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Footman James Classic Motor Show report and gallery

The National Exhibition Centre hosted the UK’s largest indoor classic car motor show – 58,000 visitors, up from 50,000 in 2011, came to Birmingham to view 250 car clubs and 43 dealers exhibiting more than 1500 cars in 11 halls.

The format of the NEC show is established, and that's why it's such a popular classic car season ending show. In terms of scale, the Footman James show is as big as many international new car shows, and what makes it so special is the effort the volunteers from so many clubs go to to show off their classics. This year, the cars were as varied as ever (see the gallery for a small selection), but in terms of age, there was everything between vintage as a 2012, proving the classic car scene is as popular and as wide-ranging as ever.

For the first time, there was a classic car auction to accompany the show, too. The inaugural Silverstone Auction proved popular with the record breaking crowd, and the total sale value was £1.1m with 60% converted to new owners (low, but an about average in the current market). The number of charity Dream Rides of given during the show was about 1000 and raising around £30,000 plus gift aid which should give a minimum final total of £35,000.

Wheeler Dealer Live Stage with Mike Brewer and Edd China – restored a 1960 Morris Minor Pick Up. Special guests at the show included Sir Stirling Moss, TT Riders Guy Martin and Mick Grant, Red Dwarf star Chris Barrie, comedian Steve Coogan, actress Natalie J Robb, Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis and Jon Bentley.

The NEC has been the home of the British International Motor Show since 1978, and the classic car show is showcased perfectly here, as the venue retained nearly all of its ’70s atmosphere – right down to the down-to-earth cuisine and appalling lighting. There’s one thing that feels bang-up-to-date, though, and that’s the cost of entry and parking…

Photography by Keith Adams and Richard Kilpatrick

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Two British icons – the Aston Martin DB6 and red open-topped double-decker.


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