Stoneleigh International Historic Motor Show
                                                  February 2006

After two shows there is inevitably a certain sense of ‘déjâ vu’ but I enjoyed it just as much and reckon it is a thoroughly good day out. Apart from the lack of black pudding in the pub, the day started well with the full cholesterol special and at Stoneleigh by the time the gates opened at 9.30.
As before, there is a great deal to see and endless people to talk to and catch up with, so I put in a full day on the Friday and then went back on Saturday morning when there is definitely a different type of tyre kicker and touring comedian as well as rather more of them. So Friday is definitely the day to go if possible.
As a lover of sculpture, I could stare open mouthed at ‘V16 Auto Union’ by Crosthwaite and Gardner (lent by Ecclestone) for far longer than I could at ‘Amorphous Blob’ by Henry Moore. Then there was a riveted 250F oil tank that a young man had taken 140 hours to make - another piece of sculpture which it seems such a shame to hide away in the tail and rarely see. Equally clever though was a chap who had stuffed 27 litres of Meteor engine into an SD1 Rover and then made up a fuel injection system as well as an engine management computer and run the whole thing on LPG. Now that really would appeal to the hooligans amongst you.
This year the auto jumble section was relatively warm and well worth browsing round. There were the usual assortment of entertaining snake oil salesmen doing their smoke and mirrors tricks to try and persuade you that three drops of their secret elixir would make your engine last forever and run on fresh air. But I was drawn back to the main halls to marvel at the totally brand new 8C Alfa engine for a mere £135,000, the beautiful GT40 replica made in South Africa that looked great value at £65,000 and a new company making most impressive all alloy ‘C’ type replicas for £46,000. However the show is not really about replicas but is a fascinating showcase for all the high tech companies that are able and willing to make the components that enable us to run and risk breaking valuable old cars.
If you haven’t been, put it in your diary for next year. After all nothing else happens in February and if you are at all interested in what makes your pride and joy tick, you couldn’t fail to find something interesting.


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