Retro Rides 2021

Words and Photography: Jonny Smith

How do I do this again..

So 2020 was quite the blur.

Stuck at home, day in, day out, it has felt like forever since we went to a car show let alone about to see groups of people. Living through another 'once in a lifetime' event hasn't been fun but it has been refreshing that we are getting back to some type of 'normal'. 

Retro Rides 2021

For me, it's been a while since I had spent full day with my camera. 15 odd months it's been packed away, last used for our small gathering up at Workshop77 whilst we were all allowed to hang out outside. 

I'll be honest, I hadn't taken notice that Retro Rides was happening this year, I personally hadn't spent much time keeping up with the scene and social media from the end of 2020 to early 2021. It had not helped with the depressing situation we were in.

For me, lockdown meant extremely long days whilst I remained at work and to be honest it has not been an easy ride.

With a quick check on social media I saw some of the cars at the show and after some deliberation at 11pm, I booked my Sunday ticket. 

A quick rummage and a dust off, my camera gear was ready for the 6am start. 

Early doors I was on the road and I knew I had to be productive once arrived. I was so hyped to be going to a show and actually take some photos I said to myself it would have to take a priority. Usually I'll wander round, socialise with people I know, get near the end of the day and realise I've missed quite a lot of stuff. Being there for a solid 5 hours with a 1pm alarm, it was headphones in, podcasts on and off around the Paddocks of Goodwood's Motor Circuit.

One thing I really enjoyed about the event, was the diversity. Obviously I was attracted to the 70's and 80's Japanese metal but it was so refreshing to see many other brands from that era. Either restored to a factory finish or modified to the owner's taste.

Kaido Racer 

There were a few reasons I made the trip, not just to shoot, but see some certain cars. The Retro Ride guys had their Kaido Racer with them. It's great to see this style over here. We see it outside of Japan in Cali with the Garlino guys but nothing really over here and to my knowledge, just Robin's "Epic Specialz" homebuilt Nissan Sunny. 

Built over in New Zealand by Matt Jordan, it was imported to the UK just before the lockdown last March and only up until now has been able to show itself. Hopefully, we'll see a rise in Kaido racers in this part of the world, it has been great to see the the UK JDM scene show their appreciation and love for this car.


Another highlight was Benny's Kyuu-Gentsuki Honda tact/aero/vision. This style of taking a Japanese scooter, adding body parts, being low to the ground, and a period correct livery just gives off a huge aurora for something so small. 

Benny also brought along his '76 Celica. 

Porsche Corner

There was a cool section with quite a big group of 911s under the Porsche sign in the outta paddock. 

Seeing as I'm not hugely fussed with the 911, I didn't take to much interest until I spotted something hidden behind the line of 911s. The beautiful 914.

Volkswagen Roots. 

VWs will always be close to our hearts, it's how most of us here at Rollhard entered this modified world, so I made sure to keep an eye out for some great German metal. 

From Aircooled to Watercooled. 

Italian vs Japanese Kei Car. 

You could say the Fiat Cinquecento is somewhat an European Kei car, just not rocking a 660c engine. Surprisingly parked next to a Suzuki Alto Works it was a cool pairing amongst the show.


Which one do you prefer? 

More Japanese Appreciation 

Under the trees and around the outta paddock, there was an area for the Datsun owners club. A selection of fine Datsuns and Nissans. Behind you also had a few old Toyota sedans. The Toyota AE86's weren't in short supply either. 



Talking of Robin's (Epic_Specialz) Kaido which is in a state of rebuild, he brought along his Datsun Bluebird Wagon. 

Laroza-Sans clean and simple Shuttle. 

Retro Rides was a great day out to just quickly forget about what's going on in the world and enjoy a passion we all share. I'll make sure to plan a full weekend next year and enjoy the track action on the Saturday. But for now, it's not long until we'll be back a Goodwood, Players Classic is right around the corner, and then I have a day at Festival of Speed planned!


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1 comment

  • Nice commentary on the sign of the post COVID release.

    Funny that you called the Fiat Cinquecento an Italian Kei car.

    According to wikipedia, so it must be true, the first Japanese Kei van (the 1961 Subaru Sambar) was actually inspired by the 1957 Fiat 600 Multipla van.

    So really Fiat were there first!


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