ever before. Couple that with the cars brought inside the track by the members of the British Racing Drivers Club, owners of Silverstone, and all manner of trade stalls, and you have the recipe for an event which is simply too big to see in a single day. and may even not fit into two. Some people choose to camp on site, and to entertain them, an evening concert is laid on for the Saturday. This year the featured band were The Hollies. Spitfire demonstrations at lunchtime on Saturday and Sunday were another highlight, and BMW had brought along a ferris wheel, and I can tell you that the views from the top of that were particularly splendid. I’ve attended this event every year since 2007, and quickly learned that I needed to allocate the whole weekend to it, and to date have always enjoyed dry conditions (though the ground underfoot in 2012 was soggy and boggy causing a lot of reallocation of display spaces at the last minute). The forecast for 2013 suggested my luck was likely finally to run out, but the weather gods ended up being very kind, and saved the torrential downpour until about 6:30pm on the Saturday, which was about 3 seconds after I had packed away the Abarthisti flags. Sunday was much fresher (indeed, it was cold, first thing, thanks to a sharp breeze), and again the rain  held off until after the close of proceedings, so whilst there were not perfect blue skies for much of the time, nor was there any need to dive for cover, leaving 2 very full days to roam the site, taking in as much as possible. The camera was busy, with over 1300 photos now presented in this report.


I understand that 8269 cars were registered for display by a wide variety of Car Clubs, and with some vehicles on show only on one of the event days, it paid to make repeated visits to the display areas, which were scattered over quite a wide area. Looking at the event map after I got home, I think there may have been an area I missed completely, but even without whatever was parked in that area, there was more than enough to justify the event even before considering the racing. This section of the report covers the highlights of those displays and other cars that were either in among the trade stalls or parked up in the BRDC area.


This event has been a major fixture in the Abarthisti calendar in previous years, when presence was linked to Abarth UK (who even kindly hosted a barbecue one year), with around 50 cars attending, so it was a bit disappointing to find that despite offering the Car Club deal to the members earlier in the year, very few took full advantage, leaving a small display of cars, all of which were 500 based.

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A second collection of cars from The Scorpion Club included three rather wacky machines which had been trailered all the way over from Italy. Form your own conclusions!

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A vast array of “Cobra” models, though of course most of these are recreations made by a number of different manufacturers over the past 40 years.

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There were several of the Ace and coupe Aceca models which were the car on which the Cobra was based.

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There was also a Greyhound, a larger coupe design produced in 1960. It was not a success.

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There was one example of the ill-fated ME3000 on each day, with a blue car on Saturday and the white 1984 Motor Show car on Sunday.

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Sunday also saw one of the lovely Frua designed 428 Coupes.

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The Alfa Owners Club were parked next to Abarthisti, or in the case of one rather unco-operative owner, in the middle of the Abarth area. Highlight for me on the Saturday was the stunningly beautiful 8C Competizione.

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It did have plenty of competition for my affections, though, with this lovely Giulia GTC getting pretty close.

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On the Sunday there were a couple of AlfaSuds, both of which were Series 3 cars, and which were rather nice.

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This 2000 Spider was also rather splendid.

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This is the nice Spider whose owner seemed to think he needed some Abarth space, allegedly so he did not get boxed in.

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There were plenty of other Alfa, ranging from the 105 series Giulia Berlina, Spider and GTV cars through a Montreal to a particularly well preserved 33 which appears at many events in a year, a a couple of Alfetta GTVs, both of which were South African 3 litre cars, as well as 916 series GTV and Spiders, 156s and the latest MiTo cars.

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There were quite a few of these British Brutes. Think of them as a sort of precursor to TVR, with sporting bodies and large American engines.

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The Palm Beach was one of the later models, and although it looks less racucous than its stablemates, it also had more than plenty of power under the bonnet.

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There is usually a strong showing of Alpina models at this event, and 2013 was no exception,, with the ranks swelled by a number of brand new cars brought along by Alpina UK, which included the XD3, the latest B3 Saloon and a B6.

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In case you had not already noticed – and you would have been deeply disconnected from the motoring scene for this to be the case – 2013 marks the centenary of Aston Martin, and we were promised a very special display indeed. And that is what we got, with 361 Astons on show (so the official figures relate, there were too many for me to count!). Included among them was A3, the third Aston made, and now the oldest Aston in existence.

