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Autosport Show is a great way to start the year. It’s a good opportunity to discover new race series to attend over the course of the year, discover new brands and see new builds!
The show consists of two trade days on the Thursday and Friday then two public days on the Saturday and Sunday. For the first time I had the opportunity to go on a trade day. In some ways it was nice to go on the trade day. It was a little less crowded which is great for me personally as I get a bit overwhelmed on the public days when the show gets super busy! It was also a good opportunity for me to network with some different brands and catch up with some people new and old. Some of the car clubs weren’t at the show until the weekend, which is understandable, so next time I might try to cover the show in two parts. Do my networky bit on a trade day then cover the actual show on a public day. We shall see! There’s still plenty of material for the blog though!
One thing that is always nice to see at Autosport is the amount of British brands who are still out there setting the standard in automotive development. I know that people often say that the British car industry isn’t what it was yet we still have a few tricks up our sleeve! For instance Jaguar used the show to reveal their new Formula-E car and electric F-Pace. Worldwide, companies are embracing electric technology and are using motorsport as a means of developing motor and battery technology for new road vehicles.
Bentley were also present showing off their new GT3 Continental. I’ll be honest, I think this is the best looking factory race car to come from a manufacturer in years! The aero package really suits the Continental shell!
TVR were also at the show and had brought along a new Griffith road car in a throw back chameleon paint. Who remembers the old TVRs in the chameleon scheme?
Noble who are another awesome British brand I haven’t heard much from recently had also brought along a couple of cars!
There were a lot of road car oriented companies and displays actually. For instance, Liberty Walk were there who create custom show cars. They take super cars and modify them with wide arches that are filled out by massive wheels and tyres, the cars are then lowered with air ride. The look has been around for a few years now but still turns heads.
The Liberty Walk car that I was really drawn to though was this Lamborghini Aventador with fighter jet inspired graphics.
Love this air intake reference. Straight off of an F35!
Other super cars were dotted about too! There were a couple of modified R35 GTRs. A popular road and track car! The Litchfield packages as fitted to both of these cars are worth checking out if you have a GTR you would like to get some more power from.
A company called Urban Automotive and their new sub brand Nero Designs had also brought along a couple of modified Land Rovers and Lamborghinis. I’ve never heard of Urban before but their website Urban Automotive showcases a lot of cool stuff!
There were a few other super cars on show as well!
The beauty of this kind of car is you can drive to the track in comfort, run the car round for a day and then drive it home. No need to worry about tow vehicles, reliability issues or skinned knuckles in the evening putting it together. It’s just there and ready to play!
They are expensive to buy. More than I could ever afford! However, BOTB gives you the opportunity to win the super car of your dreams! All you have to do is go onto their website and play their super simple game for a chance to win a car or cash prize! What’s not to love?!
The place for me for road cars at this show though has to be the COYS Auction. Every time I go to Autosport I have to have a look at what they have brought to sell as they always bring out a spectacular line up of cars and this year was no exception.
Of course, I’ll start with Mercedes and first off we have a very unusual U.S market R107 560SL. To comply with U.S regulation at the time these had to be fitted with the big rubber bumpers and the third stop light on the boot. If memory serves the engine compression was changed to meet emissions which somewhat strangled performance. It’s a super unusual car though and a good collectors piece.
This car was also fitted with an optional drivers airbag which seems to be quite a rare option in European cars. Certainly I’ve never seen another R107 with an airbag.
There was also a more traditional UK market 500SL
Without airbag haha!
The W126 platform has always appealed to me. I will have to own one at some point in my life.
This one had a lovely blue on blue cloth interior. The cars were unlocked so people could open them and sit in them and I could have done but it just felt wrong and a bit disrespectful haha! I have no means of buying any of these cars so I have no right to open them. All the interior shots I got were through open windows.
In the world of slightly more modern Mercedes we have the CLK DTM AMG which is just an animal! One of only 100 coupes this car produces 582hp from a 5.4 litre V8 mated to a 5 speed paddle shift gear box. This one is black looked super aggressive compared to the silver that these normally come in.
The centre piece of the COYS display was this Ferrari F40 LM which was a competition bred variant of the F40 road car.
The car that really caught my eye though was this 1959 MG Milano. It’s a J2/TC chassis and running gear but with a Milano style body. It was built by a chap called Bruce Leer to race in Australia. Really interesting car!
Other personal highlights include this Ferrari FF.
As much as I like Ferraris, 90% of them I don’t think I would own. I think they’re a bit too showy for me. The FF is a bit more of a sensible Ferrari. It’s still V12, semi auto, 4WD and has the big brakes etc so you can have fun with it but it has four seats and a boot for practicality. It’s good for road trips or, dare I even say it, a daily driver!
It’s a pleasant place to be inside as well. Lot of leather and buttons to press!
Porsche’s 944 is a great car! This one was immaculate and was obviously priced as such (although still less than a new Fiesta) but peasants like me can still pick these up as project cars. The red with the black wheels and interior works really well.
There were some more practical classics as well. This Fiat 600 and SAAB would make for awesome second cars!
For the connoisseur of American metal we have a beautifully prepared Mustang Mach 1…
Along with a Ford GT40 replica. I know these aren’t genuine and that will put off some people but I think they are cool!
The final car I want to show you from the COYS Auction is this MG TC. If you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ll know that I love this era MG!
The MG Owners Club themselves had a little stand showcasing some of the Brand’s more modern race cars such as the MG3
And some classic race cars such as this Metro:
They gave me loads of information about an event at Brands Hatch on the 28th/29th April where there will be loads of MGs racing! I’m 100% going!
Being the everyman’s sports car there are normally lots of MGs at events like this. They were few and far between here though! Although not a purists car this heavily modified MGB was cool!
There were plenty of other classic cars scattered about the show. There were a few historic touring cars which were nice to see including this Alfa Romeo:
Along with this Rover SD1. I think as road cars these are nice! Big comfy cruisers! They look mean as race cars too!
There were actually a lot of modern BTCC cars scattered about the show:
There were even a couple of DTM cars! DTM is the German touring car championship. The cars are much more powerful than in BTCC. This BMW and Mercedes looked really aggressive!
If we are talking about aggressive aero though then we should head over to the Time Attack stand! Have a look at this Evo!
The Cosworth sitting next to it is rather tasty too!
Time Attack isn’t really something I’ve covered on this blog before but it’s pretty extreme! The cars have to be based on a production vehicle but with unlimited modification which produces some insane 1000hp plus builds with wild aerodynamics and chassis modification built with the sole purpose of setting the fastest lap time! It’s something I might have to go and watch this year!
When it comes to extreme builds though nothing really tops pro drifting. The British Drift Championship had a small stand in the hall with a couple of cars. A V8 AE86 and SR20 S14a:
Kirsty Widdrington’s S13 Syril was there too! Syril is a much loved character in the BDC and was looking smart!
Can we also take a moment to appreciate how cool painted wiper arms are? Why is this not a thing?
Essex’s Steve ‘Baggsy’ Biagioni brought out his turbo charged LSX powered R35 GTR drift car. The R35 platform never really used to do it for me as a drift platform as they are expensive shells and a tonne needs to be done to them to make them work as a drift car. Plus, in my eyes, it’s nice to keep the drifting field based on cars that came from factory in FR configuration. Now I’ve seen one close up and in detail though it sort of makes sense. The engine bay is massive so lots can be fitted in there. The standard track is also much wider than a BMW or other S/R platform Nissan which means you can run a wider tyre, even wider once you add the over fenders such as this car. A wide tyre is a must have when running 1200(ish) hp!
Check out the size of this turbo! That inlet is a good four inches wide!
Danni Murphy’s BMW also made an appearance. Her S14 was sadly lost in a fire last year and she has been rushing to get another car completed for this year. I know it’s not quite done yet but the fact that she has managed to get it this far in such a short period of time is incredible! It was really nice to catch up with her too. She is a great character in the drifting community!
The E92 is a bit modern but the 3 Series is a massively popular platform for drifting, it would seem that 3 Series’ are also a really popular platform in circuit racing too! There were plenty of cars in various guises from various clubs around the show!
Toyota MR2s and Mk1 Mx5s still make for fun, affordable track cars. Many are old enough so that if you wanted to keep your track car street legal you won’t have to worry about airbag lights and things when putting different seats and steering wheels in them.
I really like some off the club level open wheel cars. Formula Vee looks a lot of fun but this Formula 1000 car also looks interesting. These racing series always produce close and even racing.
Of course we can’t talk about open wheel without going to the World’s premier series Formula One. As per usual they had a great display of cars. I always find standing by a Formula 1 car is a bit of a ‘pinch yourself’ moment. No matter how many times I see one in person they always seem special.
Away from regular circuit racing we have some drag cars. Again, drag racing is something I’ve only really skimmed the surface of on this blog and is most certainly something I want to explore further in the coming years.
It was nice to catch up with Scott Hauser of Hauser Race Cars. He brought along his multiple championship winning car!
There were a few drag cars based off of production vehicles too.
The Chevy Bel Air was lovely!
Of course there’s nothing that goes faster in a straight line than the Bloodhound SSC. The UK based project aiming to take the land speed record. Always a pleasure to see this car although I’m sure the last time I saw it I thought it was bigger? Chances are I’ve grown rather than it’s shrunk haha!
Another nice feature of Autosport is that the colleges and universities come out to show off their Formula Student cars and other projects to help en-roll new students. I didn’t take many photos of the student projects for some reason but I did get a snap of the Ardingly College solar powered car. MPG builds are really fascinating to me haha! I might have to have a go one of these days!
The last thing I’d really like to talk about is the “Influencer’s Corner”. It’s going to sound strange but it was a nice reminder of what could be. I know people like Shmee and Queen B are much much much bigger than myself but I forget that the view numbers do actually correspond to people reading. 1000 people for instance now isn’t a particularly good week for stats but that’s still 1000 people reading something I’ve written, 1000 people who hopefully I’ve made smile. I need to get back on track with the mental health awareness stuff as I’ve been sooo car oriented over the past couple of months and seeing these guys at such a big event has kind of reminded me that social media can be used for the power of good.
Anyway, here are a few shots of the influencer’s cars:
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Author: Richard Francis