International Historic Motorsport Show 2004

The inaugural International Historic Motorsport Show at Stoneleigh Showground was considered a success by its exhibitors, and on Friday’s Press and Industry day many of the country’s leading competitors, journalists and preparation companies could be seen busily discussing competition plans for 2004.

Total attendance over all three days (Friday/Saturday/Sunday 20-22 February) was 16,247 - a good enough figure for organisers Heritage Motorsport Services Ltd to announce that the event is to be repeated in on 25-27 February 2005. The idea behind the show was to put together under one roof race and rally event organisers, competitors (existing and potential), support services such as car preparation, the media, and essential suppliers such as racing tyres, overalls and helmets. In addition to this there were many stands of books and automobilia. Set, as it was, in an agricultural showground, there was plenty of space to see the live Rally Stages, held on Saturday and Sunday; events that were attended by 2,500 people.

Whatever your preferred genre of Historic Motorsport there were stands aplenty. Sales and preparation experts Ecurie Bertelli and Legends Racing for example were exhibiting, as was Tim Samways with one of the stable of private client’s cars he maintains; in this case a glorious Ferrari P3. Jim Stokes Workshops had the most fantastic Lancia-Ferrari on display and nearby, Aubrey Finburgh’s Hertfordshire company, Classic Autos, was showing all manner of intricately fabricated aluminium panelwork - Jaguar’s C-type of course being a speciality. Dunlop, Avon and Hoosier were able to supply race and rally tyres down the ages while Julian Mazjub’s Blockley Tyre Company picked up the ‘Motorsport Company of the Year’ award on Saturday night's gala dinner.

‘Pioneers of Motorsport’ was the theme of a central stand that featured six cars representing six clubs of core importance to British historic motorsport. Exhibits included the aluminium-finished 1949 Steyr Allard from the Midland Automobile Club and a 2000 season Ferrari F1 car from the VSCC, the organisers of the ‘See Red’ Ferrari Festival at Donington this September. A rare Type 59 Bugatti GP car was on display, courtesy of the Bugatti Owners Club. The Aston Martin Owners Club, organisers of many successful series over the years, had the 1959 Le Mans-winning DBR1 paired with an Ulster on their big stand, also in the central area.

Many race-series and events-organisers were using the show to launch new initiatives, one of which was Motor Racing Legends, on whose stand was displayed the 1930 Speed Six Le Mans Car No. 3 – one of only four Bentley Team cars to survive in remarkably original order. The Bentley was there to demonstrate the type of cars running in the new Motor Racing Legends European series for pre-War sports cars - an article on which has already appeared on Classic Driver. “Interest in our new pre-War series has been overwhelming,” says organiser Duncan Wiltshire, “to the point that we can foresee the series growing into a major international event.” Also at Stoneleigh was Group C/GTP Racing (complete with Porsche 962) who, with Motor Racing Legends, will be running the support race at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours for Group C cars; amongst their many other events.

‘Gentleman Drivers’ were catered for Historic Motor Racing News eponymous series of invitation races for Pre-1966 GT cars, and Pre-1963 Sports and Sports Prototype cars. In a mini endurance format, the series are for two drivers per car for amateur enthusiasts wanting to enjoy their motor-racing. Present on the stand was an ex-Le Mans, lightweight Ferrari 250GT SWB representing the GT cars and a Brabham BT8 the sports-prototypes. On the adjacent Rayon d’Action (organisers of French racing events like Pau, Angouleme and Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or) display was an ex-Autodelta Alfa Romeo T33 - three very exciting cars from two companies representing European historic motor-racing at its highest level.

On Saturday afternoon, Cheshire-based auction house H&H Classic Auctions sold £1.1 million of cars and automobilia - 70 percent of all cars finding new owners. For full details see the separate auction review on Classic Driver.

All in all a successful weekend - and one that will, no doubt, be repeated ‘bigger and better’ in 2005.

Text/Photos - Classic Driver