Monday, 28 July 2014

Silverstone Classic 2014

Sometimes, it seems a little discussion or comment can lead to some very interesting experiences.  A month or so ago I mentioned to a friend that I'd like, someday, to attend the Silverstone Classic, the race circuit's annual homage to the racing cars of yesteryear.  Having been to the Goodwood Revival many times, I thought it would be a nice comparison and a great day out.  I began to make tentative plans to attend this year, when I got a phone call.  Would I like to visit him and his wife in gorgeous Worcestershire, and maybe take a trip to the Silverstone Classic on the Saturday?

It's not an invitation to turn down, so I couldn't wait for the weekend to arrive, all the time keeping my fingers crossed for the weather.  The last time I attended the Goodwood Revival it was cold and wet, which rather dampened the event, so I was hoping to have some good weather for my first visit to the Silverstone Classic.

The day dawned very bright, and by the time we set off at 9.00am it was warming up nicely.  Our trip across country brought us onto the main A43 dual carriageway, about a mile away from the circuit.  The traffic was already jamming the road, but in the cool comfort of an air-conditioned Range Rover it wasn't a bad place to be, especially with so many gorgeous cars caught up in the same traffic jam.  Vintage Porsche 911s, burbling TVRs, a lovely blue Marcos with a rear wing that looked like it had been stolen from a Boeing 747 and came with a suitably roaring soundtrack, Sunbeams... the list went on and on.  We finally arrived at the circuit, and I astonished to find that my host had arranged VIP parking, which benefited from a bus laid on to take us into the circuit itself. Oh, it's the Silverstone Classic, so not just any old bus, of course, but, well, an old bus...

Dexi Delite - Independent Escort - Silverstone Classic 2014

On arrival in the middle of the circuit, we disembarked at the Silverstone Auctions site at the brand new Silverstone Wing.  There were some fabulous cars lined up outside the main building, along with one or two more unusual lots that would be going under the hammer later...

Dexi Delite - Independent Escort - Silverstone Classic 2014 - Harrier Jumpjet

Not sure where I'd store a Harrier jumpjet, but if you've got the money, you've probably got the space...  Inside the main hall, there was plenty of gorgeous things to look at - cars, beautiful luggage, crates of vintage wine and watches.

Dexi Delite - Independent Escort - Silverstone Classic 2014 - Silverstone Auctions

We spent a fair bit of time in the auction, and it was great to be able to see lots of fantastic cars so close up, all open so that you check out your potential purchase.  A stunning red Ferrari Dino race car caught my eye, but sadly the pennies in the purse were slightly lacking - the guide price was a mere £100,000 to £120,000.  I didn't make a bid.

Dexi Delite - Independent Escort - Silverstone Classic 2014 - Ferrari Dino race car

Back outside the weather had certainly warmed up, and the sun was now beating down.  We began a lazy stroll around the circuit towards the 'village' area, where the food and trade stands were.  There was still plenty to see, and the view across the circuit to the big wheel was quite something, especially with a pair of 1950's sports cars howling past.

Dexi Delite - Independent Escort - Silverstone Classic 2014

Dexi Delite - Independent Escort - Silverstone Classic 2014

It was lunchtime by the time we arrived at the main village area, and there was a huge number of stands selling food and drink.  I was trying to decide what to have when something especially tasty caught my eye that I'd love to have got my tongue and lips around...

Dexi Delite - Independent Escort - Silverstone Classic 2014 - delicacies, indeed

Unfortunately, a long-legged blonde in denim shorts didn't seem to be on the menu anywhere, so I made do with a pizza instead.

This year was the 50th birthday of the Ford Mustang, certainly one of the most iconic cars of all time.  There was a static display featuring the cars and the (unrelated) WWII fighter near the food area, while on the track there was a procession of the cars to admire.


Dexi Delite - Independent Escort - Silverstone Classic 2014 - Mustangs!


