Had your fill of the Revival’s race cars, people, and eats? Head to the pastoral field designated for classic car parking just on the outskirts of the event. Take my word on this one—you’ve never seen anything like this. Even if you’ve hit the Cars and Coffee circuit for years, you wouldn’t believe it.
In my mind, the Woodward Dream Cruise is the closest it gets, and even then, it’s not likely you’ll experience the same type of incredible variety. There were so many fascinating cars, it seemed as though the entire enthusiast base of England showed up on the Duke of Richmond’s doorstep. Picking favorites was impossible, but here are some of the more unusual spots.
1959 Falcon Bermuda
Never heard of a Falcon Bermuda? Don’t worry—mystery should be a common theme of this list. Started in 1956 as a kit-car company, the British firm offered handsome roadster and sports car bodies for Ford and Austin chassis. This slightly awkward notchback coupe channels some of the best design ideas of the era, particularly that of the Peerless GT. Speaking of…
I found this excellent Peerless GT at the other end of the lot, one of many British fiberglass sports cars from an era that popularized the affordable and semi-durable material. Unlike the Ford-derived Falcon, the Peerless rode on a proprietary tube frame chassis, powered by Triumph TR3 mechanicals. It’s a sharp looking tourer, with a little Aston, AC, and Sunbeam all folded into the low-riding design. Despite this, only 325 Peerless were made, thanks to high cost and somewhat lackluster production quality.
The plot thickens. Following the end of Peerless, former employee John Gordon teamed up with racer and engineer Jim Keeble to pick up where Peerless left off. Only this time, the 2 + 2 had more firepower in the form of a 5.4-liter (327ci) Chevrolet V-8, putting down a then-impressive 300 hp. Here’s the best part—the marquee badge prominently features a tortoise as the brand mascot.
Ford Zephyr Zodiac
Here’s one of many smaller Fords we never got over here in the States. This is best seen as a stretched version of the contemporary Ford Consul, incorporating similar styling but adding a larger 2.3-liter six-cylinder over the Consul’s 1.5-liter four-banger. The Zodiac nameplate is an upmarket trim of the Zephyr, adding a higher-compression tune and increased standard features like leather trim, two-tone paintwork, and wipers.
Auto Union 1000S
Despite a scarcity in the States, Auto Union made roughly 175,000 of these front-wheel-drive cars, so running into one in the south of England wasn’t a complete stretch. The 1000 was devised as a replacement for the DKW 3=6 (no, that isn’t a typo), sharing a variant of the same 1.0-liter two-stroke three-cylinder.
Just in case you didn’t get enough of the fiberglass Brits, check out this pair of C-V8s. strange stacked headlights notwithstanding, these are fascinating cars, claiming the contemporary title of being one of the fastest four-seaters available when new. Like the Gordon-Keeble, that speed comes primarily from the Chrysler big-block under the front hood.
Aston Martin DBS
The six-cylinder DBS from 1967 to 1972 has the distinction of the last Aston developed under David Brown, before he sold his stake in the company due to financial difficulties. Even when compared to the excessively gorgeous DB6, the DBS is a stellar design, heralding a new era for the British marquee. Like most Astons of old, the DBS utilizes a 4.0-liter six-cylinder, pushing out over 280 hp.