The first Ace Café Classic Car night of 2008 had the added bonus of hosting the retro-rides.org Awards Night. Honouring the contributors, the cars, the ongoing projects and stories from the website during 2007, it showed just how far the retro classic scene has flourished over the past few years.
You name it, from superb stockers to mean, slammed modifieds, there was a car to tickle the fancy of practically anyone, whether it was a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow basking in the Ace’s neon lighting, or a down-in-the-weeds blown Mini Metro in – what else? – hearing-aid beige (or Champagne if you’re fluent in British Leyland paint speak). It might have been difficult to pick a star car as the wind blew up a gale and the temptation to go inside grew stronger, but an ultra-rare Sixties Toyota Corona enticed much lurking and a fantastic early Seventies Datsun SSS coupe were two big highlights. As was a sweet-looking BMC Comps spec MKII Austin A40 Farina.
A BL Princess did two things to Charlesworth – he got all misty-eyed about Dunlop Denovos and secondly, would hastily correct anyone who referred to BL’s wedge as an Austin Princess. How many times did we have to hear “but the Austin Princess is a totally different car…” We left him to it.
The retro touch continued to make onlookers stop and reappraise cars which are normally just ignored, whether that may be a Volvo Amazon – dumped on red steels with whitewalls or a VW Polo Derby slammed on a set of fat wire-effect alloys. Meanwhile a familiar HA Viva and MkIII ’Tina wagon pushed the boundaries of the retro movement, so that there was a bit of a debate about where retroism ends and street-rods begin.
However, if long-rooves are your thing, a Saab 95 sitting on a set of Moon disc-shod wheels and a cracking MkI Cortina woody proved just how cool retro family car motoring can be.
Inside, as the awards were dished out, the Ace continued serving decent, traditional British fayre. Although the presence of several out of place, non-retro fops – perhaps wanting to ‘live like common people’ – were clearly disappointed at the lack of ciabatti, sun-dried tomatoes or Chablis on the menu. What a shame!
All in all, it was a damn good night out which helped to keep the retro movement’s tastebuds satisfied during the cold, dark, foreboding winter…