CLASSIC car lovers in their thousands braved the January cold for the biggest winter ‘Sunday Scramble’ yet.

Organisers said they had double the number of visitors attending the event at Bicester Heritage, compared to January last year.

Now in their fourth year, Sunday Scrambles see enthusiasts drive their classic cars on to the former RAF base in Bicester three times a year and explore the hidden corners of a site that was closed off to the public for a century.

The event, at what has become a thriving centre for historic motoring, is now firmly established in the classic car calender and attracts people from across the country.

Philip White, marketing manager for Bicester Heritage, said: “We are thrilled with the turn out, it’s by far the biggest one we’ve done in January.

“It’s a fantastic example of the enthusiasm that is out there for classic cars.

“To see this many people and this many vehicles come to an event in the freezing cold of January is nothing short of wonderful.”

Among the cars attracting attention were a 1980s Formula One super car and more than 230 Porsches, courtesy of the Porsche enthusiasts club.

Mr White added: “Classic cars seem to trump all boundaries.

“It doesn’t matter what your car is worth, people will always want to talk about it.

“Everyone here has a shared interest and there’s a great sense of community.”

John Downes, who made the short trip from Oxford, said he was thrilled at getting the chance to see his dream car, an open top Jaguar, up close.

The 65-year-old social services worker from Cowley was attending his first Sunday Scramble and said it reminded him of working on cars in his grandad’s shed when he was younger.

Richard Waller travelled down from Northamptonshire in his friend’s Gilburn GI, which he has owned since it was built in 1963 and which has just been fully restored.

He said: “I’m 73 and cars that are classic now are the ones we used to drive in our daily lives.

“It’s fantastic seeing them again, they are all lovely cars.”

Bicester Heritage is now home to dozens of businesses that support the classic car industry.

Activate Learning has a base on the site where 40 apprentices learn how to repair old cars.

Matt Salt, one of the tutors, said the centre was helping to pass on ‘old fashioned skills’ to the next generation and that there is ‘real momentum’ starting to build behind the project.