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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Show of Dreams brings classic British cars, culture to Hudson

Matt Baddeley leaned in close, then closer, spinning the focus ring on the macro lens on his camera to bring into focus a gleaming artifact of British transportation history.

“Anything that’s old. I like things that are old,” Baddeley, of Litchfield, said after his brief photo shoot. ...

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Matt Baddeley leaned in close, then closer, spinning the focus ring on the macro lens on his camera to bring into focus a gleaming artifact of British transportation history.

“Anything that’s old. I like things that are old,” Baddeley, of Litchfield, said after his brief photo shoot.

“Old,” “classic” and “stirringly handsome” were indeed among the words that came to mind for hundreds of local residents and out-of-state visitors who spent the morning and early afternoon studying an eclectic assemblage of British-made classic vehicles at the British Cars of New Hampshire’s 18th annual Show of Dreams on the grounds of Hudson’s Hills House.

Baddeley, dressed smartly in a tie and vest, certainly wasn’t the only camera-toting visitor to the show. Through donations and raffle ticket sales, it benefits the New Hampshire Food Bank and the High Hopes Foundation of New Hampshire.

BCNH, established in 1991 by Barnstead resident Mike Sweet, debuted its annual summertime Show of Dreams at a High Hopes festival in Milford. When the informal car show drew more than 100 classic British car owners from around New England, organizers turned it into an annual event.

The British theme goes beyond the vehicles at BCNH shows, with volunteers dressed to the hilt in suits and outfits representing various eras of British history strolling the grounds as greeters.

More than a few British flags, from hand-held ones taped to car antennae to full-size banners unfurling in the breeze, also contribute to the atmosphere.

Visitors could peruse a number of exhibits and vendors in between admiring vehicles that ranged from Jaguars, Triumphs and MGs to Lotuses and a couple of Daimlers, plus the occasional eye-catching curiosity such as the
crash rescue vehicle based on a 1979 Land Rover that once served the Royal Air Force.

Peering through the rear doors of the truck, which is quite basic by today’s rescue vehicle standards, reveals four bunks – two on each side – that look more like shelves, with a narrow space in between. It’s easy to imagine RAF medics sliding the injured onto the bunks for transport to the hospital.

John and Laurie Gallagher, of Amherst, entered their 1964 Winchester London Taxi, a nearly flawless relic complete with meter. A mere 300 were manufactured from 1964-68.

And the Queen Mum herself was there, albeit in mini-statue form, waving to passersby thanks to a spring-loaded arm from the trunk of a sparkling 1960 Triumph.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443 or dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Shalhoup on Twitter (@Telegraph_DeanS).