“My Dad had one of them”… that may be true, but it may also be true to say “I had one of them” or “I’ve now got one” (at last)!
The classic car world is open to everyone, whether you’re fulfilling a desire to drive what your Dad ferried you about in many years ago, or it’s that car you had on your bedroom wall poster that, at a stretch, you can now afford to buy.
As we all know, buying it is one thing, keeping it on the road is another. That’s where the Practical Classics Restoration Show comes into its own.
Yes indeed, the annual Restoration Show at the NEC, Birmingham brings together all that we love about being a Petrolhead. Cars in various states of undress and duress. From piles of rust that look like a gust of wind would scatter them asunder, to the results of years of painstaking work by a man in a shed to bring something back from the dead and make it very alive.
It’s also anything but a static exhibition. There are clinics teaching new skills and solving old problems; there are entertaining stage shows bringing to life stories from all facets of the Petrolhead world; there are TV personalities from the trade wandering around and not being hassled too badly by eager fans; and there are people mending and building things. There are displays for Restorer of the Year, the Carole Nash ‘Barn Finds’ and of course, an auction. There’s also Sporting Bears doing their wonderful work with car rides for charity.
Add to that any number of trade stands, refreshment concessions, car clubs and memorabilia stalls and you have the recipe for a jolly good day(s) out.
We went along to the 2019 show to have a mooch about, with no intention of buying anything… but with every intention of being tempted to buy something!
Our first stop was bumping into Insp. Gene Hunt as he contemplated ‘firing up the Quattro’ (a cardboard cutout that took many a second look just to be sure).
We then bumped into Mike Brewer. He was between shifts on the stage, showing off a stunning Citroen SM and signing copies of his new publication ‘Mike Brewer’s Ultimate Guide to Supercars‘.
He’s (now) a fan of Petrolheads Welcome after regaling us his tale about buying a Bentley, finding an empty 7th floor in a shopping car park, returning later to find the only other parked car was a VW Golf alongside the Bentley which now sported a tell-tale dint in the adjacent door! That’s exactly the type of story we Petrolheads are all familiar with, all fearful of and hopefully reassured in avoiding thanks to the recommended venues we maintain on our website!
The show runs over 3 days in early spring (next year it will be 27th-29th March) and there’s something for everyone. Nearly 30,000 people visited across the 3 days, but it didn’t seem overly crowded to us and we had time for chats with stand hosts and not spending too long queuing for coffee or the loos.
We managed to limit our temptation this time to a couple of photographs, some spare windscreen wipers, an apparently indestructible charge lead for my phone and some cake (naturally).
Our meanderings resulted in the mix of photographs below. If you or your car is amongst that lot, please let us know. We’d love to credit you properly (click to enlarge).
See you in 2020!