November 14, 2018

Celebrations and Restorations at the NEC Classic Motor Show

With setup complete, it was time for the biggest classic car show in the UK to return to Birmingham’s NEC from the 9th – 11th November 2018, with over 3,000 cars all being displayed over the weekend.


Setup ready and waiting, Footman James was eager for the show to start and even more excited to welcome two very special guests on the day to announce the launch of the brand new classic car TV show, The Car Years.

With numerous classic car shows already on our screens, you may think, what makes this so different? Well, The Car Years will be bringing nostalgia back into Britain’s homes as the show delves into the in-depth history of classic cars and their stories.

Fronted by two of the most charismatic people in the classic vehicle industry, British racing driver and presenter, Vicki Butler-Henderson and TV/Radio personality, Alex Riley, you will be racing to your sofas to see these two in action.

Friends for years, Vicki and Alex will have some friendly competition as they push their alliance aside and battle it out to impress three of The Car Year’s judges; TV presenter and motoring journalist, Quentin Willson, ex-Top Gear and current The Grand Tour script editor, Richard Porter and Managing Director of leading auction house Coys, Chris Routledge.

The Car Years provide the pair with a famous year in classic car history, they each choose their favourite car from that period and then they pitch their reasons why they think they are right to the judges. At the end of each episode, one will be crowned the winner of that year

On Friday 9th November, Footman James welcomed both Vicki and Alex on our stand ready for the 12:45 launch of the show. Once spotted, the crowds started to gather, with some lucky visitors even getting a couple of selfies with the famous pair.


The stand soon turned in to a cinematic experience as people took their seats and crowded the rest of the stand ready for Vicki and Alex to launch the first trailer of The Car Years.


Waiting for the show to begin, viewers were accompanied by two of the stars that will be seen in the episodes of The Car Years; one of which was the 1966 Porsche 911 that is seen in the trailer and in episode one.


The other classic car was a stunning example of an MGA, which will be another classic vehicle that will have its history revealed in a later episode of the show.


Jim Wiseman, founder of Wiser Films and TV producer of The Car Years, engaged the audience as it was time for Vicki and Alex’s Q&A session.

The pair spoke about how it’s not always about the fastest car or the coolest but the stories behind the cars that make them so special. This highlighted why enthusiasts have a passion and love for those classics that won’t necessarily win the Le Mans Championship or win the Concours d’ Elegance but are loved for their history and significance to their owner.

With all this in mind, with the countless hours of filming and the passion that has gone into the show already, Footman James is proud to sponsor The Car Years and cannot wait for it to hit our screens early next year!


Not only did Footman James launch The Car Years, but the NEC Classic Motor Show is also the perfect platform for clubs from all across the country to come together.

Earlier this year, Footman James and Practical Classics embarked on a UK wide adventure to find Britain’s Best Classic Destination, which saw the Lakeland Motor Museum take the crown; but 2019 will start a new era as we are on the hunt for Britain’s Best Classic Car Club.

Footman James works with over 150 classic vehicle clubs and thought that this would be the perfect idea to help give those clubs that work tirelessly behind the scenes their time in the spotlight. 

Nominations are already open, so if you have a classic car club that you think deserves recognition, then vote for them now before nominations close on 03/01/19!

You can find out more about the tour for Britain’s Best Classic Car Club and how you can nominate your chosen club here.


The wait is finally over, and we are pleased to announce the winner of the Footman James Classic American Car of the Year 2018 as the 1957 Dodge Custom Royal owned by Gary Saunders.


Footman James’ own Julia Attwood attended the presentation on Sunday 11th November to award the winner with the coveted prize.


The Footman James American Car of the Year is a series of heats that run throughout the year at classic American events, including events such as Prescott’s American Autumn Classic. This winning Dodge was Heat 4’s winner at the Classic American Stars and Stripes Show, which celebrated its 35th birthday this year.

The Classic American stand in Hall 5 looked immaculate and we thank all the owners and heat winners for their contribution as well as bringing their classic American car to the stand over the weekend. If we could give a prize to them all, we would!

If you would like to find out more about the other Classic American Car of the Year contenders, please click here.


Every year, club awards are handed out to those who go that extra mile at the NEC Classic Motor Show.

This year, the Bugatti Owner’s Club took the Car of the Show award for their stunning Type 57S – chassis 57482 Vanvooren Cabriolet.


The Bugatti Owner’s Club was a worthy winner as they displayed a wonderful line-up of Type 57 Bugattis. Other Bugattis on display included; an Atalante, Shah of Iran and a Bugatti Roadster.


Sunday 11th November 2018 marked the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. All fell silent at 11:00 to pay their respects to the fallen.

Some club stands even paid tribute to those who lost their lives in the First World War through their stand display; one of which was The Veteran Car Club of Great Britain, who adopted a ‘Coming Home’ theme.


Their stand made you time travel from the beginning of the war all the way to the end when soldiers returned home. The stand saw a selection of vehicles including a Rolls-Royce armoured car, made between 1914-1920 - one of only two survivors and a Wolseley whose owner was killed at the front in 1917. We also came across this beautiful Veteran 1914 Star.


