I’ve been to the NEC Birmingham before. I’ve been to many classic car shows. But this is my first time at the NEC Classic Motor Show.
As always at this venue, the sheer scale can seem overwhelming. The fact that this is Britain’s biggest classic car show and the world’s largest gathering of classic vehicle clubs has been well publicised, but they’re just words on a page (or screen). It’s not until you step into one of the six halls that the reality hits home.
With a million square metres to cover, this is not a time for breaking in a new pair of shoes – don’t say we didn’t warn you!
While you expect large corporate displays and a rammed autojumble where it feels like you can get anything for any classic if you’re prepared to search hard enough, what is far, far more impressive is the turnout from car clubs.
More than 300 classic car, ’bike and vehicle clubs are here this weekend. Just think about that for a minute. And very often we’re talking volunteers who’ve given up their own time to organise and appear at the show, simply to champion the cars they love and to share their enthusiasm with anyone showing a passing interest.
Think you’ve seen it all before? I bet there are clubs and registers for marques and models you’ve forgotten, all manned by friendly experts who are rightly proud of their exhibits.
And you definitely won’t have seen it all before, as there’s an area dedicated to clubs which are making their NEC Classic Motor Show debut this year.
Here at C&SC, it’s easy for us to say that classic car clubs are the heart and soul of our hobby, the glue that holds it together and drives it into the future (no pun intended), but at the NEC show it’s palpable.
It might sound like a banal platitude or easy cliché, yet it’s true and well worth celebrating.
It must be the effect of having so many like-minded individuals in one room – well, in a series of gigantic halls but you get the point – but there’s an infectious buzz for our shared passion that’s wonderful to experience.
There really is no better place for C&SC to hold our Club Awards – and we’re excited to reveal the winners with you tonight.
And with people of all ages and backgrounds clearly enjoying themselves, there’s a feeling that the classic car community is in safe hands, today and in the future.
It’s easy to get cynical about massive shows, assuming they’re all about big-money stars and that they’re devoid of character. But while the charm of a small, rural event has its own appeal, here there really is something for everyone – and you’re probably going to be thrilled by something you never set out to see.
Plus, arguably the best thing about it is that you can enjoy all this without having to battle the elements! It’s easy to see why well over 70,000 people came to last year’s show…
Convinced? Click here for tickets and get your skates on, because it only runs until Sunday.