Racers and rarities at aerodrome

This year’s Pistons and Props fixture, held at Sywell Aerodrome on 26-27 September, proved to be a richly varied gathering, with entertainment for all tastes and a fine selection of vehicles. With its period buildings, the Northamptonshire airfield allows enough space for more than just a static show, and visitors could enjoy the spectacle of drag races, karting, and demonstrations of singleseaters, motorcycles and Group B rally cars on the mile-long runway.

The drag racing in particular attracted good crowds, with the vehicles ranging from classic ‘rails’ to manic Fiat 126s and Don Scott’s Plymouth Superbird. Plane-lovers had all they could wish for, with Seafire and twinseater derivatives of the Spitfire up in the air for generous spells, plus equally long demonstrations of a Hurricane and a DC-3 Dakota. Car clubs were wellrepresented, including some that are less often seen, such as the AJS Nine Car Club and theBerkeleyEnthusiasts’ Club. The former’s stand created much interest with the sole Jensenbodied Nine, which is being recreated by Peter Hubbard purely from photographs – and using ash cut down from his garden.

Rarities to be encountered elsewhere among the showfields included two examples of the illfated Marcos Mantis, a superb BMW328 and one ofthe estimated 16 surviving Slough-built Citroën Traction Avantroadsters TheGerman town of Aachen was overrun by an array of Stuttgart’s finest on 27 September for the sixth annual ClassicDay celebration, which this year was dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the 911 turbo.

Nearly every variant of turbocharged Porsche was represented at the well-supported event, from early 930s through to a monstrous 962C, plus a selection of 934 and 935 racers. An immaculate 964 turbo S with just 1700km on the clock made a rare outing from Porsche’s museum in Stuttgart – as did René Metge’s 1986 Paris-Dakarrally-winning 959.The crowd’s favourite, meanwhile, proved to be the ex-Jacky Ickx 936 in which the Belgian won the 1977 Le Mans 24Hours alongside Jürgen Barth andHurleyHaywood.

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Despite a strong motorsport offering, one of the event’s main draws came from the clubs’ parking area, which once again turned up a number of gems. A completely unrestored 356 1500 wearing its originalred paintwork and fittingly registered onValentine’sDay in 1955 was chief among them. It was joined by a narrow-bodied 911, which was delivered new to the USA in 1966. In contrast to the earlier car, it had been the subject of a concours-standard restoration.

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