Elvis and his wheels

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Immaculate, but how did it even get through the Landgate?

The observant Ryer walking around town over the weekend will have noticed the sudden appearance of 1950’s hair styles, jeans with 4 inch turnups and the occasional splendid classic car.

Could almost have looked at home in the Untouchables

All of this could mean only one thing: the rockabillies were in town. Once a year enthusiasts for all things ’50’s from fashion to cars and, of course, music, descend upon Rye and Camber for the weekend and on the Sunday afternoon Rye gets the benefit of a display of wonderful, exotic, noisy and sometimes downright outrageous cars parading through the town to collect in the station car park for judging.

How to go on holiday in an Austin A30 – another suitcase and it would surely tip over!

The cars, in fact, spanned more than just the ’50s with pre-war vehicles sharing the road with relatively modern examples from the ’60s.

American cars formed the majority with many that would have done justice to Hollywood films: Bonny and Clyde, the Untouchables (from the prohibition era), through to a couple of beautiful Pontiac Trans Ams that could have starred with Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit.

One of the mighty Trans Ams

The smallest cars were a lovingly prepared pre-war Austin 7 and an Austin A30, its roof piled so high with period luggage that one almost expected it to topple over. The largest  was so wide that, when coming down the Mint, little room was left on either side of it. All this to the sound of revving V8 engines, car horns playing “Dixie” and, once, the voice of the Elvis Presley – the king himself, declaring his love for his blue suede shoes from a period car radio.

Unbeatable – the sight and sound of a fabulous Bugatti. All it needs is Louis Chiron in the driving seat.

As you may have gathered by now, this writer (having once owned an Aston Martin driven by Tony Curtis in the 1969 film Monte Carlo or Bust) is something of a petrolhead, and while some, doubtless, were glad when all the noise was over, the crowds watching the parade and in the car park afterwards, suggest that I was not the only one who enjoyed the site, sound and, just occasionally, the authentic smell of Castrol R and will be looking forward to their return next year.

Image Credits: John Minter.

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