Classic & Sports Car’s 2021 highlights

| 26 Dec 2021
Classic & Sports Car – Classic & Sports Car’s 2021 highlights

For the latest classic car news, features, buyer’s guides and classifieds, sign up to the C&SC newsletter here


As we prepare to bid farewell to 2021, the members of the C&SC team reveal their highlights from a topsy-turvy year of classic motoring.


Alastair Clements, Editor in chief

Classic & Sports Car – Classic & Sports Car’s 2021 highlights

Car of the year

Please can I be greedy and pick two? (After all, they are the same type of car and owned by the same person.) Fabian Steele’s mint James Bond replica Lotus Esprits were a highlight of our 007 special in the October issue, perfectly captured by Olgun Kordal’s great photography (above).

Best drive

I’ve wanted to drive a Tesla Roadster (November) ever since they were launched, but my favourite has to be Simon Hucknall’s perfectly preserved Fiat 128 (below): driving it for the May issue transported me straight back to 1977.

Best event

The smaller attendance made me fall in love with the Goodwood Festival of Speed all over again this year, but, for its blend of great cars, a scenic setting and a relaxed atmosphere, nothing could match the brilliant Classic Nostalgia at Shelsley Walsh.

New Year’s resolution

It’s slightly out of my hands, and the looming spectre of climbing COVID numbers could yet put the kibosh on it again, but after having it cruelly taken away twice already I am absolutely desperate to get to the Le Mans Classic in 2022.

Classic & Sports Car – Classic & Sports Car’s 2021 highlights

Mick Walsh, International editor

Car of the year

A perfect tribute to the late Peter Giddings was the race debut at the Goodwood Revival of the Alfa Romeo Tipo 158 he instigated. The glorious sight and sound of this sensational machine were a credit to Jim Stokes’ team and its owner, Peter Greenfield.

Best drive

Finally getting to sample a Sunbeam 3-litre Twin Cam for the November issue (below) was a revelation, particularly its superb gearbox. Running it up the historic 1920s sprint course at Branches Park made the day even more special.

Best event

The novelty of a Goodwood Members’ Meeting staged in the autumn was wonderful, with many feeling that it was better even than the Revival. To see Alfa Monzas and GP Bugattis in action in the Earl Howe Trophy was marvellous, but the spectacle of the Gerry Marshall Trophy racing into the dusk made it a magical weekend.

New Year’s resolution

With luck two of my favourite and much-missed events, Rétromobile and Vintage Montlhéry, will return and I can’t wait to catch up with French friends.

Classic & Sports Car – Classic & Sports Car’s 2021 highlights

Simon Taylor, Editor at large

Car of the year

Unlike Mick Walsh in the December issue, I wasn’t lucky enough to drive the Voisin C27 Aérosport (below), but at Hampton Court I walked round it, walked away and kept walking back. Supremely idiosyncratic, and
a glorious piece of automotive Art Deco.

Best drive

An Austin Seven Ruby was a delightful surprise. It felt like a grown-up car that would happily take a family on a day out on 1930s roads, provided they weren’t in a hurry.

Best event

Classic Nostalgia at Shelsley Walsh is an old favourite that gathered new post-lockdown momentum, with wonderful cars, all the magic of Shelsley on a sunny weekend, and a C&SC-backed concours to savour.

New Year’s resolution

To enjoy my cars more, drive them further, take them to more events and meet more classic people.

Classic & Sports Car – Classic & Sports Car’s 2021 highlights

Greg MacLeman, Features editor

Car of the year

My standout was the 1961 Lotus Elite that featured in our December issue (below). The Type 14 is sublime in any setting, but this particular example’s fascinating backstory and its hugely accomplished restoration by Derryl Bushell and his team made this shoot one to tell the grandkids about.

Best drive

My day trip to the Isle of Wight with snapper Max Edleston offered a rare break from coronavirus restrictions and new-father duties. We had a blast driving my Triumph around the island (below) – it’s the sort of adventure that hot summer days were made for.

Best event

I love the more intimate and relaxed feel of the Goodwood Members’ Meeting compared with the Revival. As ever the racing was outstanding, but there was much to enjoy off track, too.

New Year’s resolution

It’s been a good few years since my pal Matt George and I made our pilgrimage to the Spa-Classic, so I’m keen to make that happen in 2022. I can almost hear the sound of Triumph straight-sixes blasting down the autoroute already.

Classic & Sports Car – Classic & Sports Car’s 2021 highlights
Classic & Sports Car – Classic & Sports Car’s 2021 highlights

Damon Cogman, Art editor

Car of the year

Finally seeing a car I’d only ever glimpsed in pictures made me slightly starstruck when I came face-to face with the Alfa Romeo 6C-2500 SS ‘Super Jewel’ (below) at Hampton Court Palace’s Concours of Elegance. With its high waist and smooth flanks, this two-tone beauty stopped me in my tracks.

Best drive

For a split second, when I was pushing on through the Welsh scenery in the Mitsubishi Evo VI Tommi Mäkinen Edition (January), I actually thought I was a proper rally driver. That soon evaporated, but the naughty red car made me feel like a superhero through every corner.

Best event

I’m not usually one for concours, but after strolling through Henry VIII’s front door the Concours of Elegance had everything: stunning cars, nestled in the beautiful grounds of Hampton Court Palace. There was a ‘wow’ at every turn.

New Year’s resolution

To drive my Z4 with the roof down more. That BMW straight-six is the most sonorous thing and sounds amazing bouncing off the trees, especially in the winter.

Classic & Sports Car – Classic & Sports Car’s 2021 highlights

Martin Buckley, Senior contributor

Car of the year

The one that sticks in my mind is the Fiat 2300S I drove in September (below). I had one 30 years ago that never worked, so was always curious about them. It exceeded expectations, as did my maiden voyage in an Austin Maxi – true, that bar was set a lot lower, but the choice between it and a Renault 16 would be down to personal taste.

Best drive

The A- and B-road trip to the RREC’s AGM in my Silver Cloud II got us away from the herd into a quiet world of Shires byways with sufficient straights for the car to stretch its long legs, yet also enough climbs, curves and corners to keep one and all interested but not alarmed... I think.

Best event

Phil and Ally Blake did an epic job of organising a private bash at their Suffolk HQ in July, mainly for NSUs and rotary Mazdas although anything interesting was welcomed. I counted 40 Ro80s – not all belonging to Phil, for once!

New Year’s resolution

To make friends with somebody who owns a van and get a stall at the Beaulieu Autojumble in an attempt to clear the decks of surplus spares.

Classic & Sports Car – Classic & Sports Car’s 2021 highlights

Lizzie Pope, Associate editor

Car of the year

Any of the four post-war, six-cylinder grand tourers we brought together for a supertest in our March issue could be a contender, and while Lancia’s benchmark Aurelia B20 GT comes close, the dainty, delightful AC Aceca (below) edges it – from every angle.

Best drive

Just being permitted to drive when and where you want has been a much-missed luxury, but the early-morning runs in our Mustang to October’s Members’ Meeting are my standouts. The mixture of enjoying your own classic and the anticipation of a great day out is a special blend.

Best event

I am biased, but it has to be C&SC’s Club Awards. Everyone was clearly thrilled to be back together, and it was a joyful celebration of the best of the brilliant British car club community.

New year’s resolution

No one is going to be surprised by this, given that I said it last year, the year before that and the year before that... Let’s hope 2022 is finally the year during which I can make a return to historic road rallying.

Classic & Sports Car – Classic & Sports Car’s 2021 highlights