The Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show occupied six halls of Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre


Maserati Mistral Spider

Maserati Mistral Spider

 

Birmingham, 08-10 November 2019

The 2019 edition of the show was its 35th anniversary, and equally so the same anniversary for the title sponsor Lancaster Insurance’s classic car insurance scheme, who had a pair of adjacent stands displaying a range of classic cars. One of which featured the twenty finalists in their Pride of Ownership competition, won by a 1961 Morris Minor 1,000,000 (the limited edition lilac colour only variant made to celebrate a million examples produced) , and the other provided show goers with the opportunity to enter a prize draw to win a Mazda MX-5. The show occupied six halls of Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre, essentially halls 1 to 5 around the central piazza, with hall 8 accessed through hall 4.


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On the Saturday there was also live action in hall 7, when there were RAC Rally of the Tests challenges. This was the 2019 edition of a classic car rally running some 750 miles between Torquay and Chester, with the show being the midway point, and some 70 competitors had to undertake a speed and agility test before continuing on their way. Further live action could be partaken in with the Arrive and Drive Classic Car Experience, where visitors could buy a drive in a classic sports car, including a Jaguar E-Type, around the NEC complex. There was also the Sporting Bears Motor Club, where further rides were available to buy in a variety of classic vehicles and supercars, with all proceeds going to a number of children’s charities. At the 2018 show alone they raised £30,000, and overall since their inception they have raised some £2.3 million, with members providing their time and vehicles free of charge, so that all proceeds go directly to the chosen charities.

Within the main show halls there were some 3000 vehicles ranging from motorcycles to microcars and heavy commercial vehicles like the ex-Aberdare Council mobile library van and a Centurion tank, the latter displayed crushing the rear of a MG F. The show is always a vivid reminder of long lost marques and models, through the some 300 one marque and model clubs in attendance, and their passion for preserving, restoring and maintaining some really obscure vehicles. All credit to them, as whatever one might think of a particular car, i.e. did they really build something that awful. It’s a good job that somebody loves them, as they are all part of our motoring heritage. Also, maybe without them and the income that they provided, some more desirable models may have never existed. One could cite examples like the wobbly British three-wheelers of the fifties like the AC Petite and Reliant Robin, which sold in droves at the time, whose makers also produced desirable sports cars. Possibly one of the rarest, at least in Europe, cars at the show was on the Historic Sports Car Club stand. This was a Bolwell Nagari, what is that I hear you say, no, I had never heard of it before either. It was a fairly short lived Australian effort to build a supercar, which is actually more attractive than its name might suggest. They were built between 1968 and 1974, featuring a Ford Australia V8 engine and 4 speed gearbox plus other parts, grafted into a central spine steel chassis, similar to that used on the Lotus Elan, and fitted with a fibreglass body. Apparently they were very successful race cars in Australia and equally potent road machines, with a reported 100 coupés and 18 spider versions being built in period. The lurid yellow example on display is one of only two examples in Europe, which are the only ones to have left Australia, where it is a desirable collector car.

Within the mass of car club displays, there were plenty of attractive stands, both with the pedestrian offerings and the high end sporting models.  There were more than twenty various Ford model club displays and at least eight different ones for the defunct Triumph brand, with the Triumph Sports Six one celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Triumph Herald, featuring a number of variants on display. The Bugatti Owners’ Club display featured an interesting selection of pre-war models, including a Type 50 saloon towing a trailer with a type 35B race car on it. The Maserati Club UK stand concentrated on open models from their heritage, including a splendid white Ghibli SS Spider. Nearby the Lamborghini Club UK display ranged from a Jota Replica to a new Aventador S LP740-4, with across the aisle there was an array of Pantera models and a Mangusta on the De Tomaso Drivers Club stand. The Ferrari Owners’ Club stand concentrated on the Challenge car series, with examples of all six variants to date, from a 348 Challenge to a 488 Challenge, all set out as a colourful starting grid, with alongside a Hublot liveried 812 Superfast “Safety Car” ready to spring into action.

The show also featured a Discovery Channel Live Stage, a Practical Classic Restoration Challenge and a Restoration Theatre. There was also the finale of the Meguiar’s Showcase, where show winners from various car clubs go head to head for the overall winner’s crystal trophy, with a diverse range of offerings, ranging from a wild Singer Sport Custom to the pristine Ferrari Owners’ Club concours winning F40, chassis # 90353, the trophy winner being a 1959 Morris Mini Minor. The Silverstone Auctions company held an auction spread over the Saturday and Sunday with a varied selection of vehicles on offer, including a Chevrolet Corvette C2 owned new by singer Sir Cliff Richard OBE then later by Lulu, and a Ferrari 456 GTA once owned by Bernie Ecclestone, although neither of these found buyers. Overall there was a strong sell-through rate, with a “barn find” Alfa Romeo Montreal in need of “just a little” TLC achieving £39,375, whilst the top sale was a matching numbers 1965 Aston Martin DB5, which sold for £618,750. There were also numerous trade car sales displays, and stands selling almost everything conceivable associated with the automobile, plus a large autojumble area. Actually, to do the show justice, more than one day was necessary to see everything.

Ferrari Owners’ Club Stand

Model

Colour

Chassis #

348 Challenge

White-Yellow-Blue

94483

355 Challenge

Red-White

105518

360 Challenge

Red

122575

430 Challenge

Black

147095

458 Challenge

Grey Met’

180903

488 Challenge

White-Lime Green

231970

812 Superfast “Safety Car”

Red-White

231970

Classic & Sportscar Stand

 

 

F40

Red

85651

Meguiar’s Club Showcase

 

 

F40

Red

90353



Silverstone Auctions

 

 

 

Model

Colour

Chassis #

Result

Dino 246 GT

Red

06368

£236,250

328 GTS

Red

76436

£66,000

328 GTS

Red

78760

£81,000

456 GTA*

Dark Green

105741

NS

F355 Spider

Red

106752

£60,000

550 Maranello

Red

112448

£101,250

575 M

Silver

130090

NS

F430 F1

Red

146621

£63,000

 

*Ex-Bernie Ecclestone

 

Keith Bluemel
11/2019