:: Stonor Park 2005 ::
Having never been to the ever popular Stonor Park show, and living only 30mins from the venue, it seemed rude not to pop along this year and check it out. The Met Office did not help matters by providing a wide range of conflicting weather forecasts over the proceeding 24 hours. However, come Sunday morning we gave up paying attention to the forecast and just looked out of the window to see fine weather, before making lunch and setting off.
The show venue is set in the heart of the Chiltern Hills just outside Henley On Thames and is within easy reach of a large portion of the country. The event is set up in the grounds of a rather pretty stately home and the very reasonable £6 entry fee also includes access to the house. On offer are the usual trade stands, auto jumble, cars for sale and show 'n' shine/concours, but what makes this show special is that it effortlessly blends water cooled VWs with their air cooled counterparts.
This makes for an appealing change to the row upon row of Mk1, 2 and 3 Golfs on display at most of the mainstream shows and also attracts a much wider variety of enthusiast. It was refreshing to see and meet so many friendly laid-back enthusiasts of both water and air-cooled cars.
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It is the first show we have attended that could also be described as a 'day out for the whole family' with the venue and atmosphere lending themselves perfectly to a hearty picnic or barbeque. Even if the cars don't take your fancy then Stonor Park house has got to be worth a look.
As is increasingly the case, the standard of cars was very high in all categories and of particular note were the cars on show from Dubcircle (check out www.dubcirlce.net) Not only were they immaculately turned out but they oozed understated style and cool.
Another car that stood out was the red Rallye of tuning company "The Phirm", with its stripped out racer interior and cage, it was running a crossflow G60 lump with a giant turbo, bespoke management and a very large bottle of nitrous. An excellent example of why it's called laughing gas!
At the end of the day were most impressed by Stonor Park and will add it to our calendar of future "must do" shows. Everyone we spoke to rated the show for the chilled out attitude and atmosphere saying that they preferred it to the hustle bustle of a show like Inters.
I have to say that we are inclined to agree and have rediscovered a friendly social side to the scene that has been lacking at other events recently. There wasn't even a queue to get home! So make sure that you add this one to your diary for next year. Although on second thoughts, no, don't, cos then it will get too crowded, the queues will return and the low key atmosphere will be lost?
Seriously though, make sure you check it out next year and we guarantee that you will have a fantastic day. In the meantime we hope you enjoy the pics from the 2005 show.