Gloucestershire Motor Show – June 2013

As is probably apparent from the number of events that I manage to squeeze into my busy schedule, a certain amount of diary planning well in advance is called for. Perhaps that was why I received a polite enquiry from my mother, wondering if I would be free to join her birthday party, which was conveniently scheduled for a Saturday evening in June, hoping that I was not planning to be elsewhere in the country, or even the world. Despite what you might sometimes think, the diary does have some flexibility in it, and this was one of those weekend which had deliberately been kept free so I could pay a visit, party or no party. That meant that I was committed to be in North Gloucestershire by Saturday evening, and then I realised that neatly located en route would be the Gloucestershire Motor Show, so I could even include a car event on my way to the parental homestead. I last visited the Gloucestershire Motor Show in 2010, and recalled that, although not huge, there was plenty there to entertain for a few hours, so once the domestic chores of the weekend were done, I set off under largely blue skies to see what the 2013 event had to offer. Here is what I found:


Spread around one of the lawn areas to the east of the house were a number of new cars, largely supplied by local dealers, all of whom were clearly eager to find prospects and perhaps even customers.


Alfa still only have two different model types in their range, so did not need a lot of space for their display here. There was one MiTo and a couple of Giulietta cars.

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There were two separate collections of Audi on show. Among the first group was the new RS5 Cabrio, a very nice looking car indeed, but with a price which edges well over £60,000 once options are added, destined not to be a common sighting.

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Among the cars adjoining it were a TT-RS and an RS5 Coupe, as well as the more prosaic A3 Cabrio and A5 Sportback, and a A7 TDi.

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A second collection of cars included the “Q” models, with huge Q7, smaller Q3 and the A6 Allroad parked at a precarious angle.

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Sharing a display area with sister brand Vauxhall were 4 of the latest Chevrolets: Captiva, Aveo, Spark and Cruze Estate.

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Newest model here was the DS3 Cabrio which was joined by the fixed roof car.

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Other display cars included the DS4 and DS5 as well as the C3, C3 Picasso and familiar C1 mini.

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A trio of Dacia: Sandero, Sandero Stepway and Duster. Whilst the value offered by all three is self-evident, they do feel like a return to the standards of 20 years ago when you sit inside them. That seems to be perfectly acceptable to the growing number of customers in this country who are happy to get a brand new vehicle for a bargain price.

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Fiat’s range is still quite extensive but in reality it is only really the 500 and Panda that are being bought in any quantity. Worryingly, though, the salesman I spoke to said that the new Panda is not appealing to customers who have previously owned the model. Apart from the 4×4 version which is flying out of the showroom,  the car is not proving all that easy to sell, even though it has had excellent reviews.

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The 500L is new to the market this year, and is starting to appear on our roads. It is certainly not a thing of beauty, but it is roomy and practical.

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From the comprehensive range of Ford models on offer, this display concentrated on product launched in the last year. This was my first chance to poke around a right hand drive Kuga, and despite all the rave reviews of the UK motoring press, I was sad to find that the interior is the same jumbled mess as afflicts the Focus.

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The face-lifted Fiesta is now quite a common sight on Britain’s roads, so the new Aston-like grille is becoming ever more familiar.

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Coming to a rear view mirror on the outside lane of the motorway, for sure, will be the sight of the new Transit, a completely different looking model from its familiar predecessor, and the display vehicle here was the passenger Tourneo model. The interior has come a long way since the early and now very basic Transit vans of 1965.

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Also on show were other models, including the ST and regular Focus, the S-Max and the Ranger pickup.

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There were some Jazz and Civic models which my camera failed to capture and the latest CR-V which it did.

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Showing just how far this Korean brand has come in the last few years were examples of the current range, from diminutive i10, through to the latest Santa Fe SUV. I had quite a long chat with an enthusiastic salesman who extolled the virtues of the i40 Tourer, which I have to say looks better both outside and in than the similarly sized Insignia.

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The latest Kia were also on show, also showing the progress made by the other half of this Korean corporate giant.

