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Cranleigh Classic Car Show

Sunday 17th August 2014

Report from Tony Tucker, Events Co-ordinator                                                        

Cranleigh is now officially the biggest classic car show in the south-east, I am informed, and there is certainly a wider variety of classic cars at this event than any other that I know of.

 I set off early, hood down, to enjoy the superb drive through the Surrey country lanes and villages which are part of the attraction of attending this event. I was pleasantly surprised, once I got off the main roads, to join up with half a dozen other cars on their way to the event and we finally entered the showground in a convoy of Speedster, Sunbeam Tiger, Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Bel Air, Austin Devon Hot Rod and Ford Popular!

 Another pleasant surprise was that this year I experienced none of the long queuing to get in (or out) of the showground that has marred some previous Cranleigh events. Also good news was the fact that, with the exception of a very brief downpour, the day was fine and sunny.
Not such good news was that the total number of club members in attendance was........ me! (Apart from Antoine Godschalk, of whom more later). We have never had less than 6 or 7 cars before and in some years it has been ten or more, so this was very disappointing, especially as I think this is a really great event and the organisers give us 12 free tickets, in the hope that they will be able to show off a number of our very popular Speedsters and Spyders.

All alone in front of an area marked "Speedsters and Spyders The Club", my car, nonetheless, received the usual amount of attention and I met a number of very interesting people, including two would-be buyers of Speedsters. One of these was an American, now living over here, who turned out to have a fascinating background in motor sport (he’d driven cars like Jaguar C types on many of the great US and European circuits). Apart from knowing people like Stirling Moss, he had, as a young man in Chicago, owned a whole line of British sports cars (TRs, MGs, Jaguars) as well as an original Speedster. He is interested in a Chesil because he loves the cars, but says that the replicas are far better to drive than the originals!

The range of cars on display at Cranleigh was truly awe-inspiring! Here are a few that I found exceptional (it’s a long list, but I could have made it even longer, there were so many contenders!):

Green Healey Silverstone, red HRG racer (the company only made 241 cars, but, amazingly, 225 are known to survive), white British Salmson (very rare indeed, made in the 1930s in Raynes Park as an offshoot from the French company), white 1930 Wolseley Hornet, red AC with Mille Miglia history, maroon Jaguar XK120, green 1934 Alvis Firefly Tourer, numerous Sunbeam Talbots, cream and blue Morris Isis wedding car, white Caravelle, red 1930s Singer 9 and too many pre-war MGs to mention (notably several immaculate J2s).

There was a fine line-up of 1960/70s Jensen Interceptors, plus an earlier Jensen CV8, a pre-war Dennis fire-engine, several vintage tractors, a terrific range of classic motor-bikes, and, of the more modern vehicles, a Delorean and (parked right alongside my Speedster) a Ferrari Daytona and a Dino.

As usual, one of the highlights was the large number of American pre- and post-war cars and these included: blue 1925 Oakland 6-54 Special Touring wedding car, red and cream 1930 Cadillac with dickie seat, huge spare wheels and luggage container, black 1937 Buick, slammed-to-the-ground red 1937 Ford Wildcat Roadster, 1939 Chrysler Royal and white 1950 Nash Airflyte.

Of the superb collection of 1950s American mega-cars, there were examples of: Buick Wildcat, Ford Falcon, Mercury Montclair, Pontiac Bonneville, Chevrolet Bel Air, Ford Thunderbird, Cadillac Eldorado and many, many more, all with their fantastic grills, fins and chrome everywhere. There was also a colossal American diner truck selling fast food which was so long that it is difficult to imagine it being driven anywhere on a British road!

 

click on any image to enlarge

Of a more sporting nature, there was a line-up of Chevrolet Stingrays, two red ones in V formation heading up the display.

There were also a number of outstanding Porsches, my favourite being a green 1969 911.

But the highlight of the show, featured in the central arena (otherwise he would have been with me!) was Antoine Godschalk’s stunning Speedster, which has taken him 6 years to build and must be the finest replica Speedster that I have ever seen. Designed as a fifties racer with an Outlaw appearance, the attention to detail and the quality of the build is absolutely beyond belief. I won’t try describing its full specification here, but you should check out Antoine’s website to see the full story – there’s a complete Youtube feature which is worth watching. Finished in red and black, every part of the car is meticulously detailed, even down to the spare spark plugs sitting neatly in the engine bay and the crash helmets in the same red and black livery as the car.

Antoine told us all about this car at Cranleigh a couple of years ago, but seeing is believing! Needless to say, Antoine was swamped with people talking about the car throughout the day.

So, another excellent day at Cranleigh. If you weren’t there this year (well, you obviously weren’t!), put this event in your diary for 2015!

Tony Tucker - Events Co-ordinator

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