(Reading time: 6 - 12 minutes)

Good morning, and welcome to Stowe House - we're on The RetroRun!.

You may have heard of The Classic - you see racing cars and all manner of things, over a three day event. Well, the RetroRun is slightly different. For a start, you take in lots of hidden gems, including the British Motoring Museum, interesting pubs and coffeehouses, even places with munitions and it just gives you, I think it's a touch of history in the area and it gives you a chance to take your retro classic on site 100 mile journey or 70.

Now prices vary, but it's around £250. So you get one of these, you get a full starter pack, parking permits, full maps, and you can see exactly where you're going and what you're doing. The thing is, you can deviate left, right and center, and if you do miss the start time, you can just join halfway through. You also get to go in a parade lap and specialist parking and they just make it really easy.

Don't worry. Your pack includes everything, tells you exactly what to do by the book. And I suppose that's what appeals to me. The fact it's so simple. You just come here, meet some like minded people. Grab a cup of tea, then you're off on your adventure and there's no time limit. It's just do what you want when you want. It doesn't matter about your car as long as it's classic retro will say pre-war or vintage or etcetera, etcetera. You get the picture. Join us as we partake in the retro throwback.

I do love a pillar-less coupe, because it's nice and airy on a summer's adventure.

And it is a true summer's day, isn't it?

But it is. We've got the perfect nativity scene built by Daimler-Benz. So when money just wasn't an object. Cruise control and a 31 year old car. Now, the sound isn't going to be perfect, but there is no way I'm putting the windows up on a day like today, traveling at around 30 miles an hour. I'm sure we'll come.

But they do a long or short route, don't they? With lots of the said hidden gems. Interesting places to see, places stop. You name it.

It's zero down mileage. So we could see clear on the left how many miles we actually cover. You'll find a mix of lovely roads when you get little country lane, but you get steady roads too. So you don't need to people unless you really want to. It's such a line driving Lady Dorothy on these roads, and that's the thing.

You've got A Roads, you've got B roads. You've got really, really little winding country…errr apologies!  Dorothy's a rather large car. She's got ABS, but that's it for safety. Oh, seatbelts!

Kick down!. So we're in Standard (Mode) This vehicle also has Economy (Mode) I don't think it makes any difference, it just allows it to rev a little higher. Considering she's 31 years old, she will sit at say 125 miles an hour on an Autobahn, some motorways in this country, absolutely no problem.

And she does offer a rather refined ride (and I think she's the perfect cruising vehicle) she is even on 17’s. (Ours our diamond cut and look absolutely awesome!)

I’ve got my navigator on the left hand side – Annabelle Quirk, my wife. If you’re familiar to the channel, you'll know that it's Annabelle and I that always go on our road trips. It doesn't matter what it is, whether it's one of our classics or it's a brand new MG, Audi, whether it's to Goodwood or wherever.

That's why we wanted to do The RetroRun, so we could show people exactly what it's about. Because you read about these things and think: Well, okay, so what do I get for my money?

Well, you get a rather special experience (Come on, pick your heels up, Dorothy!)

Real racing roads these, aren’t they Annabelle? (Very twisty turney)

But they are sweeping as well - that's what I mean, so you can get decent speed. (Ooo! Didn’t like that bit [of road])

Lady Dorothy's built for comfort and cruising speed (cos the tyres are a bit oversized?) Yes, and not dipping and wheeling speed.

Hinton Airfield, Banbury Gliding Club, and Hinton Skydiving! If you want to jump out of a plane, this is the perfect place.

This is Farthingholme. Slow down and see more!

Look at the Retro Garage! Z Bends…amazing!

Ah! A queue of traffic…on point…typical. That’s the thing, this may be a CE -  which is essentially an E-Class - but it can still perform on a back road. Because of the 17 inch wheels are off the AMG later cars, it sticks to the road like glue. Plus we've uprated the brakes, and uprated the suspension and done all manner of things to this car. It was our project, wasn't it, Annabelle? And it’s almost finished now. Gosh, that was 2018, wasn't it? Yeah. Wow.

Can you remember when we – well I – drove it to the garage and you followed?

Yeah, that journey that should have taken about 30 minutes took about 2 hours. That one?

Remember when I came out of junctions, and it bounced? And that's why we didn't know that until we took her in, and he said, actually, this is what you’re looking at (and that we really shouldn’t have driven it) Well, lesson learned, and since then, I mean, we're at 218,000 miles, and we go the length and the breadth of the country in this.

Now under the bonnet, we've got a 2.3, so it's an 8 valve. It's got around 138 brake horsepower. So it's not the biggest engine, but believe it or not, it's actually the smallest engine that Mercedes Benz offered.

