Bristol Classic Car Show – April 2013

The Bristol Classic Car Show is one of the longest running events of its genre in the UK, and in 2013 it marked its 34th occurrence. The show moved out of the city of Bristol some years ago when its initial home, the Exhibition Centre on the waterfront was demolished, and it now takes place at the Bath and West Showground on the fringes of Shepton Mallett. A more recent change was to the date, which was initially forced on the organisers when in 2009, a heavy snowfall just before the show meant a last minute postponement of the time-honoured February date. After moving the Show to May for the following year, the last couple have taken place in April, and have coincided with “Drive It Day”, which has meant that as well as the contents of the exhibition halls, visitors have been able to enjoy the sight of several hundred additional classic cars parked up outside the venue. After a winter that seemed as if it would never loosen its grip on the UK, the forecast suggested that the 2013 event would be marked by some lovely spring sunshine, and so it seemed as if even more classics had been brought out from their winter hiding places, meaning that I probably spent more time outside the exhibition halls than in them, as there was so much to see. There were several groupings of cars among these displays, suggesting that a certain amount of Owners Club planning had taken place, with a particularly impressive display of 10 Sunbeam-Talbot 90 and Alpine cars, along with Peugeot and Reliant Clubs as well as a number of Geography based groups. The 550 photos in this report represent both the cars that were on display all weekend in the halls, and as many of those as I saw outside on the Sunday. Inevitably I missed some, but you will find plenty of rarities here.


As this event coincided with Spring Alfa Day, it is no surprise that were not few Alfa on show, even though that was taking place up in Cheshire. This SZ was the lone example of the marque.

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There was an Alvis Owners Club stand in the main halls, but it was small, cramped and always crowded whenever I went past, so no pictures from that. There were a couple of Alvis to be seen outside, though including a TC21/100 and a TF, as well as a Graber bodied TC.

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A Sapphire model, one of the last produced before production ceased in 1960.

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A club display contained a variety of DB models, ranging form DB4 through to DB7. In Aston’s centenary year, I am a little surprised that more of a song and dance of this fact was not being made.

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There was another DB6 outside.

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A pair of Quattros were about the only Audi in evidence in the displays.

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This 1930s Fourteen Westminster was in a splendid recreation of a period picnic, and came complete with a caravan of the era as well.

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A later model bearing the Westminster name was this A90 from the mid 1950s. It was complemented by the later facelifted A95 model,

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Among other Austins of the period were an A60 Cambridge estate, and a A40.

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The “Landcrab” Owners Club always create a diaorama style stand, and this year’s offering was the recreation of a tyre fitting company, into which they had placed two cars, one of which was an Austin 1800 and the other a Wolseley Six.

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Of more recent provenance was this Metro, in the period shade of Clove Brown. There was also a Van version inside.

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There were a couple of Austin Sevens parked up outside.

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Austin Ten models from the same period were to be found inside, where the stand had been decorated to resemble a used car garage of the period.

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There were a mix of Sprites and Big Healeys

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A rather majestic S2 Convertible

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Despite their popularity of new BMWs. there are rarely more than a couple at classic car shows, and this event was no exception. Accordingly, it was quite a surprise to find this, the economy special 525e.

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Two rare and very different models: a convertible version of the 2000 and the earlier diminutive  Bond Minicar

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A 1937 car.

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The Corvette Owners had a trio of different generation models in a line on side of one of the halls.

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Outside I came across this El Camino from the mid 1960s.

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An interesting display of Citroen inside the halls, of which this car was unquestionably the rarest. It is an Oltcit, a model built for the Eastern European market in the 1980s that was loosely based on the Visa. This particular car was brought to the UK from Hungary a few years ago and is believed to be the only example on the UK roads.

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Also believed now to be unique was this Ami Super. There are still Ami models that survived the dreaded tin worm, but the Super, which was launched in 1973 was a low volume seller, even if some claim it was the sort of precursor to the warm “hatch” (not that the Ami was a hatch, being offered in saloon and estate guise). The 1015cc engine from the GS meant it was much more powerful than the regular 602cc engined cars.