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By some measure, Mazda is my favourite current Japanese brand, with some good looking cars that in the case of the SkyActiv cars have some interesting and clever technology under the bonnet. The new 6 Estate, in particular, is very sharply styled and has a much improved interior compared to previous offerings.

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The display here comprised a pair of the much acclaimed 3-wheeler cars as well as a trio of the long running Plus 4 and Plus 8 cars.

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An array of different Nissan here from the exciting GT-R and 370Z through the commercially successful Qashqai to the terminally mediocre Micra and the innovative Leaf.

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Newcomer was the Juke Nismo, which the salesman I spoke with said had proved surprisingly popular., He did go on to say that the Juke remains a “like it or loathe it” car, but among those who do find the quirky styling to their taste, then the Nismo changes would seem to have plenty of appeal.

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Among the cars I was expecting to see was one that I was not. The new 2008 does not officially go on sale until 18th July, so to find a right hand drive model here was unexpected. Not that one should get too excited about the car itself, as it would appear to be a worthy but rather dull alternative to the Renault Captur, cursed with the same idiotic combination of dinner-plate sized steering wheel in your lap and obscured lower half of the instrument cluster as bedevils the 208 hatch on which it is based.

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Also making one of its first UK appearances was the XY version of the 208 hatchback. I have to say that the interior ambience – that stupid steering wheel and instrument location notwithstanding – is very impressive, with some high quality trim materials.

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Among the more established models were the 308, 3008, 508 SW and 107.

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Brand new to the UK market is the facelifted XMOD version of the Scenic. I was surprised and delighted to find that years of the cursed electronic handbrake, this model had a conventional lever between the seats.

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The all-electric Zoe is now officially on sale, too. It looks quite pert from the outside, but the interior was clearly styled by the same person who decided that sticking an iPad half on the dash in the Clio was how to present in-car information.

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The new Clio has been on sale for a few months now, and there are quite a lot on our roads, though you may not have noticed if you only saw it from the back, as it can look quite like, well, all sorts of other cars. The front is more distinctive, especially if you see it with the DRLs, which look like a real afterthought, illuminated.

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Star billing here was the new Leon, and with good reason. This car looks neat, has a beautifully presented interior and eschews the electronic handbrake that is in the closely related and far more costly Golf. Judging by the number I’ve seen on the road, it would seem that Seat have hit the mark here and people are buying it.

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Also on display were the Mii, Ibiza, Exeo and even the Altea XL.

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Another chance to poke around inside a new Octavia, and another occasion for me to comment on how impressed I am.

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The slightly smaller Rapid does not seem to have had anything like the same positive reaction, even though it looks quite neat and the inside is well presented. It must be the driving experience which lets it down. I note that Hertz UK have some on fleet, so will try to source one to sample for myself.

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There was also a MonteCarlo version of the Fabia, with its black roof and distinctive wheels, as well as a Citigo, a Roomster and a Yeti.
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Had a long chat with an enthusiastic young salesman on this stand. He asked me what I thought of the Adam, and I think I was polite. That is quite a surprise considering the truly ghastly garish yellow trim on the dash, half of the steering wheel and various other parts of the interior. In comparison, the outside seems quite acceptable.

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There were more familiar models from the range, too, with Corsa and Astra joined by the Zafira Tourer, Mokka and Cascada.

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A representative sample of some of the different models from VW’s vast range were on show, ranging from the Up! to the Sharan and Touareg.

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Lots of V40s on display here, along with the larger S and V60 cars, the V and XC70s and the XC60 and XC90. All have impeccable interiors, and look like a quality product. A sensible choice for those who want something a bit premium that is not one of the German trio.

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As well as the new cars on show, a separate area of the extensive grounds were reserved for Classic Cars, and that were some splendid machines, with great variety to enjoy.


This 1953 1900M is better known as the Matta, and was built as an off-roader for the Italian army until the venture was abandoned in favour of the Fiat Campagnola.

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Probably the newest car in the display was this V8 Vantage convertible.

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A rather nice 80 Cabrio.

