Spring forward with these five events, five roadtrips and five classics for £5000

by Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
27 March 2023 4 min read
Spring forward with these five events, five roadtrips and five classics for £5000
Photos: Car & Classic

The went forward on Sunday, which means we lose an hour in bed. On the plus side, we gain an extra hour of daylight in the evening, so there’s more time for tinkering with your classic or enjoying a quick drive before bedtime.

It’s also a sign that the events season is getting into gear, so it’s time to dust off your folding chairs and picnic basket.

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To mark the start of British Summer Time, we’ve selected five events from our motoring events calendar and picked a road and a classic car for each. To keep the theme running, the cars are available for less than £5000.

Goodwood and a VERY good road

1998 Citroen Xsara VTS

What’s on: 80th Members’ Meeting
Where: Goodwood, West Sussex
When: 15-16 April
Road: A272
Car: Citroën Xsara Coupé VTS

Goodwood’s most exclusive motorsport event returns to a springtime slot, and although Saturday tickets have sold out, Sunday tickets are still available for the season opener. The event is open to members of the Goodwood Road Racing Club community.

Highlights include an exclusive Porsche car park, a celebration of 60 years of the Lotus Cortina and a demo run of the Brabham BT52.

If you’re attending the Members’ Meeting, or even if you’re not, be sure to check out the A272, which stretches 77 miles from Winchester, Hampshire to Heathfield, East Sussex. It’s one of the best roads in the south of England, offering a delightful mix of corners, straights and even a tunnel.

Not convinced? In his ode to the hot hatch, Paul Cowland said the memories of a drive on the A272 is something you’ll remember “when you sit there in the retirement home, looking back at the cars you’ve owned”.

We know the Xsara VTS is more coupé than hot hatch, but it shares lots in common with the Peugeot 306 GTi-6, which was one of the best performance cars of the 1990s. Yours for £2999 or near offer.

London calling in a BMW 520i

1995 BMW 520i

What’s on: Salon Privé London
Where: Royal Hospital Chelsea, London
When: 20 April
Roads: North out of London
Car: BMW 520i

Salon Privé is one of the UK’s best-dressed motoring events, known for its blend of fashion, fine dining and the world’s most exclusive cars. Set in the manicured grounds of Royal Hospital Chelsea, this is your opportunity to mingle with automotive royalty.

The ‘Concours de Vente’ is a new take on the Concours d’Elegance formula, where every classic car is for sale. There will be 60 cars to choose from, but we suspect you will need deep pockets.

Starting six miles west of Royal Hospital Chelsea on the Chiswick High Road, this drive north to a village in Glatton was posted by a user on the PistonHeads forum. Google says it covers 216 miles and should take around five hours, although you’ll probably want to stop for a coffee and a bacon sarnie at some point.

As for a car, you’re unlikely to get anything suitable for Salon Privé for £5000, but this BMW 520i looks tempting at £4450. Yes, it’s an auto, but it’s in London and it wouldn’t look out of place on a manicured lawn. We’ll call it Saloon Privé.

Scrambling in a classic British GT

1977 MGB GT

What’s on: April Scramble
Where: Bicester Heritage, Oxfordshire
When: 23 April
Roads: Cotswolds

Tickets are still available for Bicester’s second Sunday Scramble, which is a pleasant surprise given that January’s event was a sell-out. Parking for pre-1990 vehicles will be around the outskirts of the airfield at the restored WW2 RAF base, while the historic motoring hub will open from 9am until 4pm.

We’d suggest heading west out of Bicester to explore the Cotswolds, which is home to several great roads. Draw a very rough square between the A420, A44, A429 and A417/A419, and enjoy some of the minor/unclassified roads in between. Alternatively, drop down to Wantage and take the B4494 to Newbury. It’s a great road, but proceed with caution in the 50mph sections.

For the car, you’re going to want something pre-1990s to enjoy the airfield parking, so take a look at this 1977 MGB GT. It’s described as a “running, driving and stopping project car”, and because Bicester is just half an hour away from Abingdon, you can pay a visit to its former home, and maybe even get a quote for a job or two while you’re on site.

Turning Japanese on the B660

2002 Mazda MX-5 Arizona

What’s on: Japfest
Where: Silverstone, Northamptonshire
When: 23 April
Road: B660
Car: Mazda MX-5 Arizona

Japfest is the main event of the year for fans and owners of Japanese motors, with thousands of cars expected to assemble at Silverstone.

Highlights include the Drift Kings competition, club displays, Paul Swift stunt show, retail village and public track time on the circuit. The organisers will be dishing out rosettes to the top ten cars at the event.

Picking a route for the drive home is easy. From Silverstone, head east to Bedford, where you join the B660 to Kimbolton. Continue to Glatton, head north on the A1M, take the A605 to Oundle, A427 to Corby, then the A43 to Stamford. Motorcycle News described the B660 as a “pure riding road”, so you know it’ll be good.

This Mazda MX-5 Arizona looks perfect for Japfest. Just 52,000 miles on the clock, MOT until February 2024 and full service history.

’Peaking’ with a Mondeo and a moustache

1983 Ford Mondeo LX

What’s on: Donington Historic Festival
Where: Donington Park, Castle Donington
When: 29-30 April
Roads: Peak District
Car: Ford Mondeo 1.8 LX

Donington is a great place to watch some racing – particularly when it’s a mix of everything from classic Le Mans racers to single-seaters and Group C monsters.

It’s a packed schedule at this year’s Historic Festival, which gets underway on Saturday 29 April with the Jaguar Classic Challenge for pre-1966 Jaguar cars. The event concludes on Sunday evening with the HRDC Jack Sears Trophy for 1958-1996 Touring Cars.

From Donington, it’s just a short hop to Ashbourne, which lies at the foot of the Peak District National Park, home to some of the most famous passes in Britain. Names like Cat and Fiddle, Snake, Woodhead and Winnats will stir the imagination of many car enthusiasts.

Mention Donington Park, and our minds wander back to Nigel Mansell’s crash at the 1993 BTCC. This Ford Mondeo 1.8 LX doesn’t’ quite tick the ‘Our Nige’ box, but a fake moustache could go a long way.

Read more

Freeze Frame: 25 March 1933 – First road race at Donington Park
2nd Donington Historic Festival under starter’s orders
Sunday Scramble: Season Opener

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  • Stephen+Pye says:

    Makes you feel old when you see Mondeo s coming up as classic cars, the original mk1 Focus too. possible a good time to snap up the best ones.

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