This year I went along to the Sunday of the Annual Classic Motor Show at the NEC and I had my work cut out with 6 halls jam packed of awesome metal from all corners of the globe. The cars ranged from full nut & bolt restorations down to complete barn finds full of patina and unique appeal.
I lucky enough to be invited along by the MK1 Golf Owners Club who had an amazing line up of 4 amazing cars including Walter Ainsworth's Rally car that was built on Car SOS by Fuzz Townsend & crew.
I started off at the back of Hall 5 and worked my way slowly through the halls starting with some of the finest American Muscle I had seen in a while. The Classic American Magazine main stand had the selection of "cars of the year" which had some iconic looking cars and some of the cleanest cars inside and out. All this surrounded by v8's and big carburetor engines.
In amonst the Muscle were some Fiesta's, Escorts and BMW stands which stood up well against them being the other end of the spectrum in all aspects with smaller bodys, sleak looks and small but powerful engines. The BMW stand full of classics like 2002's and a nice rare Touring was special treat as I am a big BMW fan so to see some of these classics in immaculate condition was a joy to behold
Moving through Hall 5 also showed off a selection of bikes from a multitude of eras and ranged from Harley's upto full BSA race bikes. Even though I don't know a lot about old bikes I can still appreciate the workmanship involved and the beauty in the chassis & engine, saying this I do have a soft spot for a good Harley Davidson.
Coming to the end of the hall it changed again to a nice selection of race cars from all around the world. Now I have a massive soft spot for Datsun's and there was a stand full of them, the centre piece being a full race spec piece of art. This was finished with some custom wide bodywork and removable panels hiding some aweosome protective tube work and space frame.
Onto Hall 4 which consisted mainly of trade stands and the Autojumble which from classic car owners was like a piece of Heaven, containing everything from pieces of rare trim to full body panels. Through this there were some magazine and club stands which contained some surprising cars, including a modified Marina Pick up with fully tubbed rear arches and nice engine transplant.
Carrying into Hall 3 where the club stands continued with some of the more unique and obscure models you wouldn't usually see on the British roads like the Ginetta's. I can't say ive seen many on the roads but what a stunning range of cars they are with some nice coupe's. I was particularly taken aback by a bright orange example, its body lines, front bumper and general appearance was amazing.
Moving through showed some more amazing cars that had been modified for Track use and you couldn't forget the amazing Metro 6R4, a stand dedicated to those machines always makes you drool. Amongst there were some uniquely modified classics which I had never seen before and if you like or hate them you have to appreciate the work that went into them. Being rare classics is one thing but then modifying and adapting it takes courage.
There was then a little separation in the Hall and then onto the crème de la crème with the Pride of Ownership stand. All these cars were the best of the best in their makes & models with everything from a MK1 Golf to a Studebaker. They were all full concourse level with the attention to detail being extreme, and they were all out to win the award for the best car.
Carrying on into Hall 2 passed all the cars for sale and the urge of buying a new car saw me go to my childhood , the JLR classic stand, to me growing up there was nothing better than a Jaguar XJS or E-type, to me these were and still are the icons of british motoring. The JLR stand was surrounded by Jaguar club stands and the heritage museum and they were not disappointing with an amazing range and even a new Project 7 car in the mix
My next stop was Hall 1 with my Stand of the show, and this is an understatement. Don't get me wrong I love all my classics and restorations but I love it when something is different to the norm and thinks outside the box. This is where the Meguiars Club Showcase Stand came in, with the product section in the middle of the stand surround by a perfectly placed selection of cars from a range of makes, each wowing you more than the last and making you walk round many times. The attention to detail on each car was extraordinary and you could just see the effort and thought gone in each part of the builds. For me this is not something I see everyday as I see "show cars" in the modified world all the time and a lot are to what I class as a high standard, but then against these they are nothing with only a small handful getting anywhere close.
Eventually pulling myself away from this I moved through the rest of Hall 1 looking at a variety of club stands from Porsche, Ferrari, BMW to Bristol. A nice sight was a line-up of Ford GT40's all different spec's and colours, its a shape that is always appealing and you know the engine is always going to sound epic.
From Hall 1 I moved to the final part, the Pavilion which was the filled with the last of the classic owners clubs. As I was walking through from Hall 1 I spotted the RollHard stand which was filled with some amazing cars, one of which being a really nice white Porsche
After walking for hours I decided that 1 day is just not enough time to see everything, your eyes just can't take it all in and I surely missed somethings, but I cant recommend this show enough as the variety never ceases to amaze me and always makes me want to go back. It is really good especially for me as I have been around the drifting and modifying "scene" all year and this makes for a massive change. To see most things restored not modified opens my eyes to new possibilities for my own future builds.
So that is my show season over for another year until Autosport '17 which is a totally different way to start the season with a lot of new race builds and technology being released.
Photos & Words by Mathew Bedworth