Gay Classic Car Group scoops top prize at C&SC Club Awards

| 8 Nov 2019

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The Gay Classic Car Group has been named Club of the Year at the 2019 edition of the Classic & Sports Car Club Awards, in association with Lancaster Insurance.

In front of a packed audience at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole, after day one of the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, C&SC’s Editor at Large Simon Taylor and Editor in Chief Alastair Clements compèred another wonderful tribute to the UK’s thriving classic car community, shining a light on the unsung heroes who help keep our hobby alive.

With over 200 nominations received – more than ever before – this was our most hotly contested awards yet, with every winner richly deserving their accolade.

Scroll down to read about all of tonight’s winners – and thank you to everyone who supported 2019’s awards by submitting nominations and attending our ceremony. We’re already looking forward to 2020.


Club of the Year: Gay Classic Car Group

Of all the nominations received for this prestigious prize, few better encapsulate the welcoming car club spirit we all know and love than the Gay Classic Car Group. As the nomination said, this club has “possibly the widest and most eclectic spectrum of car tastes, brought together by a common goal; to be themselves.”

With 124 monthly meets and 91 events in the past 12 months – plus nine British and three European driving weekends – it’s certainly a thriving club.

That it’s been approached by Stonewall to support and mentor Racing Pride, a group to positively promote LGBTQ+ inclusivity in the world of motorsport, is a further feather in the club’s cap.

However, the Gay Classic Car Group had a fight on its hands to secure the top spot, so we also offer congratulations to the two other clubs shortlisted for this award: the GT40 Enthusiasts Club and www.lotusexcel.net.


Club Personality of the Year: Aubone Braddon

Dedicated, hard-working and passionate people are at the heart of car clubs, which is why the Ford Anglia 105E Owners’ Club’s historian, Aubone Braddon, has been crowned our Club Personality of the Year.

The owner of 14 Anglias and a tireless promoter of both the cars and the club, he also runs the club’s south west group, is its DVLA representative, a committee member and organises the club’s stands at events around the country. He does all this despite being partially sighted since birth and not permitted to hold a driving licence – a true hero.

Also receiving special mention onstage were Phil Riley of The 289 Register and the Armstrong Siddeley Owners’ Club’s Ann Blatchford – we take our hats off to you all.


Young Enthusiast of the Year: Darby Harris

This is always one of the night’s most exciting awards, because it celebrates the next generation of classic car enthusiasts who are so crucial to our hobby.

And this year’s winner – also shortlisted in 2018 – is 20-year-old Darby Harris of the Honda S800 Sports Car Club (not pictured, obviously!).

She runs her own Honda S800 and works at a classic race car preparation company while studying engineering – and in September she surprised the club with some carbonfibre replacement bonnets for the S800! She is now working on other panels for these rare vehicles, making her an asset not just to the club but also to the wider community of S800 owners.

We’d also like to pay tribute to two other younger classic car ambassadors, 24-year-old Cameron Burns from the Retro Caravan Club, and also the MX-5 Owners’ Club’s Alex Kersten.


Best Club Run/Rally: Rootes Round Britain, Sunbeam Rapier Owners’ Club

Encompassing a massive 17 tours across the UK, including one from Edinburgh to Dartmoor and another from Kent to mid Wales, with a total length of about 750 miles, the Sunbeam Rapier Owners’ Club’s brilliantly named Rootes Round Britain was an impressive undertaking, excellently executed throughout the summer of 2019 to celebrate the club’s 40th anniversary.

Bringing Rootes clubs, owners and cars together from all corners of the country, it’s a worthy winner of our ‘Best Club Run/Rally’ accolade.

But of course this is just one of the many such enthusiastically supported events held each year, so we’d also like to commend our two shortlisted entries: the UK Honda S2000 Club’s ambitious run to Italy and the month-long Talbot Owners’ Club Antipodean Tour.


Best Club Show/Event: Tyre Festival, TR Register and Morris Minor Owners’ Club

Our winner combined two of the most important considerations for the future of our movement: collaboration, and encouraging the next generation of enthusiasts.

The Tyre Festival was a brilliant three-day event that invited young members from across the spectrum of car clubs. Organised by Charlie Cranshaw and Liam Murphy, and co-organised by the TR Register and Morris Minor Owners’ Club, it featured an inter-club challenge, a 100-mile road run, evening entertainment and overnight camping all topped off by an informal car show.

Two commemorative events also caught our judges’ eyes: The Cambridge-Oxford Owners’ Club’s 60th Anniversary Rally and the MX-5 30 Rally, organised by the MX-5 Owners’ Club.


Best Contribution to Charity: Sporting Bears Motor Club

This subject lies at the heart of the car club scene and this year we’re thrilled to honour a club that has done so much, for so long.

In fact this previous winner is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and its 28th appearance at the NEC Classic Motor Show – and in that time it has raised an incredible £2.3million for children’s charities. Congratulations, then, to the Sporting Bears Motor Club.

And there were two other charitable events our judges felt were particularly worthy of recognition: the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club for its Charity Raffle Car and the Škoda Owners’ Club GB’s brilliant work with BulliesOut.


