Autosport International Show
Plus ca Change
Although there was little in the way of anything dramatically new on view, there was
much to fascinate the sportscar aficionado at the annual Autosport International
Show held at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre. Of the manufacturers, TVR
took the wraps off yet another variation on their traditional theme – the Sagaris –
whilst Porsche gave the Carrera GT its UK debut. Meanwhile Farboud showed yet
another incarnation of their supercar. This time the car is production-ready having
effectively been downsized. It is now Audi-powered rather than having its own
bespoke engine and as aimed at the market vacated by the Lotus Esprit
(interestingly the car is built only a few miles from Lotus’ Norfolk factory).
Elsewhere, smaller manufactures such as Noble were displaying their wares
together with some brave newcomers, most notably Deronda. The Buckingham-
built F400 DNA is aimed squarely at the trackday market but is road-legal. The
steel tube-chassised car is another to feature Audi power, the 1.8-litre turbo this
time, whilst the bodywork incorporates a Ferrari 156-style sharknose and
removable wheelarches. The car on show was the only one built but Deronda is
hopeful if being able to run a one-make series in ’05.
Real Ferraris were to dominate the Show however, with even the regular F1
display being overshadowed by the spectacular Galleria Ferrari, where a
permanent awestruck queue shuffled its way past the delectable machines. There
was everything from a 250 GTO to an Enzo with the sports racing element
represented by a 512S and the latest 575 customer racecar.
Elsewhere, Prodrive gave prominence on their stand to a 550 Maranello,
apparently being overflown by a BAR F1. That must have been a slightly unnerving
sight for Jensen Button as he performed the Show official opening on the adjacent
Sportscars of an older generation were to be found a-plenty too. The 750 Motor
Club had a truly wide-ranging selection on their stand, from a Lotus 7 to a Porsche
917. They can be truly proud of their heritage, for it was from their ranks that the
likes of Colin Chapman and Eric Broadley set off on their illustrious careers. The
club meanwhile is just as strong and vibrant today as ever it was. Old rally cars
were to be found alongside their more modern brethren too, with a Rothmans-
liveried Porsche and ex-works Triumph TR7 to be seen.
There was more to be found amongst some of the trade stands too, for K&N
Filters had Don Law’s Castrol-liveried Group C Jaguar on display whilst gearbox
manufacturers, Quaife, were showing their somewhat troublesome 4WD GT car.
Meanwhile Coventry Prototype Panels were showing a body-in-white Spyker C8.
There was some interesting machinery on offer in the Coys auction, such as a
Corvette Stingray, Lotus Elite or the unusual Warwick GT, if you fancied taking
home more than just a tee-shirt but that’s a slippery slope……!