Classics swarm into Romsey for Boxing Day gathering


More than 700 vehicles crammed into Romsey town centre for another brilliant turnout for its Boxing Day gathering. The Hampshire event began in 2002 as an American-car meet, but soon snowballed into a massive event for any pre-1976 classic and up to ’86 for American motors. 

The show still draws a remarkable selection of Transatlantic machinery, ranging from fabulous pre-war tourers to ’60s and ’70s rarities including this outstanding ’61 Buick Electra sporting the signature ‘VentiPorts’ on the front wings.

Romsey regular Gordon Morris from Salisbury took the gorgeous 1969 Lotus Elan S4 SE that he bought as a crashed, burnt-out wreck for just £75 in ’81. “I wanted a project,” he explained, “and this was ideal. My wife wondered what on earth I’d done when she saw the state of it. A total restoration, lasting five years, had it return to the road in June 1986.”

Across the aisle was the lovely Conifer Green ’67 Triumph 2000 Mk1 that Club Triumph stalwart John Snook bought about three years ago and had driven from nearby Christchurch. “It only had one previous owner,” he recalled, “and had done just 60,000 miles. The bodywork was pretty much in this condition, but I’ve had the gearbox overhauled – because there didn’t seem to be any oil in it – and had the radiator recored.”

Diane Wilkinson from Southampton was on holiday in Seaton, Devon, when she spotted a Fjord blue ’75 BMW 1602. “The sun was shining, the chrome was gleaming and I fell in love with it,” she recalled, “then I saw the ‘for sale’ sign and that was it. Most people come back with a fridge magnet, but I came back with a car! It’s had some work done, including a new exhaust system and a sill on one side – my son is a mechanic, which helps – and it’s now my daily driver.”

An amazing range of Fords included a mint Capri 2000GT XLR (top photo) and Nigel and Paula Broderick’s Anglia estate, which took part in the ’97 Peking-Paris enduro.

Nearby was this superb Ford Falcon Sport Coupe.

A nice late-’50s trio – typical of the Romsey variety – with a Jaguar Mk2, an MG TF and a Chevy Nomad… they were just across the way (bottom photo) from an immaculate Morris Traveller and my rather-less-immaculate BMW.

Organiser Steve Biddlecombe was chuffed with the turnout. “I am both astounded by what we had there and gutted that I saw probably 10% in the metal or fibreglass!” he said. “I’m also overwhelmed by people’s generosity. We are on course to smash last year’s total of more than £3500 raised for charity. And there would be no event, of course, without all the hard work of the volunteer marshals, who do a great job.”

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This year was the fourth Boxing Day we have been to Romsey but this year was the first that we were unable to find anywhere to park and had no choice but to return home. We had arrived not long after 10:00

The event has clearly outgrown the capacity of the venue and the organisers need to do something to help visitors to park. Maybe they should implement a park and ride scheme ? That would at least raise more cash for the supported charities.

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