35 years ago, back in November 1984, the NEC hosted the inaugural Classic Motor Show. And my, over the years, hasn’t it grown. In 2019 the show is covering a pretty enormous six halls at the NEC, and caters for pretty much every automotive taste with an array of classics stretching from the Austin Maestro to Ferrari F40 and covering more or less all points in between.
The show itself is centred around stands by the many classic car clubs the UK has to offer, each representing their chosen marque or theme and all of which, pretty much without exception go to great lengths to represent their enthusiasm and genuine love of their cars and help make the show as good as it really is.
Away from the many excellent and varied car club stands are many other attractions; Silverstone Auctions with a sale of some fantastic cars achieved some pretty fantastic prices – a genuinely stunning BMW 325i selling for £52,000 raised an eyebrow or two although was perhaps justified given its condition. Elsewhere numerous classic car dealers offered their wares and seemed to be doing a decent trade with many classics, modern classics and projects finding new homes. A superb Mk2 Golf GTi tempted us although a 2009, 1500 miles from new Hyundai i10 was one we were able to resist (though perhaps we might regret that in another twenty years?).
Elsewhere, in the Classic Trader Village (and that’s where you could find us) offered all that the automotive enthusiast could probably need, and quite a lot that they really didn’t need but would probably really, really like (a life size Bibendum, oil drums converted into chairs and classic petrol pumps converted into all manner of things from coffee machines to display cabinets all fit into this category for me). If that wasn’t enough the Restoration Theatre offered the chance to learn new skills, the Discovery Live stage had interviews with many from the classic car world and the Meguiar’s Showcase displayed the best of the best cars from the UK scene. If that isn’t enough then the Autojumble area allows the opportunity to get some shiny new (or old) car parts, books, accessories or brochures – though sadly for us Mk1 Renault Twingo things were predictably unobtainable.
One of the highlights of the show for us though is getting to meet so many people, new and old customers plus friends and colleagues that a show like this draws in as well as being able to meet so many of the people in person who make car twitter such a fantastic thing. It’s genuinely one of the best bits for us and to everyone who came to see us – thank you! The show has a great atmosphere and is genuinely a pleasure to attend, even if the pressure of a big and busy show means I actually don’t get to see that much of it.
So, its a great show so on that basis we’ll be back next year then? Well, actually, no. Probably not anyway. Its not a reflection on the show itself which as I may have mentioned, we love. But you’ll have read about how difficult retail business is at present with the current tumultuous political and financial times we live in, we have to make sure the show is financially viable for us. Like most other retailers (and our competition at the show had the same experience), the retail market is, and continues to be, challenging. So whilst we haven’t made any definitive decisions yet we’ll probably give the show a rest for 2020 with a view to returning bigger and better in 2021.