Ray Humphries has no idea how many cool, classic cars will turn up at Barton Hill on Sunday morning, but that’s part of the excitment of the Car and Bike Show, which raises funds for Shaftesbury Carnival. In previous years, Ray says people have turned up with around 100 vehicles. And some have been incredible.
“I think they called one of them Bigfoot. It’s the type of vehicle where the wheels are nearly as big as a person. One of those turned up three years ago,” said Ray. “The big wide American cars are a good attraction, too. Equally, people like to see some of the older cars that we’ve had in this country for years, like the little old Mini Cooper. My brother has a bright yellow Mini Moke which he brings,” said Ray.
This fundraiser is now an established fixture on the Shaftesbury event calendar. “We’ve done five successful car shows and this is the sixth. It’s proved better and better each year,” said Ray. “People consider it a friendly and relatively small car show,” Ray added.
The event was originally started by two local classic car enthusiasts. “It was Gill and Geoff Wallis’ idea. They’ve moved to America now, as their daughter lives over there. They had a classic car and attended other car shows elsewhere in the country,” said Ray.
So how does Ray define a classic car? “I had to Google that myself to find out,” Ray laughed. “If your car is fifteen years or older it’s a classic car,” he confirmed. “We have ten judged sections. They include American, British and Japanese cars. There’s an award for the youngest driver and categories for the bikes, including Best Bike. Our bike section is growing each year, so we would like to encourage all bikers to come along with their nice, shiny machines,” Ray said.
The vehicle judging is taken seriously. “We have car enthusiasts to judge the car section and bike enthusiasts to judge the bikes. They don’t live in town but they live within a ten mile radius. We do change the judges every two or three years. Once they’ve done a few years they might want to stand back and let someone else have a go. It’s good to bring in different opinions,” Ray said.
Ray says that this Classic Car Show brings people into Shaftesbury from a much wider area. “It’s become quite a popular little show. Sunday is a good day to host it. The event opens at 10am and runs until 3pm. We provide food on site so people can have their breakfast, lunch and tea out, if they want to.”
You can book your vehicle in if you want to. “Quite a few people do phone up in advance. It gives us some indication of how many people are coming, but we will not turn anybody away. We can normally accommodate all people.”
The show is free for the public but the car and bike owners pay to display their vehicles. “The owners are usually proud of their machines and are more than happy to pay their £5 entry fee. It always seems a bit backwards, because they are actually providing the entertainment but that seems to be the way that car shows work. Obviously we’re grateful for any contribution. We’ll have donation buckets around the show this year, so members of the public can help us if they wish,” said Ray.
The money raised will support the Carnival, which takes place on Saturday, 29th of September. “It costs money to put on,” said Ray. “We arrange different fundraisers throughout the year.”
So has Ray become an expert in classic cars? “Oh no, far from it,” he said. “I’m in charge of the barbecue. I do the cooking. I leave all of the professional things to the others. I do enjoy having a walk around the show because I have always been interested in cars, but that’s where my knowledge ends,” he smiled.
The Classic Car Show is on at the Barton Hill Recreation Ground, near to Ivy Cross Roundabout, between 10am and 3pm on Sunday, 29th July. Admission is free. It’s £5 to enter a car, £3 for a bike. Contact Ray at firstname.lastname@example.org for more on bookings or enquiries.