In theory it is spring outside and classic car owners all across central Europe prepare their cars for the upcoming season. The – seemingly – ever continuing winter weather may keep more cars than usual within their garages, but the early spring shows seem to be well attended nevertheless.
Since 1991 the British Cars & Lifestyle show in Rosmalen in the centre of the Netherlands is such a kick-off event to finally end hibernation.
Words and photography: Alexander Boucke
Friends of cool Britannia would probably question our continental view of British lifestyle when seeing the seamless extension of the traditional wood and leather style of the displayed cars into the lifestyle section of the show – this is definitely more Country living than Norman Foster.
But as a package it works well, creating a cosy atmosphere around the pub located in the centre of the single hall unknown to other car shows. According to the organizers this creates the most wife-friendly car show around… Well, blessed with a wife who is more than happy to come along onto any regular car show, we can’t comment. But given that this little show is run very successfully for more than 20 years, the recipe seems to be right. But we’re here for the cars, aren’t we?
If you expect hall after hall stockpiled with rows of classic cars as seen at the NEC in autumn or at the Techno-Classica in Essen in spring, you would be disappointed. And unless you want to see endless rows of MGBs and E-types this would also not work for an all British show on the continent. Being relatively small and featuring a wide variation of cars between clubs and dealers is certainly a strong point of the event, allowing the visitors to really digest what they are seeing.
The club displays really offered a wide variety from the exclusive Armstrong-Siddeley Hurricane and Jensen C-V8, more common but alway popular MG and Triumph sports cars to the humble, but equally exclusive Allegro 1100. The showing of an unrestored Austin A90 Atlantic certainly stood out.
The offerings of the car dealers were naturally a little more conservative, but also including a few gems. From the selection of Minis an Italian Innocenti Cooper 1300 and an Applejack Green Mini 1000 stood out, both in excellent condition trying to sway punters into spending money. From the more expensive cars the above pictured Lynx Eventer (above) caught my eye – one made from a late, facelifted XJ-S and LHD too.
A chat with the vendor revealed that this is indeed a rare beast: Only 67 facelifted Eventers have been made – and three of them with left hand drive. The price of the conversion may have played a significant part, being roughly the same as the brand new XJ-S V12 it was based on. Half way through the weekend this car was most likely sold already. Going by the number of sold notices on rather expensive cars, it seems the trend of strong sales of exclusive classics continues.
But in the end the show in Rosmalen is too small to conclude this.
As I managed to stay clear of the car model and brochure stalls, the largest expenditure when we left the building was – a large paper bag full of assorted fudge… That was impossible to ignore!
British Cars & Lifestyle is held at the Autotron near Rosmalen in March every year, see www.britishbest.nl for details.