Words & Snaps by Sam
My first event in the UK takes me to the town of Stratford for the Stratford Festival of Motoring; an annual event which takes part in the closed off streets of the town centre every Spring. Stratford is a town famous for being the birthplace of Shakespeare and for its traditional, period architecture. It now serves very much as a tourist town, attracting visitors from every corner of the globe. Seemingly a perfect setting for a classic car show then. There was just one slight problem... My knowledge of classic cars can be described as mediocre at best. So I’ll now attempt to guide you through some of the highlights of the show, with as much knowledge as I can muster!
I wasn’t sure on what to expect before arriving but my first impressions of the festival were good. Being mainly a classic car event, it meant that there were many classic favourites on show, such as the ever-legendary Porsche 911.
Another popular car at the show was the Ford Mustang, with models from many different generations in attendance. This mean looking 1970 Mustang Mach 1 really caught my eye (and ears!) It featured a rumbling 5.8 litre V8 engine, which produced 300bhp from the factory.
However, possibly the most popular car that day proved to be the Jaguar E-Type. Check out its sexy curves and it’s really not difficult to see why it became such a renowned and sought-after classic.
There was a pretty unique atmosphere about the place, with the town’s busy streets lined with cars from all eras. One of the older cars I spotted was this Singer. I have to admit I know absolutely nothing about it, other than it was obviously very old!
Now see if you can work out how you would go about driving the thing...
One of my favourite classic British sports cars is the “quirky” Sunbeam Tiger. In many respects similar to the AC Shelby Cobra and based on the Sunbeam Alpine, it featured a lightweight British sports car body, agile handling characteristics and an elegant design, and combined it all with a brutish American Ford V8 engine to create something quite special. Oh how I wish car manufacturers could still team together to create such machines today!
Looking back to the 50’s and the Citroen DS is a car worth mentioning. Typical of Citroen at the time, it was well beyond its years in terms of design and technology. Looking at the exterior styling it’s quite hard to believe that this was a model born in 1955!
And of course, it would be almost criminal to talk about classic beauties without at least giving the Italians a look in. This was one of only 748 Ferrari 308 Quattrovalvoles ever produced... Released in 1982 with a 250bhp fuel-injected 2.9l V8, featuring 4 valves per cylinder (hence the name), the 308QV was capable of 0-100km/h in 6.3secs and a top speed of 256km/h
Although the festival was mostly about classics, there were also plenty of modern performance cars too. Let’s look at one of the 308’s much younger ancestors, the 458, which is more than gorgeous enough to be worthy of wearing the Prancing Stallion.
As I’m writing this, I realise we seem to have a bit of an accidental red theme going on, so let’s try and keep that going by introducing the 458’s engine... And as the name suggests it’s a screaming 4.5 litre V8 which produces exactly 562 horses.
Not only was the festival for showing off each owner’s much loved pride and joy, it also gave a chance for manufacturers to showcase what their current line up of models were capable of. Land Rover had an impressive set-up, and took passengers for a ride in one of their Range Rovers through an obstacle course designed to simulate some pretty rough terrain.
All-in-all the festival was a day which everyone could enjoy, featuring cars from the very old classics, to current performance models; which meant there really was something for every petrol head. Make sure to check out a few more of the festival's finest in the gallery below!