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Yes, it’s that time of the year again – the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show is almost upon us!
The UK’s biggest indoor classic car show returns to the NEC Birmingham on 8-10 November and if you’ve not yet got your tickets, you can save money by booking in advance until midnight on Thursday (7 November).
Sprawling across seven halls and featuring the world’s largest gathering of classic vehicle clubs plus specialist traders, the UK’s biggest indoor autojumble, the restoration theatre and more, there’s tons to get stuck into – so be sure to wear comfy shoes!
To help you get the most from your visit, here’s our list of the must-see features at this week’s classic extravaganza.
1. The biggest ever Top Trumps game
You’ll be hard-pushed to miss this year’s main theme at the Classic Motor Show, which is built around the long-lived and much-loved card game Top Trumps.
An anniversary edition of the game has been created for the show, consisting of a unique 30-card pack representing the weekend’s 3000 classics – and you can get yours when you book tickets.
Clubs and exhibitors will be able to use the Top Trumps format as the basis for vehicle information boards displaying five key facts about each car, creating what the organisers describe as the biggest-ever version of the game.
2. The 35th anniversary celebrations
It’s the 35th anniversary of both the NEC show and headline sponsor Lancaster Insurance and to honour this, hall 8 has been christened ‘From 1984 – The 35th Anniversary Hall’.
Head here for displays of marques, models and more than 40 of the many clubs that have appeared at the show since its 1984 inception.
Among the treats on offer, Greatest Hits Radio will have an eight-car display headed by a pristine 1984 Vauxhall Astra GTE and will provide the perfect 35th-anniversary soundtrack of 1980s and ’90s music.
There’ll also be an MG Metro 6R4 to mark 35 years since the launch of the fansite 6R4.net, while the UK S2000 Owners Club will be celebrating the model’s 20th, the Classic Z Register plans to show a Datsun 240Z to celebrate its 50th and over on the Peugeot Sport Club UK stand the bunting will be out for the 35th birthday of the 205 GTI.
3. The C&SC stand
The C&SC team will be out in force at the NEC all weekend, and if you want to say hello then you’ll find us in hall 1, stand 245. And with a jaw-dropping Ferrari F40 on display, we’ll be hard to miss!
Why an F40? Well, we’re launching our next Greatest Hits magazine at the NEC and – you guessed it – it’s Ferrari themed. What’s more, you’ll be able to buy it at the show for a special discounted price, ahead of its general release on 14 November.
We’ll also be roaming the halls in search of candidates for our annual Club Awards – and given that we’ve already received more nominations than ever before, the 2019 edition looks like being the best and most hotly contested yet.
We’ll be rewarding the best of the classic car club community with 16 gongs at our ceremony on Friday 8 November – keep an eye on our social media channels and here on classicandsportscar.com for the results.
4. The Norman Dewis tribute
We lost the late, great Norman Dewis OBE this year and Britain’s greatest ever test driver will be honoured at this week’s show.
A commemorative display curated by the Jaguar Enthusiasts’ Club and the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust will bring together a quartet of cars representing key points in Dewis’ career.
5. A unique MGB on show
The first – and only – factory-made MGB V8 roadster, it was created by Don Hayter, ‘the father of the MGB’, and owned by him for many years.
See it on Corgi’s stand number 102 in hall 5.
6. A one-of-a-kind Ginetta
Another special car will be showcased on the Ginetta Owners’ Club stand in hall 3 – the only Ginetta G8 ever built.
Designed to be campaigned in Formula Three, the firm’s first single-seater racer finished fourth in its maiden race, at Snetterton on 30 August 1964, driven by Chris Meek.
Its current owner, Bill Cowing, hopes to be out in it again in 2020, but first it’s gracing the halls of the NEC Birmingham on 8-10 November.
Want more rarities? Don’t miss the pair of production specials on the Unipower GT Register’s stand and one of the earliest examples of a Volvo, making its UK debut on the Volvo Owners’ Club stand in hall 5.
Or check out the Boston Classic Car Club’s five-strong display, including a Wolseley Hornet Crayford Convertible given away by Heinz Soups in a competition in 1966 and a one-of-100 Rover Metro Heinz Special Edition.
