Events : Report – British Cars & Lifestyle Show 2014

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Words and photography: Alexander Boucke

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Cars and Lifestyle in one show? For a show running well into its third decade it seems to be a winning combination. However, it is not the overload of Union Flags in every possible shape which make the show attractive – the large variety of UK metal on show makes it a great day out for the continental car fan used to a diet of sports and luxury cars seen on most typical events.

The show held in the exhibition centre ‘Autotron’ near the small town Rosmalen right in the centre of the Netherlands is a good season starter for the Dutch British car clubs. AROnline’s UK readers will probably find the combination of a British car show with British lifestyle a little bit amusing – in the end, they’re surrounded by such things, day in day out. Car shows dedicated to British cars only are not that rare, so what is this all about?

There are, of course, plenty of owners of classic British cars here in central Europe, the archetypical roadster and luxury cars of all ages are held in high regard. But why the lifestyle bit? From my own long experience in the classic car scene, also backed up from talking to others, it seems that the typical owner of a British classic – as well as a modern British car – tends to have an Anglophile touch, loves to travel across the channel, drive on the wrong side of the road and enjoy British lifestyle – at least what is perceived as such over here in continental Europe.

That said, this is mostly not ‘Cool Britannia’, but more like Jaguars of the old days: wood and leather, handcrafted ‘olde worlde’ charm. And while the cars are still mostly a male thing, the rest is very much a family affair – making this show a nice day out for everyone, and therefore, pretty unusual.

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The variety of British car clubs in the Netherlands is numerous, and close to the number found in the UK – on a smaller scale though, but covering all sorts of types and makes beyond sports cars from MG and Triumph. A walk along the club stands on the upper gallery reveals many exhibits you’ll hardly ever see on the large continental shows like the upcoming Techno-Classica. A Crayford Cortina convertible or a Dutch-bodied MG TD restoration project were among the highlights.

Among the more interesting exhibits was also a Lagonda chassis featuring an alloy Diesel engine. In the 1930s Gardner developed a new small Diesel engine and bought six new Lagondas as test bed and promotion vehicles. While not very powerful compared to the original petrol engines, it was very economical according to a 1935 road test. Later on, a development of the same Diesel engine was used in the Royal Navy’s mini submarines during WW2.

Gardner Diesel engine fitted to Lagonda chassis
Gardner Diesel engine fitted to Lagonda chassis

The small scale show will certainly not set any trends for car sales and prices, but the amount of cars on offer with ‘POA’ written on them does not indicate that they would be particularly cheap. Our favourites included a late Triumph GT6 MkIII in beautiful finish (€15,000), a one-owner 1991 Daimler Double Six with low mileage and really excellent, unrestored condition (€10,000) or an original 1969 Corniche Coupé that was shown on the 1970 Brussels International Car Show, before being sold to its first and only owner (€30,000).

Anyway, after grabbing the inevitable bag of fudge – something which is really difficult to find over here – we were back on our way home after an enjoyable day out.

Worth the visit for this alonw...
Worth the visit for this alone…

 

Gallery

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.

10 Comments

  1. Some great exhibits… the GT6 and MKIII Cortina convertible in particular. Never seen one of them. The Morris Mini reminds me of my first car (Austin Mini).

  2. That Gardner engined Lagonda is a quandary – wonder how it went? Alexander, give us a months warning next year on ARonline!

  3. @3 I wonder too!
    I can not quite remember what it was but I have seen either a lagaonda or a Bentley, at the Great Dorset steam fair. About 6 years ago, with a Gardner 6LW. Done sometime in the 1950’s when the original engine broke.

  4. I’ve been there for the umpteenth time and let’s say it’s a well-established show concept that hasn’t evolved much if at all over the years – never change a winning team and all.

    Lovely, but you have got to wonder whether it’s doing any good in bringing the under-50s to the British car scene – with all the wonderful stuff happening in the low volume sector in the 1990s and early noughties and people who were impressionable youngsters back then now in their 30s and 40s surely a missed opportunity?

  5. Agreed but there are more ‘British car clubs’ get-togethers.
    I do find that events like the British Autojumble at Waalwijk or the British Race Festival at Zandvoort attracts a wider variety of cars and a bigger attendance of youngsters.

  6. Indeed, the British Autojumble at Waalwijk (June 22?) is very good – a bit like the BL day in Peterborough for us continental people. I have not been to the event in Zandvoort though.

  7. The Autojumble take place on June 29. Around 1.500 cars are expected and no entry fee. The British Race Festival is set to be reborn on the weekend of September 28-29. Only monoposto and British historics from the ’50s to the ’80s but I expect organisers to improve on that. It used to be a great event with a demonstration laps from a Jaguar F1 to MG LMP2 car and a cavalcade of racing cars made its way through the town of Zandvoort. Not to be confued with Great British at the circuit of Zandvoort in May.

  8. A good friend of mine bought the other Lagonda LG45 with a Gardner engine some years ago . It was , to put it mildly, idiosyncratic but went quite well . However, he was able to find a Meadows engine so has now returned the car to normal specification , and sold the Gardner engine . Interestingly, the Gardner family had more than one Jaguar Mark IX which they put their engine in . Rather a shame really , as it destroyed the refinement

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