Treasures and truths unearthed at the Classic Motor Show

| 6 Dec 2012

As usual I enjoyed the Footman James Classic Motor Show at the NEC and managed to go on the Friday which is marginally less rammed than the Saturday or Sunday.

My friend Fredrik of DKW fame was tending his flock on the club stand so we went down together. The idea of going around the show with a friend sounds good, but the truth is I always relish wandering the halls alone, so I can linger over the cars and stalls at leisure.

And that's what happened, eight hours of pure indulgence.

My car-related highlights included the Humber and Allard woodies on the Duncan Hamilton stand (below), the plum-coloured DeTomaso Deauville and the Daimler SP252 prototype... but what I was really looking forward to was looking around the autojumble.

The plan was to look for some material to boost my Espada's slender history file. I found some price lists, brochures, old road tests and a book by Peter Lyons that is a remarkably good read, although I was struck by how little there is published on this make. The downside was that a perfect S2 Espada on the club stand made me feel slightly depressed.

Other autojumble finds included a 1960s book on Rolls-Royce Phantoms by DB Tubbs, a handbook for the S1 Bentley I've got, plus a novel called Four Wheel Drift that I have already given up on, but at least has a good cover image by Dexter Brown.

I managed to buy two Telegraph Motor Show special colour supplements from the 1970s, but didn’t get back to buy two or three 1960s Geneva show posters which were cheap at a fiver apiece I thought.

Looking around the classics a little more I convinced myself of how absurd '50s American cars are, and then tried to understand people's current obsession with radically modifying perfectly good classics like the semi-pimped Jensen interceptor I spotted.

The NEC as a location doesn’t get any prettier and the whole event took me back to the early '80s when I went to one of the first new car motor shows held there after the event moved from Earls Court.

It was sobering to think that some of the cars that were there then as new models are now in the classic show.

Which makes me feel old.