Journalism should have objectivity at its very core; it is about balancing the moans with praise in the name of factual balance. In the past dep-o has been critical of the NEC Classic Motor Show because we have probably attended it more than any other show and are therefore very familiar with it.
This year we won’t be repeating old moans about pricey parking or poor lighting, for even though they do remain irritants, the good bits far outweigh the criticisms.
Resigned to the fact that we would not be able to make it around the show and see everything in one day, we just took our time – bumping into friends old and new – rather than attempt a sprint around the vast complex. After all, it is impossible to see everything – for even if you think you have, someone will inevitably mention something which has frustratingly avoided your gaze.
Of course, being frequent fliers to the NEC Classic means that you get to know repeat exhibits – but this year, there was a very fresh feel to all the stands. Things had moved around and there were plenty of ‘new’ veteran, vintage, classic and retro machinery to take in.
The Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Bugatti and Ferrari club stands and the VSCC had some beautiful exhibits, with a deliciously patina’d Bugatti Type-35 and a Type-51’s supercharged straight-eight on the BOC stand being particular favourites. The AROC stand provided a rare opportunity to glimpse both a 1900 berlina and a mint Alfa 90.
It all added up to a really enjoyable show. Yes, we missed lots, but what we saw, we really enjoyed. Sadly the same cannot be said of our homecoming…
The manufacturers continue to improve on their interest in the NEC show, with Porsche’s impressive presence (aided by Porsche Club GB) winning the battle with the ‘locals’ Jaguar Land Rover and BMW Group Classic.
Talking of locals – from my perspective – the Bristol Owners’ Club had MPH 100D, the ex-Tony Crook 404 on show, whilst the Bristol Owners’ & Drivers’ Association had the naked chassis of a Bristol 403 on show complete with running gear and freshly-built six-cylinder.
The MG Car Club’s stand, proudly displayed a fantastic K3 Magnette, Works-prepared MGA Le Mans racer and Computervision Metro 6R4, the latter of which providing a chance for chewing over recent GpB memories from a Classic & Sports Car shoot. Talking of which, pride of place on the C&SC went to Martin Port’s Trans African expedition Land Rover – a beautifully preserved vehicle full of period clobber which drew quite a crowd of green-eyed hacks to it.
A stunning Brabham HB Viva, a clutch of Gordon Keebles, a moody Jowett Javelin racer, a superb Arrows Singer Vogue (sparking regrets of the Gazelle’s departure) and a monstrous, supersized autojumble which yielded a perfect 1:43 replica of my late father’s old red Alfetta 2000 (inspiration for my very own 1:1 moneypit) all added up to a really enjoyable show. Yes, we missed lots, but what we saw, we really enjoyed.
Sadly the same cannot be said of our homecoming. In the name of doing our bit for the planet, we car-shared with fellow motor journo and chum-of-dep-o, Mike Renaut. He left his long-serving E28 BMW 525 at my place. Only when we returned, some spineless lump of sputum had crashed into it and legged it without leaving their details. Making the last photo of the day, the saddest and most unpleasant we’ve had to take for some time.
It is feared that the insurers will probably write the BMW off just one year short of its 30th birthday. So if you or anyone can help, get in touch and we’ll pass on your contact details because there is a cruel irony that a day spent enjoying and celebrating classic cars at the NEC Classic Motor Show ended in the callous assault of a much-loved car.