Rally of the Giants 2016



Blenheim Palace, Oxon, July 9 & 10th

It certainly feels like the Pre-’50 American Auto Club has well and truly settled into holding its annual Rally of the Giants get-together at Blenheim Palace. For years it had been held at Knebworth House and that venue’s natural ‘bowl’ setting, with shady trees seeming to be the ideal spot. Moving to Blenheim took the show further north, away from London and the South East and some feared it would impact on attendance, as all those extra miles can make a big difference to older antique and vintage motor cars. However, these fears seem unjustified now; Blenheim is an equally stunning venue and more importantly for the Pre-’50 Club, its owners and management are much easier to deal with and value having the event there.

Article continues below…

Enjoy more Classic American reading in the monthly magazine.
Click here to subscribe & save.

Sunday was the main show day, although this year an unsettled forecast put a dampener on things and the day began looking as if the heavens would open any moment. All things considered, it was a vast improvement on the previous year’s torrential downpours and it may indeed have been the memories of those conditions that put some people off. Nevertheless, there was a healthy turn out of Pre-’59 AAC stalwarts and show field was full by lunch time, just in time for the sun to make an appearance.

The Rally of the Giants – or RoG – is the one event on the American car calendar when, as the club’s name suggests, you can be guaranteed to see one of the biggest gatherings of  Twenties, Thirties and Forties American cars, pick-ups and other commercial vehicles all in one place. Lost names such Packard, Pierce Arrow, Studebaker and Nash all come back to life at this event and it really does have a completely different – shall we say – more refined atmosphere than  some other events on the American car show calendar – more strawberries and cream, blazers and boaters than Guns ‘n’ Roses, Jack Daniels and confederate flags – you get the picture.

Typical of the type of stunning car you can see at this event was David Palmer’s 1936 Packard 1402 seven-seater limousine, fresh out after an extensive restoration. Equally stunning was Miles Bickford from Coven, Staffordshire’s 1937 Buick Century. Despite the Pre-’50 AAC’s name, there’s always a healthy turn-out of later vehicles; Ed Batty from Oxford brought along his new acquisition, a right-hand drive 1966 Galaxie 500, believed to have been sold new to actress Janet Johnson. Rather more unusual was Bob Boswell’s 1951 Chevy Panel van, still wearing its original signwriting from a florists in Massachusetts and a transplanted Camaro/Corvette motor under the bonnet.

Article continues below…

Despite being the UK’s largest gathering of Pre-War and Fifties American vehicles, there are always plenty of other newer Americans on display as well; in fact bringing things bang up to date was Tesla’s stand, with a couple of Model S cars on display. By early afternoon the clouds were back and it looked as though the earlier promised rain was back (it wasn’t!) but this brought proceedings to a swift end with a rapid prize-giving and close of events. We’ll be sure to keep you informed of the dates of next year’s event – although a little bird tells us it’s looking like it will be July 7-9th.

Footman James Car of the Year Heat Winner

This 1933 5 Passenger V12 Town Sedan belonging to Bob Lucas took the fourth heat of the Car of the Year competition. This magnificent vehicle, which weights almost two and a half tonnes, is built on a 140-inch wheelbase and is powered by a mighty V12 motor. With its enormous headlamps and dual spares mounted on the running boards, it dwarfs modern cars and makes its presence known by its sheer size.

Article continues below…

It’s refreshing to hear that Bob treats and drives the car like any ordinary vehicle (it will sit at 60 or 70mph on the motorway quite happily) and when he pops along to the shops in it, parks it across two spaces and buys two tickets! A full feature on this remarkable Cadillac appeared in the July 2014 (CA279) issue of Classic American magazine, or you can pop along to the Classic American stand in Hall 5 at the Classic Motor Show over the weekend of 11-13 November 2016. Make sure you get your tickets in advance! See www.necclassicmotorshow.com or call: 0871 230 1088.


car-of-the-year img_0848 img_0847 img_0845 img_0844 img_0842 img_0841 img_0839 img_0838 img_0837 img_0835 img_0832 img_0831 img_0827 img_0825 img_0823 img_0820 img_0814 img_0812 img_0811 img_0810 img_0809 img_0808 img_0806 img_0805 img_0804 img_0803 img_0802 img_0801 img_0800 img_0799 img_0798 img_0797 img_0796 img_0792 img_0790 img_0786 img_0782 img_0781 img_0779 img_0778 img_0776 img_0775 img_0774 img_0768 img_0764 img_0763 img_0762 img_0760 img_0759 img_0756 img_0755 img_0754 img_0752 img_0751 img_0749 img_0745 img_0743 img_0742 img_0741 img_0739 img_0738 img_0737 img_0736 img_0735 img_0734 img_0733 img_0731 img_0730 img_0728 img_0726 img_0724 img_0723 img_0720 img_0717 img_0716 img_0715 img_0714 img_0711 img_0710 img_0709 img_0707 img_0706 img_0705 img_0704 img_0703 dsc_0036 dsc_0035 dsc_0034 dsc_0033 dsc_0030 dsc_0027 dsc_0026 dsc_0025 dsc_0024 dsc_0023 dsc_0021 dsc_0020 dsc_0019 dsc_0017 dsc_0014 dsc_0013 dsc_0012 dsc_0011 dsc_0010 dsc_0008 dsc_0007 dsc_0005 dsc_0003 img_0861 img_0860 img_0855 img_0854 img_0851 img_0849 dsc_0033 dsc_0016 car-of-the-year-6 car-of-the-year-4 car-of-the-year-3

Article continues below…

Subscribe to Classic American Magazine
Enjoy more Classic American reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Sell your Classic American car here.

Article Tags:

About the Author