Spectacular Bugatti display heralds golden year at Classic Motor Show

| 13 Nov 2017

A stellar display of club classics has rounded off the UK indoor show season in fine style, with more than 2500 vehicles going on display at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, which took place at Birmingham’s NEC from 10-12 November.

With five enormous show halls bursting with classics it could be difficult to know where to start, but many were inexorably drawn to a spectacular display of pre-war Bugattis in Hall 1, a joint effort between the Bugatti Owners’ Club and Bugatti Trust. Nine machines graced the stand, ranging from Type 35, 35A and 35C to an ex-Richard Shuttleworth Type 35B, as well as a selection of ‘baby’ Bugattis – factory built miniature machines that proved a hit with racers both large and small.

Bernard Holmes’ magnificent 1913 De Dion-Bouton Type EF Open Tourer towered above most other vehicles, its stunning brass fittings and fine details making it compelling to look at. It went down well with the judges, too, picking up the prestigious Car of the Show award.

Among the rare and unusual gems on display was a 1951 Rover Marauder 100 Special Sports Tourer, which took pride of place on the Rover Sports Register’s stand. One of 15 machines built between 1950 and 1952, it was one of only three fitted with a 2.4-litre engine mated to triple carburettors. The car is no stranger to shows, having starred at the Geneva Motor Show in 1951 and served as the test car for The Autocar. It was later raced at Goodwood, where it duelled with the Riley of Mike Hawthorn.

The Marauder was joined by the 1949 Rover 75 Sports Saloon of G Worrall, a stunning part-restored P3 Graber Coupé and a 105 R, which is thought to be one of around 20 survivors. Stand organiser Mike Maher later picked up Classic & Sports Car’s Club Personality of the Year award for spearheading an event celebrating 50 years of the Rover V8, which resulted in a record-breaking gathering of 700-plus Rovers earlier this year.

Raising the rarity stakes was a 1928 Hoyal-bodied Triumph Super Seven, believed to be the only one is existence. The curiosity is powered by an 832cc sidevalve engine, while its fabric body covers an alloy over ash frame.

Also causing a stir was a formidable assortment of Lotuses, brought to the event by the Historic Lotus Register and marking the club’s first ever appearance at the Classic Motor Show. A fitting seven models took to the club’s stand, which showcased four 60th anniversaries.

The oldest car on the stand was a Mark VI – the firm’s first production model. It was joined by an Elite Type 14 and a Seven, as well as a 12, which represented the firm’s first Formula One entry. On the back of the HLR securing the Classic Team Lotus car, Lotus 12 registrar Mike Bennett travelled to the event all the way from Adelaide, Australia. It’s also 60 years since Lotus won the Index of Performance at Le Mans, hence the Eleven.

A perennial highlight of the Classic Motor Show is headline sponsor Lancaster Insurance’s Pride of Ownership contest, which regularly divides purists and those who prefer their classics a little less conventional. This year’s offering was no different, with the period correct spectrum represented by Brian and Trevor Ford’s 1978 Morris Marina 1.8 Special Saloon, a brace of Ford Cortinas and even a Citroën CX 2400 GTi, which had been fully restored after being discovered in a barn in 2016.

Jonathan Smith’s Daimler SP250 ‘Dart’ also drew plenty of attention. The ex-police car entered service in 1961, and made the journey to the show from East Yorkshire. On the flipside of the coin was Andy Crockett’s mental 1941 Willys Coupe, which sported a metallic paintjob and 468cu in Chevy big block capable of producing as much as 700bhp.

Porsche GB celebrated 40years of the front-engined 928 by putting on display a 1978 example that was campaigned in the HSCC 70s Road Sport Championship as a joint effort between four UK Porsche Classic Partner Centres. The car won its class, no doubt due to Porsche’s choice of hotshoe – former Le Mans winner and BRM, Lotus and Cooper Formula One driver Richard Attwood.

The Model ‘A’ Ford Club of Great Britain brought an impressive display of vehicles, including two belonging to John Mould: a 1928 right-hand-drive Tudor assembled at Trafford Park and a Model A Van from two years later. Dave O’Neill, meanwhile contributed a Tudor Sedan that he bought in 1995. The 3.3-litre example is slated for further restoration.

The American theme continued with the Mopar Muscle Association, which displayed four cars from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Dave Long’s two-door Dodge Dart had been with him for nine years, during which time the entry-level, base specification car has been lightly modified and improved. Its original 5.2-litre engine now benefits from bigger cylinder heads and an electronic ignition system.

Also on the stand was a 1969 Plymouth Barracuda that was built in right-hand-drive configuration at the Detroit factory and was sold new through Warwick Wright in London. It is thought to be the last car sold, hence the ‘J’ registration. The ‘Cuda was joined by James and Wendy Hitchcock’s 1971 Dodge Demon and Mick Hodges’ 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner, which has been used as a daily driver for the past 12 years.

Also on show was a super rare 205 GTI 1FM, which is one of just 25 examples ever built. The hot hatch features full black leather seats, air conditioning and remote central locking, as well as electric windows and a sliding glass sunroof. Owner Rob King also owns a 1994 205 GTI ‘Classic’, again a rarity being one of just 30 built for the Australian market. If that weren’t enough, the 205 fanatic also owns the only right-hand-drive ‘Griffe’ edition.

A breathtaking array of Lancia Betas laid on by the Lancia Motor Club, Beta Boyz and Monte-Carlo Consortium also drew plenty of attention. The stand was the result of a joint effort between the three clubs, which pooled their resources to form a display to rival the larger clubs. Their efforts didn’t go unnoticed, with huge crowds flocking to the stand throughout the weekend, while it also picked up a C&SC Club Award for Most Interesting Selection of Cars.

Click here for the full list of Classic & Sports Car Club Award winners.