Restorations star at massive Tatton Park extravaganza


A wonderfully varied mixture of about 2000 cars from 87 clubs crammed into Tatton Park for each day of last weekend’s Classic & Performance Car Spectacular, which drew just under 29,000 visitors. Many of the groups are open to any make of classic, such as the Rochdale Vintage & Collectors’ Car Club, which celebrated its 25th birthday with an inspired ‘carousel’ of vehicles (above).

Nearby, the Manchester Historic Vehicle Club also gathered a fantastic selection including ‘Bessie’, the magnificent 1934 McLaughlin Buick Series NA50 Model 58 that Ian Booth bought with a mate for £200 in ’71. “We started stripping it,” he recalled, “and soon realised that the ash frame was beyond repair, so that was rebuilt to the original spec after which replacement bodywork was painstakingly hand-wheeled and fitted to the frame.”

Fellow MHVC member Steve Rodick brought his rare 1951 Singer SMG1500, one of only eight known to survive in the UK. “I was on eBay looking for parts for another classic,” he explained, “when I noticed this and I’d never seen one before. It’s a full cruciform chassis with a hefty steel body – it weighs about 1.8 tons – but it runs well once you’ve got it going. It has the same 1500 overhead-cam engine that was fitted to HRGs.”

A fascinating trio of Allards nestled at the back of the Cheshire Classic Car Club stand, including H&H boss Simon Hope’s J2 and Mark Butterworth’s K-type – the only one in Europe. “It’s the most comfortable racing car ever built,” he enthused. “You can drift it one-handed around the complex at Silverstone. I’ve just had the Cadillac engine rebuilt and it’s now good for more than 300bhp on triple Carters.”

A large Mercedes-Benz Club corral included the beautiful 300SL Coupé that Ed Daniels had driven up from Essex and the 220SE ‘Ponton’ cabriolet that register captain Alan Cross bought in 2007 and has taken to Germany several times.

Across the aisle was a Jensen FF II painted in a lovely Mercedes turquoise metallic. “When we had it tidied up, it turned into a complete respray,” explained owner Alan Jones from Telford. “We always liked the original colour, and this was the closest that we could get to it. We’ve had the car for 11 years, but it was bought by my father-in-law in 1983 so I’ve known it since then.”

Alongside was Steve Makin’s striking yellow FF II: “It belonged to Hugh Wainwright, the chairman of Jensen Motors, so it has a few modifications that weren’t generally available. It’s insured for commuting and, if it’s a nice day, I drive it to work.”

The Jensen Owners’ Club line-up spanned most eras of Interceptor, with a Mk1, an SP and a III, plus the superb Aston Martin DBSV8 that JOC stalwart Adrian Howells has recently converted from mechanical to electronic injection. “I was hoping to have my Interceptor here,” he said, “but one of the core plugs had gone, the next one along was hanging out and there was a big crack between the two.”

An excellent MkIII Zephyr-Zodiac OC display featured this gleaming Zephyr, which was bought new in ’64 for the Northallerton Police Force to be based at Scotch Corner and around the Durham area by PCs Rex Dale and Maurice Aislabie. It was sold in ’68, with 60,000 miles on the clock, to a Mr & Mrs Allsopp who notched up well over a quarter of a million miles over the next 30 years. Alex Maskell bought the car, which has featured in various TV crime dramas, in November ’09, since when it’s had a ground-up rebuild.

As always at Tatton, there was a fascinating mixture of vehicles among the 250-plus individual entries – from veteran cars to a stunning Facel Vega Facel II and assorted modern classics.

Unlike most BMW 2002s, the structure of Paul Wilson’s rare Granadarot metallic ’75 example has survived remarkably well: “It had the factory Tectyl coating and had been Ziebarted from new, so I only had to replace the front wings and the lower rear corners. I did all of the bodywork preparation myself – it turns out that I’m good at lead-loading – and have put 25 litres of Dinitrol into the structure since it was done. I bought the car in ’93, but didn’t start the restoration proper until four years ago.”

Tony Davies’ splendid 1935 Rover 14hp Sports Saloon was in a state when he bought it in ’68. “It had been a farm vehicle for 30-odd years,” he recalled, “so it was a wreck. It took me about five years to rebuild it. All it’s needed since then has been routine servicing and mending odd bits over the years.”

Alongside was John Dowding’s ’48 Singer Super 10, one of only five known to the Singer Owners’ Club: “About 75% were exported and this one came back in 1980, we think from Southern Rhodesia or South Africa because it’s right-hand drive. The interior – with cloth inserts rather than full leather – is all original.”

Geoff and Barbara Basketter from Sale bought their delightful Morris Eight Series E in bits in ’97 and completed the restoration themselves apart from the chroming.

Here are some of our other highlights from around the park…

An outstanding group spanning early to late models and an ex-Police car from Landcrab OC International

There’s always a strong showing from the Ford Sidevalve OC, including two Squires

And there was a fine turnout form the Ford Classic & Capri Owners’ Club

MMOC’s Manchester Morris Minors branch brought virtually every variation, from a low-light tourer to a Ford Zetec-engined saloon (in centre)

GCCG linked the build date of each of its cars with the winner of that year’s Eurovision Song Contest – our roving reporter loved the pewter metallic Golf 16V and the almost-unfeasibly immaculate Fiat 131

Gorgeous early Europa fronts colourful Club Lotus selection

Austin-Healey Club packed lots of cars into a small space

When was the last time you saw three Mk3 Ford Cortinas together?

Lovely XJ6 2.8 manual with Cheshire Classic Car Club was featured in C&SC in November 2012

Another former C&SC feature car (November 2002), the smart-looking BMW 501 was for sale

Car of the day on Saturday went to the superb Derby Bentley tourer of Bob Amber, while Sunday’s winner was Daniel Vernon’s 80-miles-from-new Triumph Dolomite LE.

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