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There were a couple of GS based cars, too, including one of the very last GSA models which was not registered til mid 1985, some 10 months after it was built.

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2 Dyanes occupied a separate display area.

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Yet a further Citroen display contained a duo of BX models, with one of them an early BX19RD estate which has covered 235,000 miles. In need of a lot more tlc, it is believed that this is the sole survivor of the first generation BX Estate models before a light facelift was applied.

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Some more Citroen were to be found outside, with a mix of Traction Avant, 2CV, GS and GSA as well as a C6, surely an almost instant classic now that it is out of production.

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A couple of models on the Daimler Owners Club stand, from either side of World War Two, showing how the later cars, as represented by the 1954 Consort had reduced in size somewhat from the majestic 1930s offerings.

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The V8-250 was a close relative of the popular Mark 2 Jaguar, and even now sits well in its shadow, though the refined V8 engine does indeed have much to commend it for those who want a relaxed cruise.

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The SP250 “Dart” sports car shared an engine with the saloon model, and these days is better known, even though it was not that well thought of when new.

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Dart GT

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Both the Strada 105TC and the Uno Selecta had been on show in Bristol the day before.

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A number of model specific Ford Owners Club stands were grouped together, though sadly all them had too little space to be able to enjoy the cars properly.

The Cortina Owners did best, and they had a number of cars from Mark 2 to one of the last Mark V cars in limited edition Crusader spec. There were a few more Cortinas outside including a Mark 1 Lotus Cortina, a Mark 2 1600 GT and a Mark 4 1.6L.

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The Anglia Owners had space for three cars, and there was an Anglia Super parked up outside.

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Just two Corsairs, one of which was the very rare Estate model, Less than 1000 of these were ever produced and there are very few survivors.

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There were plenty of Fords in the outdoor displays, too, ranging from the rare Mark 2 Zephyr Estate to a Probe.

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A couple of Zephyr Mark IVs were attracting a lot of attention, as people reminisced on how as a small child they used to slide from side to side of the car that the father had, with its bench seats, vinyl seats and no seat belts.

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Its predecessor, the Mark 3 was also represented, with a couple of models, one of which had covered a mere 5000 miles in 50 years.

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There was also a first generation Granada on display.

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Among the Escorts were a couple of Mexico, a Mark 2 RS2000, and from the front wheel drive generation, XR3i and RS Turbo cars.

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There were surprisingly few Capris. The black 2.0S model was a limited edition trim offered in 1975/76 and there was also a Series 3 model on display.

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With the newest Sierra now more than 20 years old, these cars are minor classics, and accordingly a couple were parked up outside. One is the XR4i project car which Practical Classics have been restoring and it was to be found alongside a late model XR4x4 model. There were also a couple of Sierra Cosworths, in both hatch and saloon guises.

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This Fiesta is a reminder of what entry level motoring was like 25 years ago, though the L model was of course plusher than the ultra basic Popular and nearly as spartan Popular Plus.

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Among the American Fords were a first generation model and a Thunderbird

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No display of historic tractors inside the halls this year, but this one machine was parked up among the cars outside.

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The ever enthusiastic Gilbern Owners Club had a trio of cars on their stand, all of them based on the Invader model, a nicely put together grand tourer that featured a 3 litre Ford V6 engine and a hefty price tag when new. A fourth car was another stand.

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Although the survival rate of the 99 Gordon Keebles built is very high (not quite 100%, but close), it is still rare to see one, but there was one here.

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2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Hillman Imp and the Owners Club, always one of those who puts a lot of effort into their stand marked the occasion by representing one of their cars as a quasi space shuttle.

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There were several Imps parked up outside, including an example of the limited edition Caledonian, made in the final months of production in 1976.

