One advantage of having a pre-purchased ticket was that you could get access at 9am, so I raced around taking most of the day’s photos while the exhibition halls were still relatively clear, and before the rest of the forummers arrived. During this time, I did also talk to a few exhibitors, and I found my favourite vehicle of the whole show. I challenged messrs Piers, Mike and Dan to determine which one it was, and sure enough, with a few clues, they did eventually get to it………….. can you do the same?
One of the rarest cars of the day was to be found outside. The Monica. I’ve never seen one before. This is the car that features in the current issue of Classic and Sports Car
Also spotted outside was this Bentley Mulsanne Turbo RT.Moving indoors, here were some of the key display cars: There were a number of displays celebrating 40 years of the Ford Escort: Several other Fords were also on show, some loaned from Ford’s Heritage Collection: There were a number of GT40s at the show. Few of them were the genuine article, but most of them were quality machines, beautifully finished, so only the real purists would have got upset:Lancia Delta HF – made up to look like the genuine article, but whose owner (whose road car is currently an MG ZT, he told us) does 4 – 5,000 miles a year in it.Saab 96 V4:The legendary Mini Cooper:Less commonly seen as a rally car, the Jensen HealeyAnd even more unusual, an early Toyota CoronaLagonda: Lancia D24 – absolutely priceless!Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 – recently offered at auction, and failed to meet a reserve at over £1.5m!!Lancia Aurelia GT – the first car to bear the GT moniker, we are told:A 1900 Panhard et Levassor – sports cars have come a long way since this one! Triumph TR3:Triumph TR4:An ERA – very rare indeed, and also likely to fetch big money at auction:Corvette Stingray:Ferrari Testarossa – the original one from 1957! Another very very valuable car indeed!I was particularly surprised to see this car on show:An interesting conversation with a lady on the stand ensued. It turned out that rather than use the hybrid in the conventional way, the engineering had changed, so that the car usually runs on the petrol engine, but the electric motor is used to provide an additional boost of power. It turned out that a lot of research is being done in the motor sport arena, with technologies that could be applied to road cars, which can improve the fuel efficiency and the ability to use different fuel technologies, in the hope that a lead can be shown before any ill-conceived legislation is applied. We learned a lot about the challenges of socially responsible production of bio-fuel, and how much of it currently is less than that…….. and how politics muddies the water of what is possible or deemed desirable. Actually, a very encouraging discourse indeed.From the display halls, I made my way into the area where a few select cars were on sale.These varied in condition, price and potential interest: A nice array of MGs: The price tag on this Mini Cooper S was a rather ambitious £21,995. Yes, you did read that right………………. and an even steeper £26k was the figure posted on this Lotus Cortina:Corvette:Some more Ford Escorts:From here, my ears lured me into the Parc Ferme, where most of the rally cars that we were later to see out on the demo circuit could be found. A few of them were “warming up”, and the noise was very appealing! Cortina Mark 2:Mark 2 Escorts: Ford RS200:Triumph TR7 V8 – what a wonderful sound the burbling engine made when this one was outdoors!Audi Sport Quattro – definitely the most impressive car out on the circuit. The front end lifted up as the driver accelerated towards the finish line!Lancia 037:Sadly, did not see this in action, but it was fired up, and driven outside! Wicked! Fiat Strada 130 TC:Talbot Sunbeam:Toyota Celica:Renault R5 Maxi-Turbo:Citroen GS – Group 2 Spec. I was intrigued by this one, and got talking to the owner. He told me that this car was created, to full Group 2 spec from an original road going GS. There are only 3 cars like it in the world, and his is unique in the UK. The roll cage cost more than the car! He had planned to take it on the London – Taj Mahal rally, but it was sadly cancelled. He did warn that it was not quick!MG Metro 6R4 – what a feat of engineering and plumbing!In case you did not guess it, that Alfa was my absolute favourite. It was also, by some margin, the most expensive car present. I had a long chat to the people on the stand, and they told me that it is actually quite easy to drive, once you master the un-synchromeshed gear box and remember that the accelerator is in the middle and the brake on the right! A great day out, then.