And get this, it's four cylinder, and that means if you put your foot down you get a rather peppy engine. Woohoo! Jimny! (Oo, we love Jimny’s)

So far, just the beginning of this journey has shown us a plethora of greenery. It's no wonder that they call this place the green and pleasant land, is it? Is it? The song is green and pleasant (Apologies!)

There's lots of places you can get a cream tea on this adventure. Ooo, afternoon tea is a big favourite of Plantauto.  (It is indeed) and we are heading towards Banbury. And if anyone's  wondering why I keep doing a silly voice when I say the word Banbury, it’s to do with The Importance of Being Earnest. One should always be earnest. Exactly, especially on one's weekend. And that's part of the play on words, that the play is based on.

Oh look at that car! That's in the retro run…it is indeed. We saw that leave as we got there. So they're doing their own little scenic route as well.

Easily gets up to motorway speeds. God I love this Benzo! She does it with ease, doesn't she? She does.

Behold the British Motor Museum at Gaydon.

Hello! Hi! Hello again! [Anywhere you like you can park] Thank you. All right. [You’re filled up here sadly]

Wow. Look at this. Beautiful, bright yellow. Oh, look at that Triumph in front of us. Herald. What a beautiful colour it. We are between a 911 and 944 us as well!

I can think of no better place for a Pitstop on The RetroRun than the British Motor Museum. Even the car park is just filled with classic cars. We've had a look at a few. Let's go look at some more.

Yeah, look at this. Go and do a little bit. Don't go. Well, you should just do one if you just try them.

Just look at some of these cars. Porsche 911, Jaguar E-Type. The MG RV8. Even a Bond Bug…

Gotta love orange!

When you've got The RetroRun on, even the car park is a museum in and of itself. Let's go and have a look. This is just a sample of some of the cars you see: A Stingray and this Jag – absolutely beautiful. The driver of this Jag is a fellow Northerner, so we're going to catch up with them in a bit.

I bet you've had about 17 of them, haven’t you? [No, nope, I've just had this one!]

It's in pretty good condition, really [I’ve had it 31 years]

That's the thing. That's what I like about it, you've not gone back and just bought something that was just going to go up…you've kept it. [Now, when I got this, it was about 11 grand or something like that when I got the DS because they are the later ones, they aren’t the same amount of money]

Which is sad. [Having said that though, if you probably drove this one compared to an earlier one, well I can understand some of the reasons why]

This is supposed to be far more easy to drive aren't they? [Yep, much, much easier. And it's got what the E-Type needs, which is called fifth gear]

Even my Mk1 Golf only had four gears. [So normally you go out and one of these, and 250 and you’re completely out. I've still got over a quarter of a tank left]

There's so many things to see: this Mini, the Aston Martin behind me…let's look further in. Okay. That's a nice colour for that Celica. It's not every day you see a livery like that, is it? (Mind you, we wouldn't really see much of that nowadays) This Lancia FULVIA! That's the best Italian accent I can do. I know I'm talking about food when I say it that way, but it's tasty.

A TR4 – they look almost bat like with the shape of the rear wings. Yeah, they are an interesting design. Well, Annabelle's given you a quick taste of the cars on The RetroRun parked on the lawn. It's cars, cars, cars, the smell of petrol, the sound of V8’s. This Tommi Mäkinen edition, so a limited number. And if you want to see how good they are on a track, I actually drove on the Top Gear track, with NASCAR's number one Indian driver (I think he was) as a co-pilot, coaching me to Rally Drive, essentially. You live and learn.

That’s it -  it's such a friendly environment. That's our first leg complete, so it's now time to head off Silverstone Classic. It's a road trip adventure, isn't it? Yes.

Well, it wouldn't be a road trip without going the wrong way once! Oh, look at that, a BMW E36!

At Silverstone, with specialist parking you would be closer to the action.

It's so different here in the daytime - oh, my word – how many people? – How different is this to The Lap of Lights?

Oh, this is the action. What a place to see it! You are right – because we are on The RetroRun, we are literally being taken down to the front.

So this is where we get to park, and it’s miles away from the public car park, right in the center of the action.

Welcome to Silverstone, The classic 2022, an event that runs for three days. We've just arrived in Dorothy, and we are right next to the track. And to the right of me there's a load of show cars to look at.

And to be perfectly frank, it's our first day here - well, it's our first time ever at The Classic. So without further ado, we're going to go off and adventure!

Pin It

Northern Group of Motoring Writers NGMW

Northern Group Of Motoring Writers

Annabelle Quirk Vice Chairwoman
Ben D T Quirk Member