THOUSANDS of visitors descended on Bowood House near Calne today for its second Classic Car & Motorcycle Show of the year.

The show attracted several thousand visitors and more than 500 exhibitors of vintage, classic, and modern classic cars and motorcycles.

It was one of more than 20 shows organised by West Yorkshire-based Classic Shows in locations with a prestigious country house backdrop.

The Holmfirth company organised its first show at Bowood in early May and managing director Matthew Harvey was quick to praise the stunning location overlooking the house and lake.

“We’re expecting somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 visitors and a number of classic car and motorcycle clubs have come from Bath, Bristol, Chippenham and Swindon.

“It’s clear that there has been a desire and a demand for this event from the outset and Bowood House provides a picturesque backdrop for our classic vehicle displays.

“The show at Bowood has grown in popularity and we have attracted a wider range of content each time we hold it.”

The 500-plus vehicles on display included a 104-year-old Model T Ford built in 1915 and owned by 72-year-old Trevor Sidaway from Calne.

He said: “When I bought it in 2009 it like purchasing a box of bits, it was so roughly assembled.

“I have restored it since then but it is a working car and I wanted to show it just as it is to all and sundry. It is just a car.”

Other vehicles on display included everything from sleek Morgans to kit and custom cars, classic Hillmans, Sunbeams, Triumphs and Austins, to MG sports cars, and more modern Minis and Ford Escorts.

They included Tony Jeffries, 76, from Rowde, with his brand new two-tone grey Morgan Roadster, with the power being provided by a 3.7-litre Ford Mustang engine.

He said: “It’s only three months old and I’ve already done 1,500 miles. It’s a beautiful car to drive and is a bit of nostalgia.

“I’m the team leader for our local Community Speed Watch team so I have to be careful. But with this car producing 300bhp I have to watch my speed all the time.”

Cabinet maker Kenny Hedges, 46, from Swindon, had driven to the show in his red Austin Mini HLE with a 1380cc engine. The body had been lowered and the paintwork was gleaming as he showed off the car and its engine to visitors.

“It’s my pride and joy,” he said. “I had always wanted a Mini ever since I was a kid. My granddad used to show me pictures of them so I suppose it started from there.

“It has taken me 19 years to rebuild it and I did all the work myself except for the paintwork.”

He is now a member of the British Mini Club and the Westcountry Mini Club and shows off his vehicle at classic car shows such as the one at Bowood.

One of the smallest cars at the show was a 1960s German-built Messerschmitt KR 200cc vehicle owned by Julian Hayward, 58, who runs the M4 indoor karting centre at Hullavington and won Best in Class for classic vehicles from the 1960s and 70s at the show.

He said: “I have owned it for two years and have restored it from the ground up. When I bought it, it was being used as a prop by a wedding venue.”

One of the highlights of the show was a red 1964 Triumph TR4 Spitfire MK1 owned by Cliff Cowtan, 84, from Broadtown near Royal Wootton Bassett.

He said: “It’s had only one owner from new. It’s done 110,000 miles and still has its original leatherwork and windscreen trim.

“I bought it in 1965 for £777. Somebody told me it’s now worth £15,000 but I won’t sell it. When I stop driving I hope to pass it on to a member of the family.”

Graham Morris, 78, from Winterslow near Salisbury, had travelled to the show in his 1963 Lotus Super Seven in classic British Racing Green. The car has no roof and boasts a 1500cc Cosworth engine (Series Two).

He has owned it since 1994 and totally rebuilt it over the next three years. Since then he has travelled all over Europe and Scandinavia in the car.

Mr Morris said: “It was my intention when I rebuilt it to make it as close to the original as possible. It has 99 per cent of its original style.”

At the other end of the scale, was retired librarian David Green, 72, with his 1961 six-window General Motors Cadillac Sedan DeVille.

He said: “I bought the car as a 70th birthday present to me. I have owned American cars for the past 25 years.”

The metallic champagne-coloured American classic is 18.75-feet long and only averages 12 miles to the gallon. But, says Mr Green, “It’s a lovely car to drive and cruises comfortably at 70mph.”

There was also a fine display of motorcycles at the show, including the Best in Class, a 1936 BSA Y13 750cc motorbike with overhead valves owned by Jim Gaisford, a member of the Bath Classic Motorcycle club and the West Wilts section of the Vintage Motorcycle Club.

He said: “I have owned the bike since 2004 and when I bought it nothing worked. There was not a single item on it that worked and it seemed like a mistake to buy it.

“But it took me 20 years to find one and five years to make it go-able. But since then it has been from Land’s End to John O’Groats twice to raise funds for the Parkinson’s Disease charity.”

Mark Stone, a former racing driver and freelance motoring journalist, provided the expert and entertaining commentary for the event.

He said: “I think the show has been superb. It is a stunning venue.” He presented category winners with prizes and every vehicle exhibitor received a free commemorative plaque for taking part.