A different kind of horsepower at Ayr Racecourse
by David Milloy
Around 3000 people attended the third Ayrshire Motor Show held at Ayr Racecourse on 27th May, 2023.
The show catered for fans of classic, modern, and modified cars, with the 200 vehicles on display ranging from a 1957 Chevrolet 3200 Stepside to an Audi R8 with a chromatic paint finish.
Amongst the many modified cars on display, which included gaggles of lovingly prepared Ford Fiesta STs, Subaru Imprezas and Mazda MX5s, Ross McMillan’s immaculate Subaru Impreza STi was particularly eye-catching, it being the only car on show which had a fully functional video games system set up in its boot!
There was plenty for fans of classic cars to enjoy too, with stand-outs including a trio of Ford RS models in stellar condition: a mark 1 Escort RS2000, a mark 2 Escort RS 2000 Custom with a transplanted 2.0 litre turbocharged engine as fitted to the later Sierra RS Cosworth, and a Sierra RS Cosworth hatchback.
Another rare RS Ford was Ryan Govan’s beautiful Ford 1991 Fiesta RS Turbo, one of only 90 or so still on the road in the UK. A longtime fan of the Fiesta RS, Ryan purchased his car from its first owner in 2019 and has since spent many an hour in bringing the car up to its present condition, even going to the trouble of sourcing a number of rare accessories offered by Ford during the model’s brief production run. It is, he tells us, a keeper.
If the fast Fords looked even better than they did when they rolled off the assembly lines, the paintwork of David Hunter’s 1957 Chevrolet 3200 Stepside pick-up gives the impression that it’s led a very hard life. On closer inspection, however, it becomes apparent that the Chevrolet’s distressed paint finish is actually a clever effect rather than being due to wear and tear. It’s an effect that doesn’t extend to the picture-perfect engine bay or the carefully restored seats and dashboard.
David became a fan of Chevrolet pick-ups with distress-effect paint jobs after seeing a TV show about them when he was 13. He decided there and then that he’d own one some day, and now he does. It’s everything he hoped it would be, and well worth having waited for.
By way of contrast, Jim Smith’s Ford Cortina looks like it’s been wrapped in cotton wool and kept locked away in a heated garage since it first left the showroom in 1966. But this too is a false picture, for it has covered 218,000 miles. Everything about it is perfect, from the original interior to the gleaming Alpina Green paintwork. Little wonder, then, that it won a trophy for being the Best Classic at the show. It’s no Garage Queen, though, Jim and his wife Anne having driven it up from Gretna to Ayr for the show. Indeed, Jim reckons that he covers around 6,000 miles a year in it.
Somewhat more modern was the Peugeot 306 Cabriolet brought to the show by Michael Gladwell and his father, Steve. At the age of 22, Michael is very much a fan of modern classics, owning two other Peugeot 306 Cabriolets plus a seventh generation Toyota Celica.
In addition to the vehicles on display and a selection of trade stands, the show also featured displays by the Two Brothers Racing Stunt Team, who showed off their motorcycling skills to an appreciative audience. And for those of more tender years, amusement was provided by popular children’s entertainer, the appropriately named Road Runner. It all added up to a good day out.
The organisers of the show also run the Dumfries Motor Show, which will be held on Saturday 13th August. Further details and advance tickets for this can be obtained at