Retro Truck Show 2016

Still the best show in the U.K. 

Oh do I have to say anymore?? Much like another excellent show this is run by Truck enthusiasts for truck enthusiasts, I don’t think there is a better way to run a show. It’s so so not about the money it is just all about the trucks and truck people. I made a point this year of making sure I got the whole of Saturday and Saturday night at the show before a very early dash from Gaydon to Snetterton at 5am Sunday morning. 

When you arrive at Gaydon you could be mistaken for thinking it’s not a very big show, the venue seems quite small compared to others. Once you have walked down you instantly realise that much the same as Lopik in Holland, this show is all about the quality. There is quality every where you look. On the Saturday there are still lots of trucks arriving and there is never quite as many trucks as there is in the main show day of Sunday but none the less it’s still the best show to be at on either day. One thing you notice is that your actually glad it’s a relatively small show as you meet so many familiar faces that you have more chats and conversations than the WI’s annual conference. 

What I love is that everyone at the show is there because they love trucks, some will tell you til their blue in the face that they aren’t, but they are still there looking at and talking trucks. I met plenty of friends and old faces and not to mention new ones. One particular ex Ralph Davies driver springs to mind (not you NLG!), that I am resisting the temptation to call and text every 5 minutes as I know one conversation is not going to be any where near enough to share his stories.  The thing I struggle to get across to Mrs Blog is how friendly and open truck drivers can be, we all can lead a lonely existence as a driver and when you meet other like minded folk (not those who park and draw the curtains) it’s nice to have a good chat and a drink to share new or old tales of the road. DANGER: This could be getting a little romantic. What this gathering has achieved is a group of people who through a single connection, pretty well know everyone there and the more the merrier as far as I’m concerned. 

As I am a mere whipper snapper, it makes me think that Gaydon is much like one of those well known, golden era truckstops where everyone stops as there will always be another Brit there. It’s a hard thing to imagine these days but the main stay of drivers I know would stop if they saw you pulled over on the side of the road and I think it is one of the positives of Facebook. At least now those who are made of old school stuff can see who else is in the same place through the power of the internet and I have often seen that friends I have on Facebook are meeting up at the few Truckstops or parks that are still open, which must be the modern take on camaraderie. Not quite the same as the 70’s and 80’s but as close as it’s going to get. To this end Lee Herbert has managed to create an event which for me at least gives me what I think is a slight step back in time to the golden era I missed out on. 

The trucks on show are a real mix of everything that made the trucks of today what they are. The general premises is that all entrants must have been built before 2001, with a few exceptions. I love to see the F series Volvo’s, the 2 and 3 series Scania’s as well as the slowly increasing number of Mercedes SK’s, this is what I spent my child hood dreaming of and spotting on the road. I am certain that the amount of retro trucks is growing at a fair pace each year and there are always new trucks on the scene. The fact the trucks are coming from further and further afield is both testiment to the show itself and the fact that more owners are wanting to show off their pride and joy among like minded fans of commercial vehicles. I have to agree with the shows stance on not giving trophies, as it would just be impossible to choose any winners. Every truck has a story and tale to be told whether it’s the trucks history or the work it’s taken to get these old road heros back turning a wheel. If you could see the photos of when Nobby Caister found his F88 and how long it has taken to restore it to its former glory, well, the man deserves a medal!!

A few beers Saturday night unfolded plenty of tales and I wish every driver could tell his tale but there just isn’t enough time and I have no idea how to record everything, but if your a young driver you need to sit and listen to some of the 50+ year old drivers as most could tell you a good yarn worth hearing and passing on, like trucking folk law! I woke at 5am Sunday in the cab of a Scania 141 top bunk, still wondering how they were ever double manned, and I wandered towards the gate just looking at all the sleeping trucks and a I had a crazy thought, how many miles/KM’s have all those truck covered between them??! Answers below please. I turned the corner to the gate only to be greeted by Eoin McGinnity and his beloved ex Astran 143. Eoin was on his first leg of the aid run to Belarus and I have to say it couldn’t be a better end to 24 hours at Gaydon. The thump, thump, thump of a warm 3 series V8 is a sound I’ll never tire of hearing. 

Last year Truckblog readers voted the Retro show as their favourite of 2015 and I can’t see the result being any different this year. For me the best show in the U.K. By far (bar one!) and I am already planning to try and spend the whole weekend at 2017’s and I can only suggest that you do the same. You will not be disappointed. 

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