Wheels Day 2011
Date: April 22
Place: Rushmoor Arena, Aldershot
You can’t talk American cars shows in the UK without mentioning the weather (maybe it’s a British thing) and for the Surrey Street Rodders the weather for the last few years has not been kind to their Annual Wheels Day show. For many folks it’s the season opener for the car show calendar, although recently that’s meant lots of wellies, Sou’ Westers and umbrellas as it rained/sleeted/hailed its way through Good Friday.
Not so this year – the heavens smiled on the Surrey Street Rodders and it was sun, sun, sun! This April was been the hottest on record, and the weekend kicked off a marathon couple of weeks of sunshine and warmth, with temperatures in the 20s. You can gauge the success of an American car show on the lengths of queues to get in and the number of expired cars en route (usually with steam pouring from underneath the bonnet) and at this year’s Wheels Day there were plenty of both, with a virtually full showfield by midday.
What marks Wheels Day out from many of the shows we attend is the sheer variety of cars on hand; it’s certainly not exclusively an American event, with lots of rods, customs, Volkswagens, English classics and everything weird and wonderful inbetween. Having said that, there were some outstanding American cars which caught our attention.
Certainly the vehicle with the biggest crowd around it all weekend was the customised 1959 El Camino belonging to Dave and Sue Wright, whose Corvair appeared in Classic American in February 2007 (issue 190). Featuring the Wright’s trademark metalflake roof treatment, the car had apparently been painted by Gene Winfield and truly was a crowd puller.
Other stand-out cars included Stewart Arthur’s 1970 Plymouth Sport Fury, David Myer’s 1955 Chevy Handyman wagon, Tim Marotto’s 1980 Turbo Trans Am, David Deadman’s Fifties Cadillac (which had been totally restored) and of course the amazing 1968 Camaro Z28 belonging to Gavin Shaw and which scooped the Footman James Car of the Year heat.
With commentary by John Price, live music and plenty of car related stalls (now that’s a refreshing change), it was always going to be a great show… so great in fact, that they ran out of beer. Here’s hoping 2012’s Wheels Day is blessed with such fantastic weather and cars.
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Words & Photography: Ben Klemenzson & Ed Hall
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