2B Consulting Automotive Ltd




Historic Reflections 2010

With Retromobile (Paris) and the Shannons Phillip Island Classic (Oz) already complete, my 2010 season got off to a late start, with a trip to Race Retro and the opportunity to connect with friends and fellow enthusiasts at Stoneleigh’s Royal Showground. Staged and refined over the last decade, this “season opener” includes a rally stage, an H and H auction and 3 halls which celebrated Alfa Romeo’s centenary, historic racing promoters on “Speed Street” and an extensive art gallery, including the evocative, action style of John Ketchell.


Having visited Retromobile for the first time in 2009; in late March, I headed to Dusseldorf  for another first …Europe’ largest collectors car extravaganza, Technico Classica Essen.


Attended by 170k + over 3 days, it’s a superbly organised event, with much to see and do…. across 15 halls! For me, star of the show was BMW Mobile Tradition’s, own, pre- war Mille Miglia bodied 328, whilst stand of the weekend was a close choice between Kassel based, Ferrari Eberlein and Dutch dealer, Garage Brummen. Also attracting much attention, was Auto Museum Sinsheim’s pitch, where I had my first encounter with the unique Brutus.   


Early April has always meant the need to wrap up warm, pack the hot soup (this year was no different!) and head for the Vintage Sports Car Club’s annual Spring meeting at Silverstone. Despite the circuit’s history and its central presence to the UK motor-sports industry, it’s never been the most exciting venue - but this is more than made up for, by the opportunity to enjoy some great racing.

Making its post- restoration debut, was Mark Walker’s Land Speed Record holding 200hp Darracq, whilst a car park display, celebrated 4 decades of Lancia’s automotive innovation… sliding pillar suspension (Lambda), unitary construction (Aprilia) and the first production car powered by a V6 engine (Aurelia).


New for 2010, the organisers of the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power and developers of “Liverpool One”, combined , to present the Liverpool POP - on a 1km, closed section, of the city’s waterfront dual carriageway….on a Tuesday evening, in late May!! With approx 30k lining the impromptu sprint course and an extensive selection of race, rally cars and bikes on display, the event was a huge success and attracted much publicity. 


In early July, the 18th Goodwood Festival of Speed celebrated Alfa Romeo’s centenary, 60 years of both F1 and the Carrera Panamericana, and 50 years of the RAC Rally.


Ferrari’s F1 team was represented by test driver Marc Gene, demonstrating the F60 and across the 3 paddocks, there were significant, rare Ferrari’s, from every era (driven by pilota including Jacky Ickx, Brian Redman and Arturo Merzario).A superb Cartier Style et Luxe Concours, included Bill Ainscough’s 2 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B’s, whilst the inspired addition of the Moving Motor Show, saw the public launch of the new McLaren MP4 and I still had time to chat with another personal NASCAR favourite, Daytona 500 winning, tyre shredding racer …Michael Waltrip.


Always the busiest motor-sport month, thankfully my second July event, was 40 mins from home ……the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, where Rick and Rob Hall, along with Kevin Wheatcroft, presented a superb display of single seater racers, in memory of Kevin’s late father and Donington owner, Tom.


Making his first trip outside Germany, Brutus thundered through the Cheshire estate and would have been the weekend’s main talking point, if hadn’t been for Chris Williams and his Packhard powered Bentley. Self built, mating a Bentley 8 litre chassis, to an aviation inspired, 42 litre V12 engine (as found in the P51 Mustang), the CPOP was “Mavis” public debut and Chris is much deserving of recognition for the “build of the year”.    


Returning to Silverstone in July, for the 6th annual “Classic“ meeting and importantly sunshine, this 3 day event had something for everyone with significant marque and club displays, combined with some superb racing on the full grand prix circuit…..most noteworthy were wins for Willie Green in Carlo Vogele’s 330GTO and Steve Tandy in his Lola T70C.


Saturday evening’s “race into dusk”, was a 2 driver, “Italian GT enduro” where the assembled grid and grandstands, were serenaded with Nessun Dorma and Sunday’s dash from last to second, by Philip Walker in his Lotus 16, was the “drive of the weekend”. With the FOC motor-home doing an excellent trade on bottled water, this year’s event was a major step forward, but the new promoter hasn’t yet rekindled the spirit of bygone times.


I’d not been to Prescott since 1997 and the opportunity to catch a lift to the VSCC’s best attended hillclimb in August, was too tempting. Below the “Pardon” hairpin, auction house H and H displayed a private treaty sale Ferrari 500TRC, whilst the celebrated marque of the weekend, was one of my pre-war favourites, the Vauxhall 30-98. Mark Walker in his LSR Darracq lowered his class record by 4 secs, whilst overall FTD went to James Baxter in his Frazer Nash, who broke a 21 yr old record, set by the late Anthony Mayman.

Also sadly no longer with us……… in 2010, we bid farewell to ‘60’s Lotus F1 racer Trevor Taylor, fellow Yorkshireman and Chevron racer Trevor Twaites, collectors car dealer Dan Margulies, sometime F1 and GT racer Loris Kessel, 2009 Shell Historic Ferrari Challenge Champion Nicolas Zapata, Swiss Ferrari collector Englebert Steiger and most recently, founder of Garage Francorchamps and former racer, Jacques Swaters.  


I’ve been asked several times – “If there were only 2 domestic events you could attend, which would they be?”. Much emulated, very rarely equalled and superbly organised…. over the last decade, the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Revival, have been central to the growth in popularity and grids in historic racing. This year’s Revival was the best yet  – great racing and a superb ladies day, complimented by a successful auction, fantastic aviation and a pre ’66 car park, that’s worth the trip alone. This was my event, of the year – the race, the Whitsun Cup and Andrew Smith, my driver of the year - a superb dice between Smith (Lola T70 Spyder) and Roger Wills (McLaren M1B), with victory going to the former, after a frenetic 10 laps, including his new outright circuit record. 


In mid October, I headed to Portugal, to the Autodromo Algarve, for the second Historic Festival and with a record entry (80% + UK based), and the promise of sunshine and motor-sport during the day and relaxing by the beach in the evening…. it’s a great way to end the European season. Parkalgar is a superb facility, blending the twists and turns of Oulton Park, with the elevation changes of Spa and 300+ days of sunshine!!. This year, I watched the racing from a different perspective, as I provided the commentary for the 3 day event, interrupted only once by Luis Garcao and his Pitts Special. Thankfully after 3 long, intense days behind the microphone, the Algarve beckoned for a further 5 and the chance to sooth the vocal chords, with a bottle or 2 of the local beer!


With more commentary and a couple of new events along the way, including my first visit to the Villa D’Este Concours, 2011 looks as busy as ever….see you there!!