Rare Porsche 356 upstages coachbuilt greats at Warren Classic

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Simon Bowrey’s fastidiously restored 1957 Porsche 356 won the second Warren Classic & Concours on 10 May just beating beat Stuart Wilkie’s unique Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn by two votes. Restored by renowned UK specialist Sportswagon, this exotic ‘four cam’ was the first GT imported to the USA by Max Hoffman. “We were out driving on wet roads on a Cotswolds rally last weekend, so we had to work hard to prepare it for this weekend,” said Bowrey, who also organises Porsche Classics at the Castle.

Wilkie’s stylish Rolls-Royce was a one-off fastback designed by Pinin Farina and first exhibited at the 1951 Turin Show.

Other coachbuilt beauties included Mark Walker’s handsome 1939 Lagonda V12 Rapide with Frank Feeley-styled two-seater drophead body, and Nicholas Williams’ class-winning Jaguar SS100 ordered new by Queen Helena of Romania and fitted with special bodywork by Leonida & Co.

Pipping all the spectacular Ferraris in the Italian GT class was Corrado Lopresto’s wonderful OSCA 1600 GT. One of just two with Touring bodywork, the car was first shown at the 1961 Turin Salon. The Milan-based architect is just the third owner having discovered the OSCA two years ago in storage. Its highly original interior with swing out spare wheel feature greatly amused admirers.

Star of a trio of Cobras was Mark Chowis’ sensational Willment Supersonic, which mated a 427 Cobra chassis with exotic Ghia Supersonic coupé bodywork. Superbly restored by Chowis, the mighty 7-litre was driven to the event.

But the wild Cobra didn’t stand a chance against John Brogoli’s mint 1970 Ford Escort Twin Cam.

Frustratingly, there was a disappointingly high number of concours entrants discouraged by the wet forecast, but they missed a superb day. Bugatti enthusiast Justin Hart was undeterred by the rain and arrived in his open-wheel Pur Sang Type 35B. “I went out to Argentina to see it being built which was a great experience,” enthused Hart who races and sprints the Bugatti replica.

The Drive-In Classic area saw a fantastic spread of machines from supercharged 1949 Land-Rover Series One to a pair of Noble supercars. Choosing a winning visitor was a tough decision for Mick Walsh, C&SC’s Editor in Chief who entered his Lea-Francis 14hp Sports for the main concours. Eventually, Fred Walker’s wonderfully patinated 1923 Bentley 3-litre took the prize. “I bought it on Valentine’s Day 1981, and we’ve taken it to Le Mans many times,” said Walker. “It has a 41/2-litre engine, and the performance surprises a few moderns.” Fascinating details included an aircraft mascot on the bonnet, which lights up at night.

Click here to see last year's report from the Warren Classic & Concours

 

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