Birmingham, November 11, 2001
Bigger & Better
The 19th edition of the international Classic motor show hosted a truly diverse selection
of superb historic and modern vehicles. This extremely popular event always attracts
large crowds to the centrally situated location, and the increase in demand for exhibition
space, led to the organisers increasing the floor area by 25% with the addition of a third
show hall. This year there were 177 different car clubs with display areas, and over 300
vendors in the extensive autojumble area.
Most Impressive – Size Matters!
There was a particularly impressive display from the Bentley Drivers’ Club, which not
only featured a wide array of pre-war classics, but also the EXP 5 model that came third
in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hour Race. Another impressive display was that of the
Heritage Motor Centre, that included the 1965 Monte Carlo Rally winning Mini Cooper,
the 1965 Le Mans Rover-BRM Gas Turbine car, driven to 10th overall by Jackie
Stewart/Graham Hill, and the streamlined MG World Record car driven by Stirling Moss.
American cars also featured strongly with almost a third of the second hall devoted to
”Detroit Iron”, including a fine display of Chevrolet Corvettes, and another of the original
”Pony Car” the Ford Mustang, whilst late fifties fins and chrome were also very much in
evidence. The BMW Car Club of GB had a nice selection of the craft of Bavaria on show,
including an M1 coupe. The MG Owners’ Club, reportedly the largest one-make car club
in the world, with 48,000 members, had a broad spectrum of models including a
stunning electric blue example of the new 175mph ZT saloon. A short distance away
Unipart International (Jaguar Classic) had a superb display of Jaguars, that included the
Quaker State ”E” Type raced successfully in the USA, together with ”F” Type and XK 180
concept cars. The Aston Martin Owners’ Club had a fine display that included a race
modified DB 7, a rare example of the sixties four door Lagonda Rapide, and a delightful
1500cc 4 cylinder 1935 Special Sport saloon, beautifully finished in two tone blue.
Small is Beautiful!
Conversely, you didn’t just find the best or most unusual cars on the biggest stands, for
example the Panhard Club had a Panhard engined 1959 Deutsch-Bonnet on display,
one of only three known examples in the UK. Another better known French air cooled
twin cylinder visitor, was the venerable Citroen 2 CV, displayed in a number of guises.
There was also a strong Mini presence on various stands, one of them being in the
Guinness Book of records as the world’s lowest car. This amazing creation based on a
1976 Mini is only 600mm high, and is powered by a Rover V8 engine producing 300bhp,
that can propel it to 180mph!
Recreation or Re-creation?
There were a number of ”kit car” makers displaying their wares, so that you could spend
your recreation hours re-creating your own ”Porsche Speedster” or ”Cobra”. One project
on display took re-creation a little further, this was the 1955 Lancia D50 project
undertaken by Jim Stokes Workshops Ltd, for which they received the Historic Restorer
of the Year Award 2000. They have constructed a series of six of these cars, which
faithfully replicate the original vehicle, and you would be hard pushed to tell them from
the original, apart from the fact that they are in finer condition! On a slightly different
theme was a Maserati sports racing car shown by Ivan Dutton, which at a glance had a
touch of A6 GCS about the front, but with later model traces towards the rear. A look
through the wheels revealed front disc brakes, and cast aluminium finned drums at the
rear! The dashboard chassis plate revealed that it was a 3500 GT, chassis number 101
208, that had become a donor car for the fifties look-alike, that doesn’t purport to be
something it isn’t, how refreshing!
The Ferrari Owners’ Club were not represented this year, so Ferraristi had no focal point
to concentrate on, but instead had to seek them out in the various places that they were
displayed. Fortunately they were quite prominent, in places like the Autoglym Concours,
or on the stands of leading classic magazines ”Classic Cars” and ”Classic & Sports
Car”, both of which had a Ferrari to advertise their wares. It must be said that the former
had the nicer example, an early 246 GT, whilst the latter’s 308 GTS QV looked great in
yellow, but was hindered in the desirability stakes by its chocolate coloured leather
A very enjoyable and interesting way to pass a cold November weekend. If you were
going to cover everything in depth then you would need the whole weekend, with deep
pockets for the sojourn in the trade and autojumble areas, although there were plenty of
bargains on offer, particularly with scale models.