The Grand "Oldtimer"
classic car club

The Grand's next OldTimer Rally -
Bank Holiday Monday 30th August 2021


Download the 2021 entry form here **

Download the 2020 Winners and Runners up here

Rally Report

August Bank Holiday 

Monday 31 August 2020

As a response to the Government’s coronavirus restrictions, this year entrants were grouped by clubs, and those who had not identified a club were incorporated with members of The Grand Oldtimer Car Club.   Visitors were asked to keep to the paths surrounding the venue, and each club was then able to ensure the social distancing requirements were met in their designated areas.   The only additional restriction was the imposition of a 5mph speed limit.

Remarkably, these arrangements worked without a hitch, on what as has become customary was a perfect summer’s day – not too hot, a mild breeze and an occasional whiff of cloud and, possibly a first, a magnificent view of the French coast during the whole of the day.   Indeed, the only thing missing were our French contingent due to the two weeks’ quarantine currently required for French visitors, in addition to which their principal organiser Daniel Guerrin has not been well. 

Although we only got the go-ahead just over two weeks before the event, the turnout – 211 vehicles on site at 12 noon and a further 9 latecomers – was in the circumstances exceptional, particularly bearing in mind that a condition of allowing the event to go ahead was that there would be no advertising.   That most certainly kept the crowds away as required by the coronavirus rules, so much so that whereas it has commonly been estimated that we get about 20,000 visitors during the course of the day, we doubt there were more than 2,000 this year.

This was the first unrestricted open to the public event in our district, and one of the first in the country – as ever leading the way, as the first rally here was in August 1896, albeit with ‘only’ 16 cars – but in August 1896 there were apparently only 30 cars in the country, so over half of them were here!   Whether they were as enthusiastic as our participants this year, who can say, but this time everything went without a hitch, the club groupings working particularly well, as did the commentary on cars passing The Grand’s Palm Court steps – so lessons to be learned for next year!
  • Access was from 9.30am via Metropole Road East – which runs from Sandgate Road between The Grand – CT20 2XL – and The Metropole, both vast buildings standing on The Leas overlooking the sea.
  • Although a site plan was shown in previous programmes, this year the allocation of car spaces was varied as shown in the leaflets handed out on arrival.   The administrative headquarters, as in previous years, was on The Grand’s Palm Court steps, shown as HQ on the the plan on the rear of the arrival leaflet;  marshals by the ‘Car Way In’ directed all entrants during the arrival period.
  • Commentary and the Prizegiving was also from The Grand’s Palm Court steps by our enthusiast TV presenter Paul Mill who brought his magnificent Austin Healey 3000.   For a list of this year’s winners and runners up, click on the link directly over the pictures above. 
  • ** To request a hard copy entry form for next year please send a Stamped Addressed Envelope to the club secretary, Eileen Watling, Lynsted Cottage, Farthing Common, Lyminge CT18 8DH.    If prospective entrants arrive without an entry number, they will be diverted to a separate lane for completion of the necessary paperwork to satisfy regulatory requirements, but will not be eligible for judging. 
  • For periodic email updates, please click here to join The Grand Oldtimer Car Club, which meets on the second Thursday of each month at The Grand.
  • Click here for 2020 meeting dates – the corona virus suspension was lifted for Folkestone!
  • Apart from meeting monthly to discuss oldtimer issues of common interest, an established objective is to attend rallies within striking distance of Folkestone as a group, where appropriate meeting beforehand and travelling together.
  • Click here to see the list of rallies for which group visits had been arranged for this year, updated for coronavirus cancellations – ie. all except ours and Capel the following week..
  • At each monthly meeting arrangements are put in hand for the forthcoming month.
  • If you have any queries, please click here to email, or contact the club secretary, Eileen Watling – telephone 01 303  863 509.

Join The Grand Oldtimer Car Club

A bit of history

Vintage Car

‘Oldtimer’ is the modern Continental English for ‘classic car’. Car rallies have been held here at least since 1896 (just before the first London-Brighton run); 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 Airshow, which was resurected as an RAF Centenary ‘fly by’ on 22nd July 2018 with an informal Club rally in front of The Grand.

In the 21st century our main rally has reverted to its roots as the Oldtimer Rally – a good day out for participants and anyone else who wishes to visit 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 usually are – since the summer heat waves of the mid 70 there has almost invariably been fine weather on the day of the rally – save for 2014 & 2015!
Vintage Car
The Grand

Should it rain, The Grand’s Palm Court, a glazed terrace overlooking the rally site, couldn’t be a finer retreat, and was certainly put to the test for 2014 & 2015.

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.

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