Words by Angelica Fuentes Garcia – Photos by Keith Mainland
The size of the show means quantity wins out over quality, but there was still treasure to be found at the NEC Classic Motor Show.
Exhibits I had not seen before included a lovely, early, Allard dragster in amongst race and production cars created by the only person to have won the Monte Carlo Rally in car of their own manufacture. There was also a wonderfully original Saab 92 which demonstrated how less can be more with its lovely, unadorned, aerodynamics and simple, tiny two-stroke engine. As somebody who prefers a bit of patina the ‘barn find’ Triumph 2000 and BMW 2002ti brought a smile to my face even though they look completely beyond economic repair.
Cars I enjoyed seeing again were a nicely restored Vauxhall Chevette HSR as well as the Firenza Coupe and Sports Hatch on the ‘Droop Snoot Group’ stand. There was also wonderfully ordinary looking Tatra 97 from 1936, the car that Volkswagen eventually admitted plagiarising when creating the Beetle. On a more modern tack, the Radford Lotus Type 62-2 looked well in JPS livery alongside a neat, original JPS Europa. But the ‘reimagined’ Jabekke Triumph TR2 recordbreaker seemed to lack any of the character of the original.
The turnout for the show over three days was more than 80,000 which was lower than I would have guessed. Nevertheless, the size of the show does highlight how big the UK classic car movement is.