Bicester Heritage: The young and the slammed Car News

New build housing estates to my right, Porsche 911s in front of me and a bright yellow sign on my left reading ‘Bicester Scramble pre-bought tickets only’. I must be en route to Bicester Heritage’s first event of the year.

It’s pretty posh in these parts, but even I could figure out the sign really meant ‘sold out don’t waste your time unless you’ve already bought a ticket.’ I’ve been to one Scramble before. The very first one. That had around 300 people at it. Today it’s more like 7,000.

A few things have changed other than the queues to get in and out. For one, there’s new stuff. Previously it was bunker this, hanger that, but now manufacturers, such as Alpine and Polestar, have big showings. You could even take a Polestar 2 for a test drive.

The largest, palpable difference is the age of visitors though. There is a torrent of young people in every direction, a cascade of Gen Zs in baggy jeans and mullet haircuts with their phones (naturally held in portrait format) out, snapping away for Instagram, TikTok and BeReal. Ask your kids about those.

I’ve been to hundreds of classic car shows in my time and this is not generally how things are done. A typical Sunday morning run involves middle aged men, fried food in a roll and deck chairs.

How has Bicester substituted panama hats for Crocs? If anyone knows, it’s Dan Geoghegan, Chief Executive at Bicester. He’s the mastermind behind the Bicester Heritage site and was responsible for acquiring this former RAF base and transforming it into the 444 acre car theme park here today.


When I sat down with him in the central clubhouse he attracted people like Twitter users to an electric car fire. Well-wishers, colleagues, irritating journos alike. It brought memories of the often spoofed West Wing TV series featuring Martin Sheen walking through a corridor with a fleet of people vying for his attention.

“Under 30s are about one third of ticket sales. Go around a corner and it’s a complete surprise. I see things on Instagram later in the day that I’ve missed. It’s almost too big to fit into a day now.

“Social media clearly appeals to a younger audience and we do that very well. And while the show has grown, we’ve done it by intensifying the quality, not dumbing it down.

“We’re also a very young team at heart. There are 500 people on site (more than 40 companies call Bicester Heritage home) and 150-200 of those employees are apprentices. We also support a charity called Starter Motor. (which endeavours to get the generation of young people driving, maintaining and enjoying historic cars) It’s an attractive place to work.”

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This notice was published: 2024-01-09 11:55:54

By Auto Car

Coach is a weekly British motoring magazine published by Haymarket Media Group. First published in 1895, it bills itself as "the world's oldest automotive magazine."

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