7. Watch historic rallying live!
You’ve a chance to get a front-row seat and get up-close and personal with some brilliant classic rallying at this year’s NEC show.
HERO’s RAC Rally of the Tests will make its event debut as crews tackle an indoor course in hall 6 for around two hours on Saturday (9 November), with commentary and interviews by Tony Jardine.
If this inspires you to find out more, head to HERO’s stand, number 650 in hall 2.
And don’t forget about HERO’s Arrive & Drive classic car experience, giving showgoers the chance to get behind the wheel of – or be driven in – cars including a Triumph TR4A and a Jaguar E-type.
8. The Federation Village
The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs is doing something a little different at this year’s show.
At the entrance to Hall 5 you’ll find the ‘Federation Village’, which will feature a special collection of vehicles, with a Midland Red double-decker bus as the centrepiece.
There will also be three classic electric vehicles dating back to as early as 1912, and a collection of unique vehicles including the world’s only Rosengart Sutosix SuperSept Coupe (above), which has done fewer than 8900km and has full history from new.
9. The Pride of Ownership autumn final
Event sponsor Lancaster Insurance’s celebration of classic car ownership is something special, and when you check out the 20 shortlisted cars and owners you’ll see why we say that.
And the winners are determined by you, the visitors to the NEC Classic Motor Show.
So whether Dale Smith’s Mk1 VW Golf (above), Mart Dawson’s 1966 Ford Mustang, Tahmid Haque’s 1988 BMW E30 325i Sport or any of the other contenders’ cars take your fancy, be sure to cast your vote in hall 3, stand 345!
10. The Silverstone Auctions sale
The NEC show is about more than casting admiring glances at gleaming classics – there’s business to be done, too.
Silverstone Auctions’ massive, two-day sale is packed with impressive lots, including a Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Coupé once owned by songstress Lulu (above), a Chevrolet Corvette Stingray that was owned by Sir Cliff Richard and two cars from Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay’s collection.
Or how about the ex-works Triumph TR2 for sale for the first time in 47 years or the stunning XJ220.
The auction kicks off at 2pm on Saturday and at the same time on Sunday – check out the full lot listings here.
11. The Black Ghost
No, it’s not Hallowe’en a week late! Visit the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club stand in hall 1 (stand 420) to see the Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge.
To commemorate the conclusion of the Ghost’s 10-year production run, this bespoke, future classic car, targeting younger customers, is a twist on the model’s theme, with a dark chrome Spirit of Ecstasy mascot out front.
And this will take pride of place alongside classics including a Rolls‑Royce 20hp, a 1919 Silver Ghost and a Rolls‑Royce Silver Spirit II.
12. The Sweeney special
Recognise this Ford? Of course you do! A star of TV classic The Sweeney, this Consul featured in the entire first series and most of the second one, too.
Due to its involvement in small-screen car chases it was fitted with a sump guard, a fuel-tank shield and a bulkhead brace bar.
Its current owner has brought it back to its best after close to 30 years off the road and you can see it at the entrance of hall 5.
13. Pugs on show
Further into hall 5, Club Peugeot UK’s stand will showcase a broad range from the marque’s history.
Indeed, from 8-10 November at the NEC the 100% autonomous, electric and connected e-Legend Concept will be making its UK public debut.
It’ll be vying for the public’s attention with a Peugeot 205 T16, 188 of the 200 made and totally standard.
14. A club first
With around 300 classic vehicle clubs in attendance, you might not think there are any left to make a debut – but you’d be wrong: step forward the Capri 280 Group.
This year is the club’s first appearance at the NEC Classic Motor Show but with nearly 600 members around the world, this is no start-up.
And to prove it, the club’s stand sounds like something special in the Capri’s 50th-anniversary year, featuring a recreation of the model’s farewell ceremony when the final Capri left the factory assembly line in Germany (above).
All of which sounds impressive – but this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Our advice? Have good browse through this online version of the Show Guide, then get in early and plan which stands you want to visit to get the most from your day. But, most of all, have fun!
We’ll see you there.