Events : Report – BMC/BL Rally, Peterborough 2015

Words and photography: Keith Adams (unless otherwise indicated)

AROnline's line-up was nothing if not varied

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.


Gallery (2)

(All images by Tanya Field)


Gallery (3)

(All images by Ian Nicholls)

Keith Adams


  1. The Marina convertible was something special as was the black 800 sterling with the roll-o-chrome but special in a different way

    Good to see a fine selection of classic campers too.

    It was a fantastic day with a an abundance of fine motors and the ever expanding and time absorbing auto jumble, The AR Online pitch was bigger than we anticipated due to it not having a pitch marker but that was a good thing as there were around 14 cars from our members.

    All in all it was a great day.

  2. Good to see a 600. For such a stylish conversion of the Honda Accord I’m always surprised at its rarity at shows.

    A great showing of other cars too!!

    This weekend, I attended a Classic Car show at Vauxhall, Ellesmere Port. A fairly small event (made even smaller by the poor weather) but a few interesting cars. Obviously, a few Vauxhalls, including a lovely Viva ( the one before the last mark). An MG X Power SV , which also showed up at the West Cheshire MG Owners Club barbeque recently. I went in the ZR and parked up by another brg ZR. It was a rather tatty looking diesel but it’s owner told me it had 165k on the clock.

    Non BLARG cars of note – a mint Fiat X1/9 and an equally mint Saab 95.

  3. It wuz a great day.
    My camera disappeared into the car interior and I was forced to take pictures on my new tablet. I have come to the conclusion that my camera is crap, as the tablet took far better pics. I rather liked the Leyland Cars Service Minivan.
    It was great to meet everybody and I did like the Maestro VDP!
    Also I won the product knowledge quiz, so I suppose my Leyland-holic status is confirmed. We left about 4pm, and spent the noisy return journey looking for 5th gear-in a Mini. My other Mini is in the midst of an engine rebuild, so next year I hope to bring along two cars.

  4. Great day out. Ferry Meadows itself was also excellent – my daughter absolutely loved it.

    I was strangely attached to a solid yellow Maxi 2 L. No idea why, but I really wanted it.

    Lots of stuff my Dad had too – including a gorgeous white F plate 820Se fastback. Oh the memories!

  5. What a show – love ’em all, particularly the grey Rover P5, green Vanden Plas ADO16, red Austin 1300GT, Rover SD1’s and the labrador asleep in the Maxi! They look fab! Thanks for sharing a great day out with us…

  6. I agree with Keith that it is still worth making the trip to Peterborough every year to get your fix of BL tin and also to see some younger people there too, hopefully they will get interested in the older stuff also. Great day, great weather, great cars and of course great people

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