28 of the Best Photos from Heveningham Concours 2018

Other than Goodwood, Heveningham Concours might be the classiest car event I've ever been to. No, scratch that. It IS the classiest car event I've ever been to.

In many ways it was the highlight of my June/July - the finest cars, the finest weather, in the finest location. From a content point of view too, this event is a creator's paradise - even more so when you have early access to the concours, and use of Auto Ethica's DJI Mavic drone - this really was heaven.

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But the event is so much more than the 30 or so cars parked on the tiered concours area. Stretched over 3 days, the event needs to provide more for attendees, owners, partners and media. And oh boy does it.

Along with a 50-mile road rally route for owners and members to participate in on a quest for lunch, the organisers also staged a quarter-mile hillclimb/time attack/drag strip hybrid event for vehicles like the McLaren P1 GTR you see above, GT2 RS, DS3 rally car, a Peugeot DAKAR truck, and even the World-Record-holding Bugatti Veyron SuperSport.

I have also never seen any car actually be applauded as it rolled up to the start line of a hillclimb - yet in his Ferrari 250 GTO, Nick Mason earned a more than a few cheers as he lined up. Giving it a boot-full up the hill earned him a few more, too.

Applauded as it rolled up to the line...

Applauded as it rolled up to the line...

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In the world of Instagram and social media, exclusive content doesn't come about very often. With the wave of car spotters that storm most events nowadays, capturing those rare, unique photos is getting harder and harder. Luckily, on the Saturday evening, Heveningham provided. Guests were treated to a live band, food, drinks, and a wonderful sunset - in grounds of the hall, surrounded by the finest cars in the world. If you had a camera, now was the time to use it.

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I'll be dedicating an entire blog post to photos of this car.

I'll be dedicating an entire blog post to photos of this car.

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Before March this year, if you'd asked me about Heveningham Concours, I wouldn't have been able to tell you anything. But, 2 months later, what I can tell you is that I'll be going back - year after year.

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Nurburgring & Spa in One Weekend - The Greatest Road Trip of my Life

Get comfortable, this could be a long one...

I'm going to tell you the story of my first road trip abroad - and what a trip it was. 5 days, 3 countries, 2 track days, and a lot of fun.

Greg from Weekend Racer asked me if I wanted to come on this trip 1 month before we planned to leave. I went away to think about it, and about 4 hours later, I figured that I'd be stupid to say no to such an opportunity. So I said yes, and we were on.

The trip began on the Friday afternoon in Oxford, at a friend of Greg's, Charlie. Charlie would be driving his white 997 GT3 out to Europe, and also coming with us was his brother, Todd - an experienced freelancer. Greg and I would be heading there in his 2008 JCW Mini. The plan was to catch the ferry from Dover early in the morning, and then head straight to Germany once we hit Calais.

We got up at 3am on the Saturday, and after pulling the GT3 out of Charlie's garage without waking the neighbours (we hope), we were on our way into the night. At 8am we boarded our ferry, shortly after departing for Calais. It was a beautiful morning for the crossing - we were sat in the lounge right at the front of the boat, with the sunshine and coffee helping to wake us all up.

Landing in Calais at about 10am, we disembarked and hit the road, headed for the fabled Nurburgring. On our way we passed through Belgium to get there, but other than that, there isn't a lot to say. Just miles and miles of motorway...

It was a long drive and I could tell Greg was itching to get off the motorway and onto the famous twisty roads that surrounded the Black Forest. After about 8 hours, his prayers were answered and we finally exited the highway, only to immediately pull over again...

The water sensor on Charlie's GT3 was playing up (a common fault apparently) so he had no idea how hot his engine was. Not ideal. After running a few tests with his code reader, he was confident enough with the car to keep driving and we continued into the hills. Now this is where it starts to get interesting.

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The roads on the way to the 'Ring really are good - twisting in and out of the forests, up and down through trees - acting as a little teaser to what the Nordschleife would bring. Following Charlie and Todd in the GT3  is something Greg and I would become very accustomed to over the course of this trip, and seeing it wind its way through the trees (even at half-pace because of that sensor) was a great start.

We were staying in Adenau, no more than 60m from the famous Adenau bridge - the 'halfway point' of the circuit. Here, you can get on and drive around half of the track for half the cost.

