Alton's 20th Classic Car Show flew the chequered flag on Saturday attracting some 200 vehicles and hundreds of visitors to the town centre, as nostalgia of the classics met the magnetism of motorsport.
From the majestic 1902 veteran De Dion Bouton and the 1923 vintage American Willys Knight, to Rodin Carlin‘s champion FIA Formula 2 machine, it was a feast for the senses.
And taking pride of place on the podium, to represent the best of both worlds, was Steve Opacic who took ‘Best in Show’ with his impressive Jaguar E-type.
Organised by Alton Lions Club (CIO), this year’s Alton Classic Car Show had all the glamour of the past rubbing shoulders with finely-restored and maintained specimens of classics from across the decades.
For many it was a delightful trip down memory lane, while for youngsters there was an opportunity to sit in Ninja Karts raced by Four Marks brothers Charlie and Finley Weston, or karts owned by Camberley Kart Club.
The sporting theme was further enhanced by an impressive display of classic sports cars courtesy of Jack Rawles Classic Cars, and by battered racing bangers from Tongham Motor Club.
Jamie Oates of Speedworth Fabrications took along his eye-catching Hot Rod Vauxhall Tigre and, for two-wheel enthusiasts, Four Marks MTX and Enduro had a racy range of bikes.
At the opposite end of the spectrum were the vehicles of the future, electric vehicles displayed by Energy Alton.
To further enhance the offering there was a thriving craft market, as well as roving entertainment provided by the Kings Pond Shanty Men, Alton Morris and the Minden Rose garland dancers, Darth Vader and his minions, and the magnificent Alton Rock Choir.
While on the main stage, managed by Catherine Jackson, there was music by Rufus Morgan, George, Band X and Blue Eyed Soul.
The result was a day to remember, blessed by perfect weather and a vibe of enjoyment and fun.
It began for some with an observation run designed by Giles Lock of Top Print, that took participants from Lasham Gliding Club around the villages and into Alton to join the main show. The observation winners were the Tangerine Terrors in a Ford Hot Rod driven by Ash Shakeri from Alton.
In the main show it was a real challenge for the judging teams, who included guests of honour Alton’s deputy town mayor, Councillor Annette Eyre, and Lions District 105SC acting governor, Sandra Manktelow.
The results were as follows:
Best Post 70 : No 75 - Jaguar JYV 544K Lewis 1973
Best Pre 70 : No 175 - MG TC 629 YUW Pyke 1949
American : No 126 - Ford Customline 136 YUN West 1953
Motorcycle : No 178 - M Guzzi 350 M Messenger
Best on Theme : No 172 - Mazda Tribute (Ferrari) Morris 1993
Best in Show : No 101 - Jaguar E-Type ESV 12 S Opacic 1972
In thanking the car owners, exhibitors, performers, craft workers, and visitors for making this, the 2023 Show “a winner”, Alton Lions Club president Moira Baker paid tribute to “our amazing band of volunteer supporters” and to the organising team.
“Led by Alton Lion Mike Baker, they came up with the sports theme and have worked for a whole year to produce what I hope you will agree has been another first-class event,” said Moira.
A special ‘thank you’ went to MC and lead sponsor Dean Phillips, of Little Grey Cells, and to fellow sponsors SpecSavers, Alton Town Council, East Hampshire District Council, Wildly Upbeat Printers and Top Print.
Also to Wey Valley Radio who were broadcasting from the show, to the Alton branch of St John Ambulance, to the Westbrook Guides, the Alton Ambassadors, and last, but not least, “to Alton Town Council for their continued support of the event, and to the town of Alton whose shopkeepers and hospitality outlets always do the town proud.”
Dean Phillips said: “The car show is now the Alpha event of the year for Alton. It’s a good family-friendly event, where there’s always something of interest that can be found for people of any age. We’ve really built on a winning formula.
“The Lions must be commended for keeping this event going and the hard work they all put into it and that’s why The Little Grey Cells is proud to continue its support year on year.”
Money raised during the Show will go to UK charity, Young Lives vs Cancer.
Next year’s Alton Classic Car Show is scheduled to take place on Saturday, September 21.