Who would have thought that the UK calendar had room for another huge new classic festival? But Chris Evans proved this weekend that it is still possible to come up with something genuinely new with CarFest, his charity celebration of cars, food and music.
Originally dreamed up by Evans to distract him from giving up bread for Lent, CarFest snowballed into a huge weekend party for 20,000 visitors at Jody Scheckter's Laverstoke Park Farm, with proceeds going to BBC Children in Need.
And it was the former F1 World Champ who proved the star of the show, with spirited demonstration runs on the short hillclimb in his 1979 championship-winning Ferrari 312T4. Evans took to the hill himself with his family in their replica of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and behind the wheel of one of his famed 'magnificent seven' Ferraris.
Other groups of seven to thrill the crowds included the Supercar Seven, the Group B Seven, the Vintage Seven and the Nick Mason Celebrity Seven.
Among the highlights away from the paddock was a spectacular £13million C&SC display including Coys' AC Cobra 427 (as featured on the cover of this month's magazine), a Jaguar XKSS and XJR-9, a Vauxhall Prince Henry, Lamborghini Miura S and Talbot 105 (driven to the event by heroic former C&SC staffer Ross Sharp, despite it having lost its dynamo a day earlier).
The Sporting Bears were on hand to offer their charity Dream Rides, while club appearances included everything from a huge Ferrari Owners' Club showing to obscurities such as a pair of Novas (below). A popular additional feature was Silverstone Auctions' sales on Saturday and Sunday, giving budding enthusiasts the chance to drive home a classic.
And there were plenty of converts, because this show wasn't all about the cars: a huge artisan foods area plus kids' crafts and entertainment ensured that there was something for all the family, along with the culmination of Evans' 'Cakes vs Pies' competition that began on his Radio 2 Breakfast Show.
Each evening, the cars and foods took a back seat as the 'Fest' part of the event's name came to the fore, with acts including The Feeling, Razorlight, Texas and The Bootleg Beatles taking to the main stage, while air displays above included the Red Arrows, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and the magnificent Vulcan.
C&SC would like to say a big thank-you to the following for supplying the fabulous cars on our stand:
Don't forget that CarFest North is coming up on 8-9 September at Cholmondeley Castle. Click here for details.