Three times a year, Bicester Heritage opens its doors to motoring enthusiasts for the Sunday Scramble events. Now in its eighth year, the format has remained largely unchanged over that time: bring an interesting car, park it and go for a spin.
Many events have to follow trends to stay relevant, but Sunday Scramble has gone from strength to strength by being consistent in its approach. In 2014, a few hundred people took part in the first Scramble. In contrast, the number of visitors currently peaks at around 6,500.
Once upon a time, cars only filled a small section of the main section of the Bicester Heritage grounds during a Sunday scramble. Nowadays you can find them on every corner.
I would describe Bicester Heritage itself as brutally idyllic. Redbrick and steel buildings – relics of the formal name RAF Bicester – are dotted throughout the area, ranging in size from barely big enough to fit in to towering hangers. Old layers of paint are being removed from the still unkempt infrastructure, Heritage is slowly carrying out sympathetic renovations. New buildings in the same style as the original were also located within the plot, and more and more car-oriented businesses are gradually calling the location their home.
The last Sunday Scramble event took place a few weeks ago, right in the middle of the UK winter when the weather is cold and wildly unpredictable. Nevertheless, the turnout far exceeded my expectations.
As the motoring community continues to mourn the loss of Ken Block, it was fitting that Tuthill brought out the Porsche 911 that he and Alex Gelsomino raced in the 2021 East African Safari Classic Rally.
Vintage Bentley prices have only risen over the years (now into the hundreds of thousands of pounds), a trend shared by the BNR34 Nissan Skyline GT-R. I wonder what the R34 GT-R will be worth 80 years from production, as Bentley is today…
Tolman Engineering took the restomod approach to the Peugeot 205 GTI and the result is impressive. A complete nuts and bolts update with upgraded components including a MoTeC dash and electronics brings the GTI up to a more modern standard but still retains the classic look and feel that made these cars so revered.
The airport car park should never be overlooked at the Sunday Scramble – there is always interesting vehicles can be found here.
Seeing an EK9 Honda Civic Type R and an Alfa Romeo Guilia Super, neither helped my desires.
Sports Purpose has been resident at the specialist repair shop in Bicester for many years and always has a small collection of Porsches for the event.
The new Lotus Emira drew crowds all day and for good reason – it’s one of the last new petrol-only drivers’ cars to be sold here in the UK. As is happening all over the world, there is a strong transition to electricity ahead of government deadlines.
You may be wondering how the Sunday Scramble and other Bicester Heritage events got to be so big. I think it’s because you know what to expect. You are guaranteed to see an incredible range of machines, in all price categories and for all ages, regardless of the weather.
As you wind your way around the property, there is always excitement, you never know what will be parked around the next corner. Parking is also taken care of to a certain degree, so there is always enough free space to appreciate the vehicle in isolation.
In the restaurant industry, the mark of a successful establishment is that always busy. Loosely translated, this means the Sunday Scramble, because regardless of the season, tickets for the events are sold out days after the announcement, months in advance. If that’s not the ultimate sign that they’ve figured out the recipe, I don’t know what is.