January: a time for planning. And car fans will be pleased to hear there is no shortage of motoring events on the agenda for 2017. Why not grab a brew, your shiny new calendar and join us for a look at what we have to look forward to this year?
- In pictures: NEC Classic Motor Show
- New classic car show for London
- More car features on Motoring Research
Ace Cafe German Night (6 February)
If you’re a car enthusiast and have never been to an event at London’s Ace Cafe, make it your resolution to change that in 2017. The historic transport cafe, located on London’s North Circular, plays host to regular themed evenings. The German Night is a must for Mercedes and BMW enthusiasts.
London Classic Car Show, Excel (23 – 26 February)
If classic cars are more your thing, you don’t have to wait long until the London Classic Car Show, held at the Excel in February. The central Grand Avenue will feature more than 50 classic cars in action every day, while a special display will celebrate 70 years of Ferrari road cars.
Race Retro, Stoneleigh (24 – 26 February)
Those who like to see classic race cars being used as their maker intended should head to Warwickshire for Race Retro. Highlights include an auction of historic cars, interviews with legendary racing drivers and, of course, a live rally stage.
Retro Classics, Stuttgart, Germany (2 – 5 March)
Looking for an excuse to travel further afield? Stuttgart hosts Retro Classics, one of the biggest classic motor shows in the world. There’s something for everyone, say organisers, from exotic Maseratis to motorbikes, and even a timeline of European local buses from 1950 to 1955.
Geneva Motor Show (9 – 19 March)
The Geneva Motor Show is one of the biggest events on our calendar – we attend every year to bring you the latest concept and production cars on display in Switzerland’s second biggest city. But you don’t need to be a journalist to attend the Geneva Motor Show, it opens its doors to the public from 9 March, allowing you to get up close with the latest reveals. It makes for a fantastic road trip.
Ultimate Dubs (12 March)
From Geneva to… Telford. Ultimate Dubs is the UK’s largest indoor VW Group event, catering for modified Volkswagens, Audis, SEATs and Skodas. If slammed VW Golfs and Audi TTs with more attitude than a bored teenager are your thing, Ultimate Dubs is the ultimate place to be in March.
BTCC season launch, Donington (16 March)
Where else can you see names such as Gordon Shedden and Jason Plato hammering souped-up road cars on tracks around the UK? The 2017 British Touring Car Championship kicks off at Donington in March.
Goodwood Members’ Meeting, Goodwood (18 – 19 March)
The exclusive Goodwood Members’ Meeting is a weekend of motor racing, enjoyed only by members or a small number of lucky ticket holders. By keeping attendance down, spectators can enjoy motorsport with limited crowds. Alternatively, watch it unfold online.
Brooklands Mini Day (19 March)
Brooklands is a historic venue and always worth a visit – but its special Mini Day in March is unmissable for fans of Britain’s favourite pocket-sized car. Drivers of modern MINIs are welcome too.
Great Escape Cars & Coffee, Redditch (26 March)
The best classic car events can involve little more than getting a gathering of enthusiasts (and their motors), giving them coffee and letting them chat cars. Hire firm Great Escape Cars lets enthusiasts do just that – and donates £1 to charity for every classic that turns up.
Practical Classics Restoration and Classic Car Show, NEC, Birmingham (31 March – 2 April)
The Practical Classics Restoration and Classic Car Show is a relatively new addition to the calendar, but 19,000 enthusiasts headed to the NEC for the show in 2016. This year, it promises more than 800 cars on display – from restored classics to neglected barn finds. Adult tickets start at £16 in advance.
The Fast Show, Santa Pod (2 April)
If your idea of a car show is a village green full of MGBs and, at a push, a beer tent, The Fast Show at Santa Pod probably isn’t for you. It involves an open ‘run what ya brung’ drag strip sessions, a nightclub in the evening and even dancing girls.
Techno Classica, Essen, Germany (5 – 9 April)
The five-day-long Techno Classica show at Essen, Germany, is a must for British classic car fans who’ve outgrown our own shows. It attracts nearly 200,000 visitors from around the world.
Top Marques, Monaco (20 – 23 April)
The Fast Show this is not. Top Marques is held at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, and allows visitors to get up close to the world’s hottest supercars. Demonstrations take place on the iconic F1 racetrack and, if you’re a serious supercar buyer, you might even be able to take some test drives.
Drive It Day (23 April)
Drive It Day is a nationwide thing, introduced by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) to encourage classic car owners to drive their cars. It’s held in spring every year – giving enthusiasts the perfect opportunity to get their cars on the road after winter. Events are held all over the country, including at Beaulieu, Brooklands and Gaydon.
Auto Italia – Italian Car Day, Brooklands (29 April)
Back to Brooklands, these time for Auto Italia’s fabulous Italian Car Day. Visitors in Italian cars – whether it’s a Fiat or Ferrari – get to park in a special area, while fans can enjoy track demonstrations.
Japfest, Silverstone (30 April)
Meanwhile, over at Silverstone, Japanese car nuts can enjoy the enormous Japfest event. Watch drifting demos, take part in club line-ups and even get out on track. There’s even a show and shine for those who like to keep their motors in mint condition.
