As our twitter followers will know, it was a toss up between Race Retro and the LCCS/HMI. [Note to Organisers: please talk to each other next year!]
With the London Excel centre just a few miles away, and having never attended the show before we opted for the LCCS, which this year also included entry to the Historic Motorsport International (HMI) show.
It took me 60 minutes or so, and a chat with an exhibitor, to realise that the hall that I was in was just the HMI part of the show. The LCCS was the other side of the concourse, and twice as big... And there was me wondering what all the fuss was about...
Historic Motorsport International
This side of the show was more aimed at the genuine enthusiasts, with the hall packed full not only of historic racing cars, but also owners clubs, weekend car clubs, and motorsport clubs for every level of competition and budget.
This part of the show also contained the theatre where experts gave talks and Q&A on various topics. Most of these were hosted on the Thursday and Friday, but amongst the few on Saturday was Quentin Wilson, who was waxing lyrical (or should that be oiling lyrical) about the virtues of modern day classic car ownership.
According to Quentin, the days of classic car ownership being a bottomless money pit are more or less behind us, owing in part to the recent surge in mainstream interest in classic cars, which has brought about the buoyant market that we currently enjoy. True, but as many classic car owners will attest to, that money pit has got no shallower...
Amongst the various top end, motorsport organisations (the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association, Masters Historic Racing to name but two) the Classic Sports Car Club really stood out as a fantastic, accessible entry level club for the everyman. The club race at all of the top circuits in the UK, and I was surprised to learn that they generally hire the entire circuit exclusively at race weekends.
With 9 categories to chose from, there is something to suit all tastes and budgets. Which is very dangerous when you started off having no budget at all, but now you come to mention it...
Membership starts from £39, and race weekend entry from £295. With track days costing similar, this provides exceptional value for money, plus you'll get the camaraderie in the paddock that you won't get at a track day, or even at a high level motorsport event.
The London Classic Car Show
After enjoying the Motorsport / Club side of the show in the HMI Hall, I ventured over to the Main Event - the London Classic Car Show. The impressive hall boasted a Road Arena right down the middle, with jumps for the rally cars. The rest of the hall hosted a plethora of high end sales companies, restorers, and some automobilia stalls for those wishing to kit themselves out with vintage petrol pumps, clothing and (my personal favourite), car related wall art.
This side of the show seemed to cater for two types of people - "weekend" enthusiasts who want to see hypercars in the flesh (Prindiville had a Porsche 918, Ferrari La Ferrari, and McLaren P1 all side-by-side), and those who had the money to buy such hypercars (Celeb Watch: Anthony Hamilton spotted, enjoying some VIP treatment behind the red ropes away from the punters).
With the phrase "don't touch what you can't afford" in mind, I beat a hasty retreat to the HMI hall to chat to other like-minded enthusiasts (read "anorak"), wander around the Beaulieu Autojumble, and watch some Historic Racing footage from the "Scarf and Goggle" pop-up pub from the Silverstone Classic.
One of the Car Clubs that I discovered was Waterloo Classics. Having lived a mile down the road from Waterloo for the last 4 years, I've never come across their monthly Sunday meet near Waterloo Station. However, I'll be sure to pop along whenever possible
All are welcome, and parking is made available by arrangement between the Club and the Council. What better way to enjoy central London, just a stone's throw from the London Eye, Southbank (weekly Sunday food market - with which I'm very familiar), the aquarium, and of course Westminster?!
Very much looking forward to next year, assuming it doesn't clash with Race Retro again...