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International Classic Motor Show

Just in case anyone is curious to know what it's all about . . .

In spite of ridiculous difficulties in securing a train ticket, I finally managed to get to the International Classic Motor Show at the NEC on Saturday. As I reflected on the £21.65 it has cost me to get from Herts to Birmingham and back, and the time gained to enjoy some reading, I reckon it was a better deal than getting there in half the time by car but risking serious queuing to get in and out. Perhaps it wasn't like that; I'd be interested to know.

Anyway, the world and his wife were there, a remarkable cross section of society from those with the means to restore a 1936 Rolls-Royce (a friend of mine as it happens, although I'm certainly not in his bracket -- bumped into him at the show) to those who love all the dirty bits of a 1960s Vauxhall Viva. It's a major event, spread over halls 7--12, and it runs the whole gamut from the brand new super-Jag (can't recall or find it's name/number), through classics to drool over (e.g. an absolutely superb black 1956 Maserati A6G 2000 -- fewer than 100 built), to some exquisite vintage cars, and from body-panel manufacturers to traders in every widget you could imagine, plus of course a fair sprinkling of tat. The saddest sight was of two glamour girls waiting for punters to fork out £10 to be photographed with them; they looked thoroughly neglected and miserable.

My disappointment was in finding feeble efforts at the stands of the Mercedes-Benz Club and the Capri Club, both of which I belong to. Indeed, the Capri Club proper wasn't even properly there, but was represented by one of its regional branches. I had expected them both to be there with a team of club staff and technical experts to chat to, but no such luck.

This was my first visit to the NEC. It's quite an arduous experience. It wasn't eased by the show catalogue, which had no proper A-Z index of exhibitors (although it was in rough A-Z sequence, split into clubs and exhibitors) and floorplans with lettering in illegible 4pt type. I found the NEC's physical configuration confusing and, along with some thousands of others, would have found some seating more than welcome (if only slim benches around the walls).

Verdict: a wonderful event for real enthusiasts, especially of the hands-on variety and with the stamina to last half a day or more. Me? I'm not quite hands-on enough and I'm old enough to notice that I am getting tired.


doctorchris    on 12 November 2003

On the Sunday there was very little queuing to get in or out of the car park but it was a long way from the halls and there were queues for the shuttle bus.
Did you notice the almost complete lack of Triumphs at the show. I would have expected a Spitfire, Herald and a few TR's. A bit disappointing as I am a great fan of the marque.

Roger Jones    on 12 November 2003

The Triumphs were there. I saw TRs, Heralds, Mayflowers, Dolomite Sprints, etc. Club Triumph was stand 10130, TR Register 10120, TR Drivers Club 10150, Triumph Sports Six Club 10210, Triumph 2000/2500 Register 10210, Stag Owners Club 10205, Triumph Dolomite Club 10125. You must have missed that corner of hall 10 -- all too easy to do, given the scale of the event and confusing configuration of the place.

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