Camels, penguins, Gilberns and Turners. Ordinarily an unusual combination perhaps, but not in late August, when this unlikely grouping came together for the FSCC Historic Specials Day, held annually at the Cotswold Wild Life Park, near Burford in Oxfordshire.
The Historic Specials Day gives both the knowledgeable enthusiasts and curious day trippers a rare opportunity to see a number of scarce and often long-forgotten early kit cars and specials all in one place, and just a few steps away from the resident monkeys, wolves and snakes!
With a strong cross section of 1950s and early ‘60s British self-build specials on hand to inspect, even some of the kids and Japanese tourists visiting the wild life park seemed to be more attracted to the cars than the neighbouring wild life – not all quite sharing the same space, naturally!
This year’s event attracted an exceptional variety of cars, with a good number of the pioneering British sportscar marques represented. These included an impressive spread of Turners, Rochdales, Fairthorpes, Ashleys and Tornados, supported by some appealing early Lotus 6 and Sevens.
Among the rarer specialist sportscars in attendance – mainly based around humble Ford Prefect sidevalve running gear – were an intriguing selection of Bucklers, including a charming AKS-bodied DD2 and Mk VI, plus a Watford Cheetah, a Dellow, Shirley MK II, and an unusual one-off 1957 Martin Ford special, fresh from its recent extensive restoration.
A lone Hamblin Cadet waved the flag for the Austin Seven-based specials that were highly affordable and popular in period, with a stunning competition Elva MK VI attracting the most attention at the event.
The Fairthorpe Sports Car Club run their celebration of specials annually. The FSCC includes the Fairthorpe Register, Turner Register, Rochdale Register, Ashley Falcon and Historic Specials Register. Check their website for details: http://www.fairthorpescc.com/