Classic car enthusiasts threaten to boycott Brooklands events

Drivers of classic cars are threatening to boycott a popular show after the owner of a Leyland Princess was turned away, being told it was “not a classic.”

John Kingsford drove his 1978 Princess 70 miles to the Autumn Classic Breakfast meet at Brooklands on Sunday 26 October.

But, as the classic car enthusiast arrived in his 36-year-old car, a steward told him it wasn’t a classic, and he should park it in the visitors’ car park.

Kingsford told Motoring Research: “If I were organising a classic show, I’d be loathe to set particular guidelines as it’s impossible to define what is and what is not a classic. I occasionally attend MG shows in my 1998 MGF Abingdon and many people would argue that that is a modern-day classic. Interestingly there were several MGFs at Brooklands that day (having been told my car wasn’t old enough to get in!) and I was delighted to see them.

“Other modern cars that got in were my friends’ 996 Porsche 911 and 1999 Mercedes-Benz SL, and countless other post-1973 cars.”

A post on the leylandprincess.co.uk Facebook page about the incident has attracted lots of attention, with people calling for a boycott on future Brooklands events.

Richard Hughes commented: “Disgraceful. Bet it was full of dull, common cars like Triumph TRs and MGBs as well. Us practical classic owners might have to start boycotting Brooklands if an apology is not forthcoming.”

Others questioned what makes a car a classic – whether it’s the age, its rarity, or how many are left on the roads.

The Princess was made by British Leyland from 1975 to 1981. Princess was a brand in its own right, although it was marketed as the Austin Princess in New Zealand, and succeeded by the Austin Ambassador.

Kingsford added, “I certainly won’t attend another Classic Breakfast at Brooklands. I do love the place and I go there a couple of times a year (normally for MG and Jaguar events), but I won’t risk being turned away again.”

Despite Princess production totalling nearly 225,000 cars, there are thought to be fewer than 500 left on our roads today.

Motoring Research has contacted Brooklands but the company is yet to comment.