Kim Henson refreshes his enthusiasm for old cars at the Footman James 16th Classic Vehicle Restoration Show, Shepton Mallet.
(All words by Kim, and all photos except that of Robert Webb’s Healey 3000).
Held at the Royal Bath and West Showground on the weekend of 5th and 6th November, this year’s Footman James 16th Classic Vehicle Restoration Show attracted enthusiasts from far and wide. Some came in search of a new project, others were seeking components to progress their own restorations, while some went along for inspiration in terms of looking at other vehicles and chatting with their owners. This event is always a good meeting place for friends of like mind too!
The organisers tell me that this was the best-ever-attended Footman James Classic Vehicle Restoration Show, with trader and visitor numbers significantly up on those of the 2015 event.
In addition to the commercial businesses displaying their classic car related wares, there were interesting exhibits from a variety of clubs, both single model and multi-make in their coverage. With members on hand to chat with, and with ‘live’ practical demonstrations of a variety of technical operations, there was something for everyone.
‘Best in Show’ award was won by Robert Webb’s 1965 Austin Healey 3000 Mark 3…
In the ‘classic’ car park outside – always a fascinating feature of this show, were vehicles ranging from an Austin Seven Chummy to performance models of the 1980s/90s. I counted no less than four Peugeot 205s here, for example. Many enthusiasts – especially younger ones – are enjoying cars of this era, often as an introduction to older classics. Of course, it