Now in its third year, the BMC and Leyland Show, held at the spiritual home of all things classic ‘firm’, Gaydon, proved to be an absolute barnstormer in 2015. With more than 800 vehicles making it to the show, and even with a brief, torrential downpour halfway through, the show was an unreserved success – and one that easily establishes it as one of the ‘Big Three’ events on our calendar.
Words and photography: Keith Adams and Alexander Boucke
This year, the line-up was wider than ever, and a thing of deep joy for all BMC and BL fans. The Landcrab Owners’ Club International and the Maestro and Montego Owners Club put on particularly strong shows and were joined by the usual suspects from the Mini, Allegro, Rover 200 and SD1 world while this year is, of course, the 40th anniversary of the 1800/2200 ADO71, commonly known as the wedge.
Like last year, the Cowley Convoy joined proceedings mid-morning, boosting numbers of cars on show significantly – and joined by AROnline‘s Deputy Editor, Alexander Boucke, who had driven in from Aachen in his father’s Austin 1800S especially for the event. His 400-mile drive in from Western Germany didn’t go without incident, as the car ended up spluttering along with what he later diagnosed as worn out points – luckily he didn’t have too many problems in locating replacements…
The Heritage Motor Centre also had a number of its own exhibits from the reserve collection on display and, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Princess, the wonderful Triplex 10/20 Glassback, as well as the Vanden Plas Princess prototype, which looked lovely in the summer sun (you can read more about it at www.leylandprincess.co.uk), were put on display next to the attending club cars, which included a splendid pre-production Wolseley.
18/22 and Princess Gallery
Other gems which made an appearance on the day included a Suntor Marina camper conversion, a stunning Sherpa camper complete with original automatic gearbox, the first 1989 Rover 200 off the line (which was subsequently sold at the show to John Corbett), the 1970 Triumph 2500 endurance rally car and Tanya Field’s impressive Rover 820 Turbo 16V – a great example of a car that became super-rare very quickly indeed.
Tanya said: ‘It was a fantastic BMC and Leyland Show with so many friends. I was really heartened by the numbers of Maestros and Montegos, and also the numbers of MG FWD cars. It goes to show the work and enthusiasm of those involved with these cars is paying off with more people bringing them out to show.’
She added: ‘Both the Cowley and Longbridge convoys were a great success – well done everyone who helped Alan and me organise them and to those who joined in – convoys can’t happen without cars, so thank you if you joined us. Also a big thanks to Simon at the MG Sales Centre and MINI Plant Oxford for welcoming our convoys and allowing us to use their venues as starting points.’
The short and heavy downpour in the afternoon did not impact the show too heavily, although it did highlight a little flaw: the sale of refreshments and hot beverages at the rally field closed rather early on.
All in all, it was a fantastic day out – we can recommend starting the day by joining one of the convoys. The one from Cowley runs through a succession of lovely little towns and villages, so much better than simply pulling off the motorway at the museum. Despite being a rather new event on the calendar, the event can rightfully claim to be one of the most important ones for cars from the Issigonis FWD-period onwards.