Words and photography: Keith Adams (unless otherwise indicated)
AROnline’s line-up was nothing if not varied…
After years of being talked down, it looks like the BMC/BL Rally was back with a bang in 2015. Although we didn’t grab the visitor numbers before leaving Ferry Meadows, it was clear that the show’s attendance was up on previous years, despite strong showings from upstart events like the Pride of Longbridge and the Gaydon BMC and BL Show. More than ever, though, it was a field of dreams for BMC>MG fetishists, who don’t get chance to see many of these cars elsewhere.
There was once again a refreshing variety of cars on display – with what appears to have been particularly strong turn-outs from the Maestro & Montego, Rover 800, Morris Marina and SD1 Owners’ Clubs. Also of note were the Austin 3 Litres, and a lively display from the Gay Classic Car Group.
The Morris Marinas were particularly striking this year
Thanks to the efforts of Mike Humble and Neil Rapsey, AROnline also put on a proud display, although being tucked out of the way with the autojumble, it did feel like we were very much stuck on the naughty step. Be that as it may, we put on a great display, with a nice mixture of the classic and modern-classics, with the project Maestro and 75 taking centre stage, flanked by a variety of cool cars ranging from Range Rover and SD1 (from Holland, no less), to a Mini, Rover R8 and 45…
At 1.30pm Mike gave an impromptu Product Knowledge quiz, which saw site regular Ian Nicholls take victory with a hard-charging James Godwin and Ben Adams in second. They were all winners, really.
There’s been a changing of the guard. Craig Cheetham hands the keys to Keith Adams and Mike Humble. (Picture: Ben Adams)
However, the newer boys weren’t having things all their own way – and, predictably, being the organising club, the Cambridge-Oxford Owners Club managed to put on a great display, as did the Allegros and Princesses. But in the past two or three years, there has been a definite swing towards the 1990s modern classics, with the 800s and 75s taking a real pride of place in the centre of things. It’s good that the scene is moving with the times, while not losing sight of its past glories.
As for Car the Show – you’ll have to wait until tomorrow, as it will also be AROnline‘s Car of The Month for August. But we’ll say this, Roy Axe would have been proud. Or maybe surprised.
Overall, the BMC/BL Rally is still a national-class event and, despite now being eclipsed by April’s Pride of Longbridge, it’s still worth the trek every August – and this year, more than ever, the standard of cars was more stunning than ever. And encouragingly, it looks like an increasing number of younger people are getting involved, which can only be good for the continued survival of the scene.
(All images by Tanya Field)
(All images by Ian Nicholls)
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