Pre-war cars shine at Gawsworth Hall Classic Show

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The picturesque half-timber Gawsworth Hall drew a fascinating selection – including a splendid turnout of pre-war machinery – for its Classic Show on the Mayday Bank Holiday. 

Car of Show went to Catherine Webb’s gorgeous 1939 Fraser Nash-BMW 328. “Pretty much the first thing we did when the restoration was finished in 2008,” Webb explained, “was to drive it to Germany with the Historic Motor Club, which had been invited by BMW to take part in a recreation of a rally from 1938.” Alongside was the Best Open Car winner, Dr Michael Sambrook’s superb 1924 Bentley 3 Litre Speed Model. As organiser Rupert Richards pointed out, it was a fitting tribute to his late father whose first car was a 1924 3 Litre. 

Best Grand Tourer went to the stunning 1937 ‘coffin-nose’ Cord 812S brought by Paul Wilson, who looks after the car. Its supercharged 4.7-litre Lycoming V8 was good for c185-195bhp and this example – bought in the States 30 years ago – clocked 110.8mph around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Best Pre War Car went to Rodney Fowler’s magnificent 1913 Sunbeam, while Best Post War Sports was awarded to Clare King’s 1961 MGA and Paul Clarkson’s 1970 Plymouth Road Runner SuperBird picked up the gong for Best Post War Saloon.

Best Club Stand went to the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club, a marque that has a long association with the Cheshire venue. The group, co-ordinated by Geoff Baker, included a couple of Bentley MkVIs, a Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn and Martin Sinclair’s glorious black-and-yellow 1937 20/25 Sports Saloon. As he pointed out: “It’s largely original, bar new leather seat covers, but is something of a Q-car, packing a Bentley 4.25-spec motor, with crossflow head and twin carbs, plus electronic ignition. But it’s all reversible.”

Manchester Historic Vehicle Club always brings a wonderful selection to the show, including this imposing line-up with (on the right) the 1930 Rolls-Royce 20/25hp landaulette that Ian Redford purchased in a near-derelict state 51 years ago and rebuilt to its current condition. To the left of the three is Ian Green’s 1929 Austin Heavy 12/4 Burnham, aka ‘Peggy’.

Lots of other cars had been in long-term ownership, such as the Falcon Caribbean that Arthur Speakman built new in 1963. Just after it was finished, they went on holiday in it to St Ives – 375 miles away! Alongside was the fabulous 1935 Sunbeam 20.9 that Don Waterall spotted for sale in Australia about 16 years ago. “I’ve got another one that I’ve had for 50 years,” he explained, “but that’s in a bit of a state. This one went out Australia as a chassis and had been completely restored out there. This is our favourite event because it’s a lovely run across from Loscoe, near Heanor in Derbyshire.”

There’s always lots of great stories to the cars at the event, such as the 1935 Daimler 15 Martin Walter Wingham Cabriolet that DLOC stalwart Colin Lambert from Brymbo bought in “a dreadful state” in 2009 and rebuilt in just 15 months. Only two are known to survive: “Just after I bought it, I heard from the owner of a similar car in The Netherlands.”

There were plenty of younger rarities, too, such as the lovely Fiat 124 Sport that Glyn Wear bought about six years ago: “I rebuilt the engine, gearbox, diff and brakes. I also have a ’73 Spider that’s nearly finished.” Alongside was another ’69 model, Daniel Perehovsky’s mint Daf 44. “This is my first classic,” he explained. “The previous owner had restored the car and I had it resprayed last year. It’s unusual because it’s a base model, which was special order here because the DeLuxe was sold in the UK.”

Here are a few more of our favourites from around the grounds at Gawsworth…

A nice Lotus link, with two Gawsworth regulars: Mike Blakemore’s Escort Twin Cam and the Elan Sprint of Pete Taylor – stalwart of the Cheshire Lotus Owners’ Group

Across the way, the Jensen Owners’ Club line-up included this lovely FFII

Photographer John Colley is another regular, here with his Jaguar XK150 fixed-head

Ashley Warren bought his superb, Signal Yellow Ford Escort RS2000 in 1997 and it was restored about eight years ago

If you fancied something a bit different, this immaculate Caramel Beige ’78 Porsche 911SC targa Sportomatic was looking for a new home. It was bought new by late music producer Mickie Most, who also had a 356 Speedster, a Kremer 935 and a Carrera RS 2.7

An excellent turnout of Rileys included Eddie Howell’s 1933 Nine Lynx Sports Tourer

This gleaming 1968 Gilbern Genie is number 44 of 197 made in Llantwit Fardre, Glamorgan

Gawsworth always features plenty of Transatlantic machinery, such as this wonderful pair of Series 62 Cadillacs – a ’59 convertible and a ’47 sedan

Evocative BMC siblings: an Austin Cambridge with a late-model Morris A60 Sun-Tor camper

To find out more about Gawsworth, including its Youngtimer Show on 29 May, click here 

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