Words by Steve Neill. Pictures by Scott Morgan
Once more, the June sun drew the crowds upon Stonor Park in the heart of the Chilterns after the May drizzle of 2015 kept so many visitors away. Year on year, VW Expo is never quite the same but that lazy Sunday feeling remains – one essential ingredient that is most appreciated.
It has been six years since the Association of British VW Clubs steering committee took on the show, melding its own two day VW Expo with that sacred Stonor vibe. Thus, it is now organised by a clutch of members belonging to five ABVWC clubs - Aircooled Konnection, Herts VW Club, Jetta Owners Club, Oxford VW Club and Surrey Air-cooled - on behalf of the many UK clubs that reside under the association umbrella.
The quality and mix of VW models on display couldn’t be more varied, yet the field is constrained by twenty one classes of twelve – the maximum that can be accommodated in the Concours Arena on any given Sunday. Splitting and expanding the Pride and Joy show’n’shine into the popular Air-cooled Avenue and Water-cooled Way afforded much needed additional capacity. After dipping into the wider pool of Audi, Seat and Skoda, the brimmed 2016 paddock of top notch cars and vans was once again VW centred, with the other marques welcomed into four new classes. Many concours classes were over-subscribed so late comers were resigned to displaying their vehicles at the bottom of the hill – it’s best to book a place beforehand to avoid future disappointment.
Yet, there was a distinct lack of trade stands, after last year’s bumper crop of businesses squeezed around the Big J: J for John (Daniel), who has been involved with the Stonor Park show since its inception in 1984. A reflection of the times, maybe, but the lack of mobile and internet signal in the park certainly hampers trade – a sore subject for many including the Stonor Estate itself.
VW Expo couldn’t happen without the backing of its sponsors. For 2016, Adrian Flux Insurance Services were the main show sponsor and the organisers are very grateful to their team for the support that they have offered over the years. The organisers would also like to thank Cordwallis, Hawthorns of Farnham, Megabug, The Phirm and VW Heritage for supporting the Concours and show'n'shine.
Each year the organisers deliberate on any improvements that can be made and welcome all feedback, positive and not so positive. How can it be different yet remain the same? Each year different ideas are tried – children’s fancy dress for kids both young and old; a show winners enclosure for photo “ops” are examples. Any input is welcome, either as an organiser or on the day. However, VW Expo at Stonor Park is a not for profit enterprise run by volunteers. It supports a number of charities and its host, the Stonor Estate, for the upkeep of the deer park and the manor house from the gate admission charge.
The Association of British VW Clubs and the VW Expo organisers can be contacted via the contact page on this website. Details of VW Expo 2017 will be published shortly on the Stonor Park page of the website.