Retro Rides Weekender 2018 Review

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

Retro Rides Gathering 2017

The chances are you will have been to or at least heard of Retro Rides Gathering. If you are unfortunate enough to fall outside of those categories then let me explain.

For around the past ten years the guys over on the Retro Rides forum have curated and organised what has fast become one of the biggest classic car events in the UK calendar. I use the term classic car loosely because it is so much more than that. Retro Rides Gathering is to their enthusiasts what the Woodward Dream Cruise is to muscle car aficionados.

If there is one thing you can expect from the long weekend in August it is to expect to be surprised by what turns up and the levels of craft and ingenuity of your fellow car fanatics. There is of course something that has become a rather trying trend at the otherwise fantastic venue at Shelsley Walsh and that is the rain. Those who camped back in 2015 will no doubt agree with me…

So this years event started for us here at Noskooljustcool the same as any other year, meeting half way in some non descript service station just off the M40. Others came from further afield such at west Yorkshire which in a mini is impressive. After an uneventful motorway journey we headed into the hills. What makes the rolling Malvern hills more picturesque? The sound and smell of a 205 GTI leading the pack through some great twisties straight into the campsite.

For those of you who haven’t camped, do it. You will hear the horror stories about the toilets, the rain and the mud but that is a small price to pay for what is one of our favourite parts of the weekend. I mean this year the toilets didn’t even run out of paper.

To the veteran campers such as ourselves the key is picking a good spot. We have fallen foul to leaking water troughs and wasp enticing apple trees in years gone past! This year we picked a spot right next door to the ever lively and friendly Area 52 guys. I am sure we are not alone in saying the first and most important job we did was to line the cars up at the front of the pitch and hide the load lugging modern at the back. That being said we did manage to throw a few tents and a gazebo up before the heavens really opened.

That was Friday really, sitting under a pretty sheltered gazebo listening to the rain thinking “surely not another wet year”. We did get a small window of dry in the late evening which was my cue to head up the campsite hill to get some signal and reconnect with the world. Little did I know there was a rather large trench that had been dug out at the foot of the hill which I immediately fell down. I know I wasn’t along with this because we managed to snap this 205 in the same state as myself.

Saturday morning was a struggle for us, the night before was truly cold but a cooked breakfast quickly fired us back into life. The question on a few of the RRG newbies lips was “so what do we actually do on the Saturday”. It was a very good question which we pondered over with a breakfast cider and wonder around the campsite. Others went off to a scrapyard… presumably to fill the tat auction with er tat. We on the other hand decided to hit the arcades in the town of Stourport. If you’ve not been just picture in your head a quaint English village with a seaside pleasure beach in the middle of it, bizarre.

Back on the campsite and we notice its filled out massively! Lots of retro campers, genius fire pit solutions and the odd lawn mower zipping past. We did a quick recce of the show ground and found our spot, prime location, thank you Retro Rides. A few laps of the campsite down bumping into a couple of familiar faces and generally being allowed to talk in models and derivatives without being eye rolled is a wonderful thing. Before we knew it we’d had too much to eat and drink and it was time to turn the night over to the “rev it at 2am” crowd.

Sunday came around quickly and with much excitement we got up and took the cars straight over to the show ground before breakfast. The great thing about this event is the mentality of the people who attend, you can leave your gazebo and all your camping equipment out safe in the knowledge no one will help themselves to a cheeky Corona. It has to also be mentioned that this year in my eyes was one of the tidiest end of play campsites I’ve seen!

The first thing that surprised us this year was the sheer size of the club stand area, although quite empty to start with. With this in mind we headed straight up the hill for a couple of hours to allow the showground to fill out. I can’t think of anywhere else in the world that would entertain running a bike powered 2CV along with a 70’s Rolls Royce and a Mk 2 Golf. One thing we have come to learn from this event is you cannot see it all, we missed the front flying off the RS200 for example and we missed Muttley Racing’s Rotary powered e-type in action. But what we did see was great and the cars were being pushed!

After heading back down the hill for a slightly expensive but ever so tasty hog roast we decided to have a wander of the show ground. The vast array of different cars, campers, vans and even trucks (thanks to CMG’s ex military Foden) was an eclectic mix for sure.

Some of the more exciting cars are found in the retro parking from people not necessarily associated with a club or who may not post on social media. Two fine examples of this were this exquisite Citroen DS and the ever so rare Porsche 914.

Our highlights of the whole weekend included:

This purple Skoda Octavia estate. If any element were missing, whether it be the purple paint, contrasting vinyl or the crazy wheels it just wouldn’t work but put together its sublime.

Another firm favourite was this Bedford CF. We would describe it as a true 80’s survivor with those deep dished wheels tucked under the large moulded arches. A very well thought out dare I say it “dayvan”.

This one split us but I think it is worth a mention. Not a classic by any stretch of the imagination but a mention must be said for how well this MX5 sits on these wheels.

We think the award for best colour car defiantly should lie with this Datsun. The pictures does not do it justice but the bright candy apple red had everyone’s heads turning.

Our love for the wacky definitely showed for the jacked up Ford KA. On the face of it a bit of a joke but when you look at the engineering involved here its pretty impressive. For example the shock mounts have been cut out, turned upside down and welded back in. This gives original running gear with raised ride height, genius.

We didn’t notice any major emerging trends this year, more the death of some others. There was next to no “rat look” vehicles or mock military paint jobs strewn across Renault Clios this year, a good thing? I will let you decide. We’ve also noticed people seem to have shied away from the Bosozoku style cars which have been a popular choice in the past.

We did notice however that the love for a smoothed and immaculate engine bay with minimal wiring seems to be on the rise. Some of the attention to detail is incredible. Another nugget that caught our eye was the use of the Lexus V8. People seem to be putting this in everything, even a Mitsubishi Shogun.

Once we had completed the show we headed back home via the ice cream stand. Driving home was long, it rained hard but I was reminded that it could be a lot more tiresome after driving past the Commer camper producing one of the loudest dins I’ve ever heard. Extremely cool vehicle none the less.

A few people have pondered the thought that Retro Rides Gathering may have outgrown the venue. Whilst that may not have been the case this year if next year is also held at Shelsley Walsh and the weather gods throw us an absolute blinder we could see a very full field indeed.

See you at the next show 😉

Please follow us on Facebook, we love all things cars, racing, old, modern, quirky, different.

Words by Lewis Ingram – Pictures from Noskooljustcool members