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Historic Motoring Awards 2023: winners, overview and gallery

A record 400 people, including Royalty, flocked to London’s Dorchester Hotel for the 13th annual Historic Motoring Awards presented by Octane in association with Chubb.

The event’s status as the only truly international awards in the classic car world was underlined by as many as 30% of the guests coming from overseas and representing five continents. This diversity was also reflected in the winners, who hailed from as far afield as Australia and the USA.

Played out under the watchful gaze of His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent and against a sensational backdrop of two imposing bespoke classic cars, the ceremony was hosted again by broadcaster, journalist and historic racer Amanda Stretton.

Other notables spotted in the room included TV personalities Edd China, Paul Cowland and Sarah Crabtree, while sponsors Vintage Tyres, Quickfit SBS, the Historic & Classic Vehicles Alliance, Immun’Âge and the Federation Skills Trust continued to support the event and sponsor individual awards.

There were also a record 365 entries for the 22 awards, three of which Octane readers voted for in their thousands (thank you!), while a global jury of 42 classic car experts selected the other winners.

It is an incredible honour to be recognised by the Historic Motoring Awards, and it means so much that they recognised Peter’s legacy and contributions to the classic car community.

It is an incredible honour to be recognised by the Historic Motoring Awards, and it means so much that they recognised Peter’s legacy and contributions to the classic car community.

One of the most hotly contested awards was all the more tense because the two main contenders were actually parked up in the Dorchester ballroom. In the end the Bensport La Sarthe was highly commended, but The Blizzard took the Bespoke Car of the Year gong.

Emotions ran high when Sarah Jane Adams-Diffey scooped the Personal Achievement award for the motorsport apprentice scheme that she established in the name of her late husband, historic racer James Diffey, who died in a road accident.

That emotion was ramped up further when Merle Mullin came to the stage against the backdrop of a standing ovation to collect the Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of both herself and her late husband Peter. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as she thanked Octane and the Awards for acknowledging the couple’s tireless achievements in promoting pre-war French cars globally.

‘It is an incredible honour to be recognised by the Historic Motoring Awards, and it means so much that they recognised Peter’s legacy and contributions to the classic car community,’ said Merle Mullin. ‘We are the caretakers for these beautiful cars and their place in history. It is our privilege to help preserve and share that history with others.’

At the end of the ceremony there was a charity auction held in aid of Mission Motorsport. Conducted by celebrity auctioneer Charles Hanson, the five lots included original artworks by Anna-Louise Felstead, Tim Layzell and Jonny Ambrose, and raised a total of £8500.

Octane editor in chief James Elliott said: ‘The way the Awards have exploded in size since 2017 is astonishing. We have nearly double the number of trophies, double the number of judges and now not far short of double the number of guests in the room. In fact we were fully sold out in 2023, again.

‘It is all a far cry from three years ago when the Covid-19 pandemic meant that an awards evening was impossible. If the HMAs have been anything, however, it is innovative, and back then we were one of the first to successfully take our event online. The innovation I am most proud of, however, is the introduction of the Apprentice of the Year category. Not only does it acknowledge and encourage the next generation, who will prove so vital in keeping our cars, our hobby and our industry alive in years to come, but the youngsters also bring a welcome extra vibrancy to the ceremony.’

The full list of winners

Publication of the Year A Quiet Greatness by Mark R Brinker and Myron Vernis

Bespoke Car of the Year The Blizzard by Blizzard Motor Cars

Classic Car Ambassador of the Year Yohan Poonawalla

Industry Supporter of the Year A. Lange & Söhne

Specialist of the Year Superformance (UK), Vintage Bentley

Rising Star Award – Event Noosa Concours d’Elegance

Rising Star Award – Individual Dan Cogger, Georgia Peck

Concours of the Year Concours of Elegance Hampton Court Palace

Amateur Photographer Connor Heath

Professional Photographer Rich Pearce

Manufacturer Contribution JLR Classic

Personal Achievement Sarah Jane Adams-Diffey

Best Use of Social Media Harry Metcalfe

Motoring Event of the Year International St Moritz Automobile Week

Restorer of the Year Team 3019

Motorsport Event of the Year Le Mans Classic

Team of the Year Collecting Cars

Museum/Collection of the Year Visscher Classique Museum

Apprentice of the Year Joe Frankum – Classic Autos of Kings Langley

Club of the Year Benjafield’s Racing Club, MG Car Club

Car of the Year Maserati A6G/54 Zagato

Lifetime Achievement of the Year Merle and Peter Mullin

Find out more about the Historic Motoring Awards here

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