This show is huge, so huge that a single day is no longer enough to take it all on. Unfortunately one day is all I had so with a 6:00am start I set off for the Midlands and the NEC in Birmingham.
The mix of vehicles and marques make is worth all the effort as is seeing all those rare and special cars pulled from there usual slumber and put into the light for people to point, stare and gawp at. The real difference for me this year over pervious years was I had a press pass, so what does that mean, well entry in to the sprawling halls an hour before the public and a chance to get your bearings and plan a route. Now covering 11 halls and forming a huge “C” shape once you were at the start you had a long walk ahead of you to take it all in.
First port of call was a pre arranged interview and photo shoot of a Beiber Mk1 Scirocco a very rare convertible version fresh in its new paint following restoration. This will be getting its own article on the next week or so, unless you’re a member of the Scirocco Register when it’ll premier in the next club magazine.
Everywhere you looked there were cars that need to be photographed and owners more that happy to help you get the shots you wanted. Can’t believe I got to get so close to some of these cars and thanks to the owners and clubs for allowing me access and being so accommodating it was much appreciated.
But add into the mix the Classic Bike show halfway round with the awesome Hesketh 24 being shown off. For me a perfect meld of new and old styles. Oh yes they too will be getting their own feature in due course.
Now this year there were 3 stages dotted around the halls, the most popular was no doubt the Wheeler Dealers Stage, with regular shows from Mike Brewer as well as a car build by Ed China, add to that a selection of previous cars built on the show.
Also if you’ve been watching the latest series of Trading Up, the car you can win was also there.
Other stages included the Restoration Stage close to the autojumble with the constant passing crowd watching demonstrations and asking the pro’s how to do that “little” job. A new stage for this year was a Club Stage which covered topics such as securing your classic and classic motoring in the digital age.
The huge autojumble almost had me putting my hand in my pocket for some “bits and pieces” but I was good well mostly damn my weakness for Minichamp Lamborghini’s, unlike a lot of shows where all you can get in basic tools and t-shirts, this one still allows you to buy virtually anything you may need for any car, be that bearing or a full lift. Not only that but on the restoration stage there were experts happy to answer questions and give demonstrations to the constant flow of the crowd.
With my press pass in hand I got to wonder around the Silverstone auction section without having to buy a brochure, it’s a shame this is extra but I can understand that it needs to sit separate from the show and allow potential buyers to see potential purchases. The quality and variety of machines prepared for the hammer was awesome from a Jaguar XJ220 to an awesome Porsche Carrera GTS all could be had if your wallet was big enough.
One car that wasn’t getting the attention it deserved was the South African Perana V8 Capri, a fantastic look at what Ford could have built but didn’t leaving it for private firms to produce the car every Capri fan wanted and waited for.
Now lets get down to the nitty gritty, the stand out cars, the hidden gems call then what you might the cars of the show. Now as many of you will know the more unusual the better for The Petrol Stop and I wasn’t to be disappointed. The cars like the Zimp, Zagato AR1, De Tomoso Deauville, Maserati 500 GT to name a few below will all be getting features over the coming months.
Stand out club stand of the show, now this is difficult as I know how much effort is made by each club to show the best of what they represent. Now for the more conventional clubs with large membership these can be large lavish stands with there own lighting and catering!!!! But for the quirky and marginal cars such as Gilbern and Piper just showing the best the club can muster is equally impressive to me, due to the time taken, let’s remember many have to take leave, travel great distances and incur hotel and not to mention beer costs just so you can see something that puts a smile on your face. So what did it for me well that would be Maserati, to be honest from the moment they took the covers off their cars I was busy photographing and videoing vertically all of them!!!!
One thing that was noticeable was the more "modern classic" clubs in attendance showing where the classic movement will be going in the not to distant future.
Stand out car, now that is a tough one, the stand was difficult, let’s see it could only be one, a car I just wasn’t expecting to see there and to be honest nearly fell over!!! The Adam’s BrothersProbe 16. Lower than a GT40 and accessed through the roof what’s not to love about this orange machine, add to that it stared in A Clockwork Orange.
Although the streamlined Tatra T97 came a very close second.
As I started with, one day is no longer enough for this show to take it all in. I did two circuits at a brisk pace and still sure I missed things or didn’t take the time to truly appreciate some of the cars on show, and for that I apologies but another fantastic event. One thing that did make me smile were the amount of Porsche 911 Targas that had come out of the woodwork following the release of the new version, they were everywhere.
Now better get my head down and start bringing you full write ups on some of those rare and unusual cars. Oh and well done for getting to the end of this very long article, believe me it could have been a lot longer.