The 16th annual C&SC Club Awards took place at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show last weekend, with Maserati scooping two of the most prestigious prizes – Best Large Club Stand and Car of the Show – in the most hotly contested awards in recent memory.
Stephen Dowling's 1962 Allemano-bodied 5000GTi – one of just 22 examples to emerge from the design house – was the judges' choice for the top gong. The Michelotti-penned masterpiece was a true rarity (only 32 were built), starring on the Maserati Club UK stand as well as Nick Mason's 250F.
The depth and quality of classic Tridents on display – 21 including two motorbikes – resulted in the club winning the award for Best Large Stand.
The hard-fought Best Themed Stand Award was won by the Morris Minor Owners' Club, which pulled out all the stops to create a fabulous Dad's Army tableau that saw many members dressed up as their favourite characters. Such was their dedication that Chris Akrill – otherwise known as Lance-Corporal Jones – even died his ginger hair blonde for the occasion. "The trouble is," he said, "my wife rather likes it so I'm stuck with it!"
The Online Austin Seven Club bagged the Best Small Stand award for its Lickeywood display, named after the hills behind the Austin factory, which had at its centre Laurel and Hardy arriving at a premier in an ex-Bernard Matthews promo van. Paparazzi cutouts surrounded the vehicle which, upon closer inspection, were members of the club. "We'd not been before, so we thought that we ought to make an effort," said Mac Watt.
A year of anniversaries encouraged a number of clubs to organise headline events, with The Best Run/Rally award going to the TRDC for its TR7 40th birthday celebrations (see Your events December 2014).
Meanwhile, the GKOC managed to gather almost half of all the cars produced, as well as a dozen former staff for its 50th Anniversary weekend – a deserving victor for Best Show/Event.
A clear winner in the Magazine of the Year category belonged to the Lotus Seven Club's Low Flying and its editor Michael Calvert. The bookstall-quality look and compelling writing ensured it was a comfortable win.
"It's my 25th NEC show so I decided to do something different," said a delighted Richard Sozanski after the Imp Club scooped the Most Interesting Selection for its display, which included the Union Jack Ginetta G15 of Dave Lonsdale, Dave Cooper's Davrian Mk6a, Simon Worland's Singer Chamois, Peter Stride’s famous racer (restored last year into its Hartwell livery) and Mike Hanna’s Zimp.
A packed house at the awards ceremony – compered by C&SC's Throttle, Simon Taylor – gave a warm round of applause for the Club Personality. Peter Simmonds, of the Austin Counties Car Club who has edited the past 50 issues of the club's magazine, keeping on schedule despite undergoing open-heart surgery. He also archived every issue onto CD for members, revamped its website and organised two national rallies over the past 10 years. Take a bow!
The Veteran Car Club of Great Britain capped an outstanding 12 months, which included a 40-car commemoration of the 1914 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy – starring the Humber and one of the Sunbeams that competed in the original race – as Club of the Year. Many of the cars that took part in the poignant Great War Parade featured at the NEC, helping the VCC to land the Best Medium Stand prize, too. The club had even arranged for five Chelsea Pensioners to enjoy a day at the show – photographed below in John Dennis’ 1909 Dennis (one of only three cars made by the firm to survive, all of which are owned by the firm’s former boss John).
Richard Morley, operations director for the show's headline sponsor Lancaster Insurance, said: "Being able to reward clubs and individuals at the C&SC Club Awards was also a personal highlight. The show was testament to the wonderful industry we work in and we cannot wait for next year!"
C&SC Club Awards
Best Club Website/Use of Social MediaAustin-Healey Clubwww.austinhealey.com
Club Magazine of the YearLow Flying, edited by Michael Calvert, Lotus Seven Club
Best Club Run/RallyTR7 40th Anniversary, TR Drivers' Club
Best Club Show/EventGordon-Keeble 50th Anniversary Weekend, Gordon-Keeble Owners' Club
Most Interesting Selection of CarsThe Imp Club
Best Themed Club StandMorris Minor Owners' Club
Best Small Club StandOnline Austin Seven Club
Best Medium Club StandVeteran Car Club of Great Britain
Best Large Club StandMaserati Club UK
C&SC Special AwardColin Feyerabend's 1969 Adams Brothers Probe 16
Car of the ShowStephen Dowling's 1962 Allemano-bodied Maserati 5000GTi
Club of the YearVeteran Car Club of Great Britain
Best Contribution by a YoungsterMichael Allen, Rover P6 Club
Best Contribution to CharityLarry Riches, Masonic Classic Vehicle Club
Club Personality of the YearPeter Simmonds, Austin Counties Car Club