NEWS & EVENTS
RECORD NEC LIFTS THE GLOOM
Huge trade contingent included 32 dealers. Bill Donaldson’s AustinHealey 3000 MkIII won the Meguiar’s Club Showcase after a tight competition
Kellett’s heart-stealing Vanguard equipe Veyron meets Type 35 on Bugatti OC stand Kedward’s Grand Raid and Barker’s T172
Britain’s economy might be in turmoil, but you’d never guess from the success of the NEC Classic Motor Show from 11-13 November. Attendance was up for the fifth year running, from 45,000 last year to “a conservative estimate of more than 47,000”, according to show manager Andy Rouse: “This year has surpassed all of our expectations. Seeing the traders in action at the show proves that the UK classic motoring movement continues to be buoyant in the current climate. We had a record 230 clubs – up 40 on 2010 – with 1400 cars on display and 346 commercial stands.”
Exhibitors generally seemed pleased with the new 70,000m² layout – with the cars in Halls 4-7, plus ’bikes in 8 and 9 – once they’d worked out where everything was.
The Sporting Bears Motor Club did well, too, and was on course to raise £36,000 from 1000 charity Dream Rides. On the Wheeler Dealer Live Stage, Edd China restored a 1972 Triumph Spitfire
‘Fittingly, for Remembrance weekend, Best Large Club Stand went to the MVT’s Normandy 1944 tableau’
while Mike Brewer interviewed legendary ’bike racers Carl Fogarty and ‘Frankie’ Chili. The Italian was impressed by the Panther Car Club’s Mafia-inspired group – the Best Themed Stand in the C&SC Club Awards (see full list opposite).
Clubs also went to great lengths to arrange special guests. Designer Oliver Winterbottom enthralled lotusexcel.net members with the inside story of Hethel’s 2+2s, while P1800 stylist Pelle Petterson was mobbed on the Volvo Owners’ Club stand and Ginetta co-founder Ivor Walklett was kept busy by the Owners’ Club faithful.
Veteran racer Barrie Williams was spotted on the Ferrari Owners’ Club stand, chatting to James Needham whose 250GT Lusso – all original bar its paint and tyres – was the star of the Rosso display. It was just edged for Car of the Show by Gifford Wright’s 1935 Singer Le Mans, in which Betty Haig (from the whisky family) won the 1936 Olympic Rally under the noses of
12 Classic & Sports Car January 2012
Five questions for...
TVRCC stalwart who organised its stand while convalescing after a cardiac arrest
How are you doing? I was lucky: I had to have a valve repaired and now have a built-in defibrillator.
Any trouble with the Speed 12? Finding a transporter: it’s so wide and low. Luckily the owner, Graham Abbott, is a proper enthusiast who was chuffed for it to be here.
Why TVRs? I heard a 350i drive past one day, and that was it.
Your first? I went to trade in our Mondeo in ’03 and my wife Ginny said: “Why don’t you buy a TVR?” I now have three – one a 350i 2+2 – but I’m not allowed to drive yet.
And your first run when you can drive again? Ideally, a blat with a few mates – destination unknown! Monstrous Speed 12, star of TVRCC stand
MVT’s poignant Normandy manoeuvres
Wright’s glorious Car of the Show Singer: “15 years being restored and 10 years running it in since!”
the Nazi top brass. Wright bought the car, one of 71 built, as a wreck 30 years ago: “Nothing was taller than a foot high when we started, but we used as much of the original metal and wood frame as we could.”
Ian Kellett’s wonderful Standard Vanguard transporter and racer scooped the C&SC Special Award.
Fittingly, for the Remembrance weekend, Best Large Club Stand went to the combined efforts of two Military Vehicle Trust areas for their tableau depicting Normandy in late June 1944. The superbly detailed presentation included correct signage – Ste Marie-duMont in one direction, Cherbourg the other – by a case of US Army field rations of tinned meat and spaghetti, plus Dodge, GMC and
Willys vehicles. “It’s great to get some recognition,” said former NEC electrician Steve Chaplin. “We were in Solihull last week selling poppies and we’ll have a nice little convoy home this evening.”
The beautifully staged Austin Counties Car Club selection romped away with the Best Small Stand prize. Its charming centrepiece comprised three pedal cars plus a full-sized Hereford and an Atlantic emerging from their Dinky Toys boxes. The Mediumsized award was picked up by the Pre-1940 Triumph Motor Club, on its first visit to the event for 15 years, with six splendid machines. “This is a fitting end to the club’s 50th anniversary,” said a delighted stand organiser Martin Johnson-Howe.
Judges struggled to pick the Most Interesting Selection, with a long shortlist that included the Jensen Owners’ Club and the VSCC. In the end, Club Peugeot UK landed the gong for a group that featured John Barker’s delightful 1924 Type 172 Grand Sport, flanked by Alan Paramore’s 1947 202 camionette and David Kedward’s wild ’88 405 T16 Grand Raid Paris-Dakar rally car.
The Meguiar’s Club Showcase spanned everything from a Mazda MX-5 to a Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 and was won by Bill Donaldson’s Austin-Healey 3000 MkIII.
Dealers reported brisk business, too: more in Market Place.The 2012 show is from 16-18 November: see www.necclassicmotorshow.com
Joy to the world: Austin Counties Car Club display featured J40 protoype and rare Pathfinder Special, plus 1:1 Dinky Atlantic
MOST IMPROVED CLUB MAGAZINE The Tailwagger Allard Owners’ Club, edited by Mike Knapman CLUB MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR The Courier Triumph Sports Six Club, edited by Bernard Robinson BEST CLUB RUN/RALLY De Dion Bouton Club Charles Jarrott Commemoration Run BEST CLUB SHOW/EVENT AC Owners’ Club National Weekend, Thames Ditton BEST CLUB WEBSITE The Morris Commercial J, J/B and Austin 101 Register at www.jtype van.com MOST INTERESTING SELECTION OF CARS Club Peugeot UK BEST THEMED CLUB STAND Panther Car Club BEST SMALL CLUB STAND Austin Counties Car Club BEST MEDIUM-SIZED CLUB STAND Pre-1940 Triumph Motor Club BEST LARGE CLUB STAND Military Vehicle Trust, Warwickshire & West Midlands and North Staffordshire areas C&SC SPECIAL AWARD, FOR THE CAR(S) THAT STOLE THE JUDGES’ HEARTS Ian Kellett’s Standard Vanguard transporter and Vanguard racer CAR OF THE SHOW Gifford Wright’s 1935 Singer Le Mans CLUB OF THE YEAR MX-5 Owners’ Club CLUB PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR Steve Guest, Warwickshire and West Midlands regional organiser, TVR Car Club
January 2012 Classic & Sports Car 13