A feast of tasty classics thrill at Petrolicious Drivers’ Meeting

Inaugural UK event a proves a real treat for car enthusiasts

17 May 2019 - 08:01 By Mark Smyth
Iconic Subaru World Rally Championship cars. Picture: MARK SMYTH
Iconic Subaru World Rally Championship cars. Picture: MARK SMYTH

The former Royal Air Force base at Bicester near Oxford in England is not so much about aircraft anymore — today it is all about classic cars.

We were attending the inaugural Petrolicious Drivers’ Meeting, being held there because Bicester has been a destination for classic enthusiasts and is the world’s first dedicated classic car business park.

On a previous visit there was a group of enthusiasts using it and we even saw one of the most expensive classic cars, the Ferrari 250 GTO, drifting around a part-time test track. It’s a great place for the enthusiast.

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Typically, the car park is a classic car show of its own. Just walking to the gate we saw a pristine Peugeot 205 GTi, a Renault Clio Williams and a first generation Lotus Esprit. Then there was a De Tomaso Pantera, a group of early Porsche 911s and plenty of MGs and Triumphs.

While the car park was all orderly lines, things were a bit more random in the grounds. A Ferrari F40 stood looking at other famous models from Maranello including a 365 GTB/4 Daytona and a 275 GTB, while a number of rally cars including a Group A Sierra Cosworth and BMW M3 were lined up alongside a hangar.

A legendary Ferrari F40 looks over its older Maranello siblings. Picture: MARK SMYTH
A legendary Ferrari F40 looks over its older Maranello siblings. Picture: MARK SMYTH

A Peugeot 505 STi stood alone beneath a tree, as did a Morgan Aero and an immaculate Volkswagen Golf GTi Mk1. Many of the cars were parked to create great photographs for the Instagram audience of Petrolicious, but others were on display outside the workshops that look after them.

A highlight was a display of four of the great Subaru World Rally Championship cars, including the famous Impreza R19WRC of the late Colin McRae. There were other rally cars too, including a Lancia Delta Integrale, a London-Sydney works MGB, a Ford RS200 and the legendary Audi Quattro S1. Sat next to an immaculate Ford Escort Mk1 Mexico was a yellow Italian Team Pirelli van and inside it, an original Fiat 500 Abarth rally car.

This Ford Escort Mexico sits in front of an original Italian Team Pirelli van carrying a Fiat 500 Abarth rally car. Picture: MARK SMYTH
This Ford Escort Mexico sits in front of an original Italian Team Pirelli van carrying a Fiat 500 Abarth rally car. Picture: MARK SMYTH

Formula 1 was also represented, not least of all by the original 1973 transporter of the Frank Williams racing team. Frank Williams is celebrating his 50th year in F1 in 2019 and alongside the transporter were an FW07 and an FW1B1, both iconic cars from his career.

Cars connected with famous names of motorsport and even screen were aplenty. There were replicas of the Steve McQueen Mini and Porsche, a Porsche 356 belonging to Coldplay’s Guy Berryman, a Faberge Brut liveried Chevrolet Camaro Z28 raced by Stuart Graham and a test mule of the Singer DLS Porsche 911 was brought to the event by Marino Franchitti.

A pristine Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing. Picture: MARK SMYTH
A pristine Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing. Picture: MARK SMYTH

There were surprises around every corner. We spotted a concours condition Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing parked in front of a Renault 5 Turbo 1.

In the 60th year of the Mini, it was not surprising that there were a few there too, including a 1275 GT. Talking of cars that have made a comeback, a brand new Alpine A110 was joined by an original as well as the Renault Alpine GTA.

We could go on for ages about how we drooled over some of these great classics, but we took loads of pictures so instead here are a few so you can see just what made this such a special event. As the Instagrammers would say, we felt truly #Blessed.

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