Classics flock to Brooklands for New Year’s Day bonanza

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Damp, grisly conditions didn’t deter hundreds of classic enthusiasts from toasting the New Year at Brooklands’ long-established gathering on 1 January. Pre-war machinery took pride of place outside the famous Club House with a line-up that included Austin Ten Driver’s Club member Tony Westhall’s 1931 imposing 16/6 Ivor (in the foreground above). “The Ivor was a chauffeur-driven model with the division making a secluded rear compartment,” he said. “It has a smooth ride and a surprising turn of speed when necessary!” 

Across the way was the gorgeous 1937 Packard Sports Coupe 120 that Colin Voice bought about three-to-four years ago. “When I got it,” he recalled, “the engine was in pieces, so I rebuilt that then flatted and polished the paintwork. It’s powered by an L-head 4.6-litre straight-eight.”

You seldom see early Renault 5s these days, but two featured among the massively varied turnout. Roy Prosser drove down from Worcestershire in the ’79 Gordini that he’s owned for 30 years. “My brother bought it,” he explained, “but wanted a Golf GTI and couldn’t sell the Renault so my nan bought it off him and gave it to me when I passed my test. It’s been to the continent loads of times over the years – to the Le Mans Classic and Spa – so it’s well used.”

Alongside was the ’75 TL that JD Classics bodywork apprentice Shaun Whent bought eight months ago after an eight-year search. “It began when I was 11 when my dad was looking for a car for my sister,” he explained. “I saw a photo of a 5 and fell in love with it, although I’m not sure why. A couple of years ago, I met a lovely couple in a Turbo 2. They also had this and, when they moved to Brighton, they offered me first-refusal so I jumped at the chance because I’d been looking for so long. I went through the cooling system as soon as I got it and then took it on a 160-mile round trip. It’s an odd set-up with water running through the carburettor, so I carefully cleared the limescale from the two pipes to it by hand with a small drill bit.”

There was more French machinery nearby, including Grahame Baker’s recently acquired Beige Thalonet 1974 DS20 Pallas. “It’s the same colour and engine as my previous one,” he said, “and we’ve been trying to convince my three-and-a-half-year-old daughter that ‘daddy’s brown car’ had come back but she soon twigged that it wasn’t the same one. It’s going to Poland to be restored later this year so I’ve been thinking about another classic for while it’s away – maybe something quite different such as a Karmann Ghia.”

Club groups were also out in force, with line-ups including the Alvis Owner Club, plus the Mercedes-Benz Club back-to-back with Rover P5 Club.

The TR Register’s London region also brought an excellent group of ’60s and ’70s models

A vast range of machinery around the Weybridge site included Peter Ratcliff’s lovely Verona Red BMW 3.0 CSL, alongside a Marcos and a V12 E-type, which, as Peter’s notes pointed out, cost about half as much as the BMW!

Fabulous 1950 Cadillac Series 61 Coupe is a tribute to the Briggs Cunnigham car, nicknamed ‘Petit Pataud’, that raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours that year

Design and engineering icons together, with late-model DS nestled under the nose of a Concorde

Evocative airline support vehicles are part of the Brooklands street furniture: BEA Bedford with Dan-Air and Caledonian Minor 1000s

Gorgeous HRG seemed right at home at the famous Weybridge site

Early and late-model Mokes looked great together 

Nearby was this rather smart Ford Cortina II Lotus

Another excellent pair, with a funky late-’70s Toyota Land Cruiser and an immaculate Minivan

Not quite the mystery Ford Thunderbird of American Graffiti fame, but this mint ’57 model is a year younger than the car in the film

Supercar turnout included this stunning early De Tomaso Pantera 

A nice pair of early-’70s saloons: Alfa 2000 Berlina and Rover 3500S were brought by mates – and note the 3.9 badge on the grille of the P6

One for our man Elliott: a lovely (and rare) Triumph 2.5PI Mk2 estate

Chris Salter’s Citroën GS Pallas alongside the BMW 2002ti rally car of Nick and Peter Moss, which looks great with the works-style arches and perforated steels

I was there with the other Citroën flat-four at Brooklands, my GSA Spécial, followed in by a DAF 55 estate, which reminded me of the DAF main dealer Hilditch that was in Haslington, Cheshire when I was a kid…

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