The British Motor Museum celebrated its 30th anniversary with an exciting and thought-provoking exhibition, Transitions: The Impact of Innovation, which looked both back and forward to cover the changing face of car design and motoring. There were special displays and talks around the work the museum has done going back three decades, as well as a timeline of 100 MGs to celebrate its centenary, a host of single-marque events and an Auto Art gallery.
The largest collection of Land Rovers in the world became a permanent museum in 2023, in the year that the Land Rover celebrated its 75th anniversary.
The Dunsfold Collection has expanded to include not only prototype and pre-production vehicles but examples of almost every model made by Land Rover from 1947 to the present day, including military vehicles, record-breakers, Royal cars and limited editions.
After nearly 50 years the Haynes Motor Museum continues to grow, and has now received Arts Council accreditation. It now houses almost 400 vehicles, and their motto of Preservation by Operation means that a large number of them can be started and driven at special visitor events. The museum’s determination to reach the next generation of car enthusiasts has resulted in over 2500 visits annually by school and college students, who benefit from a dedicated Education Centre and a large range of equipment and facilities, with even a wind tunnel to help explain the science of Formula 1 aerodynamics.
This nomination recognises the enormous amount of true motoring spirit which this event is the acculmination of. It is not just the atmospheric scenery of the unique location, the dedicated organisers run an event tirelessly against the odds of moving elements such as the wind, tides, sea and sand which could cause it to be cut short. VHRA members the world over spend months, even years, tinkering away in sheds building their Hot Rods with meticulous detail and craftsmanship, all for a few minutes of high speed thrills and a chance to enter the esteemed 100mph club. We recognise the hours and hours of work these speed warriors put in to their historic custom vehicles all for the joy of speed, community and recreating an important piece of automotive history.
Introduced in 2012 and a stand-alone event since 2013, the Castle Combe Autumn Classic has always been a favourite with competitors and strongly supported by the classic car club fraternity. Family entertainment, a popular grid walkabout, bigger better race grids and a fine central Lotus 75th birthday feature attracted a record attendance, packing the paddocks and spectator banks.
This success is already enabling the Castle Combe Racing Club to build the brand towards a two-day Autumn Classic next year and the circuit’s 75th anniversary in 2025.
The Super Touring era attracted a following of tens of thousands of fans, both trackside and on TV, to watch some of the best Touring Car drivers in the world do battle on behalf of up to 10 mainstream motor manufacturers to win on Sunday and sell on Monday.
The combined enthusiasm and efforts of MSV and the Classic Touring Car Racing Club went a long way to recapturing the essence of the era with many iconic drivers and cars involved. And the event was not just about the headline Super Tourers but also catered for Touring Cars through the previous decades. It is certainly an event which deserves to become an annual fixture.
Digitising nearly 130 years of a weekly magazine was no small undertaking. Since it was established in 1895, Autocar has been the go-to motoring title and authority, and this digital archive documents the history of the motor car in a unique, accessible, future-focused format. Rather than being locked away, for a modest fee, any enthusiast can access this rich, fully searchable archive whenever they want, wherever they are, via the Exact Editions app. A wonderful resource now, and for future generations.
The fantastic REVS Restore project is a very worthy finalist, with its warm, inclusive nature and for its public demonstration of the strong sense of community within the classic world. Rather than shying away from mental-health challenges, as can be an issue in some male-dominated environments, this encourages people to come together via a shared passion: classic cars. Without judgement, whatever your age, gender or background, whether you have lots of experience or none, together the group restored a Series III Land-Rover, a process which also proved restorative for many participants.
The maiden running of this event, on 3 June 2023, proved such a hit that its entry capacity was achieved and raised twice. The idea was simple: to encourage younger participants to take up grassroots historic rallying. The combined age of each crew could be no more than 70 years and entry was free, plus crews were offered a tank of Coryton’s Sustain biofuel. 90 crews from seven countries took part, with 18 participants aged 15 and under, and two just 11, and 55% of those competing were completely new to the sport. It opened the world of historic rallying to those who might never have tried it.
Few events have the power to bring a city to a standstill, but the judges felt that Coventry MotoFest was a real show of strength from the classic car movement in the UK’s ‘motor city’. It’s also an event that fulfils the criteria of this category in two very distinct ways: firstly, the takeover of Coventry by classic and historic vehicles makes the event hugely accessible, with old cars everywhere you turn; and secondly, the headline Coventry Concours in the photogenic ruins of the old Cathedral is truly spectacular.
Bringing the glamour of a high-level classic concours to a part of the country that isn’t well served by such events, this superb charity gathering mates an original format – featuring cars displayed on the unusual terraced lawns – with a spectacular location and some fine quality vehicles. Being held alongside a country show makes it accessible for people who might not ordinarily be drawn to a historic vehicle event, and there’s even an action element courtesy of the ‘Horsepower Hill’ demonstrations.
Collaboration is becoming increasingly important in the historic vehicle world, and this event united two arch rivals, MG and Triumph, as they came together to celebrate their centenary. That in itself is worthy of applause, but the two-day event they put on at the home of British motorsport was also fantastic. Silverstone is a tough place to host an event because it is so huge, but this club-organised party managed to fill it, with races on the circuit, displays that gathered together some true milestone cars and a huge turnout of owners’ cars.
