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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

In praise of proper, traditional car shows


WE LIVE in troubled times, if the seemingly constant threats of Greek financial meltdown, terrorist attacks and Katie Hopkins turning to Twitter are anything to go by. That’s why I’m glad there’s usually a car show somewhere nearby to escape the mayhem!

Regular readers will already know I’m a bit of a car show junkie – whether it’s a breakfast meet at a pub down the road or a continental juggernaut of a show like the huge indoor shows at Paris or Essen, I’ll happily wear my shoes out wandering around. Car shows are a petrolhead staple and they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but the ones I enjoy most of all are the ones are the quintessentially British ones where sea of Triumph Spitfires and MG Midgets is broken only by the burger bars and the fairground rides.

That’s probably why I thoroughly enjoyed wandering around the Riverside Steam and Vintage Rally, a stone’s throw from Tarleton, the other day.

Not only is it all for a good cause – since the event’s inception in 2009, it’s raised more than £200,000 for charities right here in the North West – but it’s also refreshing to look around a show that’s down-to-Earth, free of gimmicks and affordable to enter.

The cars, with the notable exception of a Land Rover Series III formerly owned by Fred Dibnah, aren’t the real stars of the show - that honour goes to all the lovingly maintained steam traction engines and William Hunter’s hugely impressive collection of classic trucks.

However, once you’ve finished looking at all the trucks, buses, tractors and motorcycles the show there are more than enough old cars to keep anyone entertained, and I actually enjoyed the fact there wasn’t a single Lamborghini Miura or Aston Martin DB4 within a ten-mile radius. Nope, it was just yard after yard of nostalgia for the sort of cars you’d have actually seen on the nation’s roads a couple of generations ago – Cortinas, Cambridges, Heralds, and so on. Wonderful!

It’s this sort of thoroughly old school approach to car shows I never get bored of, and why I hope Riverside keeps on raising the charity cash like this for years to come. The good news if you love these old cars is that the show season’s just kicking off and there’s plenty more of this sort of thing on the way – keep an eye out for the Hundred End, Lydiate, and Tatton Park shows for more of this unashamed nostalgia.

See you there!

Read a full review of the Riverside Steam and Vintage Rally in tomorrow's issue of Classic Car Weekly

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