The Bart Vanderveen Challenge Shield is awarded annually to the individual, chosen by nominations, who has contributed most to the military vehicle preservation movement. Inaugurated and sponsored by After the Battle, publishers of Wheels & Tracks magazine which was founded by Bart Vanderveen in 1982 and edited by him until the 75th issue published in April 2001. The trophy is presented at the War and Peace Show, which is the world's largest gathering of privately owned military vehicles, held annually at The Hop Farm, Beltring, Paddock Wood, Kent, in July.
Please click below to view a rundown on each year's award.
In 2004 the trophy was awarded to Tony Budge.
This was Winston Ramsey's address:
In the 1979 Military Vehicle Preservation Association member's directory Tony Budge was listed as having 'No military vehicles at present' — in stark contrast to his impact on the military vehicle hobby during the 1980s and 1990s.
Then, Tony was a successful businessman, his family being major players in road building, open-cast coal mining and plant hire. His interest in military vehicles started modestly but, as he had both the financial resources and also the facilities, he decided to build up a serious collection of military vehicles with a definite emphasis on armour, both wheeled and tracked.
Within three years he was topping the league of the 'super collectors' with over 200 vehicles - armoured and soft skin - at his base in Nottinghamshire, although this was no collection of hulks as Tony carefully selected many quality vehicles from collectors far and wide.
And he didn't just keep everything behind locked doors — as well. As his legendary open days, he supported many military vehicle events in the UK and abroad with rare and superbly restored vehicles, crewed by his team of enthusiastic and knowledgeable drivers and mechanics, always dressed in the distinctive Budge Collection black coveralls.
His son Karl shared his enthusiasm and was actively involved in the collection and soon over a dozen people were employed to work and manage the collection. The workshop facilities allowed the team to take on the most difficult restoration challenges and the finished vehicles from Budge became a benchmark for restoration quality.
The Budge enthusiasm for building a comprehensive collection had a considerable impact on the value of military vehicles and perhaps for the first time the investment potential of historic military vehicles was realised.
The acquisition trail soon led him to look abroad, beyond the well known dealers and scrapyards of Europe. This is where Tony made perhaps his most significant contribution to the hobby — he opened up access to the motor pools of Eastern European and other far flung museums and armies. With both purchases and exchanges, vehicles previously unseen in private hands began to arrive in East Retford. And it wasn't just vehicles for the collection as large numbers of vehicles were made available to private collectors and museums. He was able to deal with governments of all size. His reputation opened doors that would have otherwise remained locked forever.
As well as kicking off the enthusiasm for collecting Soviet Bloc armour and softskins, Tony rescued rare WW2 AFVs from Australian deserts to be restored to concours condition in the Budge workshops.
The 'Budge Effect' certainly spawned more traders and service suppliers as the hobby grew rapidly — his high profile as a businessman also got the military vehicle collecting some positive press coverage.
In the early 1990s his businesses were forced to downsize and sadly the collection and all the stock vehicles were sold off. It must have been a very difficult decision to make, having invested so much money and enthusiasm into the venture. The collection was split up, with vehicles being sold worldwide to discerning collectors and museums. Even that had a positive effect on the hobby as it unleashed a great quantity of mainly unrestored armour at knockdown prices to the private collector.
Happily, Tony Budge is still involved in the military hobby at Ryton Arms, and his son keeps the Budge name involved in the military vehicle business through Lionheart Vehicles. Tony's contribution to the MV hobby has been immense. Many of the vehicles in the rally fields and collections we see today have at some time passed through the hands of A. F Budge. Many collectors and enthusiasts have benefited — perhaps unknowingly — from the impact Tony made on the hobby. He was, and still is, above all a serious military vehicle enthusiast.
Tony Budge is a very worthy recipient of the Bart Vanderveen Trophy for 2004.