This years event was one of the best. More than 100,000 spectators enjoyed the world’s biggest classic motor racing festival. On the whole, the weather wasn’t that bad as can be seen in the picture of Jackie Warren without her duvet coat, jumper or any other garment to keep her warm other than her smart top! This was recorded on Sunday.
However, both Friday evening and Saturday evening when the music festival got going, so did the rain. Spandau Ballet’s former front-man Tony Hadley topped Saturday night’s bill with The Dire Straits Experience, formed by the original sax-playing band member, Chris White. And what a band they were. If you closed your eyes and listened to the singer, Terence Reid, you would have thought you were listening to Mark Knopfler.
The concerts on both Friday and Saturday were disrupted by the weather. It poured down both nights, which was a shame really as the performers did their very best on putting on a good show. I can assure you all that standing in the rain, which is running down your back, front, arms and head, isn’t very pleasant. Although kitted out with appropriate garments and more to repel the rain, it just got everywhere it could, to the extent that we and a few other couples just had to give up and leave. Saturday’s circuit events and weather throughout the day was fine.
There was so much going on. Various classic racing taking place along with one of the biggest gatherings of club displays in and around the circuit.
The highlight for most of the club members that attended was
the running display of over 40 X220’s around the circuit. What a sight and one never undertaken before.
2017 is the 25th anniversary since the car was launched in 1992 when customer orders were taken, the dramatically styled two-seater sports car was priced at £470,000. It was Jaguar’s fastest ever production car as well as being the fastest production car on earth, clocking 212.3m.p.h. It was a ‘labour of love’ conceived by a dozen engineers working on a volunteer basis, after hours in their spare time. Famously known as the ‘Saturday Club’ this small team included the XJ220 designer, Keith Helfet, a young South African petrolhead who had arrived in the styling department at Jaguar via the Royal College of Art in London. He had been asked to submit proposals to Jim Randle, the company’s then Director of Engineering. Randle without the knowledge of his superiors, was keen to create a Group B road racer to take on the might of Ferrari and Porsche. It was revealed at the 1988 NEC Motor Show to rapturous applause. Jaguar was inundated with blank cheque’s which forced Jaguar management to grant approval for a limited run of just 350 cars. The long and the short of it was that the car was supposed to feature a V12 engine with four wheel drive, the final production version ended up as a V6 3.5L twin turbocharged rear transaxle car. This change put some buyers off and in the end, when production ceased in 1994 only 281 cars were built and Jaguar were left with 150 unwanted vehicles, which resulted in many being sold off at less than half price! Today cars values are between £300,000 and £450,000 and are rising.
Other displays ‘on track’ was a procession of McLaren’s road cars of which I counted 116!! Quite a feat and a world record in 80th year of founder Bruce McLaren’s birth.
The displays of Jaguar’s on the Jaguar Enthusiast’s Club area at Copps Corner was fantastic. See pictures below:
Also on display was the JEC “Raffle Car”. The draw will take place at the Classic Car Show at the NEC in November.
Also at the event was Mike Brewer from “Wheeler Dealers”. Here he is discussing the remarkable innovations of the Citroen SM.
At the “Silverstone” auction arena held over the weekend, was one car that appears not to have been put into the auction. It was a David Brown Automotive Speedback GT. Starting price of £495,000. While its styling imitates cars of the 1960s, the Aston Martin DB5 in particular, its drivetrain comes courtesy of the Jaguar XKR.
Other memorable displays included Nigel Mansell’s Williams Race Car ‘Red 5’. 25 years previously, Nigel won Silverstone British Grand Prix, then went on to win the Formula One Championship.
Think of six-wheeled F1 cars and you’ll most likely recall Tyrrell’s P34. However, Williams built two different six-wheelers in the early eighties. Williams pursued the opposite six-wheeled concept to the one used by Tyrrell. They added extra wheels at the rear of the car to improve traction. The first of their six-wheelers, based on their 1979 car, was called the FW07D. For 1983 the FIA announced all cars should have a maximum of four wheels with two of them driven, and that killed off the last six-wheeler for good. There was one of the six wheel race cars at Silverstone as shown below.
One other “new” car on display at Silverstone was the Honda 3.5 L V6 NSX. Priced from £143,000, 0 – 60mph in 3.3 secs. Top speed 191.4mph.
And as day turns to dusk, it was time for the other type of music to begin. The “Rocking and Racing” weekend not only included Dire Straights Experience and Tony Hadley as indicated before, but also other tribute acts including the Bootleg Beatles, Who’s Next and Are You Experienced? playing respectively the music of The Beatles, The Who and Jimi Hendrix on Friday evening.
To summarise, it was a great weekend, despite the evening rain!