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The Minx Owners had a trio of the 1930s Aero Minx cars, which look quite different from the rather staid saloon cars on which they were based. They were joined by one of the 1950s New Minx models in convertible guise.

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Parked up outside were a couple of the larger Super Minx models, with a saloon joined by a couple of the short lived Convertible models, along with the early “Audax” based model, and the later “Arrow” based car. This last, I was a little surprised to discover, had the rare automatic gearbox fitted.

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Another Hillman stand inside had three Avenger models on it, including the distinctive Tiger model.

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A couple of Hawks were the examples of this long obsolete marque.

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Joining them was an earlier Super Snipe model, and elsewhere in the show, both an early Sceptre and an Arrow-based model.

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Not surprisingly, the most numerous Jaguar model on show was the E Type, with several models displayed.

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The XJ-S has gradually wormed its way into the classic car fraternity’s affections, and there were a few of these on show, too.

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Other Jaguars included a lovely XK150 a number of Mark 2s, the gargantuan Mark X and a 420 saloon

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The Jensen Owners stand contained a 541S and a couple of the Interceptor model.

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There were further Jensen models parked outside including additional Interceptors a Healey and a GT.

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Compare and contrast the regular Jupiter model which was to be found outside with one of the very rare Farina bodied coupe models inside.

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This one had more than a few people scratching their heads, not knowing what it is. The answer is a Lagonda 3 litre, a design launched in 1949. Not a popular car when new, so perhaps not surprising it is not well known now.

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There were a couple of Aurelia models to be found inside, a B50 Convertible and a B20 GT Coupe. Both very nice indeed.

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Outdoors there was an Aprilia

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A couple of early Land Rover models were on show indoors.

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Everyone’s comments on seeing these early Elans were on just how small they are, and they are right. It really is tiny compared to modern cars.

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The Plus 2 models are not that much bigger.

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Other Lotus included Esprit and Excel and a rare Series IV Seven.

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A couple of Marcos models on the stand inside, both from the later end of production, during which period a bewildering array of different models were produced, all based on the same basic design. There were a few more cars outside.

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There were a few Mercedes at the show, mostly relatively recent ones, but it seems that this 500E is the only one at which l pointed a camera.

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As you would expect, there were lots of MGs at the event, both in the display halls and parked up outside.

As in previous years, there was a nice display of early large MGs, the 18/80 based models, with 5 cars on show, two of which were in part restored state

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Of the earlier sports that MG offered, there were both TC and TFs on show

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There were a number of MGA models, including the rare Coupe car.

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There were plenty of MGB and MGC models, reflecting the immense popularity of this classic British sports car

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This MG Metro has recently surfaced after being tucked away in a garage for a long time. It seemed to be in excellent condition.

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Final MG was the sports saloon of the 1960s, the MG1300

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Inside the halls, a duo of late model Minis, including one of the rare factory-approved Cabrio cars were joined by a Cooper S.

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There were plenty more classic Minis on show outside, with a mix of Cooper and ordinary models, with early and late cars.

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There were a number of Morgans on show in the halls, though I seem not to have taken their pictures. I did, however, photograph some of those I found outside, which ranged from some early models through to more recent cars.

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In celebration of Morris’ centenary, there was an impressive display of Morris vehicles which occupied about the half the length of one side of one of the halls, with a variety of beautifully presented models on show.

Oldest model was a 1024 Cowley 2 seater. This car sports the famous “bull nose” style grille, and was in production from 1913 until 1925.

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By the end of the 1920s, Morris had established themselves with some new larger models, of which this 1930 Oxford Six Saloon and 1931 Cowley 4 door Sliding Head Saloon are examples

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A 1933 Ten Saloon

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As a riposte to the Austin Seven, Morris introduced the Minor, and there was a 1933 4 door and a 1934 2 seater version in the display.

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By 1935, the popular Morris 8 had been introduced, and the display included several of these models, ranging from a 1935 Tourer to an 1938 Series 2 Tourer, a 1938 Series 3 Saloon, and a 1939 Series E Tourer.

