Sherborne Historic Vehicle Rally

Many people might imagine the face of classic cars events never changes but in fact they have to keep up with the times rather than constantly looking back.

And setting out to prove the point is the Sherborne Historic Vehicle Rally, held every August Bank Holiday Sunday. This year’s event, organised by the Rotary Club of Sherborne Castles and to be held in the Courts of Sherborne School, has a new class for modern thoroughbreds, opening up entries to a selection of post-1970 cars.

It joins the existing categories for Veteran, Vintage, and Classic Pre-1970 Cars; Pre-1970 Light Commercial Vehicles; and Pre-1980 Motorcycles and Three-Wheelers.

“The world of classic cars has been dominated by the interests of people in their 60s and beyond who look back with misty-eyed nostalgia at the cars they knew as family vehicles when they were growing up,” explains Brian, honorary chairman of the organising committee and director of Dorset Vintage and Classic Auctions.

“But there’s a new generation of enthusiasts doing exactly the same with their nostalgia trip beginning in the 1970s and 1980s. Cars like the Aston Martins from the 70s and 80s are as important to them as models like the 60s’ Aston Martin DB5 or 50s’ DB4, never mind the other exotic marques with larger models that were also pressed into service as family runabouts as they went through their declining years.

“This gradual degradation from expensive carriage, to family runabout, to scrapyard resident is what gives value to the survivors we see today. They are rare examples of once-common cars and even non-enthusiasts tend to say ‘My Dad had one of those’ when they see a familiar classic.

“We are starting the trip into the Modern Thoroughbreds as a route into a possibly wider selection as the event continues to mature. Pre-1981 Bentley and Rolls-Royce models have become eligible and these days you can pick up a good Silver Shadow or its Bentley T Series equivalent for less than the price of a mundane five year old family car – I recently sold a good, low mileage 1969 Silver Shadow 1 for £5,600 at auction.

“But there’s a wider list of cars, some instantly familiar such as AC and Maserati or Bugatti or Lamborghini, the latter two now VW Group brands, as is Bentley. Rolls-Royce is in BMW ownership and among the BMWs we will be pleased to see are the M1 Coupe, designed as a race car, and Z1, a roadster with doors that dropped into the sills.

“Pre-1977 Jensen cars and quite a selection of other marques, including DeLorean, which used to be associated with multi-million pound Government funding fraud but is now regarded as a time-travel car by ‘Back to the Future’ fans, are also invited.

“It would also be good to get an attendance from Gordon Keeble owners. Fewer than 100 of these were made here in the south at Eastleigh Airport and Hampshire County Council is probably the biggest owner of the cars, with several in its historic vehicle collection. It was based on the Peerless GT and both Peerless and Gordon Keeble fell victim to the ugliness of financial strangulation. The cars themselves were beautiful, though!”

The event includes a road run for those who want to take part – the 2017 rally was supported by 130 cars and motorcycles. Over the years, more than £50,000 has been raised for charities supported by the Rotary Club of Sherborne Castles. For more details of the event, go to