Despite a still-recessionary economic climate, the annual International Racing Car Show in Birmingham, UK, celebrated it’s 20th Anniversary in a positive mood. The heady days of lavish opulence have hit hard times everywhere, and while it has to be said that the show is but a shadow of its former self, there were many buoyant moments in this landmark year, including Mr. Motor Racing, aka Sir Stirling Moss, cutting the ribbon to declare the event open.
The show embodies all forms of racing, rallying, and motor-related events, with static displays and live action providing something for every petrol head to enjoy. For the historic fan, the HSCC stand was littered with a number of Formula 5000 cars that ignited the memories of some and the imaginations of others too young to remember. Accompanying the cars were many of the drivers of the day who were deep in nostalgic conversation, breaking only for a group photo.
Classic Team Lotus was saying goodbye to their 1952 Lotus Mk4, built by Colin Chapman as a trials car for Mike Lawson, the car has recently been acquired by the Barber Museum in Alabama and will be on show for a wider audience to enjoy. Show organizers Autosport celebrated its 60 years with a memorable F1 car from each decade, everything from a Maserati 250F to the 2009 Brawn F1.
Coys, resident auctioneers at the show, while disappointed with a 44-percent sale rate, still amassed more than £1million in revenue. The hammer fell at £306,200 for the star buy, a 1959 Ferrari 250 Pininfarina Coupe that had been converted into an authentic-looking 250GT California Long-Wheelbase Spyder by Giovanni Gordenengo, in 1995.
The event as a whole generated a positive aura, as for the spectators it was the green light at the start of another season, while for drivers young and old it was a chance catch up on gossip and stir the adrenalin, and for those involved in the business of the sport it was perhaps an indication they’d weathered the latest economic storm. Time will tell.