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Two post war Morris were included as well, a 1946 Ten Series M and a 1953 Series Z Van.

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The Minor Owners Club had packed a lot of cars onto their stand, which meant that it was hard to appreciate the finer points of all them, and then they had put window shades in them in accordance with the “Cars” movie theme which they had adopted for this year’s display.

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Outside were a gathering of Minors and this rather nice 8 Series E.

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The Cedric/Gloria Owners Club were celebrating their 10th anniversary and they had three 300C models on show. A fourth example was to be found outside. Given how few of these were sold when new, it is quite surprising to find even that number on show at a regional event like this.

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There was also an example of the earlier 260C from the late 1970s.

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Perhaps even more surprising a find was this Sunny Estate which scores points simply because so few have survived.

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The Z cars were not forgotten, with a couple of these on show.

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A nice display indoors comprised a couple of the Manta B models, and the same Ascona B that I had seen on show at the Queen’s Square Breakfast meeting the previous weekend.

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As well as the Lima and Kallista sports cars on this stand there was the very rare De Ville Convertible. These pastiche cars were based on Jaguar XJ12 mechanicals and were seen as rather over-the-top at the time that they were new in the mid 1970s. Compared to how some of the world’s wealthier spend their money on these days, they almost look restrained now!

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There were a couple more Lima parked up outside.

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A small gathering of Peugeot Owners Club gathered together such rare sightings as a late model 104, a 504 and a 604. These were the glory days for Peugeot, which they are struggling to recreate. At least I feel with their very latest products they are trying, which is not something I would have said 5 years ago!

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A 1941 model.

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An early Firebird parked up outside was joined by a Le Mans that was on show inside.

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There were a few Porsche models present, ranging from the 356 through various generations of 911 to the front engined 924/944/968 cars and a 928.

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A nice line up of Scimitars arrived up during the morning, with the GT Coupe, GTE and GTC models all represented, along with a late model from the small sports car sold in the 1980s and 1990s which also adopted the Scimitar name. A few other cars were scattered around the outdoor display.

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Inside there were a number of three wheelers on show. These cars seemed to have acquired something of a cult status.

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Without question the rarest Renault was this Fuego. Not exactly pristine, it was still good to see one of these cars, which I always thought were an elegant design when new.

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Other Renault included a 4CV and an early NN Tourer model.

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In the same display as the Austin Fourteen was this Lynx model. Splendid!

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The RM Owners had an example of the RMB 2.5 litre saloon and the roadster bodies on show indoors.

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Outside there were some more RM models on display, as well as the later One Point Five.

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There were also a couple of 1930s models.

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This Mark 1 Silver Shadow was on the Attwell Wilson Motor Museum stand

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Once a common sight, the R8 family of Rovers now have an enthusiastic (but small) band of followers, as the model teeters on the edge of Classic status. The stand featured two and a half cars (yes, one was the chopped off rear end of a 3 door hatch),m all in Nightfire Red.

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There were a few examples of the P4, P5 and P6 models.

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Completing the Rover line up were a couple of SD1

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The local SAAB Owners Club had a splendid display of cars showing the progression of the marque during its production history. A trio of the 96 models showed the evolution of this iconic design from the bull-fronted cars of the early 1960s through the V4 models that appeared in the 1960s to the last models with their rubber bumpers. The blue car was actually a limited edition model made for the Dutch market.

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This Sonnet was a splendid example of the sports car that proved popular in America, but which remains almost unknown in the UK.

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The rest of the display comprised the models offered from the 1980s, with 900s of each generation and the much loved 9000 car.

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Inside the show, the Singer Owners had a display of 4 cars, all of them over 80 years old, with a couple of Junior models and a couple of the diminutive sports cars that they also offered at the time.

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Parked up outside were another collection of cars, which included some more 1930s models, as well as a trio of Vogue Estate cars, all of them in the same shade of olive green.