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Although the majority of Austin sales in the post-war period were of affordable family cars, Austin did have a large luxury model as well, the A125 Sheerline and A135 Princess. This is an example of that imposing machine.

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Another are car was this A40 Sports. Based on the very prosaic A40 Devon family car, there was a complex arrangement to get the chassis from Longbridge and the bodies to the Jensen factory where the car was assembled. It was not a sales success and did not have a long production life, and accordingly it is rare to see the model.

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The 3 litre was widely held to be a real duffer when it was new, and consequently less than 10,000 were sold in a 3 year product life, but now these cars are seen to have a certain period charm. This stunning example certainly had plenty of appeal, with its genuine burr walnut interior fittings and leather seats. Fast it most certainly would not be (though it would not be painfully slow, either) and lacking the dynamic finesse of its smaller period relatives, it is a car in which to waft down the by-ways of Britain at a relaxed pace.

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Far more recent was this 1.0L Metro in the very period hue of Russet Brown.

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There was a whole line of Big Healey models, ranging from the 100 to the later 3000 cars.

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Star showing on the lawn in front of the house went to this duo of 4.5 litre cars.

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This is a very elegant Derby model 4.5 litre machine from the late 1930s.

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The first post-war cars were the Mark VI and R Type cars, survival rates of which are relatively low thanks to their propensity to rust. This is one that has survived.

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I had seen this splendid James Young bodied R Type machine before. One of my favourite cars of the entire event, and perhaps the one I would have awarded the “Best Classic Car” prize to. The judges thought otherwise, as you will see by reading on.

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An early 411

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Not a marque I had ever heard of. This was produced by a group of French engineers who were convinced that they could build a car that was in all respects “better” than the Panhard of the period. Splendid!

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The “sit up and beg” E93A Popular was joined, a post war offering based heavily on the pre-war models was joined here by a pre-war car.

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Among the classic Jaguars were a number of E Types and a lovely XK120.

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This 4.5 litre model was unanimously voted as the “best” classic on show by a panel of local (and mainly anonymous) judges, much to the delight of its owner and local resident. Whilst admitting that it is a splendid machine, there were plenty of other very nice cars as well, so “unanimous” was perhaps a bit of a surprise.

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Both Lotus in the event were from the 1990s, namely an Esprit and the front wheel drive Elan

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This SA only arrived mid way through the afternoon, was parked up under the trees and then departed. Although these cars were not that well thought of when new, I think they are splendid.

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There were a number of different MGs, showing the gradual evolution of this popular British sports car, from the early 1950s TD, through the late 1950s MGA in rare Coupe form, the Midgets and MGBs of the 1960s and 1970s and the MG R V8 of the mid 1990s.

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A trio of classic Mini ranged from an early 1959 car, through a 1960s Van and the rather elegant 40, a limited edition car produced to mark the 40th anniversary of the model., in 1999.

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A splendid 1930s Three-wheeler.

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No surprise that there were several Minors on show.

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This Manta GT/E dates from 1983, towards the end of the production life of Opel’s Capri rival.

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Among the 911s on show were models from the 1980s and 1990s.

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There were plenty of truly splendid aristocratic pre-war Rolls Royce on display, any of one of which would been an impressive sight, but to get all this lot together was a real treat. The cars ranged from a 40/50 Silver Ghost to the 20/25 and later Phantom machines.


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From the post was period was this Silver Cloud. Very stately indeed.

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This later Silver Shadow looked almost small by comparison.

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This little known Roadster dates from 1951, and was conceived as a competitor to the MGs of the period.

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This is a late model Series V Alpine sports cars from the final months of production.

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This is a rare example of the pre-facelift 2500PI, the first British family car to sport (notoriously unreliable) fuel injection.

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There were a number of the popular TR models, including a pair of TR4s.

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A quartet of cars comprised both the luxury version of the ADO16 and the much larger A110 Westminster based 3 litre and 4 litre R cars.

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This proved to be a very entertaining show. Not large enough to occupy the whole day, for sure, but there was plenty to see to fill my afternoon.

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