The fourth POP was run over the weekend of July 15th-18th 2011, in the grounds of the 7,500 acre Cholmondeley estate, on the Cheshire/Shropshire border.
Headline sponsor was again nearby, Crewe based, Bentley Motors, who have recently renewed their commitment for a further 3 years….displaying their original ‘20’s blower and demonstrating an ’03 Le Mans spec EXP8 and an uprated GT Supersports – driven by four times, World Rally Champion Juha Kankkunen, who used it to secure an “ice” World speed record (watch below), in Finland, on February 10th this year.
Ferrari’s competing, included Ben Cussons and Peter Neumark’s superb 250SWB’s (below), whilst local collectors car dealer, Cheshire Classic Cars, displayed two of their current inventory – a ’65 330 GT MK1 and a ’75 365 GT4 BB.
Maserati was represented by event patron, Alan Minshaw’s ’59 Birdcage (above), ably driven by son, Jason. Lancia, by Andrew Ferguson’s Stratos Stradale and Justin Law’s Delta Integrale and Lamborghini, by overall FTD winner, Nikki Faulkner’s LP570. Also “raging bull” powered, was Andrew Morris’s Lotus 102 (another F1 “white elephant”!), superbly driven by son Mos, in the very changeable conditions (below).
For those more marine minded, there were rounds of the RYA Formula 4 Catamaran and Hydroplane Championships on the Deer Park lake, whilst adjacent to the track, was a broad spectrum of privately owned helicopters and new for this year, a “Slowly Sideways” inspired Group B rally stage, along with a very muddy, “classic” scramble course.
Making a welcome return to the POP were crowd favourites “Brutus” and “Mavis”, joined by Aba Kogan’s Auto Union D type (above), sadly static due to engine maladies, Auto- Museum Sinsheim’s Bugatti T37 (below) and having its first competitive outing for almost 20 years, Brian Classic’s ex-works, Iso Bizzarinni (below).
Elsewhere, the paddock shelters housed some very interesting British manufactured cars and bikes, these caught my attention:
- Amongst the many exhibits at the Donington Collection – the globe’s foremost collection of Grand Prix cars, is a complete collection of Vanwalls (below). One of the original backers of the ill-fated BRM V16, Acton based, bearing manufacturer, Tony Vandervell, entered a green hued, Ferrari 375 F1, in Formula Libre events in 1950. Raced by Reg Parnell, the “Thinwall Special’s” brightest day, was victory at the 1951, rain-sodden BRDC International Trophy at Silverstone and over the next three years, a further three Ferrari’s carried the same name…..without success, The first Vanwall appeared in 1954, but the team had to wait until the 1957 British Grand Prix for its first race success, with victory at Aintree for Sir Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks, followed in 1958, by its overall victory, in the inaugural Constructors Championship.
- Making a rare, competitive appearance was a Jaguar XKSS (below), owned by arch-enthusiast and historic racer, Peter Neumark. Jaguar withdrew from sports-car racing in 1956, with production records suggesting eighteen “factory team” D-types and fifty three, customer versions, completed. In an attempt to sell unfinished D-type chassis, company co-founder, Sir William Lyons, decided to modify them for road use and offer them for public sale. Only sixteen examples were completed, before flames engulfed Jaguar’s Brown’s Lane, Coventry factory on February 12th 1957, ceasing production. In 2010, the XKSS had a devoted class at the Pebble Beach Concours, with twelve cars, led by Peter’s example, adorned the clubhouse fairway (watch below).
- Barrie Bird’s “mist green” ’64 AC, A98 (it’s design office designation) was designed by Alan Turner and built to race at Le Mans, by AC Cars Ltd – a Cobra 289 MK2 chassis, complete with additional tubing for structural support. After an indifferent showing by AC at La Sarthe in ’63, it was felt a more “slippery” shape, would produce more speed… the new coupé was designed independently of the Shelby team, and when first tested in France, showed overheating and stability problems, which were quickly rectified. With limited testing and no suitable race circuit available in the UK, an early morning run down the newly opened M1 motorway was conducted by contemporary Willment Cobra team member, and FOC GB President, Jack Sears. Tuned to give 350bhp, the car qualified 13 overall, however a fuel starvation problem delayed progress (traced to a newspaper found in the fuel tank!), before sadly, after 77 laps a tyre blew, the car crashed and retired. Aberdonian Barrie Bird has painstakingly rebuilt the car and this was a rare public appearance.
With more than 1,200 cars on static display, 175 racing cars and bikes taking to the circuit…. in spite of the damp weather, the weekend attendance exceeded 50,000 and with more innovation planned for 2012, the POP continues to grow.
With just enough time to dry off my oilskins, four days later, I headed South to Silverstone and the enlarged Classic…