Wednesday 20 November 2013

Classic Car and Motorcycle Show, Birmingham NEC 2013

Having missed this show in previous years this was my first time at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show . The NEC shows are always packed with machines to see and this is no exception with all the halls full with Cars and Motorcycles alongside an auto jumble and various presentations throughout the weekend. As usual I spent my time sketching and chatting with people about their machines….

1933 Bugatti Type 51A Roadster

(ink sketch)

I couldn't miss the opportunity to sketch this rare Bugatti, it was shown at Goodwood earlier this year but who knows when it will be shown in this country again. The bodywork on this Roadster has proved to be a mystery, no one knows who built it, it is believed to have been fitted in Paris before WW2, but that's as far as that side of the story goes. The other side to this cars story is even more exciting. The original chassis this bodywork was built on was from a Grand Prix car fitted with a supercharged type 38 engine, and campaigned by Madame AnnCécile Itier. She competed for 5 seasons in more than 30 events with the car, one of the events being a race against a plane at the banked circuit at Monthlery, France. The original chassis and engine have now been removed from the roadster and rebuilt into the car as supplied to Madame Anne Cécile Itier.

1958 Fairthorpe Electron Minor MkI

(ink sketch)

This car caught my eye, not only with its interesting mouth shape but the small compact almost microcar look is always something that appeals to me. In the 50s a lot of small operations were building their own cars or providing kits for people to build their own in order to avoid purchase tax. Fairthorpe started out building microcars with motorcycle engines in the back, none of these survive today, or at least no one has found one yet. Fairthorpe then progressed to larger cars still using motorcycle engines and then onto cars like this Electron Minor. This particular car was built from by Frank Collins in kit form in late 1958 and was part of the Fairthorpe works team. The car runs a Standard 10 engine with twin SU Carbs. The car not only competed but took Frank and his wife to be all the way to Italy for their honeymoon. The car was sold on in '64 due to Franks expanding family and was not seen again for another 25 years. Franks son Martin had a chance encounter with the owner of the car at a kit car show in the late 80's. Martin bought the car back and completed the restoration in 2009. Frank passed away in September 2012 having taken his last ride in the car on a sunny afternoon 2 weeks earlier.
I'm always happy to see these small production cars and am grateful to the owners for keeping them going as without them the unusual history of these machines would be lost. 

For more information on these great little cars 

GPO BSA Bantam

(ink sketch)

Having a love of Bantams myself I stopped at the BSA Bantam Club stand for a chat. I was more than happy when I was asked to sketch this GPO Bantam that belongs to Dennis. He learned to ride on a GPO Bantam and is now on an eternal quest to find his trusty GPO Bantam ALC 167B. If you know the whereabouts of this machine please get in contact.

1960 Austin Healey Frog Eye Sprite

 (ink sketch)

Another sketch request for the weekend was this Frog Eye Sprite. This may look like a straight Frog Eye but it has been modified to be more usable on long journeys, having a 1275 engine instead of the usual 948 and a 5 speed gearbox and many other improvements.  This car was completed in the nick of time for the 4th Austin Healey European Meeting and was  driven over night with the hood down to the meeting. The owners had never entered a concours event before but they were encouraged by friends to enter, and to their surprise they won their class, 2nd in Peoples choice and Overall Winner  this being the first time in the Austin Healey European History that a Frogeye Sprite has won Overall Winner over the Big Healeys but this has been so well done it is well deserved.

1963 Jaguar E-Type 3.8 Series 1

 (ink sketch)

Another request from the weekend is this Series 1 restored by Performance Bodyshop. It's always a challenge to get the lines on this type of car correct, and I always enjoy the challenge.

More Photos….