Story and photos by Simon Wright
The National Exhibition Centre just outside Birmingham, England hosted the 2009 Classic Motor Show. This three day show was a big success with the public, with Friday having a record crowd, and Saturday morning the queues were so long, they opened the show early.
With around 1000 cars and bikes on display in five halls and a sixth hall containing the MPH/Top Gear Live show, the enthusiasts were spoilt for choice. The show stands are mainly run by various car clubs, and they all try to put on the best display within the space they are allocated. A particular favourite of mine was the AC Cobra stand, where they had built a replica pit garage from the 1960’s as a background for the cars on display.
On display was a replica of the 1902 Easter Egg, a steam car record holder which took part in the first motor sport event in Britain in 1902 at Bexhill on Sea. Driven by Frenchman Leon Serpolett, the car was powered by an oil fired 4 cylinder steam engine, developing 106BHP at 1220 rpm and capable of 57.6mph.
Morgan car club were celebrating the Morgan centenary this year, and had an excellent display showing Morgan cars from the last 100 years. One that caught the eye was a rather unusual 1963 Morgan Plus 4 Plus. The design was very different to normal Morgan’s, with the fibre glass body being a cross between a Jaguar XK150 front and a Lotus Elite rear. Only 26 were manufactured before fire destroyed the moulds.
The Maserati Owners club had a superb display of GT cars, including a very fine 1977 Maserati Khamsin, a two door two plus two coupe which could reach 171mph powered by a 4.9 litre V8 engine. Next door on the Ferrari Owners club display they also had a fine collection of historic Ferrari sports cars. The star of their display was a new Ferrari Enzo which drew lots of admiring glances from the crowds around the display. A modern Grand Prix car for the road, this car continues the Ferrari tradition of power with style.
There were all kinds of Jaguars on display on different stands, but two of the most interesting were a Jaguar XJ220 supercar and one of the works TWR Jaguar XJS racing saloons, which took part in the European Touring Car Championship in 1982.
The Bristol Owners club had a special display of rare Bristol cars including a one off model, the Bullet, which was a test vehicle used by the factory for various development work. Another rare model was the Bristol Zagato, built between 1960 and 1961, with just seven being produced. Its 2.2 litre Bristol 406 engine developed 130BHP.
Finally, Citroen had allowed the 2CVGB club to display three rare prototypes, the most striking being the 1956 C10 “Coccinelle” (Beetle) which had a vary space age future look to it. It was powered by a flat twin engine and had hydro pneumatic suspension. It also has partial gull wing doors, but never made it to production.
The MPH hall contained much newer high performance and racing cars and there was a separate motor action display/show Top Gear Live to entertain the fans. Citroen again wowing the fans in this hall by showing its Citroen GT concept car as well as its World Rally Championship Citroen C4.
This year’s show was bigger than last year, and plans are already underway for the 2010 show.
2009 Classic Motor Show Photo Gallery
[Source: Simon Wright]