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There were a number of other early models, evidencing that for the first twenty or so years, Aston concentrated on building relatively small and light weight machines with highly tuned 1.5 litre engines, in contrast to the sort of car they have made since the 1950s.

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This is a 1934 Ulster.

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There were examples of all of the current range, including the recently launched Vanquish Volante and V12 Vantage S, as well as the Rapide S, and the Centenary Edition of the Vanquish.

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Perhaps even more special was the display by Aston Martin Heritage, which included two of the fabulous One-77 cars.

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Also on show was the car that was specially created for the most recent James Bond movie, Skyfall. When Autocar borrowed this car recently, it was insured for £3 million.

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As if that were not enough, the display also contained a V12 Zagato, a DB2 and a DBR9.

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Inside a marquee were further examples of Aston Martin Works recent efforts, including a 1960s Lagonda Rapide as well as a Vantage and a more recent Vanquish

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Parked up on the rest of the tarmac area were examples of production cars from the past 20 years, with an array of DB7, DB9, V8 and V12 Vantage, Vanquish and Virage cars in every colour imaginable.

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Adjoining this was a grassy area which contained all the older models. These were neatly grouped together by model type. The 1950s cars included a mix of open and closed  DB2 cars, several of which bore foreign registration plates evidencing a lengthy journey to be able to join in the celebrations.

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It was notable that on the Saturday, although there were plenty of each of DB4, 5 and 6, there was not a single Volante among them, but on Sunday I did spot one DB6 Volante.

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There were plenty of DBS and the later V8 cars.

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Just a single V8 Zagato, though.

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There were a few of the less fondly viewed Virage based cars from the late 1980s and 1990s.

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Most remarkable of all, perhaps, was the presence of 6 of the futuristic Lagonda. I doubt I have ever seen 6 of these parked next to each other before.

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This duo of cars was for sale, with the dark blue one of them currently owned by Lennox Lewis.

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No Club stand that I found, so lone Audi is the GT Coupe that was parked up behind one of the trade stands.

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This RAC liveried Seven was parked up in the old Paddock.

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There were a lot of Big Healeys, with both 100 and 3000 models on show.

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They were joined by a number of the smaller Sprite cars as well.

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A small collection of Bentley Owners Club cars were to be found alongside the Ferrari and Lamborghini, and these included a couple of the 1990s Continental models, as well as the much earlier R Type Convertible.

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During the event I did come across a number of the classic pre-Rolls Royce era machines, with 3 litre, 4.5 and 6 litre cars in evidence.

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I’m sure I have seen this 1905 racer in action at Prescott and Shelsley Walsh. For this event, it was star of the Hagerty Insurance Brokers stand.

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There was a huge BMW presence this year, far larger than in previous years, with a 2 story edifice on site to showcase some of the latest cars. Sitting in here were the very desirable 640d Gran Coupe, the recently released 3 Series GT (not a car whose looks I am warming to), an M135i, the lovely 328 sports car of the 1930s and Andy Priaulx’ DTM car, which he did not need for the weekend as he was driving classic 1800Ti “Neue Klasse” cars!

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Arranged outside the covered unit were an array of equally varied cars, ranging from an M5, to the iconic M1 and a 3.0 CSL with paint which started in yellow and graduated to green as you looked along the length of the car, as well as the recently launched entry level z4 sDrive18i in M-Sport guise.

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One of the reasons, I am sure, for the big corporate presence, was that following the success of last year’s meeting at the venue, Saturday was also the annual BMW Zed Fest, and there were rows and rows of Z cars, with a mix of Z1, Z3 and Z4 cars. Sadly, I don’t think I saw a single, Z8, though. This area was completely empty on the Sunday.

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Backed onto the BMW edifice were a display of M cars, with a particularly nice E12 M5 being my favourite, though the red one which was among the general melee of BMWs was even more subtle and hence appealed even more.

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This 733i featured recently in Classic Cars magazine and is one of very few survivors indeed.

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There were lines of other classic BMWs, which included a wide variety of cars from the past  40 years. The elegant E24 6 series was particularly well represented.

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Sneaked in among them all was a first generation MINI GP.

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There was another M1 parked up in the BRDC car park.

