Frankie’s Classic Car Fest 2019

Frankie’s Classic Car Fest is an annual car show held at Ford’s Technical Center at Dunton, which raises money for the St Francis’ Hospice in Romford.

It was a HUGE event! I arrived at about 10:30 and there was a long queue of people which hadn’t really died down by midday. Sadly, some people were turned away, but by the volume of people that did turn up, I think it’s safe to assume that a lot of money was raised for the hospice!

As the event was held at a Ford facility, the majority of cars on show were made by Ford. As it is the 50th anniversary of the Capri platform, there was a display of Capris on Dunton’s test track.

I’m not an expert of any kind on the marque, so please do let me know if I’ve made any mistakes.  As an Essex lad, I should know more about them than I do!

There were a number of Sierra Cosworths on display. The Sierra Cosworth was developed to compete in the FIA’s “Group A” category of touring car racing and rallying. As a base car, the Sierra was very aerodynamically efficient and was front engined and rear wheel driven, which long term viewers of this blog will know, is the correct way of building a car.

With Cosworth’s turbocharged YB engine, the Sierra really came to life. They weren’t just successful race cars, but were practical road cars with the performance of a super car.

However, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Sierra Cosworth, along with the Lotus Carlton, became very desirable cars for criminals. If you wanted to rob a post office, either car would comfortably seat your whole crew, you could throw your bags of cash in the boot and the police couldn’t field anything that could catch them.

Sadly, a lot were stolen and then crashed or set fire to.

As time went on they’ve become a very collectible car. The YB is capable of holding a lot of power, so they’ve become popular with tuners, and collectors appreciate the historical significance of the car.

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Base model Sierras are also becoming more and more collectible. A few years ago, you could pick up a ‘normal’ Sierra for next to nothing, but they are soaring in value now.

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Another successful platform in motorsports for Ford were the Mk1 and Mk2 Escort. They are very collectible now. Completely rotten cars (as in you’d need a dustpan and brush to bring it home rather than a recovery truck) have been selling on eBay, and other sites, because they have a VIN number that has motorsport heritage or came off of one of the higher spec cars like the Mexico.

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The Mk1 Escort estate was a really cool car!

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There were also a surprisingly large number of Mk3 and 4 Escorts. I can’t recall the last one I saw on the road.

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The Fiesta is Britain’s biggest selling car. The modern iterations of this car really are everywhere! It’s nice to see some of the older ones being shown. The Mk3 from the early-mid 1990s was a great car in my opinion. One of the few Fords I’d really like to own.

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It’s nice to see some early Mondeos being preserved. You can occasionally see Mk2s out and about but it’s really rare to see a Mk1! This K reg car looked immaculate! It was my favorite of the Fords by far. It was very nearly my car of the show, but that honor will go to something else.

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There were several cars present from Ford’s American division:

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This Thunderbird was gorgeous!

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What would you have; the Ford Ranchero or Chevrolet’s El-Camino?

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I didn’t see any El-Caminos, however there were a few other Chevrolet pick ups:

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There was a nice array of BMWs on show. There were a few E30s, though they were popular with the crowds so I only managed to snap a couple:

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E36s are beginning to get onto the classic scene. As drifters, we’ve butchered millions of these cars. I’m sure we will regret that in years to come.

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My favorite BMW in attendance was this wide arched, Marlboro liveried 2002. It was beautifully presented!

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It was very close to being my car of the show, but that’s yet to come.

There were a few Japanese cars in attendance. Here we have a C210 Skyline. The first I believe I’ve seen in person.

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Who doesn’t love a Mk1 MX5? They are like original Minis, you just have to smile when you see one.

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There were a number of Jaguars and Daimlers on display. Much like Mercedes, I think the older a Jaguar gets, the cooler it becomes.

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The 420G below is a fantastic looking car. Again, I think this is the first time I’ve seen one of these in person.

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Early Rovers are incredibly cool too!

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It’s hard to believe that the company that made the P4 went on to make the last iteration of the Metro. The Rover Metro is an interesting little car though, it’s nice to see that some have survived.

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Another car that must be pretty rare now is the Mk2 Vauxhall Cavalier. A gentleman that lived a couple of streets away from me childhood home used to own one when I was about 5. I don’t think I’ve seen one since.

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The Omega on the other hand we’ve seen plenty of. They are popular cars for cheap drifters. This police car was well preserved.

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The display of Capris, celebrating the platforms 50th anniversary was huge. It has to be one of the largest gatherings of Capris!

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I love the 1970s Shane and Clare window stickers!

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There were a number of Tickford Capris on show. These were somewhat akin to the Koenig BMWs or Brabus Mercedes of the time. Tickford made a number of modifcations to each car, most notable turbocharging the 2.8 Ford ‘Cologne’ V6.

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This was extreme for a European chassis haha!

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Hiding at the end of the Capri display was a RS200, a sports car built for homologation for Ford’s Group B rally program. Thre was a note on the window explaining that the car shouldn’t be revved past 1500RPM until 30 seconds after cold start which I thought was a nice touch.

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That leads us finally onto my car of the show. It’s something that’s

The Reliant Ant/TW9. It is clearly still used, is practical, very rare, probably very fun to drive and is something that I’d never heard of before this day.

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Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed! A big thanks to Dunton for hosting such a great event. I hope a lot of money was raised for the hospice.

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By Richard Francis

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