Prescott Hill Climb

Prescott, Gloucestershire, October  6 &7th, Words & Photography: Ben Klemenzson

The American Autumn Classic is held at the Prescott Hill climb, Gloucestershire. This entertaining weekender takes place at the stunning Bugatti Owners club, nestled in the pretty hills above Cheltenham and, for us at least, this has been the last show of the season, before the grand finale at the Classic Motor Show at Birmingham’s NEC in early November. The American Autumn Classic was started a few years ago to add something a bit different to their calendar of events and it’s proved a big hit. The location is simply stunning, with Prescott itself offering a nostalgic look back to a time trials and motorsport of yore…

            A hill climb might not seem immediately obvious as the type of motoring event that would appeal to enthusiasts of American metal, as say drag racing or historic circuit racing… But then you only have to think of motoring challenges like Pikes Peak to realise that really it has just as much appeal to Yank owners plus all the American cars have the opportunity to blast up the hill around lunch time. What’s attractive about Prescott’s American Autumn Classic is that there’s so much going on – the organisers have made sure that there’s plenty of entertainment for the whole family, from live music, to the Demon Drome wall of death and of course the hill climb racing itself, which goes on throughout the weekend.

American owners were invited to display their cars both in the paddock near the start line and the ‘orchard’, a field on the hill below the track where there was live music and dancing, as well as the aforementioned wall of death. Entry was free for American vehicles and there was a real mixture of cars, both in terms of era and type. Ever seen a Lennox Speedster or an actual Steam car? Well you could at Prescott and not only that, they went up the hill too, along with Twenties-era Cadillacs, hot rods, customs and just about every other configuration of American vehicle you could imagine, including war-time era Willys Jeep and a brand-new Dodge Challenger Hellcat.

Of course, if you love your American cars, chances are you’re a bit of a petrol head anyway, and there was plenty there to pique anyones interest; everything from blower Bentleys, to vintage Bugattis, a huge gathering of Indian motorcycles. With a very nice club house serving food and drink with a great terrace to view all the action – it’s a fantastic way to spend the day, as unlike a static show, you got to see most of the cars in action, blasting up the hill. Unlike drag racing however, rain does not stop play; however, Sunday proved to be dry, warm(ish) and even the sunshine made an appearance in the afternoon. What a cracking end to the 2018 car show season…

Footman James & Kingstown Shipping Car of the Year Round 7

The final round of this year’s Footman James & Kingstown Shipping took place on the Sunday at Prescott, which turned out to be the warmer, sunnier and drier day of the weekend, with a lot more American cars attending. Amongst them was this stunning Silver 1964 Cadillac Sedan de Ville belonging to Graham Macdonald from Tenbury Wells, just down the road. Whilst the car has undergone a respray, it’s the stunning condition of all the trim on this car and the interior which is really eye-catching. None of the chrome or mazac trim on the car appears to have been restored, yet there is virtually no pitting or deterioration whatsoever, something one would expect on most cars over half a century old. Likewise the interior is in original, unblemished condition and it would appear the car has never been smoked in, as both ashtrays an cigar lighters are unused. Like they say: “It’s only original once”, and it would seem that Graham has found himself a remarkably original, pampered vehicle that is in extremely good condition and a credit to its previous custodians.

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