Greg's JCW outside our room. To the right of the image you can see the track barrier.

Greg's JCW outside our room. To the right of the image you can see the track barrier.

We arrived in Adenau at about 3pm, and after checking in we naturally went straight up those steps you see in the above image and started walking up the track. For Greg and I, it was our first time seeing the 'Ring in real life and neither of us could stop grinning or shouting out cars as they came past.

I would be pointing out any Porsches, Hondas, Nissans or Clios I spied, whilst Greg was yearning after the extremely common E46 M3's and less common Minis he would see. All are decent choices for tackling this circuit.

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The plan for Sunday was simple - see as much of the track as possible. Charlie had left in his GT3 to try and get that water sensor fixed (not an easy task on Easter Sunday) so that left myself, Greg and Todd to explore the area. With Todd as our guide, we first headed to the top of the foxhole, and the infamous Adenaeur Forst chicane which catches so many people out. We got there and, well - it was pretty quiet. We saw a few cars come by but then nothing, closed circuit we assumed.

At this point Todd told us about what everyone at the 'Ring was talking about that weekend, the A45 AMG crash at this very corner. The day before we arrived, a white Mercedes A45 had lost control at the foxhole and was actually upside down before even reaching Adenauer Forst:

Luckily both the driver and passenger walked away, but this crash was a stark reminder to me that we were in a legendary, but dangerous place. The Nordschleife is a circuit that demands more respect than most.

Throughout the morning, the three of us must have walked about 5-6 miles seeing various elements of the course - Fuchsröhre, Bergwerk, Adenaeur Forst, Kallenard and Metzgefeld 2. All great viewing locations.

Chicane on the way to Miss-Hit-Miss

Chicane on the way to Miss-Hit-Miss

After our little adventure Todd, Greg and myself headed to the car park to meet with a couple of Todd's friends, James and Lee - also known as Barney and Gams. Don't ask, don't know.

They had both driven over in Gams' recently purchased black E46 M3, and as Greg and I had never been to the Nurburgring before, they offered to take us round. Greg went first, and I did a lap shortly after.

Below is a video of my first Ring lap. Now, I only started recording about 1/3 of the way round, just into the foxhole. No idea why I didn't start before; adrenaline, amazement - I don't know. Either way, if you want to see a fairly quick lap in an M3 with the occasional giggle from me, here ya go! I'll try and explain my experience afterwards.

At around 1:25 you can see our hotel, Hotel an der Nordscheilfe as we approach the bridge. Shout out to them - fantastic hotel, great room facilities, full cooked breakfast and that location is hard to beat.

Before this trip, the only experience I had of the Nordschleife was Forza. Now Forza provides a decent experience (to the extent of me knowing roughly where I was on track) but that's about it.

What the game doesn't provide is the vast elevation changes that the track brings; it can't replicate that 'holy shit!' moment as you fly down the hill at 100mph into the foxhole and see the ascent on the other side approaching you like a brick wall; and it can't throw you about in your seat as you bounce your way around the Karussell, almost losing the splitter as you do so.

The most accurate way to describe the track is like a rollercoaster, and a good one at that. Bars-over-the-shoulder, Space Mountain kinda thing, no lap belts here. It's truly a bucket list item for every petrolhead and I urge you to go there yourself if you ever get the chance. It's awesome.

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On Monday morning, we headed to the famous 'Ring car park. Previously it would have always been full of people turning up at the track and parking up, without even venturing out for any laps. Posers, you could say. But now it's different - the only way to enter the car park is to exit from the track itself, so you can't park in there without driving round now. Better I think, you get some much better cars filling the spaces.

As a Porsche fan, I was in my element. This place is GT3 heaven, with what feels like every other car you see being a special edition 911 of some sort. We spent about 2 hours here, time that flew by for Greg and I - the array of cars was just epic.

Monday afternoon was our time to leave Nuburg, but head to somewhere just as cool. Spa.

On our way down out of the black forest, Greg and I followed a couple of 991 GT3s through the trees which made for a cool photo opportunity. Wanted to mention this because the shots are awesome.

So, Monday afternoon brought us to our second track of the trip, and it's no less legendary than the first. After only 1 hour (I thought they were much further apart than that?!) we arrived at Spa Francorchamps. What. A. Place.

