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We’re excited to announce the winners of the Classic & Sports Car Club Awards 2021, presented in association with Lancaster Insurance.
Competition for these accolades has seldom been tougher, with a huge number of strong nominations doing battle for each category.
After a difficult 2020 and our virtual ceremony, it was wonderful to be able to congratulate and celebrate with this year’s winners and those who were highly commended at our ceremony this evening (12 November), at the NEC Birmingham. So without any further ado, here are our 2021 winners.
We start with the Digital Media Award and the judges were impressed by the breadth of many clubs’ online offerings.
Our first highly commended club is the Porsche 924 Owners’ Club whose new website isn’t just easy to navigate, it also features more than 40 downloadable tech PDFs to help members on a range of subjects. The judges also felt that the Standard Motor Club deserved to be highly commended for its relaunched website which gives members access to an ever-increasing wealth of information from the club’s rich archives.
However our winner was so impressive it received a number of nominations: Liam Murphy on behalf of The Pre-War Austin Seven Club. Not only was his slick film Austin 7 Adventures a great watch, it documents his time with the car as part of the Classic Car Loan Project, helping promote classic car ownership to a fresh, younger audience.
Best Club Magazine is always a popular Club Awards category and this year was no exception.
The judges wanted to single out the Jensen Owners’ Club as a highly commended nomination. Under new editor Leah Guilliard-Watts, the club’s magazine is more stylish than ever, while remaining easy to consume and packed with content, to acclaim from across the club’s community. ReVival, the magazine of the Vauxhall Viva Owners’ Club, also gets a nod. Editor David Maxwell’s work belies the club’s small size, producing a varied read four times a year.
But our winner really dazzled the judges and it was a unanimous decision: it is Imprint, the magazine of the Invicta Military-Vehicle Preservation Society. Again, it’s a new editor that’s impressed, in this case Sam Mitchell-Innes, transforming the magazine from what the nomination described as ‘a poor fifth-form school project’ into a professional-looking quarterly that wouldn’t look out of place on the newsstand. Many congratulations.
It’s been great to be able to get out there again and our Best Club Run/Rally nominations were a brilliant celebration of this.
Highly commended in this class is the Wolseley Register for its National Rally, which saw more than 50 cars meet in Norfolk for four days of activities. The judges were also won over by the Gay Classic Car Group’s post-lockdown celebration which took over Doxford Hall in Northumberland and involved tours, four castles, a gala dinner and more.
Yet it was the scale of this year’s winner which helped it edge to the top. In what the clubs believe to be a first, three groups came together for a mega, memorable rally: the TR Register, The Triumph Sports Six Club and the MG Car Club. Despite the marques’ historic rivalries, joining forces meant the Three Counties Showground in Malvern attracted thousands from 13-15 August for the Triumph and MG Weekend, featuring an autosolo, concours, live arena, anniversary showcases and more – a packed programme.
Which takes us neatly onto Best Club Show/Event and the first highly commended entry comes from our 2020 Club of the Year, the Alfa Romeo Owners’ Club UK.
Well, having 1150 cars at Bicester Heritage in June for the largest-ever gathering of Alfas in the UK at the National Alfa Day was a super achievement. So, too, was the E-type Club’s E-type 60, at Shelsley Walsh on 12-13 June. The model wasn’t short of anniversary parties in 2021, but this was something special, starring the oldest-surviving example, the Geneva launch car and the first production roadster, plus a stunning array of owners’ cars.
Our winner was a colourful affair organised by the husband and wife team of Kevin and Sue Fagan to mark three decades of their favourite car. The Nissan Figaro 30th Birthday Party Weekend attracted 242 Figaros to Warwick in June and featured four tours, a birthday dinner and more, including a parade in colour order, plus £2019 was raised for the RNLI and Young Lives vs Cancer. Well done to the Figaro Owners’ Club.
Talking of fundraising, next it’s Best Contribution to Charity and the chairman of the Classic Marques Sports Car Club has been blown away by the efforts of Noor Ali, who’s helped the club support Prostate Cancer UK for the past three years.
