Riviera Classic Car Show

With regret we are postponing the 2021 show. Despite progress in the COVID battle our members agree there are still too many uncertainties to plan a safe and successful event.  We cannot risk the wellbeing of our own team, the exhibitors, or visitors.  Government roadmap dates are “no earlier than”, with no guarantees, and there’s uncertainty about the status of “large events” after 21st June. If it were to proceed, the show would most likely involve extra precautions, with visitor numbers controlled and fewer vehicles on display. This might not be financially viable and isn’t in keeping with the friendly and welcoming atmosphere which is a tradition of our usually very busy rally. 

The next show will be on 24th July 2022 when we hope to be back to normal, raising funds for local charities as part of the Paignton Festival.   

For exhibitors

We can fit in almost 400 vehicles but the show’s popularity means it’s always over-subscribed. Early booking is recommended to avoid disappointment and we’re usually full within weeks, after which we can’t accept any more advance bookings.

We do sometimes find that we have a few spare spaces on the day.  We can never guarantee this, but if so then we will accept some late entries.  All exhibitors are given a rally programme and a small memento to show our appreciation. 

The cut-off age for exhibits is 1992 with the exception of cars in the Americans and Custom/Exotic classes, and clubs.  All entries are accepted at the discretion of the organisers.  A minimum of 5 vehicles is needed for a club stand and we recommend block applications for this.

Drivers must agree to be on site by 10am and not to move their vehicles until the show closes after the prize giving ceremony at the end of the day. 

Next Show
24th July 2022
Sandy Sparkle

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.

More recently

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. 

David Sheppard (Shep) BBC Radio Devon

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

For visitors


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.

Volvo stand "by the sea"
A reproduction car

For traders

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 chairman@paigntonfestival.com or 07403 259916. Under local council rules, no advertising vehicles or stands are permitted on the show field itself.

Riviera Classic Car Show 2019

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, chris.headon@hotmail.com, 01803 411873, 07778 602188.