Like many others, my social media around the weekend of 19th May consisted mainly of bizarre British relics and the odd American import. But aside from the Royal Wedding also came the latest and hottest retro Car show in Town.
To give a bit of background here, I shall rewind to some point last year when the team at Retro Rides suddenly and surprisingly announced a second show in May 2018. This caused a big tidal wave within the community, with many jumping to conclusions thinking it was a replacement to the Gathering. This was quickly quashed and we all settled in for the long wait until May. So where were we heading? Goodwood… possibly the most historic and well kept racing venue in the UK.
I am sure you are thinking one of two things here, the two elephants in the room if you like. Is it better than the Gathering and how does it compare to Players classic. We will cover both of these further down!
So for the first time in Retro Rides history the show was officially a two day affair. Not just a two day car show, but also a track action day in the case of the Saturday. So for us here at NSJC that sealed the deal, Camping was on. This was going to be a full Weekend for us. I mean it’s not often we will get to watch a 2CV on a track, stood next to a 280z, with a prop Plane taking off overhead is it!
Once we got Christmas out of the way and shrugged off the beast from the East, May landed and bang it was time to go. In true Noskooljustcool fashion we nearly had all our cars ready for the show. The Thursday before consisted of Ford F150 rear brake cylinder replacements and running issues on a VW T2. Unfortunately the T2 didn’t quite make it but was swiftly replaced by the ever reliable T5! The only vehicle we had that was ready weeks in advance was Matt’s T25 boattop camper which is running a very sweet sounding Subaru lump!
Friday afternoon came around, the sun was beaming down and I get a call. “We are here”. I look out the window of my highstreet flat to see a cacophony of cars crammed into the car park all blocked in by an 80’s Ford F150 pickup. We all said our hellos, apologised to neighbours, grabbed a sandwich and headed off. I had the pleasure of choosing my ride. Wearing a check shirt made for an easy decision, I was to go full brokeback mountain and ride shotgun in the pickup.
Half a mile down the down and the faint crack of a CB radio could be heard from the convoy of three. This was us in the Ford requesting a fuel stop, something you get used to when driving a straight six from the 80’s.
With the short trip out the way and just after exiting the amusingly named “Cocking” we arrived at a rather chilly Goodwood. I have always been told first impressions are vital but for the first time at a Retro Rides show our first impressions were left a little deflated and underwhelmed. We arrived to the campsite which was precisely laid out to the inch in lines. This was somewhat of a surprise to anyone who normally frequents the Gathering which essentially is a friendly free for all. This was strictly and quite frankly rudely enforced by some of the security team. This aside we got a decent enough pitch and settled in for the weekend.
Waking up on the Saturday morning was a relatively normally affair with the exception that it was May and not August. The topic on everyone’s lips was how cold it was the night before. In fact we clocked it down to 6 degrees. Thankfully we put this to one side as the sun came up, cracked on with breakfast and had a wander over to the show.
The first thing that you will notice about Goodwood is how well kept it is, the grass is perfect and there is no litter. They really do do a great job keeping this place looking top notch. As we walk the pathway that runs along side the track we spot an eclectic and random mix of retro cars beefing it round the track. This is not racing by any stretch of the imagination, in fact quite the opposite with cars staggered off the line. As you walk around you will see cars heading into the chicane, some slow, some fast and some in the case of the 2CV wobbly!
After watching the track action for a little bit we decided to have a look at some of the cars in the retro parking. Everything from classic brick Volvos to an immaculate Mini City.
From here we grabbed the worlds smallest and priciest of ice creams and watched some of the track action from above the start finish pits. This is a very unique experience and gives the chance to see cars from an interesting perspective. It also offered NSJC a chance for a group shot.
From here we headed back down for a spot of lunch and wandered around to see what else was on offer. The beauty of this show is that it is not all crammed into one day, you can relax safe in the knowledge that most of the display cars will be still on display the following day. We saw out the day topping up our sunburn on the grass banking watching the odd NSX or imp fly by. A great afternoon.
The evening saw a staple from the Gathering, the tat auction. Hosted by the usual enthusiastic, but hoarse by the end Kev and his assistants, this time from what can only be described as a 90’s Suzuki Vitara Barbie inspired chop topped Micra. Nope, we were stumped too. It was the usual affair here with all the money heading for charity. Lots of actual tat in this auction with low bids, we put this down to mainly new faces for a new show.
Saturday night was much the same as Friday, cold but dry. The one thing I would say about camping in May is that because it is so cold the atmosphere on the site is quite subdued and quiet. There is not much to see or do outside of your own gazebos.
Sunday morning arrives with a big dollop of pea soup fog. This soon burnt off with another glorious sunny day. We got ourselves together and headed off once again for the show. This time we were allowed to walk on the track. This was great because the car clubs were lined up all along the confines of the track. There was the odd gap from clubs who no showed which was a shame but the diversity of the cars on display more than made up for this. The little Honda Acty on hydraulics and extremely tidy Hiace were a couple of favourites.
A little further down saw a Dodge Charger equipped with a Mercedes OM606 Diesel engine, purists look away! This thing looked and sounded incredible. A very well done project which we are sure returns some pretty decent economy figures along with spades of torque.
Moving around to the main start finish area we hit what I would call the “players” area. Lots of air ride, luscious leather interiors and fabulous paint jobs. The money that is spent of some of these cars (mainly large old Mercs and BMW’s) surely must be mind blowing. On of our favourites is this old 80’s Mercedes which sits perfectly and is very very cool. Hats off to the owner of that.
Heading on from here we stumbled upon what I personally would class as the jewel in the crown of the show which was the low rider display. A collection of mainly old American classics jumping up and down on hydraulics in the gleaming sunshine was a perfect ending to the weekend. I think we can all agree that this gleaming Hispanic style candy apple red Impala is stunning.
This was pretty much the show for us. We headed back to the camp ground to pack and soon discovered we were one of the last to leave.
Summing up this show has been quite a task. From the mixed feelings at the start to the excitement of the track action it has been a blinding weekend. I mentioned before that I would cross shop it with other shows. The gathering for NSJC is the bench mark show, the Mecca if you like. This show whilst not as big or as busy was refreshing and fun with lots to see and do. What the campsite atmosphere lacked was made up by the venue itself during the day.
Having not been to Players classic I cannot honestly compare the two, however looking at pictures from the now very well established franchise its clear to me that two similar but ultimately different audiences are being targeted. One thing that is clearly different is that if you have an old car and want it on display you will be sure that Retro Rides will not turn you away as there is no pre selection like other Players shows.
So will we return next year? Of course we will… all be it with a slightly warmer sleeping bag!
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Words by Lewis Ingram – Pictures from Noskooljustcool members