Our second highly commended in this category goes to the TVR Car Club for its Isle of Wight TVR Summer Camp that’s raised more than £50,000 in nine years.
And this year’s winner is Club Triumph whose 27th Round Britain Reliability Run on 1-3 October attracted 99 crews who tackled the 2000-mile route, raising more than £100,000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, a record sum for the event – and an astounding achievement.
Moving on to the categories judged today at the NEC Classic Motor Show, first it is Best Small Club Stand. Our team was most impressed by the efforts from both the Austin A30-A35 Owners’ Club and the Wolseley Register, but our third finalist and the winner in this category took it up a gear.
Several clubs are celebrating major anniversaries, and our winner is no exception, with a fantastic Earls Court display marking its 50th birthday, along with a spread of superb cars, it is the Jensen Owners’ Club.
There were so many contenders for the 2021 Best Large Club Stand award, from the Bugatti Owners’ Club’s impressive set of Brescias, to the combined efforts of the Honda clubs, headed by the S800 Sports Car Club, to create a super celebration of the marque.
However, our judges loved the variety and accessibility of the winning display, which mated a set of works Le Mans and rally machines with a brilliant driving simulator, designed to encourage younger enthusiasts to get behind the wheel. It’s the TR Register, supported by the TR Register Youth Group.
This year’s show theme of ‘The Journey Continues’ was perhaps the most appropriate ever, and its wide remit made it a challenge to pick a winner for Best Themed Club Stand. After much deliberation, our two highly commended displays are: The Sunbeam Tiger Owners’ Club and The Metro Owners’ Club.
Our winner is no stranger to the top step of the podium in this category, and once again it takes the laurels for a fantastic display that explained how the journey would be continuing for a selection of cars representing all corners of its membership – it is Capri Club International.
Another of our traditional stand categories is Most Interesting Selection of Cars, another which many of the NEC show displays could lay a claim to. Our judging panel loved the fantastically varied Minikits display and the 750 Motor Club’s line-up.
It was a unanimous choice, though, to give this award to the Alvis Owner Club, whose stand featured a vehicle representing every era of this long-running British institution, which recently celebrated its centenary, with cars from a 1922 10/30 to a 1966 TF21.
As you might expect, the Judges’ Choice class sparked fierce debate among our panel – and it was a close run thing. Our two highly commended cars are Colin and Cindy Salmon’s 1961 Gilbern GT, which was bought new by Cindy’s father and was on the Gilbern Owners’ Club stand, and from the Ford Classic & Retro Sports Cars display, Colin Ginn’s uniquely pretty 1962 Ford Saxon recreation.
However, the winner was restored in secret and only finished earlier this week, and its first time on the road was coming to the show – where it was a complete surprise to fellow club members. Looking fabulous in outrageous ‘Piri-Piri’ orange, it’s Roy Townsend’s 1971 Ford Taunus 20M RS, part of the Ford Taunus Club GB display.
And now we come to the prestigious Car of the Show, another category that was hard-fought amongst our judges. The two fabulous classics receiving highly commended nods are John Tilley’s 1960 Gordon GT prototype, on display with the Gordon-Keeble Owners’ Club, and John Simmons’ elegant 1938 Sunbeam-Talbot Sports Saloon, with the Sunbeam-Talbot Alpine Register. And our winner?
Part of its appeal is that it’s just so unlike any other car from its maker, with its first rear-mounted engine and streamlined styling that gave it a remarkably futuristic look for a car launched in the early ’30s. Cute as a button in two-tone brown, it is Ian Tisdale’s 1934 Mercedes-Benz 130H, on The Mercedes-Benz Club stand.
Our last gongs are four of the biggest, starting with Club Hero, recognising an individual who’s gone above and beyond for their club.
