Blog: Impressions of the NEC

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists


As always, the NEC International Classic Show was a treat for anyone with even a passing interest in old cars. The show experience always starts off a little on the negative side, thanks to the less than pleasant schlep up the M1/M6/M42, followed by a circumnavigation of the NEC ring road, before being herded into a car park miles away from the hall. There’s also the matter of the £14 entrance fee, topped off by another £6 for parking.

That’s the bad news out of the way, though, because after that, it was all positive. The organizers had managed to put on a cracking show, and this year, they had made great efforts to ensure that all the car club stands there were sited intelligently. The plethora of Vauxhall clubs were situated close to each other, as were the Rover related stands, as were the Fords, as were the Yanks.

So, for three days only, there was a corner of the NEC that was forever British.

The Rover Sport Register had a big stand (unlike last year), which it used to great effect, thanks to the addition of some of the most important cars in the company’s history, such as the P5, P6 and SD1. MG Rover offered its official support by supplying a Rover 75 V8, and its timewarp 2300 with 250 miles on the clock (pictured above), which was bought recently from an RSR member for something around £5000.

The reward was the PAOC’s, as Harris
Mann made a surprise appearance on
the stand on Friday afternoon…

Other clubs also made a big effort.

The P4 club supplied a fantastic replica of JET 1, and a Farina drophead P4 both owned by Canterbury based dentist George Hamill (along with 25 other Rovers). The Princess and Ambassador owners’ club also put on a great display, thanks to four mint Princesses, a couple of BBC Micros and a video screen. The brains behind this, Alex Sebbinger, should be applauded for his ingenuity, and John Capon and Kevin Davis should also be lauded for supplying their two stunning Wedges.

Still, the reward was theirs, as Harris Mann made a surprise appearance on the stand on Friday afternoon…

There were many, many other clubs in attendance, but these ones stood out in the BMC>Rover area of the NEC as being two of the most professionally presented. Of course, MG was well represented, but being as popular as it is, that is no surprise.

The thought struck me again though: why so many separate clubs? Wouldn’t one Rover club be the way forwards? P4, P5, P6, SD1 and the later cars in one happy, big, and most importantly – well financed club. The same could be said for BL’s efforts: I am sure that the Maxi, Marina, Allegro and Princess would all happily co-exist in the same club. Assuming, of course, individual egos could be massaged into submission.

I looked at the Citroen club’s stand wistfully: a DS, SM, GS, CX as well as many other examples of the breed sitting alongside each other. Could you imagine the same for the Rover P6, Jaguar XJ-S, Allegro, SD1 and others on a BMC>Rover stand?

Probably not, but it’s a nice thought…

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

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