Record numbers pack Tatton anniversary spectacular

| 13 Jun 2016

A record number of vehicles – 2357 on the Saturday and 2689 the day after – crammed into Tatton Park for the 30th-anniversary Classic & Performance Car Spectacular, which drew a crowd of about 25,000 to the rolling Cheshire estate on 4-5 June.

“Usually about 55% of the cars are different on the Sunday,” said the delighted organiser Stuart Holmes. “We had 87 clubs present, with five or six more who meet up in the private entries area.” Best club stand on Saturday went to the Wolseley Owners’ Club, which held its national event at the show, while Sunday’s went to the Rochdale Vintage & Collectors’ Car Club. Its brilliant ‘Endangered species’ display (top photo), which was raising funds for the Worldwide Fund for Nature, while also listing (if known) how many of each car featured was left on the road in the UK.

The Gay Classic Car Group also presented an inspired topical theme – ‘The Queen over the decades’, with the year of manufacture of its cars linked to an event in Her Majesty’s past.

A 50-strong Mercedes-Benz corral was fronted by three gleaming Pagodas, including the Dark Bordeaux Red 1966 230SL automatic that Mike Rutledge bought 20 years ago. “It’s had just three owners,” he explained. “The lady who bought it new had it for 35 years, then gave it to her daughter, and then I bought it.” Alongside was the immaculate 280SL that Gary Beevers bought at Techno Classica Essen this year.

The super-rare Mazda RX-3 that Dave Nixon from Sandbach acquired 20 years ago drew lots of attention. “Most of the RX-3s that came to the UK were built in ’72,” he explained, “and there were a few mods done to this one when it was new. When the supplying dealer discovered that Mazda did a limited-slip diff, it was fitted with one of those. And when the RX-4 came out, it was fitted with the later, 13B (check) engine and a five-speed ’box.”

Bryan and Margaret Goodwin from Bollington bought their ’82 MG Metro a couple of years ago. “It was basically in good condition, but I’ve done little bits to it,” he said. “The doors were dropping a bit, so I put new hinges on them, as well as a new front bumper and grille. You’re always doing something; it never stops.”

Nearby was Chris Boffey’s almost unfeasibly immaculate ’71 Saab 95. As he pointed out: “If you keep it clean, you can keep on top of it. If you let it get dirty, then it’s more of a job. It’s due another overseas trip; I took it to Belgium in 2012.”

John Valentine bought his ’62 Ford Zephyr MkIII nearly half a century ago: “A friend who already had an Alcuda Blue one told me about this car in 1967. I took one look and fell in love with it.” Forty-eight years and a couple of restorations later, the Monaco Red automatic “is still going strong and as comfortable as ever”.

In total contrast, North West Casual Classics members. Dougie and Sue Owen had acquired their glorious 1927 Sunbeam 16.9 only three months ago. The tourer was first registered in Berkshire, where it remained until the ’50s. As Dougie explained: “It was in poor condition, and was bought for £25 by the Grove Garage in Christchurch with the idea of doing it up, and put in a corner. Sixty years later, when the place was sold, the Sunbeam was discovered in the same corner and restored in 2007 by specialist Trevor Hirst.” 

Across the aisle, on the Glossop Vehicle Enthusiasts’ Club stand, was the dazzling Verona red 2002 – fresh back from the German 02 Club Bavaria Tour (see here) – that Danish pilot Anders Bilidt bought as his first car 24 years ago.

The Renault Owners’ Club always brings an intriguing group to Tatton, this year with not one but two R12s including the lovely blue car that has been in Peter Bell’s family for more than 30 years. Chris Lee has two 12TSs and tracked down his latest find – a low-mileage 12TL – in Scotland. “It did the 250-mile trip down to the north-west as sweet as anything without any problems.” Alongside was Rob Slater’s vivid blue 5 Alpine Turbo. “It was bought new by my best friend’s father in ’84 when he retired,” Slater explained. “And he only gave up driving it about 20 years later when he bought an automatic Super 5 with power steering. It was recommissioned three years ago and only needed a caliper and a couple of brake pipes for the MoT test.”

The Independent Porsche Enthusiasts’ Club group featured a flatnose 930 turbo and this 928 in German Polizei livery, brought by specialist MR 928, which drew lots of attention.

A similarly varied line-up from Porsche Club GB included this gorgeous 911 RS 2.7 Carrera.

A fine selection of transatlantic machinery included this gleaming black ’58 Chrysler 300D, with a two-tone Chevrolet Bel Air behind it.

There are always lots of interesting cars to be found around the individual entries… this gorgeous 1949 Bristol 401 has been with the same owner since ’99 and was restored by Bristol in 2008.

The sports car selection including this immaculate Daimler SP250 and Lotus Elan.

When was the last time you saw one – let along two – mint Mk2 Ford Escort 1600 Sports?

And if you fancied a project, H&H Auctions showed this, the alloy-bodied Costin-Nathan works prototype, which is coming up at its Chateau Impney sale on 10 July, with an estimate of £25-30,000. It was raced in period by Roger Nathan, who beat the works Fiat-Abarths in the ’66 Coupe de Paris.

Find out more about the next Tatton Park show by clicking here