Car-Fest North was a great weekend for all who attended the three-day event at Oulton Park in Cheshire, but it was especially enjoyable for one individual in particular.
It was going to be an exceptional day for Jonny Smith as it was; the Fifth Gear presenter had been invited to put his classic Dodge Charger through its paces on the Oulton Park circuit and subsequently entertained the crowds with his impressive muscle car. However, that wasn’t to be his only highlight of the weekend.
We were asked by Car-Fest if we would donate a car for the ‘Don’t Forget Your Car Keys’ competition where all proceeds would go to Children in Need. Jonny generously parted with £10 for an entry ticket, and lo-and-behold, his name came out of the raffle on the Sunday winners’ announcement for our Fiat 500.
It is fair to say that Jonny was rather ecstatic about winning the classy little 500: “When I received the phone call I just thought it was a hoax - as you would - but then recalled entering the raffle on Saturday. I entered the raffle to donate to Children in Need more than anything. I never expected to win anything, let alone the top prize. Who does, right?
“To drive away from a dealership with a box-fresh car that I haven’t had to pay for feels weird, but in a good way! The last time I won anything was a colouring competition held by our local building society in 1988. I won a pair of Alton Towers tickets, which was cool at the time.
“It doesn’t compare to a car though, let alone a reborn little icon like the 500. Ironically I used to own an old 500 about 12 years ago. It’s one of those cars that brings a grin before you’ve even sat in the thing.”
We had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Jonny and his family this week at our Fiat dealership in Peterborough where Jonny received a full handover from our very own David Calcutt, as well as a congratulations from Judy Teasdale who helped organise the competition with Car-Fest, before driving back home with daughter Kitty-Mae as his first passenger in the 500.
Jonny’s plan for the future is to treat the car with complete care until his daughter is old enough to drive and hand the 500 over into her possession.
“What’s odd is that I have been having thoughts of buying a 500 to squirrel away for when my five-year-old daughter Kitty-Mae turns 17,” added Jonny.
“A bit premature I know, but I have a feeling the 500 will be a classic by that time. If we do preserve it till then, I think my wife fully intends to put some miles on it in the meantime.”
Jonny is in the very fortunate position of being able to drive some of the best cars on the planet, but winning the Car-Fest competition has given him opportunity to own a brand new car for the very first time.
“My job means I drive and review every type of new car, but this is the first brand new motor I’ve ever owned!" Jonny enthused.
“Many thanks to Stoneacre for donating the car as a prize in the first instance, and thanks to Car-Fest for an enjoyable and growing charity-based event. I’ll be there next year. I might enter the raffle again…”