Supercars & Classics Weekend ... Stonor Park


Stonor Park, 21-22 May, 2022

The Supercars & Classics Weekend was held in the bucolic setting of Stonor Park, a deer park, set in a valley in the Chiltern Hills in Oxfordshire, about 4 miles north of Henley-on-Thames. Stonor House, the home of many generations of the Stonor family for some 850 years, with its immaculate red brick façade, formed the main backdrop to the event. As one might imagine with a building whose roots go back to the 13th century, it is steeped in history, notably with the preservation of Roman Catholicism in England following the formation of the Church of England by Henry VIII in the 1530s. The house has also featured in a number of films and TV shows over the years, including the James Bond film “The Living Daylights” in 1987, and more recently in an episode of the BBCs “Antiques Road Show” aired in February 2021.

Apart from the magnificent setting, participants and visitors enjoyed perfect weather over the weekend, with blue skies dotted with some light cloud and pleasantly warm temperatures in the mid twenties. Of course the main raison d’etre of the gathering was the selection of cars on display, which drew large crowds on both days. It was also nice for those attending on both days, that there weren’t all the same vehicles on the Sunday as on the Saturday. An example being that there was a strong Lamborghini presence on the Saturday, but less so on the Sunday, although the Aston Martin presence appeared larger on the Sunday than the Saturday, whilst there was a broad selection of Porsches on both days. Amongst the cars on display over the weekend, there were some rarities, including a pair of Gordon Keebles, the mid-sixties British supercar of its time with a 5.7 litre Chevrolet  engine as motive power, an Aston Martin Lagonda, the four door wedge shaped saloon produced from the mid-seventies through the eighties, a 1963 split-window Corvette Stingray and a Jensen CV8. There were also some Cobra replicas in various guises, a Hawk Stratos in Alitalia livery, a Ferrari 330 P4 replica and a GTO Engineering built Ferrari 250 GT SWB “Revival” (as they describe it), plus a unique Sturgeon. This was built by the owner to pay homage to the HWM racing car of the forties, featuring period mechanical components, including a forties Lea-Francis twin cam engine, installed in a MG chassis with suspension, steering and brakes from the same source. If Americana was your scene, then there were Corvettes and Mustangs, along with a Dodge Charger and Challenger, plus the ultimate in fins and chrome, a bright pink with white upholstery, 1959 Cadillac convertible. At the opposite end of the scale the Fiat 500 Club had a nice display of variants of the model through the years.

Enthusiasts of the “Cavallino Rampante” were well catered for, as the Thames Valley Area Group of the Ferrari Owners’ Club had an expansive display area at the foot of the slope fronting Stonor House. The display featured models ranging from a Dino 246 GT, through a variety of predominantly eight cylinder models, from a 308 GT4 on the Sunday, through 328, 355, 430, 458 and 488 variants on both days, to the recently announced SF90 Stradale Spider, which attracted a great deal of attention on the Saturday. As with a number of the other club displays there was a change of some of the cars on display on the Sunday. However, there were further Ferrari models spread around the show field on both days, including a 330 GT 2+2 on the Saturday, whilst on the Sunday there was the fixed roof SF90 Stradale and an 812 GTS in attendance.

On the Saturday afternoon visitors were treated to a flypast by a Spitfire, whilst on Sunday morning the skies were darkened by the mass of a Lancaster Bomber. A surprise for visitors on the Sunday was an appearance by Brian Johnson, the front man of the legendary rock group AC/DC, who is also a great car enthusiast. There was also an expansive food court catering for a wide variety of taste buds, plus an eclectic vendor area with items ranging from scale models, through art, wine tasting, antique bric-a-brac to metal and wood sculptures, together with the Mercedes F1 simulator, so something for all ages and tastes.

Keith Bluemel