The Bristol Classic Car Show

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By Darren Rungasamy

The Bristol Classic Car Show is recognised as the UK’s longest running event of its kind. It has been a fixture in the classic car calendar since 1979, therefore making the event older than some of the cars on display. The show is actually held some 20 miles south of Bristol, deep in rural Mendip at the Royal Bath & West Showground.

The event was broken up into three main areas, open-air parking, club displays in the halls with an autojumble and auctions nearby. Families and the young at heart were also catered for in the form of a fun fair. This really was a true day for all the family. 

It’s a show that is very much in the traditional style of a classic car affair, with many long-established car clubs catering for pre-1970’s cars. However, the event also caters for more recent offerings with no particular restriction for modified, retro or up and coming cars.

In the halls, around thirty clubs displayed the best of their member’s cars. This included an Opel Ascona C on the Manta Club stand complimenting a display of MK1 and MK2 Mantas. Their Ascona appears to be largely standard bar some reversible upgrades such as electronic ignition, a 5-speed gearbox, and lower springs. It was sold in small numbers in the UK alongside the identical sloped nosed MK1 Cavalier and must have appealed to those who preferred the exclusivity of owning an Opel.

Bristol, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet, classic car show, classic car event

Bristol, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet, classic car show, classic car event

Have you ever wished that you’d never sold your favourite car? This Datsun 280ZX was bought new by Andy, a former British Aerospace worker in 1981 but he was forced to sell it two years later. By some good fortune and against all the odds, he managed to buy the car back thirty years later having found it still existed after an online search for an unrelated car. The Datsun was being auctioned and he decided that he would buy it back at any cost. To add to his good fortune, it turns out that the car had been stored over the previous 20 years having only covered 1000 miles in that time. Talk about a fortuitous find!

Bristol, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet, classic car show, classic car eventBristol, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet, classic car show, classic car event

Away from the halls, the classic car park offered a ready mix of cars that literally covered all tastes and interests. The once common Ford Sierra and Citroen BX are owned by Chris Parks. The cars were fierce rivals in the mid-’80s, while the Sierra was a fairly conventional car in a novel aerodynamic body, the Citroen typically carried out the same design brief with a little extra panache. This particular BX is an early facelift model and spent its early life as a Citroen press car. It has recently seen at the Coventry Motofest, as part of the company’s 100-year celebrations.

Bristol, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet, classic car show, classic car event

Bristol, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet, classic car show, classic car event

Mike Brockway has owned this MG K1 tourer for an astonishing 61 years. Originally bought by the Duckhams brothers (best known for the development of machine lubricants) in 1933, it eventually ended up in the weeds in a Berkshire pub garden in the late ’50s. With help from Mike’s brother, the car was recommissioned and put back on the road. It features some interesting features including an exhaust bypass lever connected to a flute-like pipe, which produces a high pitched whistle! Not to be outdone for originality, his son Jeff also had his 1959 Citroen H van on display. He has inherited his fathers’ sense of ingenuity and has retrofitted power steering on his Audi powered Citroen H van. Yes. That would be an engine from an Audi Quattro!

Bristol, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet, classic car show, classic car event

Bristol, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet, classic car show, classic car event

What is often forgotten in Lancia’s history, other than their credible motorsports pedigree, is that the brand once built cars to a very high standard of engineering. This RHD 1968 Flavia had been owned by the same owner in Italy for 50 years until it came up for sale. It’s in excellent condition but has battle scars as a result of the original owners’ deterioration of driving skills, it retains evidence of minor damage on the bumpers and paintwork. Bob has a plausible theory about the car’s steering wheel position too. It’s thought that cars in Italy could have been ordered specifically with RHD, as some owners such as doctors, preferred to get out of their cars straight on to the footpath, rather than the road! Current owner Bob Moore had owned a Borgward Isabella prior to this car, so he is no stranger to elegant compact luxury cars.

Bristol, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet, classic car show, classic car event

Bristol, Bristol Classic Car Show, Shepton Mallet, classic car show, classic car event

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