American Speedfest 2019

American Speedfest VII, Brands Hatch, Kent, June 1-2nd

Words : Ben Klemenzson, Photography: Ben Klemenzson, Zak Stiling & Euro NASCAR

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MSV, Brands Hatch owners, certainly know how to rustle up plenty of American razzmatazz for their American Speedfest event at Brands Hatch –  and this weekend always has plenty of that with NASCARs, cheerleaders, live music, American fast food and just about every type of American vehicle imaginable, as wheel as on-track racing and demonstrations all weekend long. This year, like last year, enjoyed hot dry, sunny weather, with a bit more cloud and a strong breeze on the Sunday which was by far the busiest day.

            On the track was a variety of attractions, including the Whelen Euro NASCAR series, Legends cars, Bernie’s V8s (classic American muscle) and even an opportunity for American car and bike clubs to parade the circuit at the end. The constant track activity made for entertainment in addition to all the other things taking place on site. For kids and families there was an extensive fun fair, as well as a trader’s village offering clothing and merchandise, as well as pitches from Classic American advertisers like David Boatwright Partnership, A-Plan insurance and our very own Car of the Year sponsors, Kingstown Shipping.

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            Although there seemed to be fewer display cars than in previous years, there were still plenty around to enjoy; the fact the UEFA Champions league finals was taking place that Saturday night may have had something to do with this – car shows and hangovers are not a great combination in anyone’s books! It’s always good to see fresh blood on the American car scene and one such newcomer is Adam Card from Dartford, who had brought along his patina’d 1965 Chrysler Newport wagon which he’d acquired from Dakar Imports. Although this is Adam’s first American, he’s obviously a wagon fan as he previously owned a Nissan Stagea… ‘what’s that?’ you say… a Nissan Skyline estate to the uninitiated…

            At the other end of the scale was Max Gordon from Rochester’s stunning 1970 Lincoln Continental; originally brought into the UK by renowned American car enthusiast Dave Harvey which gives it great provenance, this Lincoln really is the proverbial ‘cream puff’ with immaculate paint and interior and is a real credit to its current owner and Dave, who sourced it on one of his annual pilgrimages to Hershey. Mopar stalwart Chris Gaunt had brought along not only his 1966 Dodge Charger – which we featured back in our September 2017 issue – but the latest addition to his Pentastar family, a Dodge Tradesman van, which he’s hoping to convert into a family-friendly camper.

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            There were a few interesting cars up for sale, including a 1973 Ford Gran Torino, mercifully not painted up to look like a Starsky & Hutch car. It had benefitted from quite a few improvements (carb, ignition, new fuel tank, exhausts, shocks and tyres) and seemed reasonable for £9k. Also on hand was Martin Stockwell who had his 1969 Pontiac GTO for sale. This nicely optioned car is painted in a Rover colour, Tahitian Blue, and was up for £30k.

            It certainly seemed like the public enjoyed this show and the busy Sunday is evidence that this is one firm favourite on the American car calendar, despite its relative newness on the scene (seven years and counting!). If you fancy a fun-packed day out, make sure you get it in your diary for 2020!

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****Remember to use the car of the Year logo/badge on this!****

Kingstown Shipping & RH Insurance Car of the Year Heat II

Heat Two of this year’s Kingstown Shipping & RH Insurance Car of the Year competition was won by a car that may look familiar to Classic American readers: this beautiful black 1962 Ford Thunderbird was featured in the May 2018 (no. 325) issue of Classic American. Owner Kevin Moss bought the car in March 2017 and has done a lot of work to it since, including an interior retrim and getting the electric top (including all the original solenoids,) to work reliably – Although as anyone knows with these cars – which utilise much of the retractable technology pioneered on the ’56-’58 Skyliners – they can be a little temperamental.

            The car was originally ordered new by an American serviceman in Germany (hence the speedometer in Kilometres, rather than miles) and is nicely optioned with leather interior, power-windows and –seats, push-button radio and tinted glass. Those Kelsey Hayes wheels were a $373 option, but were added later, as was the fibreglass tonneau. Power comes from Ford’s venerable 300bhp big block FE 390 motor, which is hooked up to a three-speed Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission. This American cruising at its finest!

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