In this beautifully written piece Richard Porter contends that “people have been getting the Jaguar XJ-S wrong all these years” and proceeds to argue cogently that despite a lifetime of being denigrated and passed over, the car was one of the most far-sighted and adventurous to wear the Jaguar badge, and the last to be directly linked to the much-feted team, headed by company founder, Sir William Lyons himself, that produced cars like XK120 and E-type. Porter says all Lyons era Jaguars were brave. But though its creators didn’t realise it, The XJ-S would become something else as well: the last progressive Jaguar for 40 years.
Karl Ludvigsen’s tale of the unique character and contribution of the journalist Laurence Pomeroy, a man whose father had already contributed much to British car design and engineering, is one of his finest. Pomeroy decided in his teens that becoming technical editor of a motoring magazine was the best job in the world and achieved it in his 20s, going on to become one of the most influential car writers ever. Ludvigsen uses his own close understanding of how things work inside car companies to describe the importance of Pomeroy’s work, describing in detail his subject’s contacts the great car creators of the day, adding much to the reader’s knowledge of them too.
Angus MacKenzie’s quick and direct writing style is perfect for describing the life and times of Mercedes’ infamous “flying” sports racer whose wayward aerodynamics launched Mark Webber twice into the air and came close to killing him. The story examines the beginnings of the questionable design decisions that made the car do what it did, and so accurately reports Webber’s comments that as you read you can hear the driver speaking. Typically not pulling punches, MacKenzie fascinatingly links the CLR near-disaster to the much more serious Le Mans accident of 1955 when Pierre Levegh’s Mercedes 300SLR was launched into the crowd, killing 84 people.
In late October 2022, in a remarkable personal endeavour, 24-year-old Harry Bott completed an 8,000 miles (12,875km) journey which criss-crossed British and Ireland. He did so on a 1926 Sunbeam Model 1 motorcycle belonging to his great grandfather. The bike had been untouched for 67 years and Harry, with help from his father, restored it for this purpose. On his epic trip, Harry visited every one of the 238 RNLI lifeboat stations - raising more than £10,000 for the charity in the process.
2023 has been a very special year for the Dunsfold Collection, the largest collection of Land Rovers in the world, with the opening of a permanent museum building in June and the first public open days taking place in September. And all this in what is Land Rover’s 75th anniversary year and the 55th anniversary of the Collection. Philip has been the driving force behind the museum project, overseeing the design and layout of the museum and overcoming many obstacles on the way. He shows no sign of stopping, already planning a new library annexe to the museum and working on the schedule of activity for 2024.
Tiggy Atkinson is one of those rare people in the historic motoring community whose contribution can appear so often to be one of behind the scenes. However, the work she does and the results of it have very positive long term effects, from her role at Bicester Heritage, where she took on a number of roles, to latterly her role as a Trustee in the REVS community. She has also given her time and considerable planning and organisational talents to being part of representing women within the wider historic vehicle community, both with certain events at Bicester and being a key figure in the Driven Collective.
This diminutive Amilcar can be termed a genuine 'barnfind' though, more accurately, it was discovered in a lock-up in Hastings in terrible shape. Painstaking research revealed that it was one of circa 12 Works CO chassis, with a 2 x Le Mans racing history. Having been rebodied twice, the Amilcar's original coachwork was recreated and the car restored to exacting period specification, taking great care not to over-restore it – even to the point of ensuring that the chrome plating was applied more thinly than it would usually be.
This Bugatti has a strong early racing history, and had been out of the public eye for decades; it's said to have been the world's last remaining 'lost' pre-war 57S, with a possible link to the legendary 'Tank' Le Mans cars. Its previous owner was a former JCB employee, so it's particularly fitting that its new owner is Lord Bamford, chairman of JCB, who commissioned a full restoration of the Bugatti to the highest standard. He was rewarded with a Best of Show win at the 2023 Salon Privé.
As a schoolboy, Harry Metcalfe once came home to discover a Fulvia Zagato parked outside the family home. Decades later, searching for a Fulvia, he discovered the very same car – and of course had it buy it. Although it had previously been restored, it wasn't long before it became clear that the Fulvia needed complete restoration due to the extremely poor quality of the previous work. Harry documented the entire process on his YouTube channel, Harry's Garage.
During the last year Rebecca has worked tirelessly running and organising the Young Members section of the Morris Minor Owners Club, and used the Your Podcasting platform and social media to share her highs and lows of daily life with a classic car and getting to grips with classic car maintenance. It's been the most eventful year mechanically for her,and, with everything that's happened, she's seen it as a way to try to teach others, normalise mistakes, and make others feel less alone.
Giles and Charlie have youth on their side but experience beyond their years when it comes to building a business and supporting the classic car community. The Classic Valuer has fast become one of the world’s leading websites for classic car values and what sets this website apart from the competition is not only their data driven analysis and user-friendly website but also their car image valuation initiative and extensive and clever use of social media. They are a shining example to other young adults who want to commit to a business in the classic car world.
In January 2022 Tom Parrott decided to change direction with his career, and joined the family firm, N P Veteran Engineering Ltd. In doing so he entered a very specialist field covering the maintenance and conservation of Edwardian and pre-1904 vehicles. It has been inspiring to witness his passion and skills grow in such a short period of time and he is showing a particular proficiency with hand painting, a precise and very labour intensive job, and takes great pride in his work and results. In 2023 Tom started a new venture alongside his work with N P Veteran Engineering. Tom Parrott for Veteran and Vintage offers a bespoke service catering for veteran and vintage car owners that are looking to sell their vehicle.