Could This Be The Most Down-To-Earth Car Event?
Story and Photography by Sam Finch
In contrast to many classic car shows around the world these days, where million dollar cars are often trailered to events as a mark of the owner’s status, grassroots events still exist all around the world.
Set in the stunning countryside of the Scottish Borders, the Moffat Classic Car rally is a two day event consisting of a parade and 50-mile drive through the scenic hills on the Saturday and a show on the Sunday. The Saturday drive starts in the town where the cars take over the high street (downtown), and spectators line the pavements.
The group then heads into the hills, takes in two reservoirs and a loch on spectacular roads which are often voted to be some of the best driving routes in the UK. The run takes in an infamous stretch of single lane road known to many as “The Hill,” a 20% gradient—a true test of these veteran vehicles.
The rally-prepped cars, as opposed to the street-oriented classics, prefer to wait patiently for a clean run and then scream up the hill at blistering pace. Needless to say, there are always several mechanical casualties along the way, but these are just treated as opportunities to make new friends.
After the hill, the cars meet on the shore of St. Mary’s Loch for a picnic stop before going back into Moffat and assembling at the show ground.
More than 900 entries take part in the event coming from as far as France, Germany and the Shetland Isles. The cars at this show get used, some of them are daily drivers, and those with some rust bubbles or mismatched paint are not shunned but welcomed with open arms by those who share their passion.
One of the things that I find so fascinating about this event is that there are very few exotic cars: most of them, even when they were new would have been considered normal. Anglias, Escorts, Minis, and Minors are commonplace, along with their sportier friends, the Triumph TR3s and Jaguar E-Types, there truly is something for everyone.
It is testament to the owners who put so much love and care into their cars and motorcycles, and are so enthusiastic to share their stories with people they have never met. Nobody here is a stranger.
I encourage you to take a trip to this part of the world, and if you are here at the wrong time of year for the car show, then you might just be lucky enough to catch the annual sheep racing!