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A trio of very different models on the Standard Owners Club stand. The earliest model was a 1913 Rhyl.

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The other two cars were far more recent, with a 1950s Ten joined by a very rare 1962 Ensign de Luxe Estate. This particular car was apparently shown on the Earls Court Motor Show stand that year, which is probably the reason why it was finished in black, which was not a common colour for the car, and it then had a very gentle life ever since, so the current owner has not had to restore it, and yet it appeared in excellent condition.

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Outside the halls, I came across a line of 10 of the 90 and Alpine based models produced in the early 1950s, which made for a most impressive display. Along with the Rileys of the ear, these sports saloons were the BMW 3 series of their day, and they enjoyed considerable success in motor sport events of the period.

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There were a number of vintage Sunbeams from the 1920s on show as well.

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Based on the “Audax” Minx was this Rapier, with a sports coupe and convertible offered from 1955 until 1967 at which time it was replaced by a fastback coupe model of the same name based on the Hillman Hunter.

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Sunbeam’s sports car offering from 1959 until 1967 was the pretty Alpine, and a couple of these were on show inside the halls, and there were some more, along with the more potent Tiger variant, parked up outside.

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This unusual vehicle was on the Practical Classics stand, as was Sam Glover, their staff writer who recently brought it back from Poland. It was based on FSO components, but to a local design, and appeared rather crude. I’ve never seen one before, so it certainly counted on the list of unusual vehicles of the day.

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There were examples of every generation of TR from an early TR2 all the way to a TR7 convertible.

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Among the smaller models were a couple of Spitfire and GT6 cars.

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There were plenty of Stags on show.

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There were only a couple of Herald and Vitesse models.

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From the popular mid-sized cars, there was a 1500 and couple of Dolomites.

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Several examples of the large 2000/2500, a popular executive saloon from the 1960s and 1970s.

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The Renown was offered in the late 1940s and was a more luxurious offering than its Standard Vanguard stablemate.

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A number of TVRs were parked up outside, all of which were from the more recent production models, with Tuscan and Griffith both present.

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Among the classic Vauxhalls on show were an HA Viva, a PB Cresta, a Firenza 2300SL (the pre droop snoot model) and a Chevette HSR.

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This VX2300 represents one of the last Vauxhalls made that was not a design shared with Opel. Initially launched as the FE Series Victor, the last couple of years production saw the car renamed as the VX Series, and this is a top of the range model, with automatic gearbox. By this time, though, the car was seen as dated, with the futuristic Rover SD1 or dependable Ford Granada featuring higher on people’s wish list.

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One of the more remarkable cars at the show was this early first generation Polo, which looked absolutely pristine.

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As if one early Polo was not enough, there was also an immaculate second generation Polo Coupe.

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Other classic VWs included a couple of Golf GTis

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There were a couple of the P1800 cars a couple of the “Amazon”  122/132 and a 145 estate car.

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As luck would have it, the Wolseley Register had a stand next to the Farina Owners, and the latter had just one car on display, which was a Wolseley 16/60, thus presenting a neat contrast with the earlier 15/60 on the Wolseley stand.

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Very impressive indeed was the centrepiece of the Wolseley Register stand, though a 1946 model 18/85 Series 3, which was one of the first cars made after production resumed following the second World War

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Final model on the Register stand was this 4/44, a luxury oriented version of the MG Magnette.

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A second Wolseley stand, for the Owners Club, contained a couple of 6/80, a 1500 saloon and a 1930s model.

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Among the Wolseley models outside were another 1500, a 4/44, a 6/110 and a Hornet.

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The 2014 event will move to a new date again, already announced as the 14/15th June. Unlike the April timing when the events calendar is not unduly congested, by June there is a lot more going on, and the event will also fail to coincide with “Drive It Day”, so it will be interesting to see what effect this change has. I guess I have nearly 14 months to wait, to find out the answer.

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