BICESTER HERITAGE is to play host to a weekend celebrating classic cars and driving films this September.
The Classic Car Drive-in Weekend will take place from September 18-20, and will feature more than 500 classic models on display, for sale and on screen. It’s been organised by Brand Events, who have a number of automotive successes under their belt including the London Classic Car Show, Top Gear Live, CarFest, as well as a new series of Drive and Dine events. Bicester Heritage, where the event is taking place, is a campus in Oxfordshire that houses a number of specialist historic motoring businesses, and acts as a de-facto centre for historic motoring in the UK.
The main attraction at the weekend will be a Drive-in cinema experience, a form of entertainment that has seen something of a renaissance over the last few months amid the coronavirus crisis.
A staple of Americana, drive-in cinemas became popular in the 1950s and became famous as spots for first dates (we all remember that scene from Grease). They declined in the 1970s as colour TVs became a staple in households, but are now experiencing a resurgence as people as people are desperate for ways to leave their homes in a socially distanced manner.
The films to be shown all place driving at their fore, and include everything from sixties classics to modern thrillers. Confirmed highlights include The Italian Job (the Michael Caine one, don’t worry) and Smokey & The Bandit, as well as more modern award-winners including Senna, Rush, Baby Driver and Ford v Ferrari. Others include Nascar-centred films Days of Thunder and Talladega Nights and heist films Fast and Furious 7 and Gone in 60 Seconds (the Nicholas Cage one). More films are set to be announced as the weekend draws closer. Organisers say that, with two screens showing three films a day for three days, no fewer than 18 films will be available.
Those who have had their fill of movie binges over the last few months will not be disappointed, though. A host of other events are to take place alongside the drive-in cinema experience, not least a series of demonstration runs and motoring parades, as well as gatherings of more than 25 of the UK’s leading classic car clubs. Organisers are encouraging those who own classic cars to drive into the event, meaning that weekend-goers will be able to spend ample time wandering among some of the best sights and sounds a petrolhead can ask for.
For those who have been saving their pennies during lockdown, Bonhams will be hosting a live auction during the weekend. A full list of cars going up for sale has not yet been announced, but preview lots include a c.1979 Rolls Royce Phantom Limo, which has reportedly been loaned to the Royal Household on several occasions.
Show director Bas Bungish said: “With so many of our traditional motoring attractions being postponed, cancelled or run behind closed doors, we were determined to create a wonderful event for the new normal – and, with The Classic Car Drive In Weekend, we have done just that.
“In these challenging times our priority will always be to provide a safe and secure environment for all our visitors and exhibitors but that doesn’t mean we can’t all enjoy a fabulous day out with friends and family if the right precautions are in place. Indeed, that’s exactly what so many of us have been yearning for.”
In order to maintain a safe level of social distancing, tickets are going to be limited to 10,000 across the weekend (that may sound crammed, but the former RAF airfield where the event will be hosted covers 444 acres). A pre-sale will be taking place tomorrow before general sale commences on Friday. Tickets are available here.