Wigtownshire Yesteryear Transport & Machinery Club’s chairman Ian Clarke is definitely one such person who literally keeps the club going, ensuring every member makes it home safely after each club run. Our second highly commended nomination goes to another club stalwart, Paul Burgess of the Triumph Mayflower Club, who has generously given his time, expertise, insight and support to member Gordon McMurray as he rebuilt his family’s Mayflower that had spent 20 years in storage.
However our winner was a unanimous choice, someone whose charity work over the past five years has been nothing short of amazing. The Gay Classic Car Group’s James Davis was a big supporter of Alzheimer’s UK following his father’s diagnosis and passing. Among other fundraising efforts, he learnt his father had sold his beloved MGA Twin Cam he’d owned for 53 years to fund his care, so he tracked the car down, bought it back and established the MGAlzheimers charity, to fundraise and promote awareness. Sadly, James passed away earlier this year, but his outstanding efforts will forever be remembered.
There were some terrific nominations for our Star of the Future category and our first commendation is for someone who’s been part of her club since she was 12.
Courtney Ward has been helping the MX-5 Owners’ Club for five years at events including the NEC Classic Motor Show, as well as leading the development of the club’s young drivers’ register – her enthusiasm knows no bounds and now she’s learning to drive, she hopes to get an MX-5 of her own. Also highly commended is the TR Register Youth Group’s Tim Pocock who has been invaluable to his club, including undertaking a 600-mile drive to collect a donation of spares, organising events and even letting others try his Spitfire to inspire their passion.
Our category winner first joined his dad at events but is now an asset to his club and its youngest regional organiser, taking on this role aged just 19: it is the TVR Car Club’s James Millington. Not only is he now the proud owner of two TVRs, he’s arranged events including the ambitious two-day ‘Peaks to the Beach’ which was a big success. The club can’t wait to see what he’ll do in the years to come.
In our Lifetime Achievement award we pay tribute to those who’ve devoted so much to the British car club community and we were spoilt for choice this year.
We have two highly commended nominations to share, starting with John Simpson of the Boston Classic Car Club, which he founded in 1990 and of which he’s still chairman. He is also part of the Practical Classics magazine team and has formed three enthusiasts’ groups on Facebook to feed others’ passions. The Bugatti Owners’ Club’s Dave Orchard also deserves recognition as he retires after 65 years of marshalling, primarily for the club at Prescott but also elsewhere, including doing recovery at Prescott for the last 15 years – and he was the only marshal who attended the last Chateau Impney hillclimb in 1973 and the 2014 revival.
As you can imagine, it takes a lot to beat those two, but this year’s winner was another unanimous decision from the judges: it is Graham Searle, one of the founding members of the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club back in 1984. He’s been integral to the club ever since and despite retiring this year, is still giving so much to the JEC and the wider classic car community. The club’s general manager said: “If we achieve half what Graham has in his lifetime so far, we can all be very proud indeed.”
Finally, it is Club of the Year. Every club means so much to its members and it’s very hard to pick three from the hundreds out there.
Our first highly commended nod goes to The Riley RM Club, established in 1969 and today with more than 2000 members in 30 countries and nearly 9000 vehicles recorded by the club’s registrar. Despite the pandemic it has increased its membership and cut club fees, plus it offers technical support, assists in creating spares from drawings and more. We also wanted to mention a younger club, the Mk1 Golf Owners’ Club which has grown since its inception in 2004 to a community of more than 1800, and this year ran a driving day for 113 cars.
However, we return to a more established group for our 2021 Club of the Year, one which has shown recently it is not afraid to innovate: it’s the Vintage Sports-Car Club. Since 1934 it’s provided a safe, fun environment for the enjoyment of vintage cars and it continues this today while encouraging younger enthusiasts, too – some of the cars might be around 100 years old, but around one in 10 of the VSCC’s competitors is under 30. It has also this year relaxed its rules meaning some post-war cars are eligible for competition. After 87 years and still going strong, it is congratulations to the VSCC.
Well done to the Vintage Sports-Car Club and thank you to so many clubs for supporting our 2021 Club Awards with their nominations.