Big is the only way to describe the Lancaster Insurance 2015 Classic Motor Show at the NEC where after six hours we only managed one lap. That’s a whole of lot of clubs, car sales, trade stands and Automobolia for your £20 entry fee.
Another late decision to attend meant a relatively early start in an attempt to miss any inevitable queues on the motorway and to buy tickets when we got there. Incredibly we hit Junction 6 of the M42 just before 9:00am and were enjoying our first cup of complimentary coffee by a quarter past. This was quite a surprise and welcome relief after experiencing major delays in previous years when arriving slightly later on in the morning.
Once inside the sheer size and scale of Lancaster Insurance 2015 Classic Motor Show wasn’t obvious as the entrance hall we initially entered was relatively small with other halls hidden from view being accessed by two staircases, one up and one down. Still the refreshments and seat at Porsche GB whilst things were still quiet made for a great start and the rich conversations on the TVR Car Club stand immediately afterwards ensured our show was now nicely underway and all before 10:00am.
Climbing the steps to explore everything in that direction, in what proved to be a slightly random criss-cross navigation style, would have you believe this show was on a similar scale to previous years until that is you find another staircase this time going down to offer a viewing platform onto yes you guessed it, another completely full hall. Was there to be no end to it? This was already confirming that no way were we going to see everything at the Lancaster Insurance 2015 Classic Motor Show in one single day. When faced with such nice problems to have, then prioritisation becomes the key.
No.1 was sourcing a new windscreen for my travelling companion for the day and neighbour Graham’s Porsche 911. This was easily resolved by Pilkington Glass who offered up a replacement in any colour he liked for £260 + Delivery + Fitting. Not bad at all and with a business card and reference taken a serious consideration for the winter ahead of next year’s driving plans that include the Le Mans Classic, confirmed by a separate discussion with Travel Destinations.
Second on our list was servicing the auto-box on another neighbour’s father’s 280SL where Cleevewood Garage said they could perform a fluid and filter change plus external adjustments at reasonable cost and if that didn’t fix it then Bristol Transmissions would be able to complete a full rebuild. Then there was someone selling neoprene gloves at £10 for 12 pairs when I normally pay roughly half that for one pair and AutoGlym providing me with two cans of acrylic based satin black paint (no I didn’t know they made paint either) and Graham the car shampoo he was looking for.
In fact cleaning products dominated the trade stands with every conceivable product and brand represented, so much so it was virtually impossible to decide who to approach the choice was that great. This I guess is what happens when things getter bigger and as stated the 2015 Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show was on a scale we’ve not seen before. In quick succession we passed by Mike Brewer interviewing Sir Stirling Moss, Quentin Wilson judging Jaguars, Fuzz Townshend walking by, John Watson sat next to his BMW Sports GT race car, it was a truly star studied affair, all sharing the same passion for classic race and road cars.
It didn’t take long before the aisles got really busy, which somewhat hampered navigational aspects, with us constantly losing our bearings unable to identify which parts of any hall we entered and had already seen. Fortunately there were some useful landmarks to guide us such AB Tools who’d really gone large at the Lancaster Insurance 2015 Classic Motor Show as well as The SL Shop plus Silverstone Auctions and the stage where Mike Brewer interviewed Sir Stirling. During our tour we also visited Burton Power who had a nifty external oil pump arrangement that took an external feed from the bottom of a bespoke sump on a cross-flow which one would assume was the return system for a dry sump install.
It was only when seeing what else was nearby that I spotted a familiar sight, a highly modified Firenza which on closer inspection was indeed Gerry Marshall’s Baby Bertha (our cover shot for this piece) which is still campaigned today. The spec on this car is awesome and includes a spaceframe chassis and stonking 500bhp V8. It was a very pleasant surprise to find this historic race car, rather hidden away as it was.
When on the TVR Car Club stand some useful conversations suggested that further engine developments on our 3000M were best served by Rik Wood where if necessary only a cam upgrade may be required to boost power some more. It’s great isn’t it; you wander around, get unanswered questions answered, find yourself up close and personal to some big names, in our world at least, and re-discover some great cars from the past you thought you’d never see again.
The Lancaster Insurance 2015 Classic Motor Show is probably now as large as it needs to be for a single day visit being packed full of everything you need to see, re-confirm and discover for the first time. Getting there early also meant there was no issue whatsoever with simply arriving and paying on the door (nearby kiosk to be precise) after a late decision to attend.
How does this event make you feel?
In one word: Complete.
As a favourite meal: Sausage bap when stopped and pork scratchings whilst on the move.
Anything else: This is in essence Encyclopedia Classico under one roof with the only challenge being navigation.
Key ingredients: Great cars, people and stands, welcoming club volunteers, food eaten whilst on the hoof, endless discoveries including some of 4 wheel and 2 legged stars of our world (Please don’t make it any bigger though, there’s no point).
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