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Also there on the Sunday was this 3.0 CSL. The number plate would suggest a famous owner, and although we saw the car on the move a few minutes after photographing it, we were too far away to spy who was at the wheel.

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There were a number of Bristol cars, ranging from the 406, to a couple of 411s, the 412 Zagato, a 603 and a couple of the more recent Blenheim.

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This gargantuan 1967 Fleetwood Brougham arrived on the Sunday, and was too long for the allotted parking, so had to be left in the thoroughfare.

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To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Corvette, there was quite a collection of  American’s favourite sports car, with models from all 6 generations represented.

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The SeMantics Club had a quartet of the stunning SM cars on show.

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Elsewhere I came across David Evans of Classic and Sports Car’s much loved, but far from concours GSA. This is still a striking car even though the basic design goes back to the first GS of 1970.

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There was quite a collection of the SP250 “Dart” sports cars.

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Some more Daimler were to be found in among the vast Jaguar display, including a few of the V8 engined alter ego of the Mark 2 saloon.

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These Elan inspired small sports cars always turn up at this event, and then you don’t tend to see one again for another 12 months.

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There were three of these diminutive Electron Minors.

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The Ferrari Owners Club always put on a great show at this event, and 2013 was no exception, though there were fewer of the really rare or exotic cars than has sometimes been the case. Roped off as special were the cars which were most likely to attract most attention, the F40, F50 and Enzo. There were two of the former on Saturday, and no sign of an F50, whereas on the Sunday there was one of each.

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More valuable even than these were the pair of 275GTBs. There was also a 275GTS with them.

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Oldest Ferrari was this 250 Europa

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330 GTC

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There were several 246GT Dino cars, including the same green one that I last saw at Stanford Hall, where I learned that it was the last Dino to be registered in the UK.

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Just one 365 GTB/4, the Daytona, was present.

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There was also just the one 365GTC/4

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Many of the line of 400i models turned out to be French registered.

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This 512BBi was the sole example of the 1970s top of the Ferrari range

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There were lots of 308 and 328 GTB and GTS models, of course. Whenever I see these cars now, what strikes me, apart from their beauty, is just how small they seem.

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There were a couple of the still relatively unloved Mondial models

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The 348 and 355 cars were more numerous

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Just one example of the Testarossa and its successor, the 512TR

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There were plenty of the 550/575 models on show.

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Unsurprisingly, given the number sold, there were plenty of 360 and 430 models, with many of the different variants present.

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Surprisingly, there only seemed to be a couple of 599GTB, both of them finished in black.

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There were a few 458 Italia, with the Spider at least as numerous as the Coupe cars

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Also from the current range were a sole FF and a couple of California models.

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This pair of very different Ferrari (strictly speaking one of them is not even a Ferrari but a well constructed recreation) were in among an eclectic collection of other classics.

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This 250GT SWB was seen variously in the Paddock and the BRDC parking area.

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The 599 GTO was in the BRDC area, next to the Paganis.

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The X1/9 Owners Club had a small display, with a quartet of cars on show, all of them the later 1500 models.

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A large display of replica GT40s were joined late on Saturday by the more recent GT. When you see them together, it is evident how much larger is the modern car, with a much longer wheelbase.

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The RS Owners Club were on the other side of Abarthisti from the Alfa Owners. On the Saturday they had a quartet of Sierra Cosworths. On the Sunday, there was an Escort Cosworth as well.

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This Racing Puma and first generation Mustang were among a display of mixed classics, as was a Mark IV Cortina 1.6L, the sort of car which used to be so common a sight on our roads but which is now a real rarity.

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A small display of this still extant marque included a number of different models, ranging from the G4 through the MGB based G10/11 that was made in tiny numbers in the 1960s, the Imp-based G15 that was the mainstay in the 1970s, along with the rarely seen G21, and the much later G27 and G32.

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Another marque that makes a regular appearance at this event, and which you will likely then not see again for the rest of the year. As well as the coupe Libra models, there was an open topped car as well.

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An interesting display of the cars that Donald Healey made in the late 1940s and early 1950s before he teamed up with Len Lord at Austin to produce the Austin-Healey. Some of the cars on show are better known than others, with the Silverstone sports car, the fastest car on the market at the time of its launch, perhaps the easiest to recognise.

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There were also examples of the Elliott Saloon, the Abbott, the Tickford Sedan, the Westland Roadster and the later Nash-Healey built primarily for the American market.

