Events : The best cars at the 2017 Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, with Discovery…

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

The NEC once again plays host to the season-ending Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show – with 2500 cars hosted by more than 200 clubs, there’s something for everyone. However, as Alexander Boucke and Keith Adams report, it does come at a cost…

Let’s start by talking numbers. The tortuously-named Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, with Discovery is still the UK’s largest undercover classic car event by some margin. As well as the 2500-plus classic cars to look at, delivered by 240 classic car clubs, there are 650 specialist exhibitors and traders in an autojumble area that rivals some of the biggest open-air sales…

Is it a patch on the Techno-Classica Essen, which takes place in Germany every spring, and claims to be Europe’s largest indoor classic car event? For UK fans the answer is yes, if only in as much as it’s easier (and costs less) to get to. Essen dwarfs Birmingham in terms of scale, but for those who love the sort of cars that AROnline covers in detail, it’s true that the NEC is still the place to go to.

As always, the best cars take some finding, but the effort is worth it. The best cars from the NEC are in the galleries below, but we couldn’t help but highlight the remarkable Chrysler 180 which took pride of place on the Simca stand – a true survivor, and one we thoroughly approve of. Star of the show? Perhaps… There are many more like this to enjoy below.

NEC advantages and disadvantages

In 2017, there have been numerous improvements to the show. For one, the dismal 1970s-standard yellow/orange lighting in the halls has finally gone, meaning that you’re getting a much truer representation of the cars’ colours. It’s also so much brighter, which means you don’t emerge from the halls with a 1970s-style sense of doom and gloom. That makes all the difference.

‘The overall cost of attending the event is hugely expensive: £26.50 per adult, and £12.00 for a day’s parking. Food for thought…’

As for the show, we’ll leave the pictures to do the talking but, in true NEC style, there was a great selection of cars, and more importantly, some brilliant people with great stories behind them.

The halls seemed as crowded as ever (we’ll get attendance figures on Monday), the catering was as costly and unrewarding as ever, and – most importantly – the overall price of attending the event was hugely expensive: £26.50 per adult, and £12.00 for a day’s parking (unless you leave after 6.00pm when all the parking booths empty out).

If there’s a few of you going, that adds up to one expensive day out. Four mates, one car, and you’re looking at £116 before drinks, lunch and goodies at the autojumble. Food for thought, perhaps…


Keith Adams’ show highlights

Zagato-designed Lancia Beta Spyder
Opel Manta Berlinetta
Lancia Gamma Coupe
Lancia Gamma Coupe
Renault 16
Renault 16
Citroen SM
Citroen SM
Peugeot 405
Peugeot 405
Fiat Supermirafiori
Fiat Supermirafiori
Crayford Metropolitan
Crayford Metropolitan
Austin Maxi
Austin Maxi
Austin Allegro Equipe
Austin Allegro Equipe
Metro, by Austin
Metro, by Austin
Midas Bronze
Midas Bronze
Triumph TR7
Triumph TR7
Marcos
Marcos
Bristol 603 S2
Bristol 603 S2
De Tomaso Pantera
De Tomaso Pantera
Vauxhall Cavalier Mk3 with period road-testing equipment attached to the side of it
Vauxhall Cavalier Mk3 with period road-testing equipment attached to the side of it
Peugeot 106 Rallye
Peugeot 106 Rallye
Super-rare Volkswagen Scirocco Mk1 in original GLi form
Super-rare Volkswagen Scirocco Mk1 in original GLi form
DeLorean DMC-12
DeLorean DMC-12
Skoda Rapid
Skoda Rapid
Audi Coupe
Audi Coupe
Renault Alpine A610 V6
Renault Alpine A610 V6
Renault Avantime
Renault Avantime
Matra-Simca Bagheera
Matra-Simca Bagheera

Alexander Boucke

Based in Aachen, Germany, Alexander has had BMC>ARG cars around him since birth - in fact his earliest childhood memories are from buying a new Landcrab with his family at the age of two. The new cars have aged to classic cars and a few more have joined the family fleet - most of them by now proper classics and many with Hydrolastic or Hydragas suspension. Alexander joined the AROnline team back in 2002 when helping out to get some facts right on the Austin 3 Litre.

9 Comments

  1. Great write up and pics, Keith. I must admit I haven’t been for three years as it was starting to get a bit expensive, even when driving up from East Devon in a diesel MG ZR (air con off and travelling at 70mph max) and taking our own food.

    I do miss going and hope to return next year and finally get to enjoy the new lighting inside the halls.

  2. You didn’t get around to the numerous Rover stands then?

    The 200/400 Owners Club did very well with the official theme and had a Honda Concerto….

  3. An interesting collection of exhibits. I’m not sure I share the enthusiasm about the Chrysler 180 at the top; it’s a worthy historical item, but that is possibly the worst colour scheme for a car I’ve ever seen.

    And the Opel Manta brings back great memories. At various times in the 80s I had two of those and they were brilliant cars to drive; the thinking man’s Capri.

  4. Blimey – that Cavalier is the spitting image of my old one, and mine was a V6 as well.

    Great car and stonking performance in a straight line. I still remember the occasion when I found myself on a deserted…erm…..private test track that in no way resembled the M27…*cough* at 2am when I decided to see just how close to its allegedly 149mph top speed I could get – I chickened out at an indicated 140 and it was still accelerating! Unfortunately, due to the big V6 up front, the straight line performance tried to continue when you tried to go round a corner, which was a little disappointing. Mine also suffered a gearbox failure that left me only 1st, 2nd and 5th for a few weeks while I sourced a replacement – fortunately this wasn’t a problem with the V6!

    I always thought the Cavalier was a great car, and infinitely superior to the Vectra that replaced it. There’s currently a Cavalier Turbo on a well-known auction site that is completely original and un-Barried. If I had the £10k they’re asking for it, I’d be biting the dealer’s hand off…

  5. Great to see an Opel Manta on the list! For too long the Manta has taken a back seat to other rear wheel drive coupes of the 1970’s and 80’s and it is good to see them starting to get the attention they deserve. Having owned and driven various cars of this era over the years (Capri, Celica, Sirocco, 280Z etc), the Manta is one of the easiest to live with and gives a fantastic driving experience. Even the humble 100bhp Berlinetta Coupe puts a real smile of your face behind the wheel.

    Prices are starting to climb now as those of us that grew up with these cars are probably at a stage in life where we can afford to relive some 1980’s nostalgia. Buying a Manta is a good financial investment, with an excellent owners club to support you and some of the key parts being re-manufactured. Tuning a Manta is also an interesting prospect, with that huge engine bay to play with, there is virtually nothing you can’t fit under there…..there is even a Jag V12 powered conversion about somewhere! The standard motors are all easily tuned however, so something to fit all budgets.

    Prices of the Manta 400 have always been strong (one up for auction in December with estimate of £40 – £60K) but the standard road cars are also heading into 5 figures regularly now. I remember once buying a Manta for £550 but that wouldn’t buy you a decent interior nowadays, so if you want to join the ranks of Manta ownership, you better not hang about! The best place to find one?……OMOC website ofcourse!

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