|Pressure of work meant that we did not run a review of the|
Historic Motorsport Show from last year.....well as a preview to the
2006 edition here we go............next weekend, 24-26 February,
venue Stoneleigh Park, Coventry.........go if you can as it is one of
the best shows out there.........John Elwin had this to say about
John Brooks, February 2006
|Back to the Future……….|
Top of the Tree
The International Historic Motorsport Show has quickly established itself as the leading event of its
kind – and probably the best motorsport show of all in the UK – despite only being in its second
year. The inaugural event at the Stoneleigh showground last February was a resounding success
and the organisers were able to draw considerably more exhibitors and visitors alike, despite
enduring some bitterly cold weather for the second year running. So cold in fact, that some of the
autojumblers complained about their freezing location – but subsequently withdrew their
complaints when they realised how much business they were doing!
Cold it might have been on the outside but the atmosphere was decidedly warm inside, as the
historic motorsport scene continues to give off a healthy glow of success. It’s interesting to see just
how big an industry has now grown up to serve the interests of historic racers; it’s no longer the
preserve of a few people tucked away in lock-up garages. The event attracted some big names too
with the likes of John Surtees, Derek Bell, Mike Costin and Keith Duckworth performing the official
opening each day. There were interviews too with the likes Timo Makinen and Paul Easter, whilst
other celebrities ranging from Paddy Hopkirk to David Richards were spotted roaming the aisles.
It should not be forgotten of course that Mr Richards has his roots in rallying and that section of the
sport plays a major part of the show, with one hall full of evocative ex-works Minis, Healeys, Escorts,
Lancia Stratos and the like, whilst others demonstrated their prowess on the live rally stage outside
(with real snow!). Audi quattros were as big a draw as ever, this being its 25th anniversary. For the
more adventurous, Stoneleigh was also a starting point for the Winter Challenge, some 60 or so
hardy competitors departing on Sunday morning for Monte Carlo. Wonder how far the Austin Healey
being worked on under my hotel window on Saturday night got?
The French…….they’re different you know…….
Racing old formula one cars is now big business, particularly for machinery from the DFV-powered
era, but a real rarity was to be found on the Grand Prix Masters stand – a Matra MS120, complete
with Matra V12. Not many of those out of captivity. Something that perhaps would have been best left
at home was the Vanwall GPR V12 newly unveiled at the show, this being a road-going
interpretation of the fabulous fifties Grand Prix car, albeit sporting a Jaguar V12 engine and
mudguards resembling tyre tread. Not one for the purists! There were genuine F1 to be found
elsewhere, such as on the Classic Team Lotus stand, where Clive Chapman and his men have no
need to make dubious recreations to keep the name alive – they have the real thing! Elsewhere,
Rod Jolley brought back the now-completed Lister Monzanopolis he wowed us all with last year.
Sportscars abounded, ranging from a beautifully rebuilt Chevron B1 to the glorious Tour de France
Matra sharing stand space with the aforementioned Grand Prix car. There was a real beauty on the
Motor Racing Legends stand though – the very first Ferrari 750 Monza, dating from 1955 and with a
history including the Mille Miglia and Tour of Sicily. It was there to promote the one-hour, two-driver
race for Le Mans cars dating from 1935-55 that will take place on Saturday morning, 18 June, prior
to the start of the 24-Hours. Expect to see an evocative field full of pre-war Alfas, Bugattis and
Delahayes, together with later Jaguars, Astons and Panhards etc.
A major sporting milestone will be passed this year when the VSCC celebrates the 100th
anniversary of hillclimbing at Shelsley Walsh in August and they drew to attention to this with an
excellent display that a included a six-wheel Maserati.
The many trade stands provided the opportunity to buy everything from a Jaguar XK-SS chassis to a
painting of your car, as well as the usual books, models etc. Meanwhile Martin Hadwen’s Motor
Racing Archive is becoming well established and he received a steady flow of enquiries from
people anxious to trace the competition history of their old racecars and the like. Yet more proof that
the historic scene continues to grow.
Make a date for the last weekend in February in 2006. You will not be disappointed!
John Elwin, March 2005