Our annual Oldtimer Rally on The Leas in front of The Grand in Folkestone, which attracted over 400 entrants last year including a Continental contingent, is as ever planned for the late summer bank holiday; Folkestone Town Council traditionally sponsors the entrants’ plaques and prizes.
Links to the entry form and the rally programmes for recent years are near the top left of this page.
‘Oldtimer’ is the modern Continental English for ‘classic car’. Car rallies have been held here at least since 1896; the first one marque car rally ever was held here in 1933, for Rileys (one of the Riley brothers lived locally); in 1964 there were more Rolls-Royces per head of population in Folkestone than any other town in the world, and in the 70s the rally became established as the Rolls-Royce Parade. In the 80s & 90s it became part of the local authority sponsored Shepway Airshow.
In the 21st century it has reverted to its roots as the Oldtimer Rally – a good day out for participants and anyone else who wants to come and have a look and enjoy the atmosphere.
Its situation, on The Leas in front of The Grand, is probably one of the finest such spots anywhere in the world, with a backdrop of majestic late Victorian and Edwardian buildings and views across the busy shipping lanes of the English Channel to France on clear days. And clear days they are – quite remarkably since the summer heat waves of the mid 70 there has always been fine weather on the day of the rally.
But should it rain, The Grand’s Palm Court glazed terrace overlooking the rally site couldn’t be a finer retreat. As can be seen from the links from this page, refreshments and meals are readily available there and in the adjacent accommodation which also contains rooms and apartments for those who wish to make more than a day’s outing for the annual occasion.
Folkestone "Airshow" Rally
Saturday 8th June 2013 - to be repeated in 2014?
Although last year´s Airshow was regrettably cancelled due to insufficient funding, Folkestone Town Council and Shepway District Council (SDC) decided jointly at the last minute to pay £12,000 to secure a Red Arrows display on the intended "Airshow" date, Saturday 8th June.
SDC very generously agreed that an Oldtimer Rally could be arranged on The Leas in front of The Grand to coincide with the revised display, and despite the short notice of just eigh days nearly fifty cars came, on what was, as ever, a glorious day.
The Red Arrows gave a magnificent display lasting nearly half an hour; according to an ex RAF display team member present, it was the finest display he had ever seen - very much helped of course by our magnificent vantage point 150 feet above the sea facing south over the Channel which enables the team to fly level with the spectators and being over water to indulge in spectacular dare devilry right under their noses.
It is hoped that an Airshow will take place again this year, on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th June 2014. Should this materialise, we expect to be allowed to arrange a rally on The Leas in front of The Grand, and we will notify those who have registered on our email database for updates.
One more reason to 'Discover Folkestone' and enjoy the numerous events taking place throughout the year. The following 2010 clip from Colin Baggot comes courtesy of Discover Folkestone, Folkestone’s independent visitor attraction agency:
Chairman Michael Stainer
Secretary Eileen Watling