NEC Classic Motor Show15-17 November
Classics in the walled garden Report
This year’s Classics in the walled garden
For an event where just 150 cars are allowed into the coveted inner sanctum, Classics in the Walled Garden still manages to attract a huge number of vehicles.
For an event where just 150 cars are allowed into the coveted inner sanctum, Classics in the Walled Garden still manages to attract a huge number of vehicles. Fortunately, thanks to being set on the spacious Luton Hoo estate, those that don’t manage to make it inside the 18th century walls, which were set out by Capability Brown for Georgian era Prime Minister Lord Bute, there’s still plenty of room for everybody else who turns up to park nearby and be just as much a part of the show. There’s always a great atmosphere to Classics in the Walled Garden, with a huge variety of vehicles, many of them unusual or especially old. The ambience of the surroundings, combined with friendly participants and live music and reasonably-priced food and drink, always fosters a very social atmosphere. This is an event that is as much about having an evening picnic with the family as it is seeing hundreds of classic cars. Over a century of motoring was chronicled by the vehicles that turned up, from a 1911 Maxwell to modern Ferraris. There was a particularly fine showing of Vauxhalls of all ages too, as a result of Luton being the marque’s heartland and the company rolling out its heritage fleet for the occasion. “It’s been a lovely evening and people have enjoyed themselves as always,” organiser Peter Madden told CCW. “We had 400 cars pre-booked in, but we’ve also had a lot of people turn up on the day.” The 2014 event will take place around the same time next year, but if you want to be on display inside the actual Walled Garden, you’ll have to be quick. Place allocations invariably get snapped up within a day of the date being announced. In fact, managing to get one of the much sought-after spots has become something of a badge of honour for regulars. It’s almost a form of motorsport in its own right.
Stars and Stripes Report
This year’s Stars and Stripes
Baking summer heat, burgers and the Beach Boys blasting from the loudspeakers gave Tatton Park a distinctly Californian feel last weekend.
Baking summer heat, burgers and the Beach Boys blasting from the loudspeakers gave Tatton Park a distinctly Californian feel last weekend – and that’s before you got to the scores of American classics on show. Stuart Holmes of Cheshire Auto Promotions, the show’s organisers, said: “It was a fantastic show, with plenty of sunshine. We had some big crowds, although we noticed a lot of them left quite early on Sunday afternoon – I think Andy Murray might have had something to do with it! “We had a great variety of American classics, from the pre-WW2 cars right through to the modern entries, but the cars the visitors hankered after most were the brash, chrome ‘n’ fins cars of the Fifties and Sixties. For a lot of the visitors, who grew up in a Britain of Populars and Anglias, these were the glamorous cars they remember seeing in the Hollywood movies.” More than 20,000 people packed into the Cheshire venue to check out more than 1,200 classic American cars, with Ford, GM and Chrysler offerings all well represented at the event, held on the first weekend after Independence Day.
Enfield Pageant Report
This year’s Enfield Pageant
Ragley Hall proved the perfect backdrop to the large gathering of diverse classics warming their paintwork over the bank holiday weekend.
Organiser Geoff Price commented that "we had a fantastic weekend with this weather and around 4,000 vehicles came through the gate. With the hall and gardens it's a great venue and the spectacular view has been used as a backdrop in many films." The diversity of models that turned up was impressive, ranging from a 1930s Bentley to a customised Dolomite Sprint. The BMW Owners Club turned up in force, while the Lotus Club won best stand on the Saturday.
Tatton Park Report
This year’s Tatton Park
Enthusiasts from across the North of England got the chance to check out more than 2000 classics at this long-running event.
Bringing together dozens of classic car clubs from across the regions, hundreds of classics entered individually and among the highlights were extensive club stands from the likes of the Triumph TR Register, the Toyota Enthusiasts' Club the Cheshire Capri Club. Stuart Holmes, managing director of Cheshire Auto Promotions, said: "This year's show was absolutely fantastic, with the wonderful weather we had helping to ensure that this year we've had one of our best events ever in terms of visitor numbers. When you consider the state of the wider economy at the moment it's great when you can have a show where you can't see the grass for the people."
La Vie en Bleu Report
This year’s La Vie en Bleu
Prescott is an absolute gem of a venue and after parking on a grassed area you find yourself in on a beautiful Gloucestershire hillside alongside a ribbon of asphalt.
The sun was blazing away and the crowd were sprawled on blankets, as an assortment of vintage and classic cars - largely french, but not exclusively - screeched their way skywards. With club displays located by the start line and tens of dozens of bugattis in rows in the paddock, it was difficult to know where to start, there's so much to take in. The paddock is incredible to witness, for both the sheer variety of models and years present, and it seems almost too good to be true to be able to get so close to so many seriously expensive classics seemingly casually strewn about the grass. In the nearby trade stands, Bugatti Veyrons seemed almost unremarkable among the earlier race cars. And while there were some really early pre-WW2 cars alongside to admire, the highlight for many was a Bugatti 57C that was casually parked next to a marquee. A similar barn-find model fetched £3 million a few years ago. With a winning combination of all-day track action, club displays and lots of interesting trade stands to poke about in, La Vie en Bleu should be in every enthusiasts diary.