If anything, I became more excited to see Spa than the Nurburgring, because all that infrastructure really adds to the 'racetrack' atmosphere. Back in the Black Forest we stayed in Nordscheilfe area, and didn't really venture in the GP Circuit complex - so seeing the giant Spa pitlane at the top of the hill overlooking Eau Rouge was EPIC.

Another item off the bucket list, stand at the top of Eau Rouge.

Another item off the bucket list, stand at the top of Eau Rouge.

Arriving at Spa at about 4pm, there was nothing for us to see on track, so we headed straight for the hotel. Like our hotel in back in Adenau, Hotel De La Source is also a stones-throw from the circuit. Located just off-site behind the main pitlane, it's ideally located and is a fine place to stay. Not least because there's currently a 993 Cup car sitting in the lobby...

My favourite part of the hotel though, is the underground car park where people store their racecars, obviously. We figured that there must be a curfew for starting cars in the morning (for obvious reasons), because whilst I was in the shower at 7am, I suddenly felt the floor vibrate to the ominous sound of a loud, highly tuned racing engine. I should also explain our room was on the ground floor. Either way, put a smile on my face and is definitely a cool memory.

Coolest hotel lobby ever.

Coolest hotel lobby ever.

The only way to describe the track-day experience at Spa is nothing short of epic. Take a UK track day, multiply everything by 10 (including the weather) and then you have Spa. The pits are a wonderful place to be, and the track, well, that just speaks for itself.

The morning started in a rather wet fashion on Tuesday, with some pretty substantial rain meaning some slow sighting laps, then a handful brave souls hitting the track for some laps after that.

Eventually though, it did dry up and people started heading out. There was a great selection of cars to be seen, everything from the typical track-ready Clio 172, all the way up to a Lamborghini Huracan Performante. Highlights for me included a Guards Red 911 GT3, Subaru Legacy and a DC2 Integra Type R on 5-spokes - it was absolutely filthy, just how a track car should be.

Throughout the day we spent all our time in and around the track, venturing up to Eau Rouge too, watching the cars attack the famous corner. Up there you get a great view of the entire paddock area, and you can see what a mammoth task it must have been to build the place. The terrain is so steep, the pitlane is built on top of what you could call a multi-storey, but built into the hillside. Maaaad.

By this point in the trip, Charlie had finally managed to get that damned sensor fixed on his GT3, which was good news for everyone. Greg and I were particularly pleased, as this meant passenger laps! Again, Greg went first and the pair of them spent about 20 minutes lapping Spa, with Greg emerging afterwards with a grin on his face.

Then after a quick break for Charlie and the car, it was my turn.

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Spa may only be 1/3 of the Nurburgring's length, but it is not any less thrilling, nor is it any less of a workout when you're in the car. Charlie is a really good driver, and he does not baby his GT3 when on track. 

Heading into Eau Rouge out of the pits for the first time was memorable. Similar to the foxhole at the 'Ring, you're flying down the descent. You're inches from the wall on the right, then at the last second you dart left to hit the apex, forced down in your seat as the car sinks into the tarmac at the lowest point. Then, darting right again to ascend up to Radillion blind, which is just incredible. I can understand why so many drivers lose it here, it's a properly scary corner. Charlie didn't though, kudos to him.

It did start to drizzle a little bit whilst we were out there, which made for an interesting moment at La Source. Exiting the corner, the back stepped out a bit due to the rain, and instead of backing off, Charlie rode the slide all the way out, with both the engine and myself screaming. Yeah Tuesday was a good day.

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Wednesday was our final day - so after spending the morning at the track again capturing those last few pieces of content, we left Belgium and headed on our recently agreed detour.

Our detour would put us a couple of hours out of our way towards Calais, but it'd be worth it. We now had a Cayman GT4 travelling with us too, driven by Logan, another of Charlie's friends. He joined us on our return journey, and travelling in our little Mini/Porsche convoy was very cool, as we headed towards Reims-Gueux in the best weather we'd seen on the trip.

What remains of the old Reims-Gueux circuit is absolutely magical. There is no other word to describe it.

It was established back in the 1920s and used to be an 8km triangular road course that was used for all sorts of events, including motorcycle racing and even Formula 1 from 1950 to 1966. The circuit was closed for good in 1972, and now all that remains is the pitlane and grand stands, vintage sponsors and all. 

