John Marshall writes…
The ruins of the old Cathedral provided a fabulous backdrop this summer for the display of some classic Coventry cars during a special event dubbed as the inaugural Coventry Concours.
The weekend event took pride of place in a slimmed-down version of MotoFest – held this year over four weekends, rather than the usual two days, to allow a less crowded schedule.
The Concours event was based on the French concept of concours d’elegance, a term dating back to the 17th century when French aristocrats paraded horse-drawn carriages through the parks of Paris. Over time, carriages became horseless and the gathering became a competition among vehicle owners to be judged on the appearance of their vehicles. Other concours events take place around the world.
Coventry Concours made a striking debut with a magnificent display of cars, all with a Coventry connection.
Models included iconic cars from Jaguar, Daimler, Standard, Triumph, Rootes Group and Armstrong Siddeley, all of which have played a crucial role in Coventry’s motoring history.
Among the cars in the Cathedral ruins was an impressive 1950 Humber Super Snipe, pictured above, first introduced in 1938 and derived from a combination of the larger Hillman Pullman engine with the chassis and body of the Humber Snipe. The Super Snipe was marketed to upper-middle-class managers, professional people and government officials. During World War Two it continued in production as a British military staff car. In 1946, post-war civilian production resumed and the Super Snipe evolved through several versions, each generally larger, more powerful and more modern, before production ended in 1957. A different Super Snipe appeared in 1958.
Also pictured here is a dazzling Daimler, dating from 1940, which was rescued from wartime damage to the factory after Blitz devastation in April 1941. The car, damaged in the raid, has been wonderfully restored by post-war owners. The sporty Daimler won top prize from the judging panel – which included the familiar face of Antiques Roadshow regular Marc Allum, pictured above with another judge and MotoFest director James Noble. Other prizes were won by various cars, including the world-famous Jaguar E-type.
This article was first published in the Stoke Local History Group newsletter