NEC Birmingham - The 35th Anniversary Edition of the Classic Motor Show
Updated: Nov 26, 2019
It is the world’s largest gathering of classic vehicle clubs with over 3000 classic cars and motorcycles on display.
The annual show falls over Remembrance Sunday and many of the displays and exhibits reflected this fact with poppies adorning the displays.
In celebration of it being the 35th year of the show, a Top Trumps theme ran throughout the venue, with many exhibitors joining in with the theme.
The show was held over 3 days and we visited it on Saturday 9th November 2019.
Our initial aim of the visit was to check out whether it would be worthwhile exhibiting at next year’s show. We had never been to the show before.
Never one to miss out on a business opportunity, though, we decided to dress in our company clothing (bright green – easy to spot in the crowds !!) and we visited the majority of car club stands, chatting with members and handing out our business cards.
Our day began in Hall 1 (where better place to start?)
At the Lagonda Club stand we chatted with a Lagonda owner about the possible need for a new honeycomb core for his radiator.
Next door, on the Alvis Owners Club stand, we chatted with the owner of the winner of the ‘Car of the Show’. The winning car being a 1936 Alvis 3.5 litre SA, 2 Door Airline Pillarless Saloon.
We were impressed with The Bugatti Owners’ Club stand. The cars represented Bugatti’s success on the race tracks for over 20 years, starting with a 1912 Type 18 Bugatti up to a 1936 Type 57S Le Mans Bugatti.
Moving on to Hall 2 where there were fewer car club stands, as a large section of the hall was designated to the Silverstone auction. The auction was held over 2 days (Saturday and Sunday) and included automobilia, as well as, the expected, classic and modern sports cars.
Hall 3 featured an equal share of car dealerships and car club stands. The car club stand which possibly had a higher interest for Peter was the Hillman Imp Club stand. This is because the business has recently become the proud owner of a Commer Imp Van ( a rare vehicle), which we are in the process of refurbishing. It was useful for Peter to chat with owners of Imps and have a closer look at the restoration projects they had undertaken. On a personal level, Peter also owns another Imp van and a Hillman Imp car. Peter does not belong to any car club, but on this day, he felt it would be very useful to sign up for the Hillman Imp Club membership.
Classic cars are predominantly considered to be an older gentleman’s hobby, so we were delighted to come across the TR Register TR Youth stand. The young members were keen to promote their club, which was established to involve the young within the TR Register family. They chatted about the difficulty in obtaining sponsorship for relatively new events, and with this in mind, the club may be getting in touch with us in the future for possible donations. They are the future of classic car enthusiasts – support for this club is crucial.
Using the map in the detailed Show Guide, we managed to locate Rustbuster Ltd in a corner of hall 3. The reason for tracking him down? Well, the name gives it away - it was to acquire a rust inhibitor (Bor 8) for use on bare metal on the Commer Imp van, once we have aqua blasted it.
At this point, we couldn’t believe that ¾ of the day had been taken up with only half of the halls.
Hall 4 included the Lotus Outlaws stand, Lotus Cortina Specialists, who were displaying a Ford Sierra RS 500 Cosworth which they had just finished restoring. As Peter owns a Ford Sierra RS Cosworth himself, he sidled over to the stand for a closer look. Peter has owned his Cosworth from new (33 years) and is not considering selling it. However, Anne Daley offered him her card just in case he ever changes his mind!!
Peter doesn’t just leave his business card with the car club members, He is more than happy to discuss with them any particular problems they are currently encountering. Our photo shows Peter and a Wolseley owner looking at the radiator.
We also came across a line of Bond Bugs, including a 4 wheel Webster Bond Bug, which is a very rare car. Everything on the stand matched the cars – orange pens, orange hats, orange ties – everything was noticeably colour co-ordinated – you couldn’t miss them !! During our chat with the members, it came to light that the Club Treasurer had about 6 heater matrix that needed repairing. We are delighted to report that the first of the heater matrix is on its way down from the Club Treasurer, in Cumbria, to our workshop in Cornwall, and we are pleased to be able to provide this service from the other end of the country.
Time was running out as we approached Hall 5. There were so many car club stands and such little time. We had to walk and talk fast!!
The highlight of hall 5 was on the RS Owners Club stand, where we came across a Ford Sierra RS Cosworth in exactly the same colour as Peter’s car, Moonstone blue. We also discovered that they had both been purchased from the same Ford Dealership in Cornwall, Cornish Ford in St Austell. What a coincidence!!
We were walking and talking all day and despite our pit stops being quicker than Lewis Hamilton’s, we didn’t get round to Hall 8. Sorry we missed you - mental note to self - start at this hall next year!
It became apparent early on in the day that one day was not going to be enough to see everything and for us to visit all the clubs in the 6 large halls. 2 days at the show, if not 3, will definitely be on the agenda next time.