Truckfest, Peterborough (30 April – 1 May)
And now for something a bit different. For one weekend, the East of England showground becomes the country’s biggest truck park – with more than 2,000 lorries heading along the A1 to take part. You don’t have to be a trucker to attend, with adult visitor tickets starting at £17.50.
National Kit Car Motor Show, Stoneleigh (30 April – 1 May)
If you like your cars to be of the DIY variety, the National Kit Car Show at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire is a must. From have-a-go opportunities to live music and hundreds of trade stands, there’s plenty for the casual fan as well as the serious kit car enthusiast.
London Motor Show (5 – 7 May)
After a number of years without a motor show in the UK, the London Motor Show returned last year. And it’s back for 2017 – hosted at Battersea Park, with celebrity guests including Jodie Kidd and former Stig Ben Collins likely to put in appearances.
Mille Miglia (18 – 21 May)
The original Mille Miglia race took place between 1927 and 1957, but has been brought back since 1977. The thousand-mile event crosses Italy and is only open to cars made before 1957 that participated in the original race. While most of us aren’t lucky enough to own such a car, it’s worth a trip to see the spectacle of such exotic motors being put through the challenge.
London to Brighton Mini Run (20 – 21 May)
Who doesn’t like a Mini? The London to Brighton Mini Run takes place every year, with 2,100 Minis old and new taking part in the event. At Madeira Drive in Brighton, there’s a line-up of all the entrants, plus a live action arena featuring autotest demos and stunt bike displays.
Worthersee, Austria (24 – 27 May)
If you’re a VW enthusiast and want to travel a little further afield, the Worthersee Volkswagen festival attracts more than 100,000 visitors every year. There’s a manufacturer-backed element – usually a few pimped cars and the occasional special reveal alongside Lake Worthersee – but the whole town is taken over by retro and modified Vee-dubs.
Nurburgring 24-hour, Germany (25 – 28 May)
Why not combine a trip to Worthersee with a visit to the infamous Nurburgring for its annual 24-hour race? More than 200 cars take part in the event on the 15.5 mile Nordschleife circuit, making it a mesmerising spectacle.
Isle of Man TT (27 May – 9 June)
The Isle of Man TT is a must-visit event for bike fans. It’s been taking place every year since 1907, with star racers such as Guy Martin taking to public roads to test their limits. It’s a thrilling event and well worth the cost of a ferry.
Coventry MotoFest (3 – 4 June)
You can imagine the conversation that led to the inaugural Coventry Motofest taking place in 2014. A group of petrolheads got together and decided it’d be fun, for one weekend a year, to take over the city of Coventry with motoring-related activities. Could they show off the city’s motoring heritage, display classic cars in the centre and even hold demonstrations on the ring road? Turns out, yes they could. It’s definitely worth a visit.
Classic Ford Show, Santa Pod (4 June)
Classic Fords, run what ya brung and DJ Pied Piper… wait, what? Yes, the Classic Ford Show at Santa Pod in June really has it all. Well, if you like old Fords, drag racing and tasteless garage music. Adult tickets cost £18 in advance.
Cholmondeley Power and Speed, Cheshire (9 – 11 June)
Dubbed the Goodwood Festival of Speed of the north, Cholmondeley Power and Speed (formerly known as the Pageant of Power) is a three-day motorsport extravaganza. A record 40,000 visitors attended last year.
24 Hours of Le Mans, France (17 – 18 June)
Even if you’re not a big motorsport fan, no one can fail to get caught up in the atmosphere at Le Mans during its annual 24-hour race. Enjoy a ride on the ferris wheel, watch cars hit 200mph on the Mulsanne Straight in the early hours of the morning and find out exactly what a ‘beer mountain’ is. Book campsites well in advance as they do fill up.
MG Live, Silverstone (17 – 18 June)
Think of MG enthusiasts and you might picture a small gathering of classic MGBs at a village car show, but MG Live is a much bigger event than you’d expect. Held at Silverstone, the two-day motoring festival celebrates all that’s great about MG: from historic racing to displays of the latest models.
Bromley Pageant of Motoring (18 June)
With more than 3,000 classic cars in attendance, the annual Bromley Pageant of Motoring claims to be the world’s largest one-day classic car show. Entry is £12.50 in advance, and cars are grouped into special one-make parking areas.
Goodwood Festival of Speed, Goodwood (22 – 25 June)
In 1993, Lord March hosted a hillclimb in the grounds of Goodwood House in Sussex and created the Festival of Speed. Back then, 25,000 spectators attended – today attendance is capped at 150,000. It’s a brilliant opportunity to see historic race cars driving up the infamous hill climb and the recent addition of the Moving Motor Show even allows visitors to get behind the wheel.
The Supercar Event, Dunsfold (24 – 25 June)
How would you like to take a passenger ride in a supercar on Top Gear’s test track and to raise money for charity at the same time? That’s precisely what The Supercar Event at Dunsfold offers, with owners giving up their time and petrol for nothing. Book ahead for £30 to be guaranteed a ride.
