Reliant Scimitar GTE SE5A 

British Sportscar Day -2003

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The ‘British Sportscar Day’ is organised each year by the Gordon-Keeble Owners Club. It celebrates the best of British Sportscars from both past and present. Last year it was changed from a very successful run of eight years at the BrooklandsMuseum to the famous Shuttleworth Collection at Old Warden Aerodrome near Biggleswade in Bedfordshire so this is the second year at Shuttleworth. It was combined with a very spectacular air display.

The aviation enthusiasts among you will probably already know about the Shuttleworth Collection. The museum was first opened to the public in 1963 and forms part of the 6,000 acre estate inherited in 1932 by Richard Ormande Shuttleworth, an erstwhile 1930’s motor rally and racing driver. His love of aircraft began in 1932 when he bought a De Havilland Moth, and as well as planes he built up a fascinating collection of vehicles including several pre-1904 veterans and a 1937 Railton, of which company he was a director. Housed in eight hangers, a garage and a coachroom, the Collection has over 40 aircraft dating from 1909 to 1955, together with veteran vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, horse-drawn carriages and a vast amount of aviation memorabilia. Many of these are on display and frequently some can be seen in use.

Talking of car collections there was a very good turn out of scimitars covering most, if not all of the models but I get ahead of myself. The day started at 8:30am with my friend Mike turning up at our house in his Triumph Vitesse. We put all the bits and pieces for the day in the car and set off towards Amersham. No sooner had we got past Amersham the first few drops of rain appeared on the windscreen, so things weren’t looking too good for the day. It soon left off however and we headed towards the A1(M) at Hatfield. Unfortunately as soon as we got on to the A1(M) it started raining quite hard. We had a Gordon-Keeble pass us, which we assumed was heading for Shuttleworth, and later on we passed a few other classics heading in the same direction. Luckily when we turned off the A1 for Shuttleworth the rain stopped and the sky looked brighter. We arrived about 10:00 am and already there was a lot of cars assembled on the grass. We headed for the line of Scimitars which was already looking very impressive.

We decided to look round the hangers etc. first before we looked round the still assembling gathering of sportscars. We wandered around the hangers and First World War Tableaus. These consisted of role players showing small parts of both German and British camps during the First World War. We then headed back to the now large amount of sportscars. I’m not sure how many Scimitars there were but there was certainly an impressive amount. I would say that the three marques of car with biggest turnout were Porche, TVR, and our Scimitars so I was happy as Scimitars and TVR’s are my favourite marques. We then went back to the Scimitar for some lunch and chatted to a few Scimitar owners.

2:00pm, the time the flying started, arrived together with a very quick shower of rain that caused some people to run back to their cars only to find it had stopped by the time they got there. We tore ourselves away from the cars to go and watch the flying. They started with some First World War aircraft including a SE5A and went through many different aircraft and ended with the only flying Bristol Blenheim and a Hurricane & Spitfire giving us a really good display. They were also hoping to fly some very early aircraft but there was some doubt about the wind and as quite a few cars had started leaving we also decided to head home.

We left the museum grounds behind an SE6A and then saw a very early aircraft fly over, looking very fragile, you have to admire those early aviators. We had a good run down the A1(M) with a Scimitar behind us and one in front for most of the way which turned a few heads in passing cars.

My thanks go to the Gordon-Keeble Owners Club for organising the event and to all the cars that turned up making it a very good day. I’d certainly recommend going next year as there is plenty else to see if you or your family don’t want to look at cars all day.

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