By Royal Appointment - Middlebridge Scimitar at the Classic
|Author: Deborah Tee||Published: 2nd May 2019 11:17|
HRH The Princess Royal’s shooting brake joins record birthday gathering - showcase also features the famous GTE in which Princess Anne was twice caught speeding!
HRH The Princess Royal’s lifelong love for Scimitar sportscars – as well as her well documented lust for speed – will be on show at this summer’s Silverstone Classic (26-28 July 2019) as part of a record-breaking display celebrating the 30th birthday of the born-again Middlebridge Scimitar.
The enduring relationship The Princess Royal has enjoyed with the much-loved British totem dates back to 1970 when she was given one of the original Scimitar GTE shooting brakes (now more commonly known as the estate car) built by Reliant as a joint 20th birthday and Christmas present by Her Majesty The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. In subsequent years, she has owned no fewer than eight further Scimitars, all retaining the original car’s 1420 H registration plate in honour of her position as Colonel-in-Chief of the 14th/20th King's Hussars – an armoured regiment which existed until 1992 when amalgamated with The Royal Hussars.
Such is her affection for the model it was no surprise when she was quick to support an ambitious new company – Middlebridge Scimitar Ltd. – funded by a Japanese businessman and car enthusiast Kohji Nakauchi when it resurrected the GTE shortly after Reliant had ceased production in the mid-Eighties. She officially opened the new factory in Beeston, Nottinghamshire in 1988 and the following year took delivery of the fifth Middlebridge Scimitar (MB5) off the production line – a car still in her stable today.
Even more famously, while awaiting its delivery, Princess Anne was loaned the production prototype (MB1) in which she was twice caught speeding on the Aylesbury by-pass on consecutive days by the same policeman!
In July, along with the pre-production prototype, MB1 and MB5 will be reunited at the Silverstone Classic to mark 30 years of Middlebridge Scimitar production. It will be quite a celebration, too, with an unprecedented gathering including visits from Kohji Nakauchi (known lovingly as ‘Mr Middlebridge’) and Dennis Nursey who was the company’s Chief Executive.
Only 78 of these plusher, fuel injected reborn cars were hand-built at Beeston before Middlebridge went into receivership and 28 of these highly-prized GTEs have been rounded up by the Middlebridge Enthusiasts Scimitar Set and will be driving to the Classic from all over Europe.
“It will be the biggest-ever gathering topping the 27 we had for the 25thanniversary at Gatcombe Park… and we are still hoping for what would be a very fitting 30 cars,” said the club’s Mick Gaughran. “The Silverstone Classic is one of the greatest events in the world and we are delighted to be holding our 30th birthday party there – with such a fantastic turn-out, it’s going to be a wonderful occasion.”
Adding to the festivities, Friday’s special anniversary track parade will be headed by a motor sport icon. As well as acquiring the manufacturing rights to the Scimitar, Middlebridge’s ambitions also stretched into circuit racing culminating with its purchase of the Brabham Grand Prix team.
Previous to its short-lived F1 foray, Middlebridge Racing had been competing in International F3000 and famously its 1989 Reynard 89D as raced by Mark Blundell was backed by chocolate giant Cadbury, boasting an eye-catching purple Dairy Milk livery.
The standout single-seater was recently found in the States and is currently being fully restored to its previous fettle in time to lead the parade at the Classic.
The passionate Middlebridge Enthusiasts Scimitar Set is one of a record number of car clubs registering to be a part of the 2019 Classic, all taking advantage of an exclusive ticket package which remains open until the end of this month (May).
Last year’s best-ever turn-out of 128 clubs has been eclipsed with a new high of 136 clubs already registered for July. Further details on those registered to date and information on the process for car clubs still wishing to apply for registration, are available at: www.silverstoneclassic.com/clubs
Whether or not taking advantage of the Car Club Package, all those wishing to attend this summer’s Silverstone Classic must purchase their tickets in advance.
Adult admission starts at £45 and, once again, all tickets will provide access to both Silverstone racing paddocks, all open trackside grandstands, live music concerts which this summer mark the 50thanniversary of Woodstock on both Friday and Saturday evenings, air shows, Drive Live test drives, funfair rides and the vast majority of the family entertainment on offer.
A wide range of child, young adult and family tickets are also available, along with camping and hospitality options.
Full details of all 2019 ticket prices are detailed on the silverstoneclassic.com website.