There are clearly many good reasons to visit any classic car show but for this 1970s TVR M-Series owner there were two very good reasons to travel to the 2022 NEC Classic Motor Show. Ex-TVR Company Owner, Martin Lilley, and M-Series chassis designer, Mike Bigland would be there.
The backbone of the 2022 NEC Classic Motor Show has got to be the fabulous car clubs. They were present in every hall culminating in a complete takeover of Hall 8 (the fifth and final hall in reality) by Ford. Here you had Cortinas (MK1-MK5) Capri, Escort and of course RS Owners. You could immerse yourself in real cars owned by real people grouped together by the marques they love so much. It was whilst in Hall 8 looking at an X-Pack Escort that someone asked the owner whether it was an original specimen. The answer came back that it was in fact the car in the original sales brochure. OK, that original then.
Set in one corner of the main entrance Hall 1, and my primary reason for my visiting, was the TVR Car Club. Who to celebrate 50 years of the M-Series had invited both company owner at the time Martin Lilley, and chassis designer Mike Bigland as guests of honour to cut an anniversary cake and lift a glass of celebratory champagne. Or glass of beer in Martin’s case.
I’d even come prepared with two photos of my race prepared 3000M competing at Silverstone and Croft this year with the intent of asking (politely) if they could be signed by both M’s of the M-Series. Martin and Mike both duly obliged, and it was great to talk to them. What did come out was how young they both were when taking on TVR in the mid-late 1960s. Martin 24 and Mike just 20-years-old. Explaining in part the latter in particular youthful look today. Catching me out completely, although not as quickly as he had me re-join the club following a five-year absence (ahem!). The pleasure of course, was all mine.
The Alfa Romeo Owners Club had two Suds that caught my attention. A very original green 4 door and later red 2 door TI. There were also some lovely examples of the stunning Giuseppe Busso designed V6 powerplant. How many other car manufacturers give you six individually polished inlet manifolds to admire when you open the bonnet. Very Alfa Romeo.
BMW Car Club GB had arguably the two best M3s on display, an immaculate E30 Sport Evo in Brilliant Red and equally pleasing Pheonix Yellow Metallic E46. Whilst Club Peugeot UK had an example of the limited edition (just 25 built) 205 GTi 1FM produced in 1992 to celebrate 25years of Radio 1. All available options were included, and a special Clarion stereo added for good measure.
The Modern Classic Executive Car Group included Twitter legend Chris Pollitt’s hedge find 1989 Rover 827 SI. If you followed the story on social media, you would have known how close it came to not arriving at all after switch gear failure and the absence of an MOT. Fortunately, both got sorted just a few days prior.
Star of the 2022 NEC Classic Motor Show for me was the Jaguar Drivers Club displayed 1975/6 Broadspeed XJC V12 race car in full blue and white Leyland colours. The Jaguar name not being used in competition during this time. The car had real presence taking you straight back to 1970s Touring Car racing. Absolutely stunning.
You’ve got to love an auction, but my oh my, the pricing has gone crazy. There were all sorts of wondrous cars on offer by Silverstone Auctions and I liked the way they were presented together by make and model. Whether you wanted a Capri, Escort, Focus RS (there were a lot of Fords) Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII or Mini Clubman 1275GT there was choice. Equally, if your taste was a bit more eclectic, there were some truly extraordinary cars on offer including an Alfa Romeo Montreal (£61,333) Maserati Merak SS (£44,437) TVR Trident (£76,500) Bricklin SV-1 (available still at £23,800) and original road-based Ford RS200 that sold for £292,500.
In terms of the rest of the show, there was quite literally acres of it, and whilst not specifically looking for anything else, I walked 4miles+ travelling up one aisle and back down the next in every hall. Doing that I could see it wouldn’t have mattered whether you wanted a Series II Landrover indicator lamp, or MK1 Escort 1300L dashboard, it was there. As were Haynes manuals, lots of them, memorabilia, posters, mugs, artwork, tools, equipment, dedicated Steve McQueen clothing and associated merch. Other cool retro brands were also available of course. In fact, you name it, including watching live products and project demos being completed in front of your very eyes, it was there. Even the retail car sales outlets outside the main auction looked tempting with some nice 1990s cars, such as Jaguar XKRs, retailing at somewhere near sensible prices.
Just going and wandering around is like being hit by one large classic car wave after another. Once you learn to swim in this daunting looking sea it’s fine, although perhaps slightly less intimidating is having a plan, targeting areas to visit, looking for something to buy maybe. Whatever your plan, the 2022 NEC Classic Motor Show was a warm and friendly place to be.
|Entry (Booked Online)||£38.00|
|Parking (Card Payment on exit)||£16.95|
|Lunch (Ham and Cheese Panini (Heated)/ Regular Coffee||£9.40|
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