Weekend at The Warren

Just before boarding one of Ryanair’s finest Boeings, I received a text from our very own Warren – Doug, actually – requesting an article on the Warren Classic and Supercar Show that we attended in late September. Well, October sees my time taken with completing HM’s tax return, leaving little evening time for other desk work. So, what better compromise than to take a couple of hours to write this on a beach in Cefalu, northern Sicily, around 50 miles from Palermo? It is 28 degrees as I write and the ice is melting in my pastis, so I’d better get a move on.

The “weekend” in the title reflects the efforts put in by our hardy logistics team in setting up our site on the Saturday. Well done boys, you know who you are. Sorry I couldn’t make it. If any member who has not helped a set-up and would like to volunteer for next year, please do so.

This show is notorious for the difficulties a club organiser can experience when attempting to arrange a car club attendance. The previous two years proved difficult and this year was no exception. Caps off to Vaughn High for his perseverance. Having started the setting out in our usual area, we were moved to a different location closer to the entrance road. Inconvenient, exasperating and time wasting, but that’s life with this show.

Still, on a fine Sunday morning we all lined our cars in the allocated spaces, although the deep trench around some of the perimeter did catch a couple of members out. How are those spotlights on the 420G, Gary? We fielded around 25 to 30 vehicles including three which were not ours; two XJS’s and an American import E type coupe were on our stand with For Sale stickers on them. We adapted our parking arrangements to suit. They apparently belonged to the show organiser. Hmmm.

In contrast to the previous year, the day started with blue skies,  allowing a leisurely review of the day’s attractions which, judging by the areas of uncovered greenery between the exhibits, would probably not take too long.

First stop, the concours cars. These were parked on the sloping field between the club house and the car clubs area. At the top of the slope, five Aston Martins – DBS, V8’s and Vantages – were forming a line, all splendid. They were flanked by a pair of Alvis cars of thirties vintage. All superbly finished and surely hard to beat although a couple of Minis, particularly the white Traveller, would give them a run for their money. These cars are rapidly appreciating in value, particularly the early Coopers.

Further down I spotted two 60’s Lancias and in keeping with the Italian theme, a rare Alfa Romeo. This was dwarfed by a black 1962 Thunderbird convertible sitting nearby. I love the steering wheel that you push aside to aid entry and egress. I believe Dodge had this facility in the early 1920s.

If you like your cars older, there was an excellent display of Edwardian carriages, including at least one De Dion Bouton. Some members may remember seeing a super collection of this make at Barnard’s Farm when we visited a few weeks earlier.

The Aston Martin dealership put on an enticing display of new models. Let’s hope they can tempt enough customers to buy this fine British marque to keep the company afloat after some recent disappointing sales figures. The ever increasing size of the grille on some models cannot be helping, or maybe I am too traditional. Speaking of Astons, I did see two beautiful models from the 1960s: a DB4 and its famous successor, the DB5. The latter, a pristine light green metallic, was trailered in – a shame really, unless it was for sale, as these cars are built for driving.

Visual drama was provided in spades by the Lamborghinis and enhanced by their vibrant colour schemes.

Nearby sat a couple of Maclarens, equally dramatic, but these came in more sombre shades.

To brighten things up, a gaggle of Ferraris provided a sea of red from their lofty perch adjacent to the club house.

My favourite dealer display was that from Peugeot-Citroen. At least I could afford the merchandise. But the star of this well designed minimalist stand was the late model (1975?) DS Pallas, resplendent in white and showroom fresh. Bertone’s design still looking good. It must have been a stunner at its launch in 1955 when the competition was Morris Oxfords and the like (the Jaguar Mk 1 excepted!).

Just across the road, some elegant early 1930s continental wheels with coachbuilt bodies shared a small section of field with a couple of Bentleys from a similar era. The Delage, Delahey and Bugatti Type 57 were a show highlight. Love those whitewalls and two-tone paintwork. Not to be left out, Britain’s own Daimler brand kept them company with a huge convertible which towered over them.

Traders made up much of the main show field with stands ranging from Teddys Kitchens (they did have two very presentable Escorts) to Anti-Gravity Batteries. The franchisees are members of our club and I can recommend their wares from personal experience.

I did like the cars on the Volvo stand: mainly white examples, no doubt to match the factory owned P1800 “Saint” car also on show.

Also present amongst the food and drink outlets were some interesting collections including: AC Cobras, Nissans, Lotus’s and an eclectic mix of 1950s and 1960s American offerings. The Black Dodge Charger and the Highland Green Mustang “Bullitt” cars were there, the latter sporting a lifelike Steve McQueen dummy in the driver’s seat. Coincidently, one of the two Mustangs used in the film will be auctioned at Mecum’s sale in Florida next January.

I saw fewer private entries parked along the roadside this year. A pity, since there are usually some interesting machines to discuss with their owners. Perhaps the increase in entry price may have discouraged some.

The day ended for this writer with a fly past of, I think, a Dakota, but I’ll leave that to the aviation connoisseurs amongst us to confirm.

And what of the show? Perhaps not matching previous such events with car attendance and trade stand variety a little disappointing. Shall we return, if invited, next year? I will let the committee decide but, for me, I’ll take a rain check.

 

Neil Shanley