By Anthony Crawford
While I’ve always had a thing for E-Type Jaguars and the 7.2-litre Jensen Interceptor III, I can’t say that I have ever been a devotee of the classics although, I have a tremendous amount of respect for those keepers of such cars.
When a friend mentioned this event to me recently, I thought OK, I’ll go out and take a few photos, but when he said that it was on a Sunday, my enthusiasm waned a touch.
Still, with a long term Hyundai i30cw (wagon) in the garage, it would only cost me a couple of litres of diesel, and I was also keen to try out our new iPod Nano, with Hyundai’s fully integrated connection through the head unit.
The other thing is, Sunday morning traffic is a breeze, so there’s no excuse not to attend family events like this occasssionally.
And whatever you do, don’t eat breakfast before you arrive at what surely must be, one of the most historic and impressive schools in Australia, as is the Kings School.
It’s like driving around a huge country property, just follow the signs to the car & art show and when you see the Mash style Bell 47 helicopter (there are joy flights) on the grass, you’ll know you have arrived at the correct entrance.
When they say All British Day, they mean each and every British automotive marque and model, ever produced in England. There must have been between 1500 and 2000 cars on display, across multiple sports grounds at the school.
But what first caught my attention was an orange Leyland P76, but this two-door version was clearly a special type of P76.
Apparently, this 4.4-litre V8 powered Force7 V Leyland, is one of only 8 examples in the world, which survived the 56-car production line. The remainder were scrapped or used for parts for the P76 Super V8.
Next in the viewfinder was a pristine Jensen Interceptor lll, one of my hero cars as a kid, given its road presence and brute power these things developed.
This particular variant ran the smaller Chrysler 6.2-litre 383 engine, but my pick was the more powerful 7.2-litre 440 unit, which could record a time of 6.4 seconds for the 0-100km/h sprint in 1969.
Ever heard of a Railton? I hadn’t either, but this example was a straight eight 4.2-litre version, that looked as good as any Bentley on the grounds.
They were built from 1933 to 1939 with either a 3.5-litre six-cylinder engine (some with a supercharger) or the eight-cylinder powerplant.
John Cobb, who owned the company, took the land speed record in 1938 driving a one off Railton Special at 568.58km/h (353.30mph). His record was broken within twenty-four hours, but regained a year later at the staggering speed of 594km/h (369.70mph).
The Jaguar E-Type has got to be one of the most beautiful automotive shapes ever created, especially the 4.2-litre 6-cylinder roadster and coupe, which is said to have been a genuine 150 mph (241 km/h) car.
Remember, this was 1965 and the E-Type was considerably less expensive than the slower Porsche 911 equivalent, and arguably more comfortable.
The tough looking, hard charging Triumph TR6 was another favourite of mine while growing up, in fact I nearly bought one, but went for the Alfa Spider instead.
Built from 1969 to 1976, the TR6 was the essence of cool, with good looks and plenty of mumbo for its day.
Powered by an inline six-cylinder engine, European versions developed 150 bhp with a Lucas mechanical fuel injection system whereas the US cars were carburetted and produced a mere 104 hp.
Next up, was a superb Sunbeam Tiger 260 cubic inch, which ran a 4.2-litre Ford V8 and was essentially a muscle car variant of the same Sunbeam Alpine roadster, which Sean Connery (as James Bond) drove in the early Bond movie, Dr. No in 1962.
The Rootes Group built over 7000 of these Sunbeams between 1964 and 1967. Production was canceled when Chrysler purchased Rootes and didn’t have a suitable engine to replace the Ford.
Interestingly, Carroll Shelby was involved in the prototype production of the Tiger, which had been named after the 1925 Sunbeam Tiger, a V12 four litre racecar.
There were dozens of old Riley cars but none like this rare aluminium bodied car, which looked to be a very early example although, I struggled to find anyone who could supply me details on the car.
A pristine example of an original Morris Cooper S in British racing green was a standout, despite it being considerably smaller the current Mini Cooper S models, which is now a BMW owned marque.
Land Rover was also well represented with a variety of oddball vehicles including a 1977 model 101, which had been converted to a motor home.
Carrying on with the military theme, were a couple of armoured vehicles with some serious looking machine guns mounted up front.
Jaguar was also out in force with this beautiful example of the powerful SS 100 Roadster, built in 1936.
Powered by either a 2.5-litre engine or ultra rare 3.5-litre unit, the SS 100 was fast car for its day and won many races for Jaguar.
One motoring authority was said to have stated that if the Jaguar SS 100 could not stir your blood, you may not be alive.
The Bentley 3-litre was impressive, as was the more recent Bentley Continental was in pristine condition, inside and out.
Remember the feared Ford Sierra RS Cosworth, which crushed the remainder of the field in 1988, when Tony Longhurst and Tomas Mezera completed the race in 7 hours and 2 minutes ahead of Dick Johnson and John Smith in another Sierra RS500.
This was a particularly well-prepared version of the road going Ford Sierra.
The 1934 Austin Seven, is one of the smallest cars I have ever seen, but this example was beautifully maintained.
I’m a big fan of Lotus cars, none more so than the Lotus Esprit S2, which was just a slight revision of the 1977 2.0 litre Esprit S1 of James Bond movie fame, when it was featured as Roger Moore’s (James Bond) company car in The Spy Who Loved Me.
Our recent Car Advice long term Aston Martin DBS also made an appearance at the show, and as always, attracted a constant stream of admirers.
But another Aston caught my attention, an extremely rare 1969 DBSZ Concept, which my colleague Alborz had been drawn to in the showroom floor of North Sydney’s Classic Throttle Shop.
Powered by an uprated version of the 4-litre six-cylinder Aston Martin Vantage with DB4 GT specification pistons and camshafts mated to a 5-speed all synchromesh manual transmission.
While you might have missed out this year, be certain to put this event into your 2010 calendar, and be sure to take your family along in addition to a decent camera.