4 November 2014

Event: Motorsport at the Palace..

Crystal Palace first opened its doors to motorsport in 1927, with motorcycle's being the sole form of motorsport until 1937, when the first London Grand Prix was held. The outbreak of the second World War resulted in the circuit shutting its doors until 1957. Race meetings continued until 1974, when the circuit officially closed. It remained this way for a further 36 years but with the help of the Sevenoaks and District Motor Club. After an initial attempt to reopen was halted due to the construction of the Millenium Stadium, The sound of engines once again echoed across the historic venue in 2010.

After fairly quick run through the centre of London in the early hours of the morning, I reached the venue. I'd not had any idea of what to expect, this being my first time attending but was immediately drawn to the variety in the classic car park... and this wasn't even inside the show!

I took a load of photo's and rather than select a few to show you, I've tried to upload as many as possible from the day.

Nothing wrong with a bit of shameless self promotion..

Si's Laurel converted to manual with a 2.4l engine. Burgundy everything interior

London is well known for its old school Ford scene, with the cars all carrying a certain look.

But not this type of Ford...

Replica or not, this 356 was immaculate.

All these cars were in the retro carpark and while it gave me a bit of a teaser for what to expect from the displays, I didn't realise just how many stunning cars there were to see!

Down the steps which many hundreds of thousands of people have walked to the circuit over the years. As I strolled down towards the show area, I thought back to what it would have been like to walk down these steps nearly 80 years ago, the crowds of people filtering into the track to watch whatever form of motorsport was being held that weekend.

This Mk1 Escort was painted in a lovely hue of green, which suited the period correct styling.

Was not expecting to see TWO bike engines in the car!

I was almost shocked to see a manual gearstick. It's a real shame that Ferrari doesn't offer manual gearboxes on their cars anymore.

As with many other people, a 911 is one of those unobtainable cars which would quite easily fit into my dream garage. Whereas 930 and 964 generate 911's were within reach 10 years ago, prices have skyrocketed as the cars become more collectable. 

The gullwing doors of the Mercedes SLS AMG mean that every time you open them, people stop and watch. 

The first stand you come across when walking down the steps was one that had a few classic Honda's, including this very tidy S800 Coupe, running individual throttle bodies.

This Honda Acty pickup was so tiny! With little other than your face as impact protection, it must be quite fun to drive.

While personally not a big fan of the moulded in kit on this Honda N600, a peek under the bonnet revealed a turbo that was very small, but must boost the power of the tiny twin cylinder engine to make it a lot of fun.

Old vs new

This Mk2 Escort stuck out for a few reasons, most notably the huge wing on the rear and the bulbous arches affixed over deep dish wheels on each corner.

The car was built for one purpose, to go fast. Nothing unnecessary could be found inside and later on the afternoon the bonnet was open, which revealed a YB being force fed though a huge turbo. 

Pick your wing!

Escort RS Turbo's are becoming increasingly rare and desirable collectors cars. This red one looked as good as the day it rolled out of the factory.

The paddock was one of the most serene I've come across, with no tarmac'd areas and an abundace of trees it was like I'd died and gone to motoring nirvana!

FB RX7 on SSR Mesh with what looks like a factory fitted bodykit

One of the best sounding cars on the day and goes to show the sheer variety of cars competing today.

Datsun 510 2dr SSS.

Another one of those dream cars, E30 M3 running the evo lower lip and spoiler extention.

This ex Porsche Cup 911 looks like it took a wrong turn off the circuit!

Airjacks still present and working.

Another car which had since found a use outside of its originally intended motorsport was this ex-JWRC Suzuki Swift.

Just incase this wasn't lairy enough to pilot at full speed round a sprint circuit, it's been recently supercharged and the owner is planning on adding another carb and upping the boost pressure.

Safety first...

The Swift was still running a gravel/long travel suspension setup, with the car squatting and leaning during any steering or throttle and braking inputs

Another trip back to the carpark while these two pulled in. The Jaguar almost had a outlaw/racer vibe to it with the red primer panel, haven't seen many like this!

Two cars that could not be more opposite, but fitted well together

Lotus has recently upgraded the Exige to run the 3.5l V6 from the Evora

While the Celica looked stock bar a set of Minilite style wheels.

The dream. Pity the price of early 911's has reached stratospheric levels. 

When the Exige left, it's spot was taken by an extremely tidy Mitsubishi Starion Widebody

Something out of Mad Max?

This has got to be one of the coolest cars for sale at the moment. Carbon tub, turbo 4-pot engine and twin clutch transmission would make it a blast to drive. And lets be honest, I don't think Alfa Romeo has ever made a bad looking car!

While the event itself was a while ago, It's one I'm already looking forward to attending next year.  The location can be a bit of a pain to get to with London traffic, but the laid back atmosphere and varied selection of cars made it worth the effort. Events like this are steeped in history, hopefully with the recent legislation to allow motorsport events on public roads, we could see more events of this nature soon!