Your expectations are always high for a new show, after all, in most cases the organisers are starting with a clean sheet. The Sywell Classic – Pistons & Props is all new for 2013, and is from the same people who bring us one of favourite shows of the year, Race Retro. The pre-event had us intrigued – classic cars, classic planes (and as it turned out, a touch of pretty everything else classic as well…) – what’s not to like?
The strange thing was, I wandered around the event and left feeling a little dazed. Held at Sywell Aerodrome, which coincidentally is home to some of the most awesome Art Deco airfield buildings, the event did indeed have planes, cars of every imaginable persuasion, bikes, trade stalls and even some musical happenings of the rocking kind. Throw in live demos from dragsters to hot rods, sports cars to Formula One cars, and above us, aerobatics, wing walkers and just a hint of WWII war birds.
I think my problem was I expected all the elements to be firmly mixed – a period cars parked beneath the wings of old planes sort of thing. Of course, what you can imagine and what you can organise in these days of Health & Safety and eye watering Public Liability insurance premiums are two very different things. And the strangest thing of all, after looking through the pics, I realised what a brilliant range of stuff was on show. Seriously, when did you last see three Gordon Keebles parked together…?
Personal highlights for me? Dave Colledge’s superb Lada Saloon, in my almost favourite shade, super clean and packing a 2.3 Duratec on throttle bodies. The ultimate sleeper.
It was also the first time I’d seen Paul Raynes’ beautiful supercharged Mini in the flesh. Mile deep paint, Rose Petals and some very trick bits, including the front seats, imported from Japan. I would suggest a new benchmark has been set.
Let’s hope the organisers can build on the event for 2014. It would have been nice to see a few more old planes, even if they were just static displays, but that’s just a minor gripe. Now we’ve had a chance to sample, next year I reckon we should all break out the period dress and turn it into a serious party. We’ll see you there.