Classic Motor Show attracts record crowds to the NEC

| 19 Nov 2012

More than 58,000 classic car fans flocked to the Footman James Classic Motor Show at Birmingham’s NEC from 16-18 November.

The Classic & Sports Car stand featured one of the event's highlights, a fantastic Auto Union D-type (above), while the 1500 cars on show included everything from bubble cars to Maseratis and Rolls-Royces.

Standout clubs included the Riley RM Club, the Sunbeam Talbot Alpine Register and Club Peugeot UK, which went for the event’s ‘What's the story’ theme by showcasing the evolution of the 200 series with models as diverse as a 204 estate and a roadgoing version of the 205 T16 rally car.

One of the most eye-catching vehicles featured on the National Sreet Rod Association’s stand. Paul Bacon’s beautifully fabricated Cosmotron was inspired by Ed Roth’s Beatnik Bandit and – not that you’d ever guess – is based on a BMW Z3, though you could spot a straight-six beneath the induction gear. The group was in the running for the Most Interesting Selection of Cars in the C&SC Club Awards (full report to follow).

Displays of Skodas and Saabs highlighted how fortunes can change for different manufacturers. Nigel Skorka-Brown brought his fabulous rally replica ’64 Octavia (below), which he purchased 10 years ago.

“It's not the fastest or the most prestige car that I’ve ever owned,” he said, “but it’s the last one that I’d get rid off.”

Victory in the Meguiar’s Club Showcase concours went to a 1962 Volkswagen Beetle 1200 Deluxe owned by Wayne McCarthy.

On the Live Stage, the Wheeler Dealer duo Mike Brewer and Edd China talked the crowds through the restoration of 1960 Morris Minor pick-up, sourced by the Morris Minor Owners’ Club.

Other special guests at the event included Sir Stirling Moss, TT riders Mick Grant and Guy Martin, plus former F1 driver Tiff Needell, Red Dwarf’s Chris Barrie and comedian Steve Coogan.

Not everyone was convinced by the event’s new layout – with the Classic Bike Show in the middle of the cars. “It seemed a bit muddled,” said Kevin Wooding of Hurst Park Automobiles [one of the 43 dealers at the event], “and would make more sense if all of us were in the same place.”

He reported brisk business, though, shifting three cars on the first day, including a smart Series 2 Daimler Sovereign and a ’95 Mercedes S280 with only 4400 miles on the clock: “The chap who bought it new died within six months so it had just sat in his garage ever since.”

Jaguar specialist Robert Hughes sold an unprecedented eight cars over the weekend, while Graeme Hunt shifted a 1975 BMW 3.0 CSi, just retrimmed in leather, for £25,750, the full asking price – “and had a few bites on other cars”.

Silverstone Auctions also recorded strong prices with an ex-David Cameron Fiat 500 doubling its estimate to sell for £18,840 and an Aston Martin DB4 fetching £224,000.