The sense of nostalgia, history and even mystery you get when you're there hits you like a truck, it's just instant. Heading to the 3rd floor of the tower, looking out of the window frames and imagining drivers fly past in their cars down below is something you need to experience. Plenty of huge names have won here; Fangio, Ascari, Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart and even Bruce McLaren to name a few - this place has so much history that any racing nut would lose their mind here, and rightly so. This is the place I'd want to go back to most, to spend a bit more time there in a classic of some sort would be absolutely mesmerising. Who knows...

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So that, pretty much sums up our road trip to Europe. After Reims, we shot to Calais, grabbed the return ferry and I ended up home about 1am I think. It was an epic, exhausting and down right ridiculous trip, and it's not something I'm going to forget easily. Big thanks to Greg from Weekend Racer for bringing me along.

WR merch, like the crew neck and T-Shirt will be available on the website soon, so make sure you check that out.

Thanks for reading this rather long blog post! If you made it this far, well done, and I hope you enjoyed it! Hit share if you're feeling generous, and keep an eye out for new content. Plenty more to come, thanks people!

Goodwood 76th Members' Meeting - 17th March 2018

Lots of people have said many great things about Goodwood, and rightly so. It's the very pinnacle of classic motoring in the UK, and almost has a 'fabled' aura to it. Ask someone to describe the place to you, and they won't be able to do it without smiling.

I've now been there once, and I'm going to try to explain it. Wish me luck!

On March 17th Auto Ethica and I ventured down to the South to experience the 76th Members' Meeting for ourselves, at the famous Goodwood Motor Circuit. During the journey Dave was telling me that I was going to love the event - and I could tell how passionate he was about it by how highly he spoke.

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The first thing Im going to tell you about the 76MM is that is was cold. Damn cold. Like, can't feel your face for most of the day cold.

While this did make for some challenging working conditions, the photo and video opportunities went through the roof. Take any great Goodwood photo, add snow, and voila. Gold. It's the kind of content that makes you giggle with happiness when you're retouching afterwards.

So what kind of cars were at Goodwood 76MM? Well, that's easy. All kinds. 

One thing that Goodwood is great for is the sheer variety - whilst you obviously have the headline cars like the 250 GTO Breadvan and the parade of Porsche 904s, look a bit deeper and you'll spot some real gems.

The highlight for me though was obviously the Group 5 machines. Before 76MM I wouldn't have been able to tell you squat about Group 5, but now it seems I've developed a passion for these cars similar to that of Group C. It must be the looks that are getting me - there's just so much going on with these cars. You could stare at one for an hour and not get bored.

Plus, twin turbos for the win.

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The icing on the cake has got to be seeing these beast tearing up the Goodwood course in the snow. Sent out in 2 sessions of about 8/9, means you get to see two lots of cars lapping.

It must be absolutely insane to be inside these monsters once those turbos spool up and the boost hits... I recall seeing the famous Moby Dick 935 getting a bit squirrely on the pit straight and lighting up the rears at about 60 miles an hour to the familiar 'whoosh' sound associated with a rapidly spinning impeller. 

I think it's safe to say that my first Goodwood experience was somewhat magical. Surrounded by cars that rarely see the light of day, and then to get snowed on too allowed me to create some truly unique content. I can't wait to go back, hopefully it's a bit warmer next time.

Race Retro - 24th February 2018

'Why haven't I been to this event before?'

That's what I asked myself as I drove home from Race Retro 2018 last week. Held at Stoneleigh Park in Coventry (literally a half an hour drive for me) - Race Retro is an event that brings together some of the world's greatest rally cars, old and new, and shows them off on track to the public at full send.

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I attended the event with Dave from Auto Ethica, and having both never been to the event before, we didn't know what to expect. The plan was to arrive at 9am and leave around midday, having seen some rally cars thrash about on the course. Little did we know we'd not be leaving until gone 4pm... This event really is that good.

