LANCASTER INSURANCE WITH DISCOVERY CLASSIC MOTOR SHOW
NEC, Birmingham November 12-14
This year’s Classic Motor Show was always going to be an odd one, inasmuch as the demographic which usually attend it – and man the car club stands – tend to be older and as such the more naturally cautious. Would they stay away? Or would it be business as usual? Almost predictably, it was a quieter event and in some ways was perhaps reminiscent of the show a quarter of a century ago (yes, I’m old enough to remember the show in the mid-Nineties!) when in many ways it was more pleasant without the crowds.
There was plenty of American content dotted around the show and as usual Classic American was at the heart of the American section, with a smaller stand this year due to there being no Car of the Year. There was still an impressive display with Classic American stand regular Steve Taylor, who brought along his 1971 Dodge Explorer campervan and the breathtaking 1958 Cadillac Sedan DeVille, restored by Steve Sullivan who was accompanied by wife Liza. Last but not least was Classic American’s Falcon Project, making another appearance on the stand after almost eight years since completion.
“NEXT YEAR THINGS SHOULD BE BACK TO NORMAL AND WE MIGHT EVEN HAVE A STAND BURSTING WITH CAR OF THE YEAR CONTENDERS – WATCH THIS SPACE!”
Car clubs in attendance included the Corvette Owners Club, Mustang Owners Club GB, the Mopar Muscle Association, Cadillac Club GB and the NSRA and Classic American advertiser Golden Chariots was on hand with a busy stand too. There’s no doubt that the popularity of American vehicles is increasing, as there were plenty dotted around all over the show, including Film car hire’s ’59 Ghostbusters Cadillac and Steve Taylor’s other vehicle, a 1959 Chevrolet Apache Suburban on Lancaster Insurance’s stand.
One of the most eye-popping cars – literally and metaphorically – was a Hemi Orange Challenger on the Market by Bonhams stand which is due to be part of their online auction. This stunning bit of kit was not only a numbers-matching Hemi car (chassis number JS23R0B371978), but boasted power steering, a four-speed manual with pistol-grip shifter and power windows. Other desirable options include Track-Pak and full stripe delete, as well as a space-saver spare and 8-track player. It even comes with its original build sheet, which shows it to be a military export and the car was totally restored 14 years ago and shows almost 48k miles on the clock. The estimate on this Mopar holy grail is £85-£110k, which is interesting considering a dealer had it up for £155k a few months back with no interest…
Amazingly, on another stand Classic Investments had their very clean-looking small-block 318 1970 Dodge Charger on display yet again for £127,000! Obviously not many people think this is a sound investment, as it’s been touted around car shows up and down the country for more than two years now, with no takers! A slightly different, but altogether more reasonable Mopar proposition was Brooklyn Auto Imports’ 1968 Dodge Charger white hat special. Brooklyn boss Dave McSherry explained that with its amazing patina, it would be a shame to restore it – we agree, but maybe some lacquer might prevent it deteriorating further.
Of course, as we know, asking prices don’t always correlate with actual sale prices. The snappily named Total Headturners had a ’54 Corvette on their stand, a lovely looking car, but £80k? Really?! Over on the Silverstone Auctions stand there was only one American, a rather tasty-looking Emberglow Orange Mustang fastback that hammered for
£32k. Elsewhere there were plenty of American themed non-American vehicles to keep any red-blooded petrolhead entertained, from GT40s to Jensens and White steamcars. Next year things should be back to normal and we might even have a stand bursting with Car of the Year contenders – watch this space! ★