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Rarest and oddest, though was this, Healey’s first car, the 1945 Duncan Drone. Based on a Riley chassis, fitted with a 2.4 litre engine, it is believed that 10 of these cars were made, several of which were later to receive new bodywork. This is the only survivor and it has just emerged from a meticulous restoration.

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We usually see Vauxhall badges applied to the car that is sold as a Holden Commodore in its native Australia, but this one still sported its original branding. This was an HSV model.

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There were lots of S2000 sports cars on display. Surely a modern classic?

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The NS-X was also well represented.

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A Civic Mugen was also parked up with the other Hondas.

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This Lele was the only Iso that I saw on the Saturday. On the Sunday I did see a Grifo arrive and a Fidia leave, but never found them on site.

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Natural reaction on seeing a car like this is to assume it is a replica, but this was – of course – a totally original SS100, a truly magnificent motor car.

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There were a number of C Types, some of which were genuine factory cars from the 1950s.

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The XK120, 140 and 150 were well represented.

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There was also a good showing of the small Jaguar, not just in Mark 2 guise, but some of the first generation cars as well.

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Other saloons ranged from the Mark VII through to the gargantuan Mark X and all the generations of XJ that have followed.

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Although nowhere the quantity of E Types that attended in 2011, there were still lots of them present here, including BOO, the much loved car of Gaynor Cauter, contributor to Classic and Sports Car magazine.

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There were plenty of XJS models, a car now appreciated as a classic of its time.

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The XK8 and later XK models were out in force, with a vast assembly of these at one of the huge Jaguar display area. Elsewhere we found the version  that starred in the James Bond movie. This version is actually quite standard, and can be driven unlike some movie cars which are very much static objects.

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Bringing things right up to date was a single example of the utterly lovely F Type.

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This XK racer was attracting plenty of interest.

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Most unusual of all, perhaps, were this duo of XJ220 and XJR15. Splendid!

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An example of the Jupiter sports car.

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We were promised a very special display of Lamborghini, and that is exactly what we got, with at least one example of very model type produced in the 50 years of the company, and an example of what preceded it all, a tractor, as well.

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Earliest car was the 350GT, and slightly surprisingly, there was only one of these, and it was only around on the Sunday.

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Successor to that car was the Islero, an elegant and little known four seater and there was one of these, too.

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Rather more accommodating was the Espada and there were several of these on show.

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The Jarama has never quite captured the same interest as other Lamborghini models, perhaps because it is simply less unconventional than its stable mates.

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There were a couple of Muira, a still very striking design that many regard as the first of the true Supercars.

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There were examples of Uracco, Silhouette and Jalpa, showing the evolution of the V8 engined model that Lamborghini conceived to compete against the Ferrari 308.

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Lots of Countachs, of course, and we had the unusual sight late on the Saturday evening of one car jump-starting another one!

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Even more Diablo, which is not a surprise, as Lamborghini made more than twice as many of these compared to the Countach.

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Plenty of Murcielago, of course.

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And even more Gallardo, as befits the fact that over 14,000 of these cars have now been made.

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The Aventadors included one example of the new Spider.

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Final Lamborghini was the completely bonkers LM002.

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As if the cars were not special enough, then the honoured guest at the stand was none other than Signor Valentino Balboni himself, seen her discussing the finer points of an Espada.

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In previous years there have been quite a lot of Lancia cars on show, but this year there were only a handful, both on Saturday and Sunday. Cars included a very lovely Flaminia Touring Superleggera and the bulkier looking Coupe model, as well as couple of Delta Integrales, a Fulvia Coupe and different examples of the Monte Carlo on Saturday and Sunday.

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This particular Integrale was in the BRDC car park, and is, I believe, the property of Harry Metcalfe.

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A separate display of Stratos models made for a very colourful sight indeed. None of these were original Lancia factory cars, as all were later recreations, but they still looked very striking, and clearly bring their owners much pleasure.

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A vast area was allocated to models from the various Lotus Clubs, with everything from some of the very early models all the way to the latest cars, as represented by a pair of Exige Convertibles.

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Of the oldest machines, there were several that I recalled seeing at previous Silverstone Classic events, ranging from a Mark 6 to a couple of Type 11.

