Welcome to the pleasure dome, a full ten halls of classic cars, clubs, retailers, service providers, memorabilia and spare parts with a single hall of classic bikes thrown in for good measure the 2014 NEC Classic Motor Show is surely the must-see event of the year.
Hosted for the second year running by Lancaster Insurance, who had a bizarre mix of cars on display from KITT to the Ecto-1 Ghostbusters machine, the rest of the show had a distinct familiarity about it. Also on a damp Friday this covered event was already packed when we arrived at 11.00am after queuing on the M42. I say queuing, I mean lane hopping with one eye on the speed cameras until the junction appeared and thankfully an opening in the by now punch or at least queue drunk enthusiasts all with the same destination in mind.
With our recently acquired TVR 3000M in need of TLC over the winter, predominantly a list of ten items courtesy of Castle Combe Circuit scrutineers to ensure no hassle in our first season of racing in 2015, this show provided an opportunity to buy some stuff. AB Tools came up trumps and answered the question of how do you remove an exhaust manifold held on by cap head screws to get the starter motor off with a set of Bergen 110mm hex ball end bit sockets for a tenner, perfect. I wish I’d gone through the hoses seen elsewhere and not just photographed them because a spare 32mm to 32mm dog leg would have been nice. Damn.
The 2014 NEC Classic Motor Show raison detre is as always its size and scale and the fact it is held indoors, very welcome in November. This takes the pressure off no end. You are not cold or wet, no one has to abandon their stand or run for cover which makes everything very relaxed. You can wander around singularly or as a pack, as many do, and stop at any stage. If I was being critical I might suggest adding more seating to prevent people having to sit on the floor. After all classic cars attracts classic people who on occasion do need to sit down, especially given the amount of walking that is needed.
Norman Hughes of Cleevewood Garage who had a number of cars for sale, including a V12 E-Type Roadster in green that sold on the Friday, felt the show was time and money well spent. After all the same Jag had attracted someone from Belgium’s attention the previous year before they committed at the 2014 NEC Classic Motor Show. Slight irony then that after selling it with a left hand-drive conversation included, representing two weeks effort, someone from the UK showed serious interest shortly afterwards, but it was too late for them, this car was sold. I have to say it was a particularly nice example and at under £60K good value. Check out www.allsportscars.co.uk. Norman was also up for doing some more reviews, so watch this space.
Continuing our tour on foot we went past Ed China and the crew from Practical Classics working on something centre stage, I’m sure all will become clear over the course of the weekend, on Friday morning it was just a chassis. Great isn’t it, wandering around taking it all in, by now with a bag of the best pork scratching’s in hand for just £1.50, lush, seeing Alvis and Austin through to Yugo and Zastava with everything else in between. Cool also that Classic Car Club displays are there for free i.e. the 2014 NEC Classic Motor Show doesn’t charge for the floor space they use as long as they do not advertise other events and shows.
Then we found a club who if everything hangs together as planned over the Winter, including a successful ARDS test, we will be spending a lot more time with, the Historic Sports Car Club or HSCC. Visiting their ample stand was a chance to say hello and grab 2015; event dates, entry and membership forms for their 70s Roadsports Championship which we plan to compete in next year. Here’s hoping.
Silverstone Auctions had a selection of cars for sale including a fine De Tamaso Pantera whose values have rocketed in recent years. Navigating the remainder of their part of Hall 10 also revealed a Porsche GTS Carrera racer, not a car I am familiar with but one that definitely looked the perfect size to tackle a range of circuits in, pretty too.
Of all the manufacturers represented, the one that stood out most was Ford. The clubs who supported their cars ranged from Escort Mexico, Capri International, everything RS through to arguably the sweetest Fiesta of them all, the superb 1300cc Supersport. Testament indeed and possibly something event organisers might bear in mind at future events especially if a central focus is missing. After all we cannot be alone in liking this brand and to see the full spectrum present in such high numbers including hot Mustangs was a real pleasure.
How does this event make you feel:
In one word: Complete
As a favourite meal: Pork scratchings enjoyed on the hoof.
Anything else: One stop shop, just gotta remember to stop and shop next time.
Key ingredients: Indoors, vast array of clubs and cars plus stuff and stars. We think one year soon the show should formally celebrate everything that is Ford.
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