Stoneleigh Park is an agricultural industrial park of sorts, and acts like a mini Bicester Heritage - albeit with less photogenic surroundings. Like Bicester though, the various buildings and warehouses actually get incorporated into the event, so in the empty barns you'll find the pit area for the 60+ classic rally cars, and over on the other side of the Exhibition Halls you'll find Silverstone Auctions

What you need to know about Race Retro, is that it's all about the rally cars. New, old, boxy, wedgy, fast, slow - everything from a tiny little stripped out FWD Chevrolet Spark, to Colin McRae's ex-Focus WRC monster. All manner of things can be seen on track, but obviously it's the Group B and A cars that really get the crowd going. As the Audi Quattros and 205 T16's fly past, everyone in the crowd follows with their eyes, like a really bad game of tennis. It's funny to step back and watch everybody spectate, actually.

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Away from the track and into the most surprising part of the day for me, the exhibition halls. Something that I didn't even know existed - it reminds me of the Classic Motor Show at the NEC, lots of stalls selling parts, merch, toys, memorabilia - you name it you can buy it.

But the REALLY interesting part of Race Retro is found in hall 3. On one side of the hall you'll come across a display of about 20 of the finest classic rally cars you've ever seen. A State Express 555 Impreza, Martini Lancia Delta, Honda F1 car and even a Rothmans 911 rebuilt by Prodrive and driven again in Total 911. So, good. But on the other side of the hall...

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The highlight of my day - quite simply - a Silk Cut Jaguar XJ-R9 sitting adjacent to the Henn's Swap Shop Porsche 956. The latter is a livery I'd never even heard of, but before long I'd researched and found that it raced in the 1984 24 Hours Of Le Mans and came 2nd. This car was instantly the car of the weekend for me.

I don't know why but I'm drawn to Group C cars more than any other type of race car - I don't know why but when I figure it out I'll let you know!

Just like the Sunday Scramble, Race Retro is an event that is now marked in my calendar. If you need your classic rally fix, look no further...

Take a look at my images below to see all the good stuff from the day, including that 956...

Ferrari: Under The Skin Exhibition - 3rd February 2018

When Dave from Auto Ethica asked if I wanted to go on a day trip to London to see some Ferraris, what do you think my answer was?

So with that settled, on the 3rd February we hopped on a train from Birmingham to London to visit the 'Ferrari: Under The Skin' exhibition at The Design Museum. 

A bit of background, the 'Ferrari: Under The Skin' display is an installation put together to celebrate Ferrari's 70th anniversary. It features not only cars from the famous brand, but also tells the story of Enzo Ferrari, the ideas and history behind the brand, and some of its greatest creations.

So if you're going in expecting just cars, then you're in for a treat. Amongst the machines you'll find priceless Ferrari memorabilia, wind tunnel models, prototype wooden chassis, and also the driving license of Enzo himself...

Walking through the doors of the exhibition you are instantly greeted by the first car to wear the Ferrari badge (well, a replica) - the beautiful 125S. Seeing it in the flesh is pretty special, and it's much bigger than you'd expect from a 40's sports car.

The next room is filled with memorabilia. A collectors' paradise. Watches, gloves, documents; anything Ferrari related that isn't a car. I was particularly fascinated by the original Ferrari watches (obviously) - these were given as compliments to customers of Ferrari, to go along with their car back in the 50s-60s. What I'd give for one of those...

Moving on, into the largest room of the exhibition. Sitting front and centre is a full-size clay example of the Ferrari J50. This car was created to celebrate 50 years of Ferrari being sold in Japan - and it was debuted at the 2016 Tokyo Auto Show. It's based on the Ferrari 488, and only 10 were built. It's awesome.

Around the J50 you'll also find wind-tunnel models of cars like the 599, Dino and the concept Sigma F1 car - as well as artwork and original concept drawings - priceless artefacts really.

Continuing through the exhibit, into what is probably my favourite room. This area focuses on notable customers of Ferraris and their history. As such, you'll find 5 truly wonderful and varied cars - including an F40 (of course), 166M Barchetta, 275 GTB4, 250 GT Cabriolet and the only Testarossa Spider in the world. Pretty special, that. I spent longer than I care to admit in this room, reading about and staring at these fascinating machines.

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The final section is what might excite the kids the most. Dedicated to Ferrari's motorsport efforts, a banked stage stretches along the length of the section, and sitting on top are 5 generations of Ferrari race cars. Any car nut like me is sure to lose their mind in here - just one glance of the original green 250 GTO is enough to guarantee that. Behind the 250 you'll find 2 more 250 SWBs, and right at the start is the outstanding 1952 625 F1 car. Uhhh....

