This year the Autosport Show at the NEC in Birmingham clashed with the new London Classic Car Show.  Apparently some very favourable trade prices lured to London many of those from the classic car industry who had previously attended the Autosport Show.  Certainly the Autosport Show this year seemed very much more focused on modern cars. In addition the historic racing fraternity were noticeable by their absence. Maybe they intend to focus their efforts on the Retrosport Show next month?

Despite such absences the Autosport Show was still a great day out, particularly as I was lucky enough to be able to attend on one of the less busy trade days. Highlights are below.

2015/01/img_7900.jpg

Noble showed two of their striking M600 super cars. Great pace and handling but the M600’s £200k price tag makes it more expensive than its more prestigious rivals.

2015/01/img_7899.jpg

Gorgeous paint scheme shows off the carbon fibre bodywork of an M600 at its best.

2015/01/img_7902.jpg

Works BTCC MG Metro Turbo from 1984. Great cars and real giant killers, I nearly bought one 7 years ago. I didn’t as at the time there was nothing you could do with one. Now there are several race series in which they can participate and I expect they have more than tripled in value.

2015/01/img_7901.jpg

The new Lamborghini Huracan is less flamboyant than Lambos of old but still has aggressive super car looks.

2015/01/img_7903.jpg

There was a section for track and road icons at the ‘Show which included one of the earliest Ferrari supercars, created to sell to collectors rather than for motorsport, the F40.

2015/01/img_7904.jpg

When introduced in 1987 the F40’s 471hp and 0 – 60 time of c 4seconds were stunning. As was its price tag – equivalent to c£700k now. Of course a £50k Lotus Exige is now faster to 60 and with 510hp my £65k Jaguar XKR is more powerful. Compensation for a current F40 owner is the fact that if they chose to sell their car now they could pocket well over £2m – despite the F40 being relatively common with over 1300 being built.

2015/01/img_7906.jpg

One of the highlights of the show is always the reveals and announcements made by racing teams. This year was no exception. Last year’s BTCC driver’s championship winning team, West Surrey Racing, announced a new lead driver in Andy Priaulx. Priaulx is a former British Hillclimb Champion, three time World Touring Car Champion and one time European Touring Car Champion. His best showing in two seasons in the BTCC was 5th so he will have something to prove.

2015/01/img_7908.jpg

Priaulx and WSR owner / manager Dick Bennetts revealed the new 2015 BMW 125 they will use next season, resplendent in the livery of the team’s new sponsor, IHG Rewards Club. Whilst a privateer team WSR receive much support from BMW.

2015/01/img_7909.jpg

Ariel revealed their new Nomad off road vehicle. Capable of 0 -60 in only 3.4 seconds and weighing only 670KG it promises to be a riot. On sale this coming summer it is expected to cost in the region of £30k.

2015/01/img_7911.jpg

A notable feature of the show is the annual display of the previous year’s F1 cars. Here is a close up of the nose of Lotus’ last car. Most teams have the same ugly “prong” nose, only Lotus have “prongs” of different length. Presumably there are sound engineering reasons for the asymmetry – not that it did them much good last season..

2015/01/img_7916.jpg

As a boy I loved the Ford Escort RS2000 – the car of choice for Bodie and Doyle in TV crime fighting series “The Professionals”. This immaculate example reminds us that the RS2000 was not just a pretty face but was, like its famous predecessors, a great rally tool as well.

2015/01/img_7919.jpg

A new feature this year was the opportunity to take passenger rides in a Ginetta G40 around a tight indoor course.

Advertisements