Events : NEC Classic Motor Show 2011 gallery

Keith Adams

Austin miniMetro was a NEC star in 2011, just as it was in 1980...
Austin miniMetro was a NEC star in 2011, just as it was in 1980...

Birmingham’s NEC once again managed to gather an impressive collection of classics and not-so-classic old cars for its annual Classic Motor Show – the largest event of its type in the UK. The queues were long, the parking delayed, and the burgers overpriced, but the cars we all went to look at were more than worth the effort – and once again the cars and clubs were grouped relationally; so the Rovers were near the Austins, and the Vauxhalls, the Opels. Just as it should be.

Enjoy the gallery – we’ll have a full report tomorrow evening, but for now guess what the AROnline car of the show was – it’s pictured in the gallery!


Keith Adams


  1. I’m guessing the Lancia Gamma, but if its a ‘BL’ car then the soft top Wolseley Hornet. Nice to see an Arna too.

  2. Brilliant day….stars for me:

    Marina 1.8 tc coupe
    Vauxhall Victor Estates FD & FE
    1971 Ford Galaxie wagon – 6.7 & 3 speed auto! 8mpg?

  3. Great to see these photos, reminds me of some cars I had forgotten about.

    My favourites – Cavalier GL saloon, MK1 Astra Celebrity, Chrysler Alpine, Volvo P1800 and the two-tone facelift R75. Cant wait to read the full report

  4. I’m going to guess the gold Chevette! But it could be the early MK1 Cavalier, or indeed the Strada. But then again, seeing as there are more pics of the Arna in the gallery than owt else…

  5. I have to confess I initially was not amused at the way it had been shoved into smaller halls 7,8,9 this year to allow TG Live to have Halls 1,2,3 but it genuinely seemed to work, by shaking things up and moving the exhibits round meant that you may have seen something you’d never spotted before!

    Putting the cars into relational groups really did work- maybe someone’s been to Geneva!

    Sorry I missed you Keith, had hoped to see how you were getting sans plaster cast by the looks of these photos you managed to get about ok!

  6. I love the basic models most of all – maybe the ones I could relate to more those years ago when the budget was more limited. My three favourites are the Chevette, the yellow Metro and the wicked red Skoda…..

  7. Looked a good show Keith, shame i couldn’t make it this year.
    I’m guessing the star of the show for you is either one of the SD1’s or the very rare Alpha Romeo Arna!
    Also great to see a Chrysler Alpine in one piece.
    Looking forward to the full report.

  8. I have not seen an Alpine in years. I ran a 1978 model for a few weeks in 1986/7…it was a shed.

    Amused to see a 75 at the show and an Excel in the backgroud of the Esprit turbo shot. Both of my current cars represented then!

    I really liked the A35 Police van personally

    Good to see an Arna in one peice and the Fiat Strada too. I very nearly bought a 105TC many years ago and a Strada was the last car I travelled in as a single man

  9. There were some weapons grade automunters there. Alfa Arna Ti? Keith I bet you went all wobbly when you saw that!

  10. Why, oh why, out of all of those cars, is it the Yugo 45 that most captures my imagination? Could it be that I have a hopeless attraction to the unloved cars of this world or am I just strange?

  11. Good to see all these old cars. The ARNA looks in amazing condition. My bet is that Keith liked the Mk 1 Cavalier and the ARNA.

    Many of the pics are suffering a bit from the lighting in the halls giving a yellow-ish coloured apperance to the cars. Wouldn’t it be better to deal with this by shooting in raw format and then setting the white balance manually ?

  12. Flicking through the pictures I began to hear a phrase my old man used to use a lot when we hustled along to the NEC for the show a few years ago….”Used to see those everywhere just not long ago….”
    Strange how the passage of time seems miniscule when you look at some of those cars and remember that they were on your shopping list for a first car! And now that period of time was 20+ years ago!
    Loads of mates used to run Mk1 Cavs – still a looker IMHO, tired old Metros and clattery old Alpines.
    Seeing the Yugos is a reminder that they used to be two a penny near where I grew up thanks to a very successful dealership.

  13. Damn! I wish I’d gone now (I live not far from Brum) – must go next year, if only to see that gorgeous metallic blue SD1 3500SE on gold wheels…….I’m guessing that the Arna was the star car? And how about that other Italian car – “when the crowd says Bo (Uno) Selecta!”

  14. what a lovely trip down memory lane! i used to love my mk1 cavaliers and astras,a real shame you dont see many lancias around i always had a soft spot for them and regret not owning one!

  15. I would have checked the settings on the cam before snapping. Even my basic digicam has a setting for artificial light to compensate for the horrid yellow indoor lighting

  16. I’ll make a note of this and hope I can visit next year! looking forward to reading the report! the Arna and alpine sound amazing, I’m amazed there are any left! were there any Talbot Horizon’s there? the stands I’d have been making a B-line for would be Ford Siera, and the Austin Metro which I have a huge soft spot for! Both are still grate looking cars!

  17. I went yesterday (Saturday) in an official capacity. Despite taking three and a half hours to get there from Exeter (the A46 was chock-a-block as usual), it was well worth the effort and seems to have a similar atmosphere as when the Motor Show itself was held at the NEC during the 1980s.

    I loved the efforts by thebrm forum to interprete the ‘Keeping it in the Family’ theme and the special fiftieth anniversary celebration of the Volvo P1800.

    Sadly, the Saab Owners Club looked their usual aloof selves (I seem to find this every year I visit them), the Cerise coloured polo shorts worn by members of the Gay Classic Car Club gave me a headache (although the club officials and cars were very nice) and there was a rather large chap who seemed to spend five minutes or more leaning into that yellow Austin Metro (I honestly worried for its suspension and door hinges!). The number of trade stands was also down on last year.

