Classics on the Common isn’t just another classic car show. It’s the country’s biggest weekday classic car show, don’t cha know, with an eclectic mix of more than 1,000 cars taking over the Hertfordshire town of Harpenden for one afternoon in July.
The MR team was out in force at the event – and we’ve each chosen a car we’d like to take home. Click through our gallery at the bottom and let us know if you agree with our choices.
Peter: Ford Galaxie
When I was a kid I used to go to Silverstone to watch the amazing 7-litre Ford Galaxie battling with Jim Clark’s Lotus Cortina and Graham Hill’s Jaguar Mark II. The Galaxie still seems to be the size of a small battleship, and while its immense power worked down the straights, its bulk counted against it during braking for the corners. Exciting racing, certainly. This example has plenty of patina but perfectly encapsulates the spirit of an age of excess. Heaven only knows what you do about garaging it, though.
Bradley: Lancia Delta Integrale
I’m not a big classic car fan like the rest of the MR team, but this Delta Integrale stood out for me. Its 16v 2.0-litre engine would have produced around 200hp when it was new, making it good for a 0-62mph run in 5.7 seconds. That’s quick for a turbocharged hot hatch today, so it’s hard to imagine how groundbreaking the Integrale was more than 25 years ago. It looks stunning, too. I love this metallic red colour.
Andrew: Morris Minor
A classic car show isn’t a classic car show without a Morris Minor, and there were plenty to choose from at Classics on the Common. I’ve got a real hankering for a Moggy at the moment, and this charming 1958 example leaped out, the antithesis to the garish orange Sierra pick-up parked next to it. Its Dove Grey paintwork, complete with a red pinstripe, looked to be in perfect condition, while the revitalised red interior was spotless. Most visitors walked past the humble Morris Minor without giving it a second glance, but it’s the one I’d love to have in my garage more than anything else.
Tim: Renault Alpine GTA Le Mans
A rear-engined 2+2 coupe with a lightweight fibreglass body, the GTA was Dieppe’s answer to the Porsche 911. Unfortunately, it was inferior to a 911 in almost every respect. Its 2.5-litre turbocharged V6 made a modest 200hp and build quality was decidedly ‘French’.
However, none of that matters because, when I was eight, my friend’s dad used to pick him up from school in a red GTA, and I thought it was the coolest car ever. This run-out Le Mans edition (one of 325) is even cooler, with polyester wheelarch extensions stretched over gorgeous ACT split-rims. Thirty years on, I still want one.
Gavin: Saab 95 V4
My father was a Saab man, owning a succession of 900s and 96s, so it was somewhat inevitable that I would drive one of Sweden’s finest at some point in my life. I started early, becoming custodian of a blue Saab 95 V4 at the age of 16. It was part of an ambitious plan to rescue and restore a pair of Saab estates from a garden in Hampshire. Ambitious, but rubbish, as we achieved little more than halting the growth of weeds in the footwell and the chances of a tree emerging through the engine bay. The Saabs were moved on, I bought a Daihatsu Charade XTE, and JTF 538P was last taxed in 2000. I still have its original front grille in the garage.
Richard: BMW 2002 Touring
This beautiful BMW 2002 Touring was like a concept car amid a field full of familiarity. It stood out because it’s such an unfamiliar sight: BMW barely made 25,000 in the early 70s and it was discontinued in 1974: back then, saloons sold way better. This one was gorgeous: totally original, even down to its period number plates, and unsullied in every respect. The silver panels gleamed, the blue-tinted glass showed off an impeccable interior and, all told, it was the car I lingered over longer than any other. A surprise, and a new classic car dream for me.