For car enthusiasts with even the slightest interest in classic British car marques such as Lotus, Bristol, Aston Martin, Jensen, Austin Healey, Rolls Royce, Jaguar and even Scimitar, then the All British Display Day at the magnificent Kings School in Parramatta is a must see event each year.
CarAdvice attended this year’s show last weekend where over 2000 pristine cars representing over 60 British car clubs were on display over several school grounds.
The rare Bristol cars caught our eye initially due to their designs, rarity and generally high prices that in some cases rivaled that of Rolls Royce cars of the day.
The marque grew out of the World War Two Bristol Aeroplane Company, which built the Blenheim, Beaufort and Beaufighter planes. The factory became idle after the war and had a skilled workforce that went to work on developing BMW car designs that it received as part British war reparations.
The Bristol 400 was the first car designed and built by the factory and only 430 were ever built.
Rarer still was the prized the Bristol 400 Zagato, which were part of a small number of 400-bodied cars shipped to Italian design house Zagato for re-styling.
Also of interest was the beautifully styled Bristol 411, which was made in five series and with V8 engines ranging from 5.2-litres to 6.3-litres and a top speed of 138mph (222km/h).
The beautifully aerodynamic Bristol 403 built from 1953-55 totaled just 280 examples and well worth a photograph.
It’s worth noting that Bristol Cars is still something of a going concern in the UK listing several models including the Series 6, Blenheim, Blenheim Speedster and Fighter.
The Fighter T is an 8-litre twin-turbocharged V10-powered supercar with gull-wing doors and a whopping 748kW of power. Top speed is a claimed 362km/h (electronically limited).
Lotus was also well represented and as always, the Giugiaro-styled Lotus Esprit captured most of the publics attention, but with plenty of interest in the clean lines of the Lotus Elan 2+2.
An original Lotus Europa was also on display showing off its unusual mid-engine styling and ultra-low height (1067mm).
The Europa was a car said to embody Lotus founder, Colin Chapman’s design philosophy of “Simplify, then add lightness”.
The car’s handling was so good that the motoring media of the day hailed it as the closest thing to a Formula car for the road.
Another stylish yet affordable two-seat roadster on show at the event was the Sunbeam Alpine although; we couldn’t find the owner of this superb example to explain to us what series it was (from I-V).
A more powerful version of the Sunbeam Alpine roadster known as the Sunbeam Tiger was later produced by Jensen and received a 4.7-litre V8 engine in Mk II guise. The original Tiger prototype was produced by legendary American tuner, Carroll Shelby.
The Sunbeam Tiger also featured in the 1962 James Bond film, Dr No.
It’s hard to walk past the Austin Healey club without snapping a few photographs and the perennial favourites are the classic ‘frogeye’ sprite and the ‘California Cool’ Austin Healey 3000.
The Austin Healy Sprite was originally supposed to have retractable headlights, but cost cutting by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) led to the lights being permanently fixed in an upright position.
It might have been a sports car, but the Sprite wasn’t particularly quick by today’s standards, going from 0-100km/k in 20.5 seconds. Top speed was a 133km/h from its diminutive 950cc engine.
The Austin Healey 3000 was a different story altogether. Here was the most powerful Austin Healey ever built, with new camshaft and valve springs, twin/tripple SU carburettors and a new exhaust system.
The Mark II was quick and was good for 182km/h and could accelerate from 0-60mph (97km/h) in 10.9 seconds.
British car company Reliant built the Scimitar between 1964-86. They were sporty cars that performed well with a variety of six-cylinder engines, originally from the Ford Zephyr.
The scimitar marque was famous for being a favourite motor of Princess Anne who was given a GTE for her 20th birthday and went on to own a further eight Scimitars.
Our own Leyland P76 was also on display in two guises; the limited edition ‘Super’ V8 powered Targa Florio, from the car’s success in the 1974 World Cup Rally and the rare, but unreleased Force 7V muscle car version.
Both cars were powered by the 4.4-litre V8 with an aluminium block.
There were plenty of E-Types there, too in the Jaguar section with all variants represented from the 3.8-litre series models to the 4.2-litre and V12 versions.
The E-Type is particularly relevant considering the soon to revealed Jaguar F-Type at this year’s Paris Motor Show in September 2012.
The Jensen Interceptor is a favourite of this writer for its beautiful styling by the Carrozzeria Touring of Italy and the range of powerful 6.3 to 7.2-litre Chrysler engines found under the bonnet.
The smaller displacement 6.3-litre cars were actually quicker than the 7.2-litre versions due to those being de-tuned to meet emissions requirements in the United States.
CarAdvice thanks the thousands of classic car owners and enthusiasts who turned out for this wonderful motoring event.