Lamborghini put on a great show for fans at the Cholmondeley Pageant of Power
This 24-litre Napier-Bentley was one of the stars of Cholmondeley
Caterham SP300R during lift-off on a high-speed run
Aston DB5 is a previous concours competitor
Vauxhall VXR8 Tourer touches down over the bridge past castle bend
The Brutus Experimentalfahrzeug (experimental vehicle) uses a 47-litre BMW aero engine as used in various 1930s aircraft
This Jaguar Mk1 is a genuine works saloon racer
The Porsche Carrera GT is still a standout sight, even in this rarified company
Short wheelbase Quattro drew crowds all weekend
Aston's latest Vanquish was piloted by Aston GT4 regular, Richard Hope
Chevron GT3 was driven by Jordan Witt who campaigns one in the British GT Championship
Ferrari F40 continues to be a crowd favourite
Packard Bentley packs a 42-litre marine V12 reputedly developing 1500bhp
Autocar's Lewis Kingston pushed the Infiniti FX Vettel to a best time of 79.57s
Tiny Elva Mk7 featured in the same Sports Racing Cars class as the mighty Jaguar XJ200 GT
Bentley is another model to go airborne in the final stages of the climb
Marshalls ready a Ferrari 308 for a high-speed run
The Morgan Three-Wheeler continues to raise a smile wherever it goes
BAC Mono's styling was inspired by an F-22 Raptor jet. At Cholmondeley it behaves like one
Mustang Mach 1 represents the muscle car contingent
The Gallardo Roadster is part of Lamborghini's 50th birthday celebrations
Noble M600 is among the stars of the Autocar supercar paddock
Morgan Aero Supersports returns fresh from a charity trip to northern Norway
Bentley's Continental GT3 is in attendance for the first time in the UK
Cholmondeley is Bentley's home event, just several miles from its factory in Crewe
Standard production cars are invited to drive the circuit
The Continental GT Speed makes its UK debut
Two Protons and a Mini line up behind Cholmondeley's start line
Bob Beales' Beetle has been rallying since 1960
Group A Rover Vitesse features period livery
No parade of rally cars would be complete with an Integrale
Hot Vauxhall Chevette HSR is another car with period decals - this time from Dealer Team Vauxhall
This Sunbeam was originally a standard GL, but is now a historic rallying regular
The Aventador is part of Lamborghini's 50th anniversary celebrations at the show
The Jalpa was the Gallardo of its era - far cheaper than the flagship and named after a breed of fighting bulls
Bentley's Flying Spur makes its first outing
Aston Martin DB2 makes a run as part of the firm's centenary celebrations
1934 Aston Martin Ulster could break the 100mph barrier
1937 Böhmerland Langtouren has the longest wheelbase of any production motorcycle
An Aston Martin V8 joins a mk1 DBS
Aston Martin is displaying its current models as well as cars of yesteryear
Richard Noble has bought along this full-scale replica of the Bloodhound
This RIB uses a 250-hp Honda outboard motor for power
Proof that the skies were blue and the sun shone on Saturday
The tree-lined course leaves little room for error
A Wales Rally GB display includes Colin McRae's Ford Focus WRC...
... and it is just one of the many famous rally cars on show
If you're going to drive a Morgan, you may as well fly the flag with it
Cholmondeley isn't just about four wheels...
... as this rapid biker demonstrates
The course isn't without its hazards
This jump is the go-to place for iconic photos at Cholmondely
The variety of cars on show ensures there's something for everyone to see...
... with even young children's tastes being catered for
A Noble M600 lifts its front wheels...
... while Autocar's Lewis Kingston takes to the skies again
The Cholmondeley course is rated by some as being a tougher challenge than Goodwood's hill
As at Goodwood, there's plenty of action away from the hill course too
Bentley's Le Mans winner celebrates the tenth anniversary of its victory in style
Where Autocar goes, the best cars follow... We support the supercar paddock
Breathe in a bit. Course is very narrow in place
Toasty... butter not included
It's not just the weather that lends the Pageant of Power a very British feel
And you thought threading a 1970s F1 car up a garden path was hard...
The Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse has a ferociously high top speed of 254.04mph
Its 8.0-litre W16 engine is stated to produce 1184bhp and 1106lb ft.
The Vitesse costs around £1.9m
Variable weather and fantastic cars always seem to go together at the annual Cholmondeley Pageant of Power, and this year’s event, the sixth, excelled in both things, featuring a crop of remarkable machinery never seen at the event before, plus a selection of weather that ended for once on the best possible note.
Things looked distinctly iffy on the opening Friday, when a cloudburst briefly halted a supercar cavalcade from Manchester to the event site, but perfect conditions on the climactic Sunday showed at last just how welcoming and enjoyable the Cholmondeley Castle estate, near Chester, can be in streaming sunshine, and how quick and challenging the track is when completely dry.
This increasingly popular all-comers motoring festival-cum-sprint — which also features regular air displays and watersports events on the large lake that flanks the start-line — led to a titanic battle in most classes, notably in the Autocar-sponsored classes for supercars and track-day cars.
The three-day audience topped 60,000 people for the first time (a 15 per cent increase) and as a result the event was better supported than ever by the motor industry’s big names, starting with Bentley, celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Le Mans win in 2003, and whose HQ is only about 15 miles away in Crewe.
“We’re delighted with the way things came together,” said event director, James Hall. “The weather kept improving through the weekend. When on Saturday morning I saw Brutus, the 46-litre BMW aero-engined special from Germany, set fire to the grass as it drove away, I knew the weather was going to be with us this year. And Sunday — Father’s Day — was truly fantastic.”
The headline battle for fastest time of the meeting — and because of the ideal conditions, a new course record — was between Caterham’s SP/300R and Radical’s RXC. Radical’s Robbie Kerr, a well-known single-seater driver, settled the argument with a time of 55.29sec, beating Scott Mansell’s second-fastest Caterham by 1.3sec on a storming final run of the weekend, which also chopped around five seconds from the existing outright record.
The same field featured a deadly battle between an Ariel Atom 3.5 (not the V8 this year but the more affordable supercharged Honda version) and one of its marketplace rivals, the BAC Mono. Both are road-going cars whose waiting lists have defied parlous economic times, with victory in a three-day battle going to Niki Faulkner’s Atom with the remarkable Sunday time of 61.18, that shaded the Mono by a second.
“It’s a terrific result for us,” said Ariel boss Tom Siebert. “Our car’s a genuine road-going machine with an MoT — you could drive it home — and it costs a fraction as much as others in the business. We proved something today.”
As usual, the Cholmondeley pageant was stuffed with cars rarely seen in the ‘soft south’, prominent among them Kevin Wheatcroft’s magnificent W125, a nut-and-bolt recreation of the most evocative of all pre-war “Silver Arrows” (diplomatically not sporting a Mercedes-Benz star on its bonnet), which sounded fantastic, even on gentle shakedown runs. The car can be seen most days at the nearby Donington Collection of singe-seat racing cars.
Peter Neumark brought his famous Jaguar D-type, OKV1, a finned, short-nose which was the second D ever built and the earliest of a trio entered at Le Mans by the factory for 1954. It finished second in the 24-hour classic.
As ever, automotive anniversaries partly guided this year’s Cholmondeley car selection. Aston Martin led the whole event with a class of a dozen fine cars, from pre-war Ulster to the very same Vanquish, registered 100YRS, which Autocar used to cover the recent Nürburgring 24-hour race. Aston owners energetically supported it in a special trackside parking areas.
Bentley marked its decade-old win by bringing its Le Mans-winning Speed Eight — and had winning driver Guy Smith on hand to demonstrate it with verve — hitting 112 mph on what, for a car like this was an exceptionally tight track — and chatting cheerfully to fans on all three days.
They also showed an extremely promising-looking racing Continental GT3 racer, due to make its race debut later this year. Lamborghini, 50 years old this year, was well represented by dealers and owners, and a mighty Maserati 250F, driven with verve by Andy Willis, showed what the greatest Italian grand prix cars looked and sounded like 60 years ago.
As usual, the Autocar paddock for road-going supercars attracted the biggest crowds, and many showed a surprising turn of speed on what was for them a narrow track that demands lots of acceleration and excellent brakes.
Tim Marshall-Rowe brilliantly defended Lamborghini’s honour with the outstanding time of 62.64 seconds in an LP570 Superleggera to beat a field of what featured big names like Andy Wallace (Bugatti Veyron), Guy Smith (Bentley Continental GT Speed), Anthony Reid (Noble M600) and Derek Bell (Bentley “ice record” cabrio).
The event concluded in streaming sunshine, with the Fathers’ Day punters universally regretting it had ended. “I’ve had an amazing time,” said one. “At one stage I was trying to watch Brutus, a bloke on a flyboard, and the Avro Lancaster — all at once. That’s not a problem you have anywhere else...”