I'd love to write more about the exhibition but I don't want to ruin the experience too much if you attend yourself! Tickets are available at the Design Museum's website.

Take a flick through my photos below to get a good look inside the display, and for an even more detailed look, watch the video too!

Shooting at The White House Clinic - January 8th 2018

For my first job of 2018, I was asked by Zara at The White House Clinic in Leamington Spa to shoot some bespoke images and create a unique short video to help promote their business via social media.

This is something I happily accepted, as I am keen to try and shoot more interiors this year to build my experience and expand my portfolio.

The White House Clinic specialises in eyebrows and hair loss, and they have recently opened their own training centre in the clinic. The clinic itself is found inside a converted Georgian-era house, with beautiful high ceilings and large rooms.

Considering the building is so old, Zara has done an amazing job creating a thoroughly modern, open and extremely clean atmosphere inside the workspace. White walls all around, giant free-standing mirrors, with white furnishing and workstations create the comfortably bright environment to work, and be a client in. The only dark area in the clinic is the dark grey ceilings, which contrast beautifully against the rest of the space and give the illusion of even more room.

In my shots I wanted to capture all of this obvious dedication to the layout, so with that in mind I stayed low to the ground with a wide lens, often shooting upwards to fully portray that airy environment. Shooting portrait seems counter-intuitive when working with interiors, but when trying to capture that full floor-to-ceiling shot, it really helps.

Couple the shots with a bit of brightening and toning work in post, and I ended up with a wonderful series of images, plus a visually stunning video that showcases every aspect of The White House Clinic.

Tap through the photos below to see my work.

Bicester Heritage Sunday Scramble - January 7th 2018

Ah, Bicester Heritage. Ask any photographer on Instagram what their top 5 favourite classic events are, and I guarantee that the Sunday Scramble will be in there somewhere. What was once an old Ministry of Defence site has now been transformed (and still is under development) into a hive of classic vehicle specialists that collectively buy, sell, restore and race all manner of vehicles from the past. It's incredible to see all this new development dedicated to classic cars, and for that reason Bicester Heritage is one of the most unique venues for a car event in the UK.

The first Scramble of the year, and my first event of 2018 took place on Sunday 7th January, and what a way to kick off the year! 

What you need to know about the Sunday Scramble is that there are no rules or regulations for cars - if you have something that was built before 1989, you're in. It's more of a guideline though, you'll probably get in if you have something worthy, even if it is post '89. But because of this, the Sunday Scramble provides one of the most diverse shows - no, 'gathering' would be a better term - on the calendar.

As a photographer walking round, it's great to know that you are pretty much guaranteed to come across something you have never seen before, such as a Porsche 914 or... oh I don't know... a Leyton House F1 car...

As always, the Porsche Club GB was there in full force. With well over 200 Porsche's turning up, the club actually had Hangar 113 (usually used for storing aircraft - it's massive) all to themselves, sheltering around 100 of the member's cars, with the rest spilling out onto the grass outside. Honestly I could have spent all day in there...

Elsewhere on the site, other gems could be found. Most notably was a rather infamous yellow 911S - and next to it sat F40 BLU - one of only 2 blue Ferrari F40s. So, just a bit special!

Continuing around the site and you'd see a Honda NSX parked opposite a Renault Clio V6, a Toyota Trueno in full Initial D colours next to a pristine FD2 Civic Type R, and if you really snooped around, you'd find a Lancia Delta Integrale EVO with only 8,000 kilometres on it from new, hidden away in one of the converted barns. YES please.

So why do photographers love Bicester so much? One reason;

'It's the WW2 backdrop'

'Oh, yeah definitely the military backdrop.'

'Mate have you seen these hangars?!'

That WW2 history still stands proud at the site of the Sunday Scramble, and us photo nerds love it to bits. Where does a classic car look best? On a disused military base, of course.

The first Scramble of the year was a cold one, but as always it was a fantastic and memorable gathering. I'll definitely be back at Bicester in April for the next one to capture some quality content and meet some great new people. Hopefully it's a bit warmer next time...

Check out a few of my shots from the day below (tap the photo to scroll), and I hope to see you at the next one!