Rain Cover
If there’s one thing you can guarantee with UK car shows, it’s that the weather will always be unpredictable.

The organisers of the Practical Classics Classic Car & Restoration Show (for the sake of sanity brevity, let’s call it the Classic & Resto Show from now on) know this only too well, which is why this particular event has been held firmly indoors from its inception.

There’s another reason for holding this three-day show under cover though – a lot of the cars on display aren’t exactly weather-proof…

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In fact, the presence of rust, dust and general disassembly is one of the big draws of this particular event, and why the number of barn-finds and restoration projects increases year on year.

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That doesn’t mean that the Classic & Resto Show excludes the shiny stuff. Far from it.

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There were some truly outstanding classics on display at the NEC Birmingham this year, and I’m not the only one who was stopped in their tracks by this outstanding Citroën SM.

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But there’s no denying that slightly down-at-heel examples made up the majority.
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There’s one aspect that separates this event from all the others, though – the organisers actively encourage the cars to be worked on over the course of the weekend. In response, many of the clubs attending bring along cars that haven’t seen the road for a good few years, and the aim is to get them back in one piece and up and running before the show ends on the Sunday evening.

We’re not talking complete restorations, but looking around some of the cars being worked on, it didn’t feel that far off.

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Some cars are still waiting their turn, though. This 1980 Audi quattro is believed to be the second oldest-surviving production example. Run by Audi UK when new, it was used in various road tests before eventually being bought by the late motoring journalist Chris Harvey, who notched up 100,000 hard miles in it.

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It’s been off the road for many years, but a long overdue restoration is on the cards.

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The same could be said of Steve Cato’s 1973 BMW E9 CSL. Crowned ‘Barn Find Of The Show,’ it’s crying out for a full rebuild.

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But we can’t help thinking how cool it would be to run around in it as is.
All Period Mods Welcome

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The Classic & Resto Show isn’t sniffy about modified classics either, and we almost tripped over Richard Woolmer’s speedster-style Mk2 Austin Healey-Sprite. With its tired paint, raked-back ‘screen, and sitting on the deck, show-goers absolutely loved it.

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The Sprite runs a hot 1,340cc BMC A-Series motor, Toyota gearbox and LSD, and as you can see, Richard’s not afraid to use it.

This pair of GM Mk2 Astra/Kadette GTEs looked like they’d transported direct from the 1980s.

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Along with this Manta GTE, complete with its obligatory C20XE conversion.

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Then there were the rarities. Fiat 127s were everywhere in the late ’80s, but now there are reckoned to be just three Sport versions left in the UK.

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And the Fiat 128SL? Don’t even think about trying to look for one…

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Ultimately though, the Classic & Resto Show is there to remind us that mucking about with older cars can be just as much fun as driving them.

Sometimes…

Simon Woolley
Instagram: fireproof_simon

Cutting Room Floor

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