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Meguiar’s 2008 UK Car Enthusiast of the Year won by Peter Madden

24th June 2008 Print
One of the previously unsung heroes of the classic vehicle fraternity, Peter Madden, has been named the 2008 Meguiar’s ‘UK Car Enthusiast of the Year’.

Peter is one of the driving forces behind ‘Classics on the Common’ – an event which began as an impromptu ‘pub meet’ for classic enthusiasts in Harpenden, but which has grown year on year and now attracts over 1,000 entries and 10,000 spectators from across the country.

The Meguiar’s Award is designed to celebrate the achievements of a person who has made a significant contribution to the growth, visibility and quality of the UK car enthusiast fraternity. The previous winners have been: Geoff Smith (Vice President of the FBHVC), Lord Montagu of Beaulieu (National Motor Museum); Mark Wilsmore (Ace Café) and Tom Wheatcroft (Donington Grand Prix Collection).

The independent judging panel, comprising of ten eminent motoring journalists, met at the Caledonian Club in London to discuss the 13 nominees for 2008. After a lively debate, the panel came to a unanimous decision in selecting Peter ahead of a number of higher profile candidates – a very worthy winner of an Award that, over just five years, has become a prestigious accolade.

Peter Madden
Peter Madden is a serving police officer and a driving force behind ‘Classics on the Common’, which began in 1994 for classic enthusiasts in Harpenden, with just a handful of cars gathering on the local common. Today it’s a huge event – and continues to grow each year.

Peter Madden was first able to indulge his love of classic cars in 1990, when he used an inheritance to buy a 1968 Rover P5B Coupe. He joined the Rover P5 Club, and is now a longstanding committee member for the club.

He came up with the idea for ‘Classics on the Common’ in 1994, suggesting an evening picnic on Harpenden Common as an extension to the local pub meet. With support from the landlord of the Carpenters Arms pub, John Tibble, the event was launched.

Only 25 cars attended that first year, increasing to 125 in 1995 and then growing rapidly over the subsequent years, with some 1,300 vehicles and 10,000 spectators attending in 2007. In 2003 ‘Classics on the Common’ won Classic and Sports Car magazine’s award for the overall ‘Best Event 2003’.

As the event grew and prompted by exhibitors, the organisers of the event started to raise money for local charities. It has always been completely free for spectators, but in the last two years ‘Classics on the Common’ has raised over £10,000 for local charities, with around 80 percent of the turnover from the event going to charity..

The format for ‘Classics on the Common’ is simple – there are no classes or judging and very limited commercial activity. There are no club or age areas; cars are simply parked up in the order that they arrive. Whilst it may not have the weather of Pebble Beach or the refined surroundings of The Hurlingham Club, the event is unique and draws enormous crowds for a mid week summer’s evening.

Many entrants comment year after year that ‘Classics on the Common’ is the one event they will always attend. The attraction appears to be its informality and different nature coupled with the fantastic array of vehicles. Last year saw entries from throughout the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Holland and Belgium. After 15 years, 2008 will be Peter’s final year as organiser for Classics on the Common, and he is hoping to raise £7,000 for charity. 2009 will see a team of four enthusiasts take over ‘Classics on the Common’ while Peter while focus his attention on other projects.

Award presentation at Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon
The Meguiar’s Award will be presented to Peter at a gala dinner at the Motor Heritage Centre, Gaydon, on Saturday, November 22, which will be attended by several hundred leading figures from the classic car world, including representatives of all the major car clubs. Proceedings will be compered by Tiff Needell, popular racing driver, journalist and presenter of the ‘Fifth Gear’ TV programme.

The evening will be jointly hosted by Meguiar’s President and CEO, Barry Meguiar and the Managing Director of Meguiar’s UK, Steve King. The ceremony will be televised in the USA and Canada on the Speed Channel, where Barry Meguiar hosts the popular weekly Car Crazy show. It will also be reported on Meguiar’s global car portal

The Car Crazy TV and radio shows and Car Crazy Central web site result from over 100 years Meguiar’s family passion for cars, originating in 1901 with the foundation of the company by Barry Meguiar’s grandfather. Meguiar’s is now the world’s foremost producer of car surface care products.

For further information about Meguiar’s and its products, or to obtain free advice on all aspects of automotive surface care, visit