The Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show: with 65,000 visitors to Birmingham’s NEC in 2014 (a similar figure to last year’s event), the show is confirmed as one of the biggest appointments in the classic car industry.
Some 250 classic car clubs had a presence there, bringing the great majority of the 1,700 classic cars parked on stands for the duration of the show.
Meguiar’s Club Showcase, now in its ninth year, announced a 1969 Ford Cortina Mk2 1600E as the overall winner, pleasing TV presenter, classic car expert and musician Fuzz Townshend: “I vouch for that Cortina deserving the award,” he said. “My workshop, Westgate Classics, painted it a couple of years back, so we know the car is worth it.”
Celebrities? You bet. Apart from Fuzz, who was greeted every 18 seconds, on average, by a member of the public at the show, for a photo or an autograph, actor Steve Coogan, entrepreneur Theo Paphitis and Sir Stirling Moss were seen milling around the show: the first two attended the Silverstone Auctions’ sale, which attained a record-breaking £4m worth of sales. Sir Stirling, true to his proverbial energy, visited many stands among which, the TSSC (Triumph Sports Six Club) with Fuzz himself, as the latter is the Club’s Honorary President. He also dropped by the Allard Sports Cars stand on the opposite end of the show floor, to wish Alan Allard (son of Sydney Allard, founder of the company) every success with his new Palm Beach MkIII. Sir Stirling and Sydney Allard competed against each other in the 1953 Le Mans race.
It wasn’t all about celebrities and famous cars, though: new for this year, the Classic Club Stage showcased seminars, discussions and quizzes, stimulating much interaction with the public. The important issue of the existence of valid apprenticeship schemes to attract young people into an industry which is constantly growing was also highlighted.
Talking about growth, the newly established Jaguar Heritage participated in the show for the first time, reaching out for Jaguar classics’ owners and fans with its range of services, from restoration to parts and maintenance. Car “Zero”, on which the six new Lightweight E-types will be based, had pride of place on the massive stand, pivoting on a rotating platform; proof, if any were needed, that revivals are also on the up, adding to the £3.5b-a-year business that is the classic car industry in the UK.
It wasn’t all British, though: the Maserati Club UK stand competed for size with Jaguar’s, hosting more than 20 classics of all ages and generations, from the famous (Nick Mason-owned) GP-winning 250F to the modern Ghibli.
Other birthdays celebrated at the show included 25 years for the much loved Mazda MX-5 (its Club is ‘only’ 20 years’ old), and 90 years of MG.
There was room at the Classic Motor Show for the pristine restoration of a barn-find Jensen FF, though the final twist, with a loud supercharged sticking out of the bonnet, makes the car (and the company who built it, Bavarez) wade into customized, hot-rod territory; the “FF Silver Slammington”, however, showed that attention for detail is not the exclusive domain of traditional, classic car restorations.
The 2015 Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show will be held from 143h to 15th November. For more information, visit www.necclassicmotorshow.com.