There’s Just Something About Rollhard…

In the midst of all the prep, awards, trade stands and overpriced food stalls, it’s easy to forget that car shows are actually about people.

And while a lot of owners I know will spend weeks and weeks stressing about various car shows on the calendar, Rollhard is not one of them.

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Don’t for a second think that’s a bad thing though. On the contrary, in fact. Rollhard is one of very few shows I know of that nobody ever seems to have a bad thing to say about.

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2023 was my second Rollhard, and aside from the fact that the 2022 event coincided with the hottest day of the year in England, I certainly don’t have any complaints.

However, as I’ve said, car shows are there for the owners of the vehicles on display and the spectators to enjoy, so for my main 2023 event story I thought I’d take a different approach and ask some owners what they think makes Rollhard so universally loved.

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KJ Saneinia had his 1991 Mk2 VW Golf on display at the Bicester Heritage venue, with some patinated bodywork and a 2.0L ABF engine running a pair of Weber 45DCOE carburettors. To him, “the selection of cars perfectly placed, an iconic venue and chilled out music gives a laid back vibe.”

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Nic Stubbs, aka ‘Mr. 190E’ or ‘Mr. 187 Automotive’ brought his newly-built daily driver to the show – a C202 Mercedes-Benz kitted out in Brabus parts and wearing a set of stainless steel-lipped BBS RS wheels. “It’s just a relaxed, stress-free show,” he remarked. Nic is right on the money there.

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With speakers dotted around the site and mellow tunes playing all day, the atmosphere was certainly chilled out.

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The hangar was back for 2023 after taking a short break, and this year’s theme was incredibly red.

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More than just being eye-catching, having a whole assortment of cars in one hall on display did wonders to highlight just how diverse things are at Rollhard.

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That’s a point that Aiman Bugis, the owner of the gorgeous Air Lift Performance-equipped BMW 840Ci you see above was keen to mention to me. He’s been attending the show since its early days and had this to say: “Years ago there was too much focus on ‘really old’ cars for me, but nowadays there’s a nice variety of ages.”

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For example, a Rover SD1, which I have a huge soft spot for…

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…across from a G80 BMW M3…

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…and a Formosa 120 GR kit car, this particular example based on a chassis from 1963.

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Joey Hazell is another long-time Rollhard attendee, who’s been supporting the brand since the beginning – always in an E36 BMW of some sort. “Chilled out sexy vibes!” was his immediate answer to my question. When prodded for a slightly more serious answer, Joey admitted “the Rollhard lot are just down to earth people.”

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Some of my personal highlights? A pair of Porsches owned by Billy Hilton and Ollie Palmer-Smith. Here’s two very different approaches to building a very clean air-cooled 911.

Billy’s 993 is a testament to rare, period-correct parts, such as the one-of-one prototype carbon fibre Gemballa hood/wing combo. Rumour has is it that this was meant to be destroyed back in the ’90s, but a Gemballa employee snuck it out of the factory to save it from that fate.

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Meanwhile, Ollie’s 964 is about as comprehensive a restomod as you can get whilst staying true to the character of a car. With a ground-up engine build, suspension and chassis improvements, and key components such as lighting upgrades front and rear as well as a set of BBS E88 wheels, this is a beautiful example of not going overboard. Just look at that interior!

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Brayden’s Lexus GS was earning big points from static ride enthusiasts.

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Lots of points.

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Whilst Benjamin Anson and Stephen ‘Doey’ Doe were showing how effective a simple drop on air suspension and a set of timeless wheels can be with their pair of E21 BMWs.

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We can’t forget about the hydraulic enthusiasts too, a particularly niche interest in the UK.

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As far as metrics for a show’s popularity go, the number of cars that attend from abroad can be telling. A healthy selection of Belgian and German cars had made their way over the English Channel for 2023.

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Add to that, not one, not two, but three of the four UK-built RWB Porsches on display together – a surefire way to please a crowd.

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How about a pair of over-the-top show cars, both very different but with prominent owners who’ve experienced a lot of car culture in the past few years? To Khyzyl Saleem, or ‘The Kyza’ to most, who had his crazy-wide, LTO-kitted E36 BMW on display, “Rollhard is like a holiday for me. A relaxed vibe with my favourite people, featuring some of my favourite builds from across the UK.”

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Mica Dori meanwhile had her previously-featured Mercedes-Benz 190 E on display, now running and driving, and with somehow even more custom engraving. “With Rollhard, it feels like everyone has come here for the same reason. No one’s here for a separate ‘clique’, or for a separate stand. Everyone’s here as one, to ask questions and to answer questions about their own cars and everyone else’s. I also think that aesthetically, it’s a fantastic location because there’s such a diverse choice of backdrops which is glorious. Oh, and the people who run it are lovely!”

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To highlight the diversity of Rollhard, I’ll sign off with my favourite vehicle of the event. This stunning chopper with a metal-flake tank and an air-cooled Yamaha twin in its frame.

Good cars, good music, good food and a lovely vibe. It’s no surprise that people sing Rollhard’s praises.

Mario Christou
Instagram: mcwpn

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Great content as always - top drawer photos and write-up. Thanks!


Just NNIIICCCCEEEE! Love that green interior on that Porsche! Also love the 2door MKI Jetta on BBS.


For me, Rollhard is the pinnacle of automotive enthusiasm. Its the show I look forward to every year, without fail it never disappoints. It's about having perfect builds mixed in with not perfect


Pic 123, that Z3, love it. Great pictures, looks like an amazing event.