It was quite a weekend for car shows in the North West of England, with The Cumbria VAG Festival being held at the Westmorland showground and the Grasmere classic car show being held in the village of Grasmere, deep in the heart of The Lake District, we opted for Grasmere thinking we may come across some rare classic and vintage marques, maybe even some coachbuilt cars. We found a car we've never ever come across at a show.
The Lakes Charity Classic Vehicle Show or Grasmere Classic Car Show as it seems to be known by is an annually held show just down the road from the famous Grasmere gingerbread shop - we were told by a very friendly steward, that as we'd arrived after lunchtime we only had to pay half the entry fee £2.50, a great start.
The car event is held on field just off the road to Keswick, now this being the Lakes, we expected some rare and beautiful models in the car park, let alone in the show - we immediately came across a DB9 and DB7 Vantage, a 70's Porsche Carrera and a 76' Alfa Romeo Spyder. The show didn't have a format, bar cars were parked in their respective clubs and groups - food and entertainment was at the rear of the show witha live band providing classic music, There was everything from vintage Rolls Royces through to the relatively modern Ferrari.
The sun was blazing and the backdrop of Grasmere made it one of maybe one of the most picturesque car shows we've ever attended and as we mentioned this event also had its fair share of surprises for example we saw what we thought initially with a Shelby AC Cobra however when we spoke to the guy he told us it was a replica with Jaguar underpinnings, powered by a 350bhp engine with Edelbrock intakes, we even heard the symphony of the V8, quite literally, 'the hills were alive with sound of music'. The exterior was black with graphite stripe chrome side exit exhausts the interior custom cream leather, sublime.
The vintage and classics offerings comprised of Triumph, Jaguar, Alvis, Mini etc and the odd Ford and Vauxhall, Mexico, Nova etc - however one car we did not expect to see is likely one of the rarest cars we have ever seen that being Jaguar XJS Shooting Brake coachbuilt by Lynx one of 67 as Jaguar had no interest in releasing a version, we are told there are likely only 30 models left.
We spoke to Lance who owned the XJS Estate - he told us he bought it in 1999, 15 years after it had been converted, the donor car being an 1984 V12 HE model after purchasing the car Lance started on making the car his own and restoring it when needed, in addition he fitted a cabriolet style roof and replaced the 3 speed auto with a 4 speed. Lance was avid member of his car club in Didsbury, Manchester and happily went through the history of the Lynx Shooting Brake XJS Jag, it was an honour to experience the XJS and quite apt really as this coming week we will be attending the Goodwood Festival Of Speed where JLR will unveil their new Jaguar XF Shooting brake.
No classic car show is complete without a few American classics and Grasmere had the behemoth the Lincoln Continental, a car which dominates wherever it goes and rightly so, in addition there was a corvette stingray and of course the Ford Hot Rod 'Cumbria Kid', we pleaded for a start up, however the Cumbria Kid declined due to there being a guy asleep under a neighbouring Mercedes. This Hotrod was one custom vehicle it had signs white metal signs infused into the interior of the roof had an extended gearshift with chromed skull shifter visible through the windscreen as for the engine, hoods were removed from the V8, and this classic Ford had the biggest distributor You've ever seen.
The classic car show in Grasmere is a great venue to visit if you're in the lakes and all the proceeds go to charity, we arrived a little later than planned and the meet and greet team thought it only fair that we pay half price, now there are not many events that have this type of approach. The classic car show had a wondrous collection of vehicles one car that really did catch your imagination is a Lotus Esprit famed for 'The spy who loved me that' this particular model was bright yellow and in superb condition parked next to an AC Cobra, these vehicles together really showed the contrast between European and American-style cars, superb. There was only one Ferrari in attendance and strangely enough no Lamborghini cars, however the classic Ferrari Mondial and a couple of Alfa Romeo models made up for this lack of Italian classic Supercars.
Now everybody loves a classic 911, especially when it's parked next to an E30 BMW, and this particular Porsche looks like it's just rolled of the production line. Mark bought the car and started almost immediately with the restoration of his 1986 Porsche 911 Carrera, Mark explained that to the day the car had taken over five years to restore it to the standard it is today. Recently, somebody had offered Mark a 997 and he took out to see if he could bond with it like his classic Carrera, and move to something more modern.
Mark's words were in a nutshell - it didn't feel racey enough, too comfortable and virtually drove inself in comparison, the classic Carrera you know you've driven it, achy back, hard feel and no matter waht you'd never change it. The classic 911 is a true drivers car aircooled and with no toys and RWD.
Now the journey to completion is a long one, here's a taster (however we do hope to cover the full story with Mark at a later date) - the car visited body shops and restoration places due to proverbial can of worms getting bigger, one main issue was the structural point in the rear just behind the door (a common spot on these models) had to be completely removed due to rot in addition the wings had to be replaced, as you can see it was never an option to give-up and look at it now, you certainly can't tell by looking at the car what's original and what's been restored, this 911 is well on the way to being concourse.
The Lakes Classic Vehicle show is a great show and well worth attending for the whole family.