Driving the past into the future
by David Milloy
If you think nostalgia isn’t what it used to be then perhaps you should spend some time with classic car enthusiasts; chances are you’ll swiftly change your tune. And as it happens, Ayrshire is home to a club that caters for classic car owners, no matter what their car might be and irrespective of how old or young it is: Ayrshire Classics.
The club’s inclusivity is a point that club Chairman, Francis Fisher, is keen to make.
“We’re a friendly club that’s open to classic car owners of all ages – our youngest member is 18 and some of our members won’t see 70 (or even 80) again – and to all makes and types of car. If you think your car is a classic, then as far as we’re concerned it’s a classic.”
Indeed, it’s fair to say that the club, which has around 140 members at the moment, is home to an eclectic mix of cars.
Founded in 2004, the club has run a successful annual car show in Kilmarnock for a number of years. The show was initially held at Dean Park but later migrated to St. Joseph’s Academy. Now known as ‘Cars on the Campus’, it has gone from strength to strength. Indeed, as Francis Fisher reports, 2023 was the show’s most successful year to date, with a combination of lovely weather and a record entry of over 300 cars combining to attract a healthy number of visitors.
As its name suggests, Cars on the Campus isn’t exclusively focused on classic cars, with the presence of both modern and modified cars serving to broaden its appeal. Indeed, anyone can display their car at the show, either as an individual or as part of a car club. The only restriction is one of space – it’s a popular show so anyone thinking of displaying their car at it would be well advised not to wait till the last minute before trying to book their slot.
This year’s event also saw the club present cheques to two charities, with the sum of £720 being donated to The Ayrshire Hospice, and a further £250 being donated to Street Pastors, a non-denominational organisation which is committed to improving community welfare on the streets.
The club also runs a smaller show, with only club members’ cars being on display, at the Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway. Around 50 cars attended this year’s show, held on a particularly warm and sunny Sunday, with those on display including a 1924 Humber 11.4 All-Weather saloon, the only surviving example of that model in the world, a Chevrolet Bel Air (as well as two Corvettes), a Ford Capri 280 ‘Brooklands’, two MGB roadsters, an Audi Ur-Quattro, a Mitsuoka Viewt, and a Volkswagen Beetle which had been given the ‘Baja Bug’ treatment by its owner. Indeed, such was the range of vehicles on display that anyone with even the slightest interest in classic cars would have had no difficulty in finding one (or, more likely, many) that appealed to them.
With the club’s 20th anniversary on the horizon, Francis is quick to point out that the enthusiasm and support of its members, particularly those who have served on the committee, are amongst the most important reasons for its continuing success. As he puts it, “A club is only as good as the people in it, and this is a good club.”
Club members gain free entry to Cars on the Campus and subscription via club membership to both the Scottish Vintage Vehicle Federation and the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs. The club also holds monthly meetings for members as well as other social events during the year and often receives invitations from organisations to display cars.