Dexi Delite - Independent Escort - Silverstone Classic 2014 - more Mustangs!

The lovely V8 noise was pretty soon drowned out though, as a brace of  P-51 Mustangs took to the air for an aerial display.

Dexi Delite - Independent Escort - Silverstone Classic 2014 - er... more Mustangs!!!




Dexi Delite - Independent Escort - Silverstone Classic 2014 - you get the idea....

As the Mustangs, both cars and planes, headed off track and off to the horizon, the howling screams of old Formula 1 cars took to the air.  I'm not the world's biggest F1 fan by any means, but even for me some of the colour schemes were fantastic and memorable, especially the black and gold JPS Lotus cars.

Dexi Delite - Independent Escort - Silverstone Classic 2014 - JPS Lotus

Nicely refreshed we headed over to the trade stands.  Although there wasn't much in the way of vintage clothing (unlike the Goodwood Revival), however there was still plenty to look at, with cars, motoring memorabilia, fashion and book stands galore.

Dexi Delite - Independent Escort - Silverstone Classic 2014 - market place

We headed away from the stalls over to where the old pits are still in use by some the competing teams.  It was another great chance to see some more stunning cars close up, parked up in the bright sun or being prepared for their spell in the arena.  I loved the sextet of Aston Martins that were huddled together, one being prepared for a forth-coming race.  The bark of the exhaust was tremendous, especially when combined with the rather heady scent of unburnt fuel in the air!

Dexi Delite - Independent Escort - Silverstone Classic 2014 - At the Pits




Dexi Delite - Independent Escort - Silverstone Classic 2014 - Aston Martins galore

Meanwhile, over in the nearby British Racing Driver's Club paddock there were more sights to behold... A trio of immaculate vintage Porsche 911 Carreras RS's stood next to a tiny but muscular Ford GT40, with E-Types, Mustangs and Aston Martins resting quietly in the hot sun.  The 911's looked small in comparison with the nearby Range Rovers and modern cars, but I was amazed at how low and small the GT40 was.  Wonderful.

Dexi Delite - Independent Escort - Silverstone Classic 2014 - Carreras and GT40

By late afternoon we were all waning slightly, and suffering ever-so-slightly from sensory overload.  The heat, sounds and sights had left us pretty much drained, so, despite the racing going on into the dusk and bands playing into the night, we decided to head off back to Worcestershire for food and alcohol.  Even walking back to the VIP area there was plenty to see before we reached the carpark.

Dexi Delite - Independent Escort - Silverstone Classic 2014

Even in the VIP carpark there were some staggering cars, a rose pink E-Type...

Dexi Delite - Independent Escort - Silverstone Classic 2014

...and, parked rather diffidently between a modern Range Rover and an Audi hatchback, a rare Jaguar XJ220 supercar.

Dexi Delite - Independent Escort - Silverstone Classic 2014 - not your usual car-park

I must apologise for the huge number of photographs on this post, but it really was just one of those days where everywhere you looked there was something fantastic to see or hear.  However, for me, I have to save the best until last.  Yes, the blue Porsche 911 Carrera RS parked near the GT40 was breath-taking, as was the GT40 itself.  The blue Ford Mustang in the market place was glorious, and the gold Jaguar spotted when we were leaving had truly beautiful lines in the warmth of the late afternoon sun.  However, the one that beat them all was the awesome night-black Dodge Charger, nestled in a line of muscle cars.  Darkness personified in brutal metal.  I saw it arriving, and the throb of it's V8 was like the heartbeat of Satan.  Even stood still, when I saw it later, it looked like it was ready to maim someone just for looking at it.

Dexi Delite - Independent Escort - Silverstone Classic 2014 - Car Of The Day

A brilliant day, made even better by the wine and food that followed.  Great weather, fantastic planes and absolutely stunning cars mixed with tremendous friends.  An unforgettable day, indeed, and definitely a Silverstone Classic to remember.

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