Top 10 highlights of Race Retro

| 25 Feb 2012

From the deafening sound of classic Honda race 'bikes to a gleaming replica Mercedes W125 body, there’s an amazing diversity of attractions at Race Retro this weekend at Stoneleigh Park, Coventry.

A full set of historic race and rally MGBs mark the model's 50th birthday, but they were almost lost against such fearsome V8 machines as Lola T70s, TVR Tuscan Challenge racers, and Group 4 De Tomaso Pantera. A wonderful set of Abarths also stood out.

Mingling with motor sport fans around the show were guest stars Jack Sears, Richard Attwood, Whizzo Williams and Björn Waldegard. 

Here’s our highlights.

1. The Historic  Endurance Rally Organisation (HERO) is offering a chance to drive some of its 15 rally car fleet in a new Race Retro feature, Arrive and Drive. For just £20, you can experience a Porsche 911, Mini-Cooper, MGA, BMW 1602 or Alfa Romeo GTV on two special tests. Arrive early because there’s only a few places left. 

2. Spectacular groups of Porsche are scattered around the show including Sir Stirling Moss' RS61 and a pair of fabulous 908s in Gulf and Martini colours. The Group C legends included the prototype 956 that made its debut in the '82 Silverstone Six Hours driven by Jackie Ickx and Derek Bell matched with the Blaupunkt Joest Racing 962-116. 

3. The BRM Day at Bourne on 7 October was promoted with the fabulous 1959 Leyland Tiger team transporter. Loaned by specialist Hall & Hall, the three-car carrier was designed by Rubery Owen and built by Marshall Motor Bodies. Inside the back was the ex-Graham Hill P57 which son Damon will drive around the Bourne streets. 

4. Club Lancia Sport presented a stunning set of rally greats from Fulvia through to a pair of exotic 037s to fearsome Delta S4. The Stratos was a replica, but we had to look twice.

5. Jay Kay driving his cool Porsche 914-6 will star in the Live Rally Stage on Saturday and Sunday, but it was the Group A Rover Vitesse of Adam Keeler that excited us. Used on the 1984 Donington Rally Sprint, this hot SD1was driven by  Nigel Mansell, John Watson, and Jimmy McRae who set fastest time on event’s special stage. With 300bhp, it’ll be a challenge on the narrow Race Retro show section.

6. The Brooklands Museum displayed the Nanette Special, a low-slung vintage special driven by Felix Scriven. Fresh from a recent restoration, this little-seen machine is powered by an ex-Parry Thomas 1847 Four cylinder Hooker engine. 

7. A colourful display of historic F1 and F2 historic stock cars included Pete Hill’s tribute to his childhood hero Don Evans. The truck-based chassis features 8-ltre V8 and genuine pre-war Topolino body. Running on worn old tyres from Hill’s Austin Westinster, it’s hoot to drive with the back stepping out at the whiff of throttle. "I love running it on tarmac best," says Hill. "Don was a great driver and worked at BMC in the ‘60s. The lilac colour was inspired by a neighbour’s front door, and family were really touched when we took it to Don’s recent funeral."

8. A contender for the most beautiful car at the show was the Triumph SLR, which has newly arrived at TR Enterprises to be prepared for selected FIA GT racers this season. Based on a TR4, the body was fashioned by Williams & Pritchard and built up by Chris Lawrence. After debut at the ’64 London Racing Car Show, it was raced by Neil Dangerfield and Lawrence.  Can’t wait to see it back out.

9. Model fans are in for a treat with the South Hants Model Auto Club display in the corner of Hall 1. Special 50th anniversary miniature themes include Cobra, MGB, Ferrari 250GTO and Lotus Elan, but highlight is 80th anniversary Le Mans collection with a 1:43 model for each year of the epic 24 Hour race.

10. There’s a strong Latin flavour to the Vintage Sports-Car Club’s stand with Tony Smoth’s fabulous 1960 Grand Prix Ferrari Dino, and Neil Twyman’s superbly patinated Alfa Romeo 8C Monza ‘Muletto’, which the British specialist built from spares. Both will be out at VSCC Silverstone on 21 April. Check out the Tazio Nuvolari-style headlamp tape on the Monza.