Car parks aren’t often a discussion point; in fact most work colleagues would happily assume its purpose is just to park your car there. However, there is more to the large concrete patches marked with white lines than you might think. Over at Petrolblog car parks have often bought forward cars that you don’t often spot at a classic car event, or at car show you’re attending.
I’ve often spoken about what I’ve spotted at various events in the car park, but not so often in the form of words. Why do they appeal more often than the cars from the event themselves then? Well, the cars you used to spot on a regular basis throughout your childhood years tend to make themselves evident, along with those rarities that you used to read about. In fact, if anything it can often prove to be a goldmine that makes the event you went to see look rather tame, and the cars look common place by comparison.
So it is without further a due I shall show you some of the highlights over the last few years, hopefully they won’t all bore you, but I can at least hope some will provide interest, even if they aren’t to your taste.
Ford Sierra RS500 Cosworth
If I recall correctly, this was the first Cosworth I had come across, so this set the bar for car park spots to follow. Taken from a 2009 European Rally Cross event, at Lydden Hill, the location soon proved to be the local goldmine in time. The Cosworth was built in part with Group A ‘Evolution’ regulations, the result 500 variants on the RS Cosworth. These were then fitted with further performance modifications such as the large TO4 Garret Turbocharger, high flow pump and additional injectors, to name a few. Further to this the Group A Cosworth was required to have the parts fitted. The 500 Cosworths were built by Tickford thanks to an agreement with Ford.
An icon and now highly sought after.
Daimler V8 250
Apparently I came across this fine Russet Brown V8 specimen in 2009, not that I remembered it until I raided the photo albums earlier. The Daimler isn’t often discussed in classic car circles; this could be because it didn’t reach cult status like the Jaguar Mk2 did, thanks to The Professionals and Minder.
Unlike its brother this wasn’t sought for getaways from the Police, this was its gentleman counterpart. With its different grille, steel caps and notably upmarket interior it was somewhat more exquisite, but none the worse for it. The V8 250 engine was taken from Daimler’s SP250 and produced a modest 140bhp, leading to effortless performance.
Ford Escort Xr3i
The Escort Xr3i was Ford’s chance to prove to the public that the change to front wheel drive wasn’t a disappointment. After all, it had the RS2000 and Mexico to follow amongst others. With 96bhp on tap, it was quite something that even Sir Jackie Stewart approved of.
Not a sight often seen the roads, this was a pleasing to the eye and well kept.
Austin/Morris Landcrab ex-works replica
I don’t often praise replicas, but the phenomenal quality of this Landcrab I spotted at Lydden Hill meant that it was noticed. With spotlights, a cage, a set of flaps, and suitable stickers over it you’d be hard pressed to know it wasn’t the genuine copy.
I’ve long been a fan of Landcrabs, and it certainly didn’t fail to impress.
Pushing the rules here, but it was in a car parking space in London nonetheless. The 456 was one of my favourite GTs in my youth, designed by Pininfarina. With its pop up headlights, it was unmistakably 90s. While my mates at school wanted an Aston Martin Vantage (Supercharged), or a Bentley Continental R I was dreaming of owning a 456 in GT form.
If you would like to see a part 2, I’m sure I can work on it. Thanks for joining for a trip down nostalgia lane.