Most Improved Club Magazine: WC Reading Matter, West Cheshire MG Owners’ Club

Taking home this year’s gong is WC Reading Matter, the magazine of the West Cheshire MG Owners’ Club, edited by Martin Williamson. 

Starting out as a four-page home-printed newsletter, it has developed into a brightly designed and professionally printed monthly magazine that’s also available as an online edition, packed with historical and technical articles, as well as all of the latest club news.

But this was another hard-fought category, so congratulations also go to our two shortlisted contenders, the TR Register’s TR Action and The Cavalier & Chevette Club Newsletter.


Club Magazine of the Year: The Citroënian Magazine, Citroën Car Club

This has always been an impressive publication, but this year The Citroënian Magazine has received a significant boost to celebrate the centenary of its featured marque, running at an impressive 112 packed pages each month. The Citroën Car Club’s title, edited by Anna Burmajster, is a worthy winner.

However, the Club Awards judges also wanted to pay tribute to two other excellent shortlisted nominees, Street Gasser, the magazine of the National Street Rod Association and last year’s Most Improved winner, The Talbot Owners’ Club Magazine.


Best Club Website: Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Register

The last but by no means the least of the awards judged prior to the Classic Motor Show is the Best Club Website category – and our winner this year is the Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Register’s site sunbeamtalbotalpineregister.co.uk.

In the club’s Golden Jubilee year, this all-new website paying tribute to both the club and the cars themselves was more than two years in the making. Clean to look at, fully responsive and packed with information for both members and non-members alike, it’s an asset to the register.

Meanwhile, both wolseleyregister.co.uk, the website of the Wolseley Register, and maseraticlub.co.uk – the online home of Maserati Club UK – impressed our panel sufficiently to be shortlisted for this award.


Lancaster Insurance Sponsor’s Choice: Enthusiasts of British Motor Vehicles Built Before 1985

The first of the awards decided at the NEC Classic Motor Show itself is also a new category for 2019.

The Lancaster Insurance Sponsor’s Choice goes to the Enthusiasts of British Motor Vehicles Built Before 1985 – congratulations!


Most Interesting Selection of Cars: AC Owners’ Club

The first category awarded by members of the C&SC team after pounding the show floors goes to the AC Owners’ Club.

Although it only consisted of six cars, our judges were blown away by the variety of cars on show from a club best known for its sports cars, with everything from a pre-war cyclecar to four-seater GT and a turbocharged mid-engined junior supercar.

We’d also like to hat-tip the Historic Lotus Register and the Toyota Enthusiasts’ Club’s efforts.


Best Themed Club Stand: MG Car Club

This year’s show theme of Top Trumps really gave the clubs something to get their teeth into, making judging this category tricky, but none could beat the MG Car Club with its own Top Trumps deck!

However our judges were also impressed by the efforts of the Droop Snoot Group and the Metro Owners’ Club.


Best Small Club Stand: Peel Owners’ Club

The three stands shortlisted for this award were the Perana Owners’ Club, the Armstrong Siddleley Owners’ Club and the Peel Owners’ Club

But in the end, it’s the Peel Owners’ Club that takes it, charming our judges with seven teeny tiny bubble cars in a light-hearted display.


Best Medium Club Stand: Allard Owners’ Club

In this division, our judges were charmed by the Allard Owners’ Club, the Retro Caravan Club And the Morris J-type Register.

However this year’s Best Medium Club Stand winner is the Allard Owners’ Club, thanks to a marvellous display of eight super-rare examples of a car celebrating its 70th birthday this year.


Best Large Club Stand: Deux Chevaux Club of Great Britain, Citroën Car Club,Citroën Specials Club and Traction Owners Club

The judges were blown away by this year’s winning stand, a marque extravaganza to honour Citroën’s centenary, put together by the joint forces of the Deux Chevaux Club of Great Britain, the Citroën Car Club, the Citroën Specials Club and the Traction Owners Club.

However, with so many other fantastic offerings at the show, congratulations must also go to our two other shortlisted stands from the Bugatti Owners’ Club and the Pre-War Austin Seven Club.


Classic & Sports Car Special Award: Adams Probe 16

This goes to a car that might not make the running for the Car of the Show, but that stole our judges’ hearts. Making our shortlist were Andy Bye’s Rootes Formobil prototype, Malcolm Graham-Jones’ Mk1 Toyota Celica GT, and Colin Feyerabend’s Adams Probe 16.

In the end, we couldn’t resist the star of A Clockwork Orange and the Marcos Owners’ Club display, Colin Feyerabend’s Adams Probe 16.


Car of the Show: 1936 Alvis 3½-litre Airline Pillarless Saloon

It was a tough task judging the prestigious Car of the Show trophy, with so many gorgeous machines to choose from.

Our 2019 shortlisted featured Ann Bradnum’s 1936 Alvis 3½-litre Airline Pillarless Saloon, Hamish Roberts’ mouth-watering Maserati Mistral Spyder and the spectacular Porsche 917/30 on show with Porsche Club GB.

Remarkably, despite being arguably the most discreet of our three finalists, our winner topped the score sheet of every judge. Unique and utterly beautiful, the winner is Ann Bradnum’s 1936 Alvis 3½-litre Airline Pillarless Saloon, part of the Alvis Owner Club display.


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