    But it was a great show to attend and I like the way they put all the Rover Cars clubs and Land Rover clubs together this year. Definitely worth making the effort just to submerge myself into the joys of the Viking longship badge and green oval.

    @ Angus Huntley:

    No, there were no Talbot Horizons there, although there were two Chrysler Alpines and a few Sunbeam Lotuses.

  18. How did I miss that Uno? 🙁

    Think I was most impressed with the orange GT6.. That motor was absolutely mint, like it hadn’t seen a road in its life… And as far as I could see, the only one at the show, and only 1 or 2 Spitfires… Loads and loads and loads of TR5 & 6’s dotted around though..

    A very nice Mercedes 420 SEC, white with blue veluor.

    Loved the group of Porsche 924’s.

  19. @ Andrew Elphick:

    “What the hell are crappy old 75′s doing at a classic show?”

    Probably as with older Rovers such as the P4, P5 and SD1, giving visitors to the show, such as myself, plenty to see and enjoy and the desire to own an example of one today.

  20. Good heavens-a surviving Alpine! I had one for a very short time in the late 1980s–absolute shed, from the spark pugs blowing out of the head to the antiroll bar falling off and everything else in between. The worst car I ever had!
    Just wish I could have gone to see it for myself!

  21. whats wrong with rover 75’s? to quote victor cayham of remington fame the chinese thought it so good,they bought the company!

  22. There were a few OC’s with cars that are readily viewable in the car park. 75’s, MX5’s, Rover 200/400, Jaguar’s… And did anyone spot the big stand for the guy selling his paintings at £4k a pop? Hilarious! Mind you, several cars were sold at the show, and I did see a chap parting with £72,500 for an old Jaguar. I hope all the cars bought there drive as well as they look.

    But yes, the lighting is shockingly poor, which suggests that the organisers want stand holders to pay for the electricity for extra lighting on each stand. And, as you can imagine, it’s not cheap and costs almost as much as a years electric for an average household, and the same goes for the cheap carpet they can supply. Everything about the NEC is KERCHING for the organisers.

    But I did notice there were few families there; it was mostly couples or mates as I think it cost almost £60 for a family of four to get in. Staggering.

  23. Talking of 75’s at the show… I trust you all noticed the red ZT-T, with the factory modified grill and late reg plate that’s been on this site a couple of times?

  24. @ Kev:

    I think you have raised an interesting comment that further reinforces my earlier point about the event having the same atmosphere as the 1980’s British Motor Shows!

    As you say, to have ‘optional extras’ such as power points and even overhead signs, costs traders and car clubs even more, with stand space alone not being cheap. The poor lighting caused many of us who used to attend the British Motor Show on Press Day a real headache when it came to photographs. That together with the poor accoustics in the halls has never improved (and probably never will).

    The artist selling his paintings for “£4K a pop” is the internationally respected Paul Smith.

    @ Bobby Love:

    Yes, I definitely stopped to look at the 08 registered MG ZT-T, although it was the duotone Rover 75 and earlier example in Dorchester Red that floated my boat. Lovely cars, as were the 200/400s, early Range Rover Velar and even an R107 generation 1989 Mercedes Benz 500SL that had covered just 900 miles from new. I am already looking forward to next year’s event.

  25. First car I stopped at: The Alpine in yellow.

    I am clearly a very sick individual.

    Then the Hornet (that’s what I hope the 114 Cabriolet will be in the future), and then…

    The Arna! WOW! I haven’t seen one of those in years!

  26. “Wouldn’t it be better to deal with this by shooting in raw format and then setting the white balance manually ?”

    Nah, if they’re raw, then you can tweak the white balance anytime. If they’re JPEG, then a manual WB should have been taken on a white surface under the subject conditions, but who bothers to do that these days.

    Nice to see raw used uncapitalised. It drives me nuts seeing it used as RAW as if it were a TLA.

  27. The thing about this show for me was that the two cars I really liked there (the Saab 900T16S and Alfasud) are both two cars I own. And I am now feeling inspired to make my two tired examples good again.

  28. Well i certainly know my place 🙁 I was with my mint MK1 VW Scirocco storm right opposite those yougo’s
    No pictures of my car! ;(

  29. Keith: You should take advantage of the Rover’s possible winter hiding place and get the ‘sud into your garage! Then you can have TWO Alfas to choose from, which I think counts for something in car-enthusiast circles.

  30. You youngsters ought to broaden your interests a bit more. There wasn’t a single ‘running-board’ car in that gallery Keith! So you missed the gorgeous 1938 Rover 16 Drophead on the Rover Sports Register stand…

  31. I haven’t seen such well-kept Stradas in ages now.
    Oh – and that Arna! Looks like it came out from the factory yesterday.
    A truly loving and caring owner – even more so considering we’re talking about one of the most ugly and unloved cars of all time! Kudos to him/her.
    I also have got a soft spot for Zastavas (still saw many of them during my Croatian holidays a few years ago)

    And finally…
    Nothing can beat a good Rover SD1.
    Always caught my eye since when I was a child.
    One of the things I want to do in my life is driving a proper British car like that –
    oh, and I’d like it RHD, of course. 😉

  32. hi all, the yellow metro (and pic of my rear lol) is mine, i had a fantastic time at the nec in birmingham, loved every minuite of it.

    the metroowners club have been not just great suport, but great friends and the club which i have been in for 3 years and loved, is growing fast, just like the love for the metro 🙂

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