When speaking to the gentlemen, he told us the beautiful story of the vehicle, which was built locally in Frederick Street, Wolverhampton, West Midlands.

The car was ordered from The Star Engineering company by Mr G. Wardall, who received the car in early 1914. Having had the car for just 4 months, the vehicle was taken by the Army who requisitioned the car for the First World War and used it as an army staff car.

The Star was painted khaki and was thought to have been taken to France during the war, where these vehicles were used as staff cars or, unfortunately, blown up in action. Luckily, at the end of 1918, the Army returned the veteran car safe and sound to Mr G. Wardall, still in its khaki colour rather than its original midnight blue.

Now the classic stands in all its glory, showcasing and representing The Veteran Car Club, with its current owner who has since painted the Star in vibrant red.


The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs went bigger and better at the Classic Motor Show this year, bringing along a Scout Carrier MK 1L with four guns which attracted some attention over the weekend.


With the identification number T5329, the Carrier was completed on 17th July 1939 and out of the 963 Scout Carriers made, this particular one is the only known survivor. Sent to Northern Africa for use by the British Army, it still sports a bullet hole sustained during enemy action – it then found its way to Australia in March 1943.

In 2006, a military vehicle collector came across the Scout, which was later sold to its current owner who undertook a detailed restoration, maintaining many of its original features, including the original civilian registration number RMY 683.


Not only is raising money for Prostate Cancer a great cause on its own but raising money in style just adds that extra bit of class.

In 2016, the E-type Club organised a ‘Round Britain Coastal Drive’, raising an astonishing £62,000 for Prostate Cancer UK.  This year the challenge returned as hundreds of Jaguar E-Types completed a circuit of mainland Britain, raising money for the charity. In total, the events have raised an outstanding £180,000 for Prostate Cancer UK, where the money will be invested in research to help stop men from dying of the disease.

One of the Jaguars that took part in the event was a Jaguar E-type owned by internationally renowned Jaguar author, motoring historian and founder of the E-type Club, Phillip Porter.


It was the 12th E-type to be built and the first to be involved in motorsport, raced with success in 1961 before it was sold. It eventually ended up in the hands of model Richard Essame, who landed a part in the classic car film, the Italian Job as Tony. Richard drove the car to Italy where the production team thought it would be ideal in the movie and therefore purchased the classic car from him. Since then, the Jaguar E-type had been restored in the early nineties and has featured in numerous magazine articles and even appeared on BBC’s Top Gear.


In Hall 1 the Motorsport Magazine stand lived up to the Classic Motor Show theme of ‘Built to Last’ with the oldest racing Bentley.


Focusing on Britain’s contribution to longevity, the stand displayed a 3 Litre 1921 Bentley which was developed as a recreation of one of the 1922 Tourist Trophy team cars which finished second, third and fourth on the Isle of Man to secure the team prize which gave Bentley’s factory team their first success.

This Bentley has been adapted to be an exact replica since none of the original cars survived. It even included the cars brakeless front axle and a rare Claudel-Hobson carburettor.


Porsche Club GB had a marvellous display of Porsches in honour of the 70th anniversary of the marque, including 20 restorations never seen before.

Porsche Club Great Britain’s first display featured special edition models that were created to celebrate the marques anniversary. Twenty special edition restorations were commissioned in conjunction with Porsche Centres and Porsche recommended repairers, including ten examples of the first-generation Boxster, each finished in ‘liquid metal’ silver paint, that up to now, has only been seen on the Porsche 918 Spyder.

Porsche’s second display was celebrating the success of the Restoracing championship that consisted of three rounds and six races at the Silverstone and Brands Hatch circuits, which also marked 20 years of the Porsche Boxster.


Each centre was challenged to restore a 986 Boxster S, prepare it to race specification and be finished in a livery inspired Porsche’s racing history. The cars were driven by a member of staff who had no previous racing experience. The 2018 competition was won by Porsche Centre Bolton and will be returning in 2019!


Some of us have never had the chance to travel across 25 countries on three continents, but this TVR Chimaera which was displayed on the TVR Car Club stand did just that and certainly lived up to the show’s theme of ‘built to last’.


The TVR drove from pub to pub starting at the most northern pub on the planet and finishing at the most south; all without any major issues.

Built in 1998, this TVR, also known as Kermit, went on a journey that tallied up a total of 27,000 miles, passing through such landscapes as Death Valley and the Arctic. Millions of people followed this classic car’s journey from start to finish, being picked up by Top Gear and the BBC.


Back with their beautiful display, Meguiars returned with their Club Showcase Final, which brings together some of the best from the UK’s classic car club scene.


Previous winners have included a 1953 Morris Mini, a 1963 Ferrari 250 GT and the first ever winner, a 1995 Jaguar XJ12 X300 Series.

