Every year, in the depths of February, the agricultural sheds of Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire, England, are invaded by the rumble of horsepower, flashes of legendary liveries and the smell of nostalgia.
If you’ve got a penchant for old race cars, a couple of hours to spare, and own at least one item of tweed clothing, then the Race Retro show is most definitely your thing.
In its essence, Race Retro is not only a celebration of a bygone era in motorsport, but proof that there’s still an incredibly strong passion for keeping these old timers racing. Whilst walking the rows of cars and exhibitors I had to keep reminding myself that these weren’t in fact cars out of a museum, and this wasn’t an exhibition of dust-coated laid-up machinery – everything here is still used and abused in varying degrees of competition whenever possible. For almost every discipline or niche you can imagine, from early touring cars to open-wheel single seaters through to Group B rally heroes, there’s almost certainly a clubman series or historic championship keeping these machines on track and away from living out the rest of their days confined to storage.
It’s also clear that there’s still a booming industry in keeping these older machines moving – the longer each of these specimens serves its owners the trickier keeping them running becomes. From the thrifty but fascinating autojumble hall where you can pick up all manner of second-hand oddities and bargains, to some of the more technologically advanced vendors in the main halls offering modern solutions for old problems. The word ‘replica’ often gets a bad rap in automotive circles, but there’s a big market for blueprint components in the competitive retro racing world and for many it’s the only way to keep older machines racing. At Race Retro you can pick up anything from brand new reproduced panels to an entire replica chassis and shell, just in case your last mishap was a particularly big one.
The one danger of attending Race Retro is the plethora of retailers waiting to alleviate you of your hard-earned cash. If you’re a petrolhead with a thing for any form of automotive memorabilia then you either need to leave your wallet in the car, or be prepared to leave with it significantly lighter. As a Speedhunter, I can put these all through as business expenses, right?
You may remember that I’d previously brought you coverage of Race Retro’s excellent rally stage. Unfortunately, this year I was unable to attend the show over the weekend when the stage would be live, so instead I spent my time wandering the halls of the static indoor show, picking out cars and details that caught my eye. I’m always on the lookout for a unique story or angle to the coverage we bring you, but there’s really no grand narrative or prose here, nor did I expect there to be upon entering the halls of Race Retro.
By its very nature nothing at Race Retro breaks new ground. A visit to Stoneleigh Park on a cold February morning is simply a good few hours spent exploring authentic automotive eye candy from the past, a chance to slip away and take in machinery and merchandise from a different era.
With that in mind and for those that weren’t able to attend, enjoy the gallery below. As always – it’s best enjoyed on desktop.
Ah yes, the Iriz R5, It's pretty much build entirely by British team. It has 4G63 Lancer Evo engine in it. But I haven't heard much of this program since their launch half a year ago.
So glad to see a first gen legacy get some love. Would love to see anymore images you have of it (or any Subaru groupe A cars for that matter)
I had completely forgotten about the NATCC Dodge Stratus's damn, and it wouldn't be a retro racing show without a Silk Cut Jag
The red-yellow F1 car is Connew PC1, it's literally the most garage build F1 car ever, the team founder Peter Connew got inspired to make F1 cars after seeing Italian GP, like many garage based F1 team. They struggled for funds, even the driver Francois Migult thrown in Ford truck to tow the race car as part of his driving deal with them. They didn't really succeed either and that two PC1 ever built left in Connew's backyard before one of his friend help to restore it. I saw it myself in Goodwood last year and had a nice chat with Mr. Connew.
Hey Jordan, quick question. There's a really nice blur effect around the subjects, is it caused by the lower shutter speed? I'm a young photographer and I love you guys' work, wanted to be sure you're using the natural light and opted to copensate using the lowered shutter spead and aperture
I think the Dark Ram might have me by the hand at this point if I'm most interested in the Stratus.
Seeing a dodge stratus in there really surprised me
Just one shot of the RS200? For shame...
I see Proton Iriz rally car #proudmalaysian