Rustival Review – YouTuber-ran car event with 800 vehicles on show

Car shows can come in a number of forms. There are the glitzy exhibition hall shows with stands full of owner clubs, festival-like meets in which car fanatics race by day and camp by night, and the laid back meets in car parks for locals simply wishing to discuss Morris Minors and Ford Orions.

However, no matter the scale, organising a new classic car meet is no simple task, requiring a suitable venue for enough cars, adequate facilities, and enough promotion to make sure that drivers are actually aware it is taking place.

Rustival is one such event that clearly required a lot of organisation, however had the benefit of being ran by four motoring personalities from three of the biggest UK classic car YouTube channels, Carly Spencer and Ian Seabrook from HubNut, Steph Hoy from idriveaclassic and from Furious Driving.

Held at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, Warwickshire, already the home to dozens of fantastic vehicles, Rustival’s aim was to provide a judgement-free space for cars of all ages and conditions.

The show was also intended to be a spot in which classic car owners could make friends and connections with those in similar cars.

Matt Richardson, host of the YouTube channel Furious Driving and co-organiser of Rustival, stated that the public’s reaction to the event significantly exceeded expectations.

He explained: “It’s also no longer just 50-year old white men anymore, there’s women, there’s men, there’s young people, it’s wonderful. It’s just mind blowing looking at it now that there’s 800 cars with likely over 1,000 people. When we first started we were thinking about getting a decent-sized pub car park or school playing field!

“Seeing it on this scale is mindblowing, it’s fantastic. And I’m so glad people are here, mingling and chatting, and because people chat on social media, they’re now able to chat in real life as well. So, people recognise people from their cars and name badges and cementing friendships they have made online. It’s wonderful!”

Taking to the event with a few friends, the thing that struck me most about Rustival was the sheer variety in models on display.

In the space of two minutes I could go from admiring a 1920s Austin Seven, arguably the UK’s first truly affordable car, to a nearly new Honda S660 sports car recently imported from Japan.

On the whole, there was definitely something to suit everyone’s automotive interest, spanning from clean examples of nearly extinct family cars of the 70s and 80s to highly customised hot hatchbacks.

The condition of cars also played a huge role in the show. Quite logically for an event called Rustival, not every car was expected to have polished chrome and unscuffed wheels.

Perhaps the best example of this was a 1954 Austin A30, owned by the YouTube channel UK Barn Finds. As the name would suggest, the vintage economy car was pulled out of a barn in August 2023, following 52 years of neglect.

Whilst the new keepers are restoring the little Austin, it featured plenty of surface rust, was missing a windscreen wiper and had the most cracked tyres I have ever seen, which all added to its charm.

In conclusion, I was incredibly impressed with Rustival and the wide scale of vintage, classic and modern vehicles it offered visitors.

With adult visitors paying £16 per ticket, which also allowed for access inside the British Motor Museum, it was significantly better value for money compared to some classic car shows.

The organisers have already announced that there will be more Rustival events in the future, and I for one cannot wait.

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