Riviera Classic Car Show
The history of the Show
TOWC organises the Riviera Classic Car Show in late July every year on the first Sunday of the Paignton Festival, which lasts for 9 days. The Festival was formerly called Torbay Carnival and has been held since 1908. It was given its new name in 2016 and still includes the Torbay Carnival procession on the Wednesday evening. The show is an important part of the Festival week and was first held by us in 1994. It raises funds for the Festival, which are used entirely to support local charities and community organisations. In 2019 we were proud to donate £7,600, breaking our record for the 4th consecutive year and bringing the running total raised to well over £58,500. Amazingly, over 40% of this has been since 2016.
The Show takes place on the north section of Paignton Green, alongside the beach and Paignton Pier.
There’ve been some changes to the layout of the show in recent years. Originally the whole of the Green was available, but things began to change in about 2009. Firstly a seasonal license was granted by the local council to a roller coaster ride located on the site from July to September which reduced the space. Then in 2012 a large new adventure playground opened on the adjacent middle green. This meant that there was no longer room there for the marquees and stage which are part of the Festival. The only option was to re-site them on the North Green, further reducing the space left for the vehicle display. But it’s not all negative, as you’ll see.
The Show now
With the current layout the show is more a part of the Festival than ever. The display of fabulous vehicles is complemented by stage entertainment through the day, food outlets, a craft marquee and licensed bar. We’re still able to accommodate well over 300 vehicles and the result is a unique event which has developed its own very special relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Such is its popularity that we now have exhibitors bringing their vehicles from over much of England, and bookings for spaces are full some months in advance. Some of our entries are individuals, whilst we also have clubs taking their own stand spaces. The range of vehicles is something to behold. There are a few rare examples from the early part of the 1900s, lots of classics from the 50s to 70s or even a bit later. There’s also a sprinkling of modern customs and supercars, commercial vehicles, scooters and motorbikes.
The show site is right at the heart of one of the most popular and busiest parts of Torbay and is always enjoyed by families on holiday as well as locals who make a point of visiting us every year. With so much to see and do, it’s a great day out for all the family.
The site postcode is TQ4 6BW. Map
Thanks to Doyle publications for the Video
The show is open from 10am to 4.30pm. There are entrances at both ends of North Green. Gate receipts form the major part of what we are able to donate to Festival charities each year, so we encourage the public to come along and have a great day at the seaside. Entry is by a donation of £2.50 for adults, with children under 12 free. Dogs on leads are welcome, but please use your doggy bags. Unaccompanied children are not permitted, nor are bikes or scooters which our gate staff will look after for you. The show is child-friendly. Many of the owners will be around to tell you about their vehicles and some may allow the children to sit in their cars for photos. On site we have stage entertainment which includes items for the youngsters. There’s also ice cream, burgers, and other stalls of interest.
Right alongside the show field is the award winning Paignton Beach, the Pier, a large funfair, and the free Geopark adventure playground. And of course, we mustn’t forget the public toilets are just outside the show site.
There is very limited on street parking close by, but the site is close to surface and multi storey car parks. It’s also just a short walk to the bus and train stations. The site is entirely on the level with excellent disabled access.
TOWC organises just the vehicle display at the show. For all enquiries regarding trade or catering outlets and sponsorship opportunities please contact the Paignton Festival chairman Mike Bailey at or 07403 259916. Under local council rules, no advertising vehicles or stands are permitted on the show field itself.
For the Press
The Riviera Classic Car Show is a major event in the area with many photo opportunities. Organised locally for local charities it is very much a community success and goes from strength to strength each year. In recent years we have had some noteworthy vehicles to see. These include Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a perfect working copy of the talking car Kitt driven by David Hasselhoff in the Knight Rider programmes, the actual Volvo driven by Sir Roger Moore in The Saint TV series, a replica of the Dukes of Hazzard car, a Flintstones car, the AC Cobra of Fitz from BBC, and the Bristol bus brought along by Shep of BBC Southwest. We welcome Press interest to help us promote the show beforehand and to relate the story in the days following.
We have a large number of royalty free images from previous shows which we are happy to supply. Our club’s Press Officer is Chris Headon, firstname.lastname@example.org, 01803 411873, 07778 602188.