Ripon Classic Car Gathering

Posted by Chris Graham on 13th November 2023

Nina Smith reports on some of the most interesting vehicles that caught her eye at this year’s Ripon Classic Car Gathering.

Ripon Classic Car Gathering

Ripon Classic Car Gathering: 1986 Vauxhall Astra Mk2 panel van, unlettered paintwork.

The Ripon Classic Car Gathering is an annual event organised by the Ripon Old Car Club, and held at Ripon Racecourse. Rain was anticipated but, mercifully, was restricted to a couple of showers.

Ripon Classic Car Gathering

VW panel van, LHD, lettered to Western VW, Las Vegas, Nevada, and clearly a US import.

As the name suggests, this is primarily a car event, but a few light commercials were present as well. Most interesting, on rarity grounds, were a first series Vauxhall Combo van, possibly ex-Royal Mail, in the car park; a Metro van, albeit somewhat modified; a beautifully-restored sixth generation Ford Escort Gowrings Chairman, fitted out as a camper; and a now, very rare 1986 Vauxhall Astra Mk 2 van.

Ripon Classic Car Gathering

1963 Thames 307E 5cwt van (Lindsey CC 1963), lettered to A&D Murphy, Greengrocers, Leeds.


Ripon Classic Car Gathering

1966 Ford Anglia 307E 5cwt van (Halifax CBC 1965), lettered to E Young & Sons, Joiner, Master Craftsman, Leeds.


Ripon Classic Car Gathering

1946 Triumph Courier van (South Shields 1964), in Standard Triumph Sales Service Spares livery.


Ripon Classic Car Gathering

2001 Vauxhall Combo van, possibly ex-Royal Mail. Spotted in the car park – not an exhibit.


Ripon Classic Car Gathering

1971 Austin Minor 1000 6cwt van (Dudley CBC).


Ripon Classic Car Gathering

Morris Minor 1000 pick-up (Cheshire CC 1959 – unclear if it’s carrying the original number, or a private plate).


1990 VW Caddy pick-up, first series (Chester VRO, 1990).


1995 Ford Escort sixth series Gowrings Chairman conversion (Reading VRO 1995), fitted out as a camper. Gowrings of Reading, converted Escort vans to carry a passenger sitting in their wheelchair. The original Chairman was based on an Austin/Morris Mini-van, and was introduced in the 1960s. Gowrings is now the Gowrings Verso Mobility Group.


1959 model Chevrolet Apache 32 pick-up truck (US import).


Nissan S Cargo can (Japanese import). Based on the Nissan Micra and a homage to the Citroen 2CV, which was nicknamed in France L’Escargot (the snail); this led to the British nickname of the Tin Snail.


Austin A35 van – an age-related re-registration.


1964 Mini van (CB of Leeds, 1964).


1970 Dodge A108 Tradesman panel van, with 318ci (5.2-litre) V8 petrol engine. Imported from California in 2020. Fitted out as a camper.


Morris Mini Metro van, modified (Essex 1987).


This report comes from the latest issue of Heritage Commercials, and you can get a money-saving subscription to this magazine simply by clicking HERE




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