The NEC Classic is a special thing. Nowhere else will you see over 3000 cars, under one roof, bridging the entire automotive spectrum, from a pre-war era Austin-7 to an eighth generation right hand drive Chevy Corvette from this year. A broad church, in fact cathedral wouldn’t cut it. More like an automotive territory, with British Leyland flags, perhaps with Mike Brewers face emblazoned.
Where else would you see Sinclair C5s or a trio of Twingos.
The NEC Classic’s attraction poses fundamental issues. With so much to see and so many visitors (a shade over 70 thousand across the gates in 2023) you regularly question yourself. I’ve been here before, but I didn’t see these cars last time. Things like this Mk3 Escort estate, totally unique in its mid-80s obscurity come 2020s concours.
Many of the cars were for sale at the show, prices, as you would expect, were mostly eye-watering for the classic enthusiast, and on that note, there are two main attractions to the NEC Classic. One, the live stand featuring the likes of Wheeler Dealers’ Mike Brewer and YouTuber Alex Kersten always has a enthusiast interest.
The other, is the artist formerly known as Silverstone Auctions, now Iconic Auctioneers. If you vaguely remember a rare Ford RS selling under the hammer for stratospheric numbers, around November time each year, then its more than likely the outcome of this auction.
2023 was no exception, this dry stored RS200 Evolution (below), with only 12 miles on the clock finished at an eye watering £486,000.
Wandering the Iconic Auctioneers compound at the NEC Classic, we thought this Integrale Evo 2 was a much more impressive item, if it looks glossy in the photo below I can assure you in the tin, it was astounding.
Elsewhere there are hundreds of car clubs for marques modern and bygone. This BMW M1 styled E24 6 Series, shows anything goes. Wide arches, white walls and the beating heart from a V10 E60 M5.
Another personal favourite is the completely new, homage to old (Lotus) Radford Type 62-2, in legendary JPS black and gold coachwork. Having followed Jenson Button and Ant Anstead’s journey to bring this to fruition, it was like many things at the NEC Classic, a joy to see it in person.
I could go on, and I do in our short Sold as Seen Podcast on the show, but suffice to say if you decide to make the trip over to Birmingham next year, you’ll likely come back with similar stories, and a phone full of photos.
It’s such an easy event to get to from Belfast as well, with flights currently from the International with EasyJet or the George Best City with Aer Lingus. Accommodation in Birmingham is plentiful if you book early enough, and we generally go for the full weekend as the show deserves two full days, then you don’t feel the need to rush it.
Tickets for 2023 started at £43.50 for an adult or £72 for two days. For more information see https://www.necclassicmotorshow.com