Classic American Stars & Stripes Show 2019

Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire, July 6th & 7th

Words: Ben Klemenzson, Photography: Ben Klemenzson & Gary Chapman

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The Stars and Stripes show has been running for 31 years now, which is quite an achievement for any car show, particularly an American one. Classic American’s parent company, Mortons, bought the show last year and this was the second year that Morton’s show division has run the event, with help from long-time organiser Stuart Holmes.

Whilst there are a relatively few big American car shows in the North now, it seems the Stars and Stripes show has adopted the mantle of the biggest event in the North and as such pulls in attendees from all over the country, including Scotland, the Midlands and the North East, as well as folks from down South and east coast counties like Cambridge. It wasn’t hard to spot one Scottish contingent (Kevin Badcock, John Watt and Tom Donnachie) who’d come all the way from Glasgow and Aberdeen… in their kilts!

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          One of the attractions of the Stars and Stripes has always been the sheer variety of vehicles, not just American cars, but also commercial vehicles, military vehicles, motorbikes, motorhomes, Airstreams… basically if it’s American and it moves it’s eligible. In recent years there has been quite an influx of more modern vehicles, which has not always gone down well with some attendees; however, for some people a new Mustang is not only their ‘American’ car, but also their daily driver and only car. Not everyone can afford a classic American and a daily driver car, so it’s good to see people coming into the hobby whatever American car they drive – even new right-hand drive Mustangs, most of which were grouped together in one area.

          There’s always a wide variety of traders and stalls, as well as food, beer, soft drinks and even ice cream, as well as live music, this year supplied by the excellent Ignition who played four fantastic sets each day and were definitely the hit of the show in the marquee, although boy was it hot in there! Whilst Saturday started off rainy, it soon dried off and many commented on how busy the show was considering it had begun rainy and was a Saturday. Sunday saw sunshine and even busier show field… some would say perhaps a little too busy. Nevertheless, a good time seemed to be had by all admiring all the amazing cars on display.

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          One rod that seemed to be getting a lot of attention was the ‘Cumbria’ Kid reminiscent of the California Kid hot rod, this ’34 Model A belonged to Colin Jackson and was not a slavishly done copy, but a sort of humorous nod/ homage to its West-coast namesake. Sitting by it was an equally impressive Chopped 1950 Mercury belonging to Gary Maguire who’d from nearby Urmston, just a couple of clicks round the M60 Manchester orbital motorway. Nicknamed ‘The Pickle’ its iridescent metallic green paint shimmered in the sunshine… there was just no missing this beauty!

          Also enjoying the sunny weather on Saturday were Keith Overly and Nigel Pindar from Newmarket in Cambridgeshire with their ’66 Pontiac Grand Prix and ’66 Cadillac Coupe De Ville respectively. “We’re parking in the public car park tomorrow” they explained, “as we need to head off before the show ends as we have a long drive ahead” proving that certainly some of the American cars in the public car park on Sunday were there on purpose.

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          Another stunning car was Ian McDonalds ’67 Pontiac GTO which was painted and unusual but very attractive deep purple colour and sat on aftermarked American Racing wheels which also suited it. Lennard Funk, who’s ‘toasty Goat’ ’65 GTO we’ve previously featured (July 2017/issue CA315) had brought along his latest acquisition, a stunning ’70 Chevelle SS with a 350 motor, Muncie ’box and which had been brought in from Waynesborough, Pennsylvannia, expect to read all about this stunning muscle car in an upcoming issue.   It wasn’t all GM muscle though, a doppleganger 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 to the one which took the Car of the Year heat a few years ago was on hand. Owner Ian Bruce from Lincolnshire had brought the orange stunner all the way from Lincolnshire for the day.

          Prize-giving at around 4pm marked the end of another spectacular Stars and Stripes and all that remained was to reveal who was the heat winner of round Four of the Kingstown Shipping & RH Insurance Car of the Year competition…     

Kingstown Shipping & RH Insurance Car of the Year

The heat winner of round 4 of the Kingstown Shipping & RH Insurance Car of the Year competition at the Classic American Stars and Stripes weekend at Tatton Park was this stunningly gorgeous 1958 Oldsmobile 98 four-door hardtop, belonging to Steve Hughes from Conwy, Wales.

And if you think it looks familiar, well, we featured it back in the xxx issue of Classic American. What makes this car extra special is its time-warp condition; it still wears its original paint (which has been worn down to the primer here and there) and its immaculate interior which was preserved by plastic covers for pretty much all of its life. GM  cars from 1958 pretty much had chrome trowelled on the fronts and sides and this Olds is no exception, although some would argue it’s at the more tasteful end of the spectrum!


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