Bromley Pageant Report
This year’s Bromley Pageant
As Britain's biggest one-day classic car show, it's always a pleasure for Classic Car Weekly to visit the Bromley Pageant.
And for 2013 a colossal variety of cars was on show, from the practically unique, such as Simca fan Guy Maylam's 4 Aronde, to Bob Bridger's convertible Wolseley Hornet, one of only three made prior to the build of the 57 'Heinz' cars, which were to a slightly different design. Bob's car was featured on the cover of Small Car magazine, the title which went on to become CAR.
The Stag Owners Club and Renault Alpine OC gathered huge numbers on their stands while smaller local clubs and regional groupings also took space, such as the Kent Branch of the Jaguar Drivers Club and the regional group from MX-5 OC and Jensen OC. Fords are always well represented here too, with the star car for CCW being the owned from new RS turbo, stolen twice, crashed once (not by the owner) and still cherished as a classic (left). Bromley provided a superb party atmosphere.
Beaulieu Spring Autojumble Report
This year’s Beaulieu Spring Autojumble
Undettered by the weather, intrepid bargain-hunters descended on Beaulieu's Spring Autojumble in their thousands.
The organisers of the Spring Autojumble say that the thousands of enthusiasts who made the journey to the Beaulieu event contributed to it's great success. Beaulieu spokeswoman Margaret Rowles said more than 14,000 people had travelled to the Hampshire venue, meaning attendance figures were up on last year despite wet weather on the Sunday.
"I thought this year's Spring Autojumble was a really good event," said Margaret. "It had a very nice atmosphere and was enjoyed by traders and visitors alike. We were lucky that some of the more dire predictions for the weather didn't materialise, and even though we did have a bit of rain on the Sunday it wasn't too heavy and didn't stop people enjoying themselves.
"The spring show is starting to enjoy its own identity and is developing well. With the extra space we've got compared to the September event. We can put on more, particularly displays like the one put on by the Morris club - a lot of planning went into that and it was very well received"
Visitors to the show could pick up just about every spare imaginable from scores of stalls, with fans of automotive art, models and memorabilia well catered for. The venue took advantage of additional space for clubs, with both the Imp Owners Club and the Morris Minor Owners Club putton on special displays to mark 50 years of the Hillman Imp and 100 years of Morris cars respectively. Enthusiasts could also take advantage of other attractions onsite, like the National Motor Museum.
Donington Classic Show Report
This year’s Donington Historic Festival
Clubs Editor DAVID SIMISTER was amazed at the variety of classics on show.
Dozens of clubs made the trip to Donington, bringing huge variety to this year’s Historic Festival.
Everyone from the Alfa Romeo Owners Club to the Z Club of Great Britain packed into the infield at the historic circuit, enjoying not just the chance to see the racing from a great vantage point but also to check out a stunning variety of cars, with everything from a 1948 Bentley MK6 Special to the striking display of Honda NSXs to ogle over.
Equally impressive was the distance some of the cars’ owners had travelled to help make the club stands at Donington as successful as they were – members of the Aston Martin Owners Club came from as far afield as Aberdeen to join the action, while one member of the Ginetta Owners Club was so keen to join in the fun, he brought his G33 Roadster all the way from Holland to take part.
Here’s just a small taster of the hundreds of classics which packed into the Classic Car Weekly-backed clubs area at this year’s hugely popular event.
Bristol Show Report
West Country's best ever
Packed Bristol was the best yet, say Dave Richards, Greg Mcleman and David Simister.
A garden party atmosphere at the 34th Bristol Classic Show meant visitors and participants alike revelled in enjoying their classics. Inside the show halls club stands where presented with the imagination that the Bristol show has become known for.
Visitors were stopped in their tracks by displays from the Imp Club and period-clad enthusiasts from the Three Counties Vintage and Classic Car Club. Jensens glittered with one Interceptor taking "Best Paintwork" prize while three Nissan Sedrics joined to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the club and raise money for Help for heroes at the same time. CCW's 2012 Classic Car of the Year winner Alan Bartlett brought his pre-WW2 Jowett, explaining "Getting it here was difficult. i've had the gearbox out twice since last winter."
Cars seen at the Shepton Mallet venue are often not seen elsewhere - the show is a magnet for classic fans from the whole of the South and West, travelling up from as far as Cornwall and Hampshire. In the - much expanded - classic parking area cars as diverse as Consul Capris and R129 Mercedes parked side by side in a glorious Drive it Day spectacle. Perhaps the strangest site was a bright yellow UVA McLaren M6 replica next to a Model T, Tho for many the site of a genuine AC Ace nestling between a Cobra Replica and 4x4 challenge style Land Rover Discovery proved how much variety was on offer.
The quality of classics in the parking area almost outshone the cars indoors, and the sense of a season-opening weekend was palpable. It's one of the friendliest shows you'll find on the calendar, yet owing to a date clash, 2014's event won't be on driving day but taking place on 14-15 June 2014.