As winter begins to give way to the spring, it’s only natural that after months of fettling in the garage, the classic car enthusiast’s thoughts should turn to getting out and enjoying the coming season with their favourite machines. And naturally, dropping by a good old-fashioned car show is one of the most pleasant ways of doing this, because let’s face it, you can’t beat taking in row after row of compelling vehicles, shining bright in the summer sun. With this in mind, in his latest blog post our resident road tripper Ben Coombs is taking a break from the road to highlight his five stand-out picks from the upcoming show season.
The Adventure Overland Show
15-16th April, Stratford-upon-Avon Racecourse.
This gathering isn’t your usual car show, as it focuses on the sort of vehicle which is more at home on some overland adventure way out in the back of beyond, a fact which makes the juxtaposition of seeing such vehicles in the quaint surroundings of Stratford-upon-Avon Racecourse most appealing. And equally appealing is the range of vehicles you’ll see at the Adventure Overland Show – everything from globetrotting bikes to earth-roaming truck conversions, via all manner of camper-converted Land Rovers and 4×4 van-life creations. Some years, if you look close enough, you’ll even spot an overlanding TVR there.
Camping is available throughout the weekend at a reasonable price, and as well as the vehicles, you can also enjoy talks by prominent overlanders, trade stands, an area dedicated to travel authors and their vehicles, and live music in the evenings. So in every respect, this is something different to your average car show, where polish takes a back seat and those adventurous miles really matter.
The Festival of the Dead
02nd July, Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire.
Some car show themes are just so ‘right’, you wonder why no-one’s ever thought of it before. The Festival of the Dead falls into this category – a celebration of those marques which are no longer with us. So, if you own a Saab, Austin, Marcos, TVR, Edsel, DAF, De Tomaso or Morris, this is the show for you. It’s a new event for 2023 which is taking place at an excellent venue, so it would be great to see it get off to a good start and become a yearly fixture – you can buy tickets through the link above.
The Powderham Historic Vehicle Gathering
08-09th July, Powderham Castle, near Exeter, Devon.
One of the highlights of the classic car calendar in the South West, this great event is somewhat off the radar for those who live up-country, but can easily be combined with a holiday down on the English Riviera. And those who do so are in for a treat. Organised yearly by the Crash Box & Classic Car Club, the event sees many hundreds of classics assemble in the picturesque grounds of Powderham Castle, along with the usual club stands, autojumble, a moving car show in a central display area and a few bits of Devon quirkiness, such as a dog show. Because really, why wouldn’t you have a dog show at a car show?
This is another event which you can make a weekend of by camping, and to top it all, it raises money for a great selection of local charities over the weekend. If you’re considering a trip down the M5 this summer, I implore you to check it out.
Burghley Horse Power
02nd April, Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire.
What better way to blow away the winter blues than with a car show focussing on a marque famous for their whacky, impossible-to-ignore colour schemes? I am, of course, talking about TVR. And let’s face it, hundreds of these magnificent fibreglass beasts, painted in every shade under the sun and assembled together in the grounds of a fine country house, makes for the perfect antidote to the greys of winter. Organised by the TVR Car Club, Burghley Horse Power is the yearly season opener of the clubs packed events schedule, and you can expect to see representatives from every age of the brand present, from the early curves of the ’60s racers, to the scythed drama of the late-model Sagaris. Parking in the display area is for TVRs only, but if you don’t have a Blackpool beast but you’re tempted to go along to admire the assembled horsepower, then there’s no reason not to head along anyway, and be inspired.
The NEC Classic Motor Show
10-12th November, National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham
This one bucks the trend by taking place indoors in autumn, rather than beneath the summer sun, but it makes the list for one very good reason – it’s awesome. We’re talking seven huge halls packed with thousands of classics covering every niche of this hobby of ours. There’s a huge autojumble, dozens of club stands, an auction, opportunities for passenger rides and representatives from every classic-related trade there is. In short, the NEC Classic Motor Show is the ultimate showcase for the industry, and the perfect season closer, which will leave you psyched to push on with getting that winter project ready for when the sun makes a return in the spring.