Motor show draws near record crowd

A near record number of people attended Shetland’s 15th Classic Motor Show at the weekend.

Around 4,200 people visited the Clickimin Centre in Lerwick over Saturday and Sunday to see the wide selection of cars, motorbikes and heavy goods vehicles on display.

Organisers said the event was more successful than all previous shows apart from the “exceptional” 2010 show, which attracted over 5,000 people – thanks largely to its showing of steam locomotives.

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This year’s show had a certain royal flavour attached to it, which tied in with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

The event was opened on Saturday by Shetland’s Lord Lieutenant, Bobby Hunter and Sunday saw the arrival of an additional 22 classic cars as part of a Tour of Ultima Thule – held to mark the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s reign.

Ten of the drivers, and six of the cars, toured New Zealand together in 2010, making the jubilee tour, which also took in Orkney, something of a reunion.

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One of the cars, a 1930 Blower Bentley owned by Peter Brennan and Peter Davies, was undoubtedly star of the show.

Mr Brennan said the car had regularly been put through its paces, and has even been driven across Australia. He had driven it up from Yorkshire to attend the show. The fully-restored Bentley, he said, had even served as an everyday run-about.

“This is an exact copy of a Le Mans Bentley Blower. Apart from cameras and police, this car can travel at 137mph. It’s pretty hairy at 137mph. “We came up from Yorkshire. We’ve been across Australia in this from Perth to Sydney. I prefer to drive these than a modern car.”

At the other end of the scale was Datsun 1200 owned by isles man James Anderson.

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At first sight the rusting run-about seemed somewhat forlorn compared with some of the other magnificent machines that were around.

But the humble Datsun was there on its own merit. Pulled out of a shed after 18 years, it only took a new battery and a tank of petrol to ensure its engine started first time.

Graham Johnston, who helps organise the event, said the show offered people the chance to see vehicles they might remember from their younger days.

There was also a chance to enjoy a varied selection of bicycles and scaled models of classic cars and farming implements, while the young – and young at heart – were drawn to an impressive Lego display depicting a busy railway scene, which had come up from Orkney.

There were also stationary engines and tractors, while radio-controlled car enthusiasts could see a display by Shetland’s Radio Racers Association.

“Overall it was a great success,” said Mr Johnston. “There were big trucks and small vans. The range of motorcycles was exceedingly good, as it always is, and we had – probably – more cars on display than we’ve had before.”

Plans are already underway for the 2014 show, with one national car club already interested in attending. The Bristol Car Club – an organisation devoted to the most eccentric of British car marques – is keen to visit the isles.

For full coverage, see this week’s Shetland Times.


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