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There were lots of Sevens, especially if you included the huge Caterham display that was included among the Lotus cars.

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The original Elite was pretty well represented, too.

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Even more numerous were the Elan, with plenty of both the regular car and the larger Plus 2 models.

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There were a few of the Europa.

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No wedge shaped Elite or Eclat cars at all this year, but there were lots of Esprit and a few Excel models.

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There were a good number of the front wheel drive Elan models.

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From more recent times, there were plenty of Elise, of course, and more than a few Exige.

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There were also a handful of Europa and Evora and one lone example of the Two-Eleven.

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A separate display of Lotus Cortina cars, reminding us that this is another model that celebrates its 50th this year, included Mark 1 and Mark 2 cars.

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A lone Lotus Carlton was tucked in among the small sports cars.

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Not one, but two of the very rare Mantis 4 seater cars.

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There were plenty of the better known cars as well, ranging from some of the early models to the ever more extreme versions that were sold in the 1990s.

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There was also a Mini Marcos.

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As with the recent Goodwood event, there was a line of Quattroporte models, with one example of each of the 6 generations that have been produced in the 50 years of the model.

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Rarest Maserati was this Bellagio based Quattroporte car.

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I was delighted to find that there were a couple of the under-appreciated Bora cars on show.

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There was also a Merak, the smaller engined half-brother to the Bora.

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From the 1960s, there were examples of the Sebring, a Mistral and a couple of Indys.

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From the Biturbo era were a number of cars including a couple of Cabrio models and a couple of the later Ghibli Coupes.

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There were several of the 3200/4200GT cars, as well as its successor, the GranTurismo and GranCabrio.

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The MX5 Owners Club are avid supporters of the event and just as in previous years, they had a vast number of cars, from all three generations, on show.

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Centre-piece of the Mercedes display on the Saturday was this magnificent “Adenauer” 300d saloon. Truly imposing even now, and it must have seemed really special when new in the early 1950s.

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On Sunday the star attraction was a W100 model 600. This is the ex John Lennon car that I have seen at a few events in the past.

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Just as lovely were these W111 Coupe and Convertible models. I am not alone in appreciating these, as the price tags have climbed into the Big Money now when these cars come up for sale.

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Other classic Mercedes included a trio of W108 280SE models and a W123 saloon

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There was a line of the ever lovely W107 “Pagoda” SL cars.

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This 300SL was to be found in the BRDC car park on Sunday morning.

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New models that may well achieve classic status in due course included an  AMG C63 Coupe and the brand new A45 AMG hatchback.

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Among the MGs, the B was the most numerous, with examples from the 19 year production life of this popular sports car.

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There were also plenty of Midgets.

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There did not appear to be many MGA this year.

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Far more unusual was this Mark 2 MG 1300 saloon, a once popular sports saloon based on Britain’s best selling ADO16 range of cars.

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There was one example of the wacky SV-R

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Far more conventional were some of the older MGs, with TCs and TF in evidence.

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The more ZR, ZS and ZT are starting to appear among the older MGs and clearly have acquired an enthusiastic following.

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MG were showing the new MG3, a small hatchback which goes on sale in the UK later this year. There were two models on display, one of which was the bottom of the range car, and this was really rather basic, but is likely to be cheap. Quite how much less than £10,000 it will be, the stand staff were still waiting to find out. The top spec car had leather seats and most of the items that customers expect these days. The overall impression is that these cars would have been fine a few years ago, but statically, they feel like they are about 5 – 6 years behind the standards of 2013. How well they will sell will be an interesting thing to watch.

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Morgan had two separate factory displays, both of them rather similar with a selection of the current models arranged around the perimeter of an inverted  cone shaped gazebo. When the heavens opened, it was quite surprising how many people as well as roofless cars (the Three Wheelers) could be crammed under cover.

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A vast array of Owners club cars were also present, with examples of everything from the 1950s to the the very latest cars.

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Most unusual Morgan was one of the very rare Plus 4 Plus cars, a short lived effort to make a “modern” car in 1963.

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One of the rarer cars of the day was this 2000 Sports car, a Japanese rival to the MGB that was never imported to the UK, but which enjoyed a certain popularity in America.

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There were also some Z cars, and these were the cars that should have been more of a wake up call to Britain’s traditional sports car manufacturers than proved to be the case.

