Classics swarm into Bicester Heritage for Autumn Scramble

| 6 Oct 2017

Several thousand people converged on Bicester Heritage for its final Scramble of 2017 last Sunday. Classic enthusiasts come from across the UK to the former bomber station, including Danish commercial pilot Anders Bilidt. He left home in Glossop, Derbyshire at 5:30am in the treasured Verona red 1973 BMW 2002 – currently on Kronprinz alloys – that he bought 25 years ago as his first car and has kept ever since.

Simon Downs brought another gleaming example of early-’70s German engineering, the Cardinal red 1971 Opel Commodore GS/E that he picked up as a bargain on eBay 11 years ago. “It was built at the GM plant in Bienne, as a special order for a Swiss customer,” he explained. “It had been in a barn near Crewe for 20 years before I bought it. I’ve recently rebuilt the 2.5-litre straight-six and it now runs a four-speed auto from a Monza, so it’s much better on the motorway.”

The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs announced details of its new block-release apprenticeship scheme. “It is being provided by the Heritage Skills Academy, which also supplies the course for Banbury and Bicester College – also based here,” said chairman David Whale. “If an employer has a vacancy,” explained HSA managing director John Pitchforth, “we will go and see them to discuss the requirements of the job, then draw up a shortlist of suitable applicants who go for a test at the company.” The successful candidate is enrolled onto the nine-week block-release course, in mechanical, coachbuilding or trim. You can find out more here

Just across the aisle was this magnificent 1927 Humber 14/40 saloon, one of about 20 known to survive from 801 built between 1926 and ’29. It has been known to the Humber Register since 1953.

There’s a lovely story to its fabulous ‘ Old Bill’ mascot. The character of the British private was created by Captain Bruce Bairnsfather while he was recovering after being wounded in the second battle of Ypres in 1915. The curmudgeonly Old Bill appeared in the Fragment from France bulletin, in which he took the micky out of Grand Command, who tried to ban the publication but it became popular with the rank and file.

There’s always a great turnout of transatlantic machinery at Bicester, including the Ford Country Sedan of C&SC’s Julian Balme who has decided that he can only keep one Galaxie so the wagon has to go. We can put you in touch if you fancy it.

Nearby was this lovely 1955 Cadillac sedan, which also looked spot-on in the setting.

And you seldom see one Edsel, let alone a pair of second-generation models.

Here are some of our other favourites from around the former RAF bomber base:

A wonderful cross-section of machinery, including an immaculate early Range Rover and the sublime Alvis Speed 20 saloon of Bicester Heritage’s MD Daniel Geoghegan in the background
A lovely two-tone Series III Sunbeam Rapier
Gorgeous Lancia Aurelia B20 GT is a Bicester regular
Ford Model A Tudor by the Bore Hole Pump House
Lovely, late-1930s Jaguar 11/2-litre saloon
Riley specialist Blue Diamond Services once again organised a superb display of its customers’ cars
Cool, late-’60s Australian Chrysler Valiant four-door sedan
Super-rare Hillman Avenger GT drew lots of attention
Here’s a younger saloon that you also hardly ever see, a Peugeot 505
Across the aisle was a pair of its Audi contemporaries from Germany
This late-model Giugiaro Lotus Esprit Turbo looked really sharp
Brightwells brought an interesting selection of lots for a pending sale, including an aluminium-bodied 1954 Reliant Regent van (estimated at £6-7000)
Clubs were out in force, including a large Porsche Club GB turnout

Find out more about Bicester Heritage here