PSCUK’s Peugeot Festival, Prescott Hillclimb (2 July)
The Peugeot Sport Club’s Peugeot Festival, formerly known as Pugfest, has been held at the historic Prescott Hillclimb since 2002. Whether you’re a fan of the legendary 205 GTI or slammed 306s are more your bag, the Peugeot Festival is a must visit for Pug fans. Tickets start at £12 for non-members, and visitors can drive their car up the hill for just £7.
The BMC and Leyland Show, Gaydon (2 July)
The chances of seeing an Austin Allegro or Leyland Sherpa on the roads today are slim, but if your boat is floated by these unloved classics, the BMC and Leyland show is the place to be. It’s held at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon and is open to all British Motor Corporation, British Leyland and Rover Group vehicles.
Formula 1 British Grand Prix, Silverstone (14 – 16 July)
Like Le Mans, you don’t need to be a huge motorsport fan to be caught up in the atmosphere of the F1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Tickets for the main event on Sunday are officially sold out, but you might find some if you shop around.
Classics on the Common, Harpenden (26 July)
It’s the biggest week-day classic car show, with more than 1,000 classics heading to the Hertfordshire town of Harpenden for its annual Classics on the Common event. Starting around lunchtime and running throughout the afternoon and into the evening, the event combines a great atmosphere with an eclectic mix of old and new cars.
Silverstone Classic, Silverstone (28 – 30 July)
Disappointed to have missed out on the Grand Prix? Or just prefer older cars? Don’t miss Silverstone Classic, held on the last weekend of July. It’s more than just classic motor racing: there’s live music, classic car line-ups and even a special retro run on the roads around Silverstone.
CarFest North (28 – 30 July)
CarFest was the mad idea of Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans. He may not have succeeded at Top Gear, but his charity event has been a runaway success since its launch in 2012. Millions of pounds have been raised for Children in Need, with tens of thousands of fans heading to CarFest North’s venue at Bolesworth Castle in Cheshire each year.
CarFest South (25 – 27 August)
For those of us in the south, there’s a second CarFest event held at Laverstoke Park Farm near Basingstoke, Hampshire. Highlights include live action on the hillclimb, as well as live music and even cooking demonstrations from celebrity chefs.
Salon Privé, Blenheim Palace (31 August – 2 September)
Salon Privé describes itself as “the UK’s most exclusive automotive garden party”. If rare and exotic Ferraris are your thing, it’s the place to be. Tickets for the supercar show on the Saturday cost £125 plus fees.
Beaulieu International Autojumble (2 – 3 September)
If a giant car boot sale full of automotive paraphernalia is your idea of a good day out, head to Beaulieu for its world-famous autojumble. More than 2,000 stalls will be selling every car-related item you could possibly imagine, and there’ll even be around 200 vehicles offered for sale by private sellers.
Goodwood Revival (8 – 10 September)
Step back in time at the Goodwood Revival. Visitors are encouraged to dress in period clothing (in fact, you’ll stand out if you don’t), while historic race cars recreate the golden era of 50s and 60s motorsport. There’s even a period Tesco store on site.
Frankfurt Motor Show (14 – 24 September)
The Frankfurt and Paris motor shows alternate every year, with 2017 being the turn of Frankfurt to host the world’s car manufacturers in September. If you want to know just how much money German car manufacturers have, head to Frankfurt. Volkswagen Group, BMW and Mercedes-Benz all attempt to outdo each other with the size of their show stands.
Manchester Classic Car Show (16 – 17 September)
The Manchester Classic Car Show lives somewhat in the shadow of its Brummy cousin, but it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re a classic car nut. From a wide array of classic car clubs to a concours event and even a live rally stage, there’s plenty to keep the family entertained.
Land Rover Owner International Show, Peterborough (16 – 17 September)
Once a year, Peterborough plays host to the Land Rover Owner International Show. Whether you drive a tricked-up Disco or a rare Series One, there’s plenty see for every Land Rover enthusiast. Visitors will even be able to take part in a little light off-roading at the nearby Tixover Grange.
Rally GB, Wales (26 – 29 October)
The penultimate round of the FIA World Rally Championship takes place in Wales – and you can get your rallying fix later in the year. While special stages such as Cholmondeley Castle are a good starting point, we suggest being more adventurous and travelling deep into Wales to get closer to the action without the crowds.
London to Brighton Veteran Car Run (5 November)
The annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run is an annual celebration of the 1896 Locomotives on Highways Act, which increased the national speed limit to 14mph. Apart from a break for WW2, it’s been held every year since 1927, with more than 400 cars taking part. Our tip? Head into London early to watch the historic cars passing famous landmarks.
NEC Classic Motor Show, Birmingham (10 – 12 November)
The NEC Classic Motor Show is always a brilliant way to end the year. The show takes over five halls and features classic car clubs, exhibitors selling everything from rare parts to old magazines, and even an auction. Book in advance to save money on tickets.