2011 marks 35 years of the Stanford Hall Volkswagen event, and this year saw the return of fine, sunny and warm weather, absent from 2010’s proceedings. Held on the traditional May Day Bank Holiday weekend, more than a few handfuls of Volkswagens descended upon Swinford-on-Avon (borne out by the fact that getting out of the venue took us at least 30 minutes), to kick-off the VW show season proper. Leicestershire and Warwickshire VW Owners Club once again put on a fantastic show, although if we were nit-picking, the lack of water-cooled trade stands was disappointing, as was the lack of entries in the Polo concours class, but the blame for either point shouldn’t be laid at the organisers’ door.
Overall, the Concours d’Elegance was well-stocked, with ‘classic’ Volkswagens of all classes, shapes and sizes, and it’s traditionally been one of the draws of the event. One of our favourite classes was the Mk 1 Scirocco peg, with a stunningly immaculate 1978 TS model in Viper Green rubbing shoulders with an equally pristine 1979 Storm. Now few and far between, this pair represented the absolute best of the breed. Moving onto Class 18, Polos and Saloons (Derby, Polo Classic), the sole two cars entered were notable not only because of their fantastic condition, but also by the lack of compatriots. The 1980 GLS of classic Polo stalwart Dan Higgins was once again vying for honours, fighting it out with the 2001 Polo GTI of Gianni Ciarciaglini. Ciarciaglini won with 119 points, and we can see why, but after years as a runner-up, it would have nice to have seen Higgins walk away with the top prize. Especially as we thought comparative age was supposed to have come into the judge’s score of 113.
There was a good sprinkling of Polos elsewhere. In the outer reaches of the car park, there were several interesting examples, and along with our editorial GT (no stand for us this year), made walking the formation-parked aisles worthwhile. Inside the show area, Club Polo represented the Polo brand, with a varied display of 10 cars, stretching from Dan Higgins’ other Mk 1 – a 1981 N model with a 100bhp 16V engine – to Jon Gallant’s 2000 Polo TDI. Away from the club stands, a solitary Polo Dune on the Volkswagen Owner’s Club GB caught our eye, as did a mid-1980s ‘rat-look’ Polo C hatchback representing the same organisation. Meanwhile, a Polo trailer made from a rear end of a coupé sold for £450, while numerous Mk 2 Polo coupés seemed to have been brought out of the woodwork to bask in the glorious sunshine. Click on the gallery below to see some of our favourites from Sunday 1 May’s event.