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There was one M600 parked up among the collection of M12 models.

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This late model Manta was one of the cars that had been out on the AA Grand Tour event over the weekend.

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The GT was parked near to it on the Sunday.

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No official presence, but a number of owners brought along their Pagani cars. We saw a couple of Zonda leaving on the Saturday evening, one of which was formerly owned by Harry Metcalfe.

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When we got to the BRDC parking area, we came across two more, which were still there the following morning. It turned out that in fact there had been 6 Zonda there on the Saturday, all parked in a line.

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As if that was not special enough, on the Saturday, there was also a Huayra, which was parked next to the remaining Zonda.

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The Panther Car Club had declared that they would have a huge gathering of cars on the Saturday, and they were not wrong. I’ve never seen so many of these quirky pastiche machines as were assembled on the Saturday. Highlight was the one car that was thoroughly modern, the Solo. One of just 20 that were built, this car promised much, but was simply too costly for a small brand like Panther to be able to make. What intrigued us was how the engine was both off-centre and angled, presumably for weight distribution reasons.

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Far more familiar were the Lima and Kallista cars and there were loads of these.

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Additionally, there was one of the rather ostentatious DeVille as well as a couple of the J72, the SS100 Jaguar apeing car that was Panther’s first production model.

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Yet another rarely seen marque that is always present at this event. I am pretty sure that the 4 cars that were here are the same ones that I see every year.

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After the success of the huge Jaguar E Type parade at the 2011 event and the MGBs in 2012, it was not a hard decision to celebrate 50 years of the 911 at the 2013 event, and with a numeric identifier like that, the inevitable challenge was to try to get 911 cars on track at once. Not surprisingly, applications to participate were massively over-subscribed, and in the end a phenomenal 1208 models of 911 took to the track on Sunday lunchtime, with the parade headed by Derek Bell and Mark Porsche, son of Butzi, the designer of the 911. Everyone asserts that every different model type was bound to be present, but with so many cars on site (not all of the models on display went on track), and so many different variants offered over 50 years, there may well be some that were not present. There were some rarities, though, with the only 2 right hand drive examples of the 991 Club Coupe present, for instance.

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What was surprising is that the 356 was almost completely unrepresented, with just one example on show on the Sunday. There were a few more 914s, though not many.

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The front engined cars were far more in evidence, with plenty of 924, 944, 968 and 928 models.

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There were plenty of Boxster and Cayman cars, too.

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Porsche had sample of the current range on show, with everything from the latest Cayman and 911 to the Panamera and Cayenne.

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Most of the Reliant on show were Scimitar models, ranging from the first GT Coupe models, through the SE5 and SE6 hatchbacks, as well as a couple of the Middlebridge built cars that were produced as an attempt to revive the marque.

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There was an example of the Sabre sports car which preceded the Scimitar, as well as the small sports car that was launched in 1984.

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A very select gathering on the Saturday, with a couple of Alpines and this R5 Turbo.

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On the Sunday, there was an assembly of several Clio V6 cars.

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A rather billious colour marked out this Olympia model.

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Not often you see anyone actually using a C5, but these two were in action over the weekend.

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An array of the delectable Tiger were to be found.

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Parked up with the TRs, on which the model was based, were a couple of the 1954 Swallow Doretti cars.

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As ever, the Stag Owners Club had a sizeable display, and they were located in exactly the same place as in previous years, this time enjoying the fact that the ground beneath them was not water-logged, unlike last year.

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The TR Register had a separate display and there were examples of all generations of this popular British sports car.

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There were also a few Spitfire and related GT6 cars to be found at the event.

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I also rather liked this Dolomite, a perennial favourite of mine.

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Only a couple of these small British sports cars this year.

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As ever, a vast and colourful array of TVR models, with everything from a Grantura and 1960s Vixem, through to the final Tamora, Tuscan and Sagaris models.

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Among the more unusual cars of the weekend were this pair of Volga saloons which dated from around 1960.

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There were a few of the characterful Karmann Ghia models.

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This Scirocco Scala was another of the AA Grand Tour event cars.

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There was no Volvo Club stand, but a couple of classic Volvo were in among an array of miscellaneous cars. They were a 122 Amazon and an 1800ES.

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With over 1100 cars taking part in competitive action on the track in 24 separate races over the three day event, it is perhaps just as well that both the old and new Paddocks and Pits were in use. This meant that there was plenty of space for everyone, with no need for competitors to move out of their garages once they had competed, though inevitably by Saturday afternoon there were some teams packing up, presumably ready to travel to wherever their next event would be. With unrestricted access to paddocks and pits, it was great to be able to get up close to some fabulous machinery, and to see it being prepared for action.   The array of drivers was no less impressive than the cars. Tiff Needell declared himself particularly excited to be competing in the very car in which he started his racing career many years ago. Recalling the glory days of the Touring Car championships, there was a return for Patrick Watts and Tim Harvey, plus World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx, and current BTCC star Mat Jackson.  Steve Soper and Derek Bell were further famous former racers who were there to enjoy themselves, as were other guests and trophy presenters, who included The Duke of Kent, Sir John Whitmore and Jack Sears as well as Sir Jackie Stewart It was cheering to hear the  and so was Murray Walker who sounded so very upbeat despite his recent diagnosis for cancer.


Sadly, the first race in which these amazing cars were scheduled to compete, due to take place at dusk on the Saturday, had to be cancelled, owing to the storm and torrential rain of truly biblical proportions. Luckily, they were also scheduled to appear just after lunch on the Sunday. It’s always a highlight for me at any event to survey these icons of the 1980s and 1990s and my first chance to look at them came while the cars were in their pits being readied for the Sunday race.

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Not long after, they all arrived in the paddock, ready for a 50 minute race, in which the cars had to stop and change driver. What a splendid sight. And yes, that is indeed Sabine Schmitz, of ‘Ring Taxi fame who was one of the drivers. The race was won by French sportscar ace Nic Minassian, who smashed the Classic lap record in a Jaguar XJR-14 on his way to a commanding victory. Minassian’s 1 min 36.712 secs best – an average speed of over 122mph – was more than a second quicker than the previous record by Bob Berridge in a Mercedes C11.  Among the cars competing were the Jaguar XJR14, a Mercedes C11 once piloted by a certain M. Schumacher,  the Nissan R90K and my favourite, the lovely Lancia LC2.

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A couple of 850TC models, which competed against some far larger cars in the 1960s Touring Car races.

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This is a long tailed version of the Giulietta SZ. Magnificent!

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There were a number of 156s from the great Touring Car era of the 1990s. I was surprised to learn that at least one of them had a 4 cylinder engine, but that it put out 280 bhp, with nothing happening, according to its driver until 5000 rpm.

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A quartet of 1800Ti models from the 1960s.

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Part of the team seemed to be this fabulous BMW Isetta bubble car, which was clearly used as paddock transport

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Good to see the M3s from the era of the epic Touring Car battles with the Sierra Cosworth

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A diminutive Brescia Bugatti.

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Extremely valuable the 250GT may be, but that does not mean that the owners put them all in cotton wool. A pair of them were giving it plenty out on the track. The yellow on was piloted by a certain former F1 and Le Mans winner, Jackie Oliver, who went onto score victory here as well.

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This shark-nosed 246 was very lovely indeed.

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And here is the Sierra Cosworth that faced off to the BMW M3s

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As ever with historic events, there were lots of Lotus Cortina in evidence. More than a couple of them got significantly dented

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There were lots of 1960s models, with a strong showing of Ford Falcon and Galaxie and Mercury Cyclone trying to stave off the more nimble European 1960s Touring Cars.

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There were plenty of Mustangs in action, too

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Other Fords included the Capri and Escort as well as the GT40

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Plenty of my favourite cars here, including the fabulous “Birdcage”.

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There were at least 3 examples of the 250F.

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But these were also very special indeed.

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The replica 300SLR streamliner was making another appearance.

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Amazing to see how these diminutive cars could stay in contention with the huge Ford Falcons and Galaxies

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John Clelland’s Cavalier from those epic Touring Cars in the mid 1990s.

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The Silverstone Classic goes from strength to strength. Ticket sales were up, with 90,000 people attending, although it never felt crowded. It is without question the largest such event of its type in the world, so to say that this was a splendid weekend would be something of an understatement. Indeed, I’d go as far as to say that if you could only manage one event in a year, this is probably the one to pick. There is just so much to see that even two days were not enough. It will be in my 2014 diary just as soon as the dates are announced.

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