Each year the International Federation for Old Vehicles put its “World Rally” stamp on a big event held somewhere in the old-car world, and this year it was Britain’s turn to host the big one once again — as she had in 1963 in Sussex and in 1976 in Yorkshire. The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs was responsible for the organisation, by means of a team chaired by Lord Montagu. The event was sponsored by the Rover Group, with Frank Turner as its front-man, which made available for overseas entrants a large number of slots in its shipping service to and from South Africa, Australia, North America, and Continental Europe. The result was that after a rather slow start entries came flooding in during the winter of 1995-96, and the entry of over 300 cars (and three motor-bikes) was eclectic in style and composition and all of superb quality. It ranged from an 1896 Wolseley Tricycle via P Lurnsden’s 1925 Stanley Steamer to Australian W Griffith’s 1973 Aston Martin V8.
The route was designed by Jim Porter (routeguru of the RAC “Classic” runs) and started in Edinburgh on 14th June. It went as far north as Lochearnhead, and fetched up at Rover’s Gaydon base, via Windermere, York, and Nottingham. The show ended with driving tests and a concours there on June 22. The weather was excellent, none of the 1000-odd participants misbehaved, and the event was thus largely spared the attentions of the tabloid press, which was concerned with a late-running football match at the time. T J T