Racing is only part of the Historic weekend: visitors needed strong legs to tour all the sights, car and star-spotting. There was a Jaguar re-union of ‘Lofty’ England, with Duncan Hamilton and Tony Rolt and the C-type with which they scored their memorable 1953 Le Mans win, immediately before David Brabham, one of the drivers of the GT class-winning X1220C at the Sarthe this year, took over the car for the ’50s sportcars race. His triple World champion father Jack was close by to drive his championship-winning 1959 Cooper in the Cavalcade. Also present were Cliff Allison, Innes Ireland and Trevor Taylor, in Lotus 18, 24 and 25 respectively, and Roy Salvadori who resumed the Maserati 250F in which he won eight F1 races.
In the BRDC suite, faces from the old days almost outnumbered new boys: Allison, Moss and Cooper GP driver Ian Burgess chatted, while Tim Parnell, Innes Ireland, Bruce Halford and Rob Walker strolled past. Here too was Bristol boss Tony Crook, ready to demonstrate a Mk2 Frazer-Nash in the British Racing Green cavalcade, which ranged through the NMM’s 1903 GB Napier, TT Sunbeam, F1 and F3 Coopers, the BRMs in V16 and V12 shape, the Vanwall, rear-engined Lotuses, sports-racing Astons, and, less significant historically but nice to see, one of the 1962 Le Mans Sunbeam Alpines.
Away from the paddock, circumnavigating Coys huge auction marquee, where the Saturday night sale was relayed on a large screen outside, there was the Owen Brown Gallery of Motoring Art, displaying some 250 paintings from well-known and tyro artists. Hospitality displays seemed less lavish than in past years, but there were plenty of stalls covering motoring art, period parts, clothes and toys, (including a deeply covetable large-scale museum model of an Imperial Airways HP42), plus period funfair.
Amongst the marques, Porsche Club GB celebrated 30 years of the 911 with a wide selection of the enduring classic, the Mercedes-Benz Club featured a glorious 1927 SSK, while BMW Car Club showed FN-built cars from 315 to 328 and the beautiful 507. Jaguar CC concentrated on pre-war SS cars, but the Maserati Club covered the entire gamut with one of almost everything road-going ever built by the company, as well as sports and GP racers to celebrate its 21st birthday.
There was another Le Mans winner in the AMOC tent, the 1959 DBR , while across the way a clutch of Stutz cars included a rather handsome single-seater, the 1928 Cameron Special, and a Bearcat. A transporter rally was a nice sight: Lynx brought the Ecurie Ecosse machine and entertained Wilkie Wilkinson to tea, while Graham Birrell (who was driving the ex-Cunningham Lightweight El also visited, claiming to have spent his honeymoon in it. Clive Beecham’s wonderful Ferrari truck carried one of Terry Hoyle’s sports Ferraris, the menacing black iPS Lotus transporter lurked alongside, and further away was the BRM hauler. If only a weekend was longer! G C