The finalists this year were:

  • 1958 Chevrolet Impala
  • Crayford Capri
  • Mercedes-Benz 250SL Pagoda
  • 8L Special Capri
  • 1934 Ford Pick Up
  • E-Type Jaguar
  • Austin 135
  • Porsche 356
  • Austin Mini
  • BMW M3 E30
  • 1964 Type 1 Beetle
  • MG-F
  • Porsche 993
  • Triumph TR5
  • Mazda MX-5
  • Austin Allegro

Out on top was the shiny and glamorous 1964 Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle! Well done Lyndon Creamer who is the lucky owner of the classic car.



Across the three days, visitors could watch all the action take place over on the Live Stage, including an interview with Vicki Butler-Henderson and Alex Riley and the Practical Classics’ Live Restoration Project.

On Friday 9th November, Vicki and Alex went straight from our Footman James stand to be interviewed by Wheeler Dealer, Mike Brewer, promoting The Car Years. With the comedic value from Mike, Vicki and Alex, the audience was left chuckling away, with a big roar from the crowd for those looking forward to the show.


Not only this, across the three days the Practical Classics team were hard at work attempting to revive a 1951 Riley RMA, aiming to get the classic car up and running for the Sunday afternoon.


After being put into storage over ten years ago, the classic has recently seen the sunlight, all ready to go under restoration at the show.

Owner Ron Jones told the story of his classic and how his family has owned the 1951 RMA since 1972 after seeing its desperate cry for a new home. Ron’s late father bought the car as a potential father/son project, but unfortunately, he passed away before the project could get underway and it has since sat in a barn for the last 4 decades.

The hope was for the Riley to start for the first time on stage on Sunday afternoon and that Ron could drive it off stage in honour of his father. But like most restoration projects, things do not always go to plan the first time. Unfortunately, the Riley did not start on the day, but not all hope is lost, as we are sure that the team will help Ron fulfil his father’s dream of restoring ‘the life of Riley’.


Back for their 7th year, Silverstone Auctions displayed over 100 classic and modern cars for the crowds to enjoy.


On offer was Hollywood icon, Steve McQueen’s 1945 Willy’s Jeep, estimated at £80,000-£100,000 and seven cars from Jay Kay’s (lead singer of Jamiroquai) private collection, including a 2016 McLaren 675 LT, estimated at £230,000 - £280,000 and a 1996 BMW 850 CSI.

For those with a smaller budget, up for sale was a beautifully restored 1956 Land Rover Series 1, estimated at £15,000-£20,000 and a 1995 Jaguar XJA 4.0 ‘Celebration Edition’, which sold for £14,063.


The Gilbert-Michaelson Ltd boys were back with their Live Restoration theatre. With over 40 years’ experience, the team offered their best skills and advice to their audience who sat and watched their two-day show which talked through, lead loading, panel making and paint polishing.


Visitors had the opportunity to take a spin at the show in some of their favourite classics. Both Hero Events and Sporting Bears were on hand to offer their services.

Hero Events offered their ‘Arrive & Drive’, for those that have always dreamt of driving in one of their favourite classics. The Hero Event’s fleet of vehicles included; a 1968 Jaguar E Type Series 1.5 FHC 4200cc and a 1966 Triumph TR4A 2100cc, with prices starting from £32.

Whilst over in Hall 5, Sporting Bears were back with their ‘Dream Rides’ with the aim to raise as much money as possible. Last year the organisation raised £2 million, making donations to over 100 charities.


The Dream Ride is a ten-mile passenger ride for a donation to one of Sporting Bear’s associated charities, which include; James Rennie School, National Deaf Children’s Society, Dogs for Good, JPC Community Farm, Ty Gobaith (twinned with Hope House), Royal Marsden Children’s Cancer Unit and Fly2Help.  The donation made was solely dependent on the car chosen. For as little as £10, attendees had the chance to create a memory and ride in a classic car.


Yes, the Classic Motor Show is predominantly about classic cars, but Hall 5 was also home to the Classic Motorbike Show, where those who have a special love for two wheels rather than four can go and admire the range of bikes on display from club stands, including Footman James affiliated clubs; Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club, BSA Owners Club and BSA Bantam Club.



Visitors could have a rumble in the jumble at the Classic Motor Show as it housed the UK’s biggest Autojumble for parts, spares, products and memorabilia.


For those that were looking for that elusive deal, special provider, or extra tool could do so at the show. Every year the Classic Motor Show attracts a huge amount of UK and European companies/traders, with more than 650 trade stands for attendees to rummage through. Did you pick up that vital part?


Footman James has attended over 50 shows this year and have loved meeting each and every one of you. For us, the NEC Classic Motor Show was the last one of the year. But do not worry, we will be back with a bang for next year as we prepare for shows such as the London Classic Car Show, the NEC Restoration Show and Footman James’ new event Coffee & Chrome.

In the meantime, you can keep up to date with all the news and stories that are happening within the industry and at Footman James by signing up to our monthly newsletter. By doing so, you will have access to interesting information, discounts on selected shows, competitions and even have first sight of our Christmas Advent Calendar!

Stay tuned and we hope to see you soon!