Get ready to spot dozens of interesting old cars, bikes and buses on the roads around Shaftesbury this Thursday, when the Summer Solstice Vintage Vehicle Gathering will attract hundreds of owners and thousands of enthusiasts to the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Showground.
Vintage vehicle owners from all across Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire arrive unannounced and organiser Brian Stiles says there’s always an element of surprise to the event. “Nothing is actually booked in. It is all just a case of turning up,” Brian said.
He expects that there will be some vehicles that are over 100 years old.
The showground will be filled with a large range of vintage vehicles, and not just cars. “You could find a motorbike parked next to double decker bus. A Mini or an Austin 10 could be next to a Triumph, Vespa or Lambretta,” Brian said.
Although Brian has undertaken some vehicle-related metal work and welding at his Gillingham-based business, Stile Metal Craft, he says that this event is his passion rather than being connected to his profession.
“It just intrigues me,” said Brian. “You couldn’t use computer aided design back then. Somebody made these vehicles and gave them a go. If you go back 100 years, the very first vehicles were pretty crude.”
The show has been running since 2013 and Brian chose the summer solstice as the date because it is the longest day. That allows showgoers more time to chat to the vintage vehicle owners.
“There will be probably around 300 vintage vehicles there. By the time you’ve picked ten vehicles and talked to the owners for a couple of minutes each, that’s a couple of hours,” said Brian.
Whether you own a vintage vehicle or not, you can get into the spirit of the event by dressing up in the fashions of the 40s, 50s and 60s. “We didn’t do that for the first three years. It was an idea which just came up,” Brian explained. “Hopefully some of the vehicle owners will turn up in period costume. It gives them the option to get involved with the event,” Brian said.
Food will be available during the afternoon and evening. Brian’s event is free and there’ll be a lottery and fundraising in aid of Cancer Research UK.
Brian is full of praise for the show’s venue, the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Showground. “I think it really lends itself to something of this nature,” said Brian. “If the showground was looked after any better it would be a park,” Brian said, adding, “It has very good access and any vehicle can get in there. It just seemed that the two – the event and venue – seem to go together.”
The Vintage Vehicle Solstice Gathering is being held at the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Showground, just outside Motcombe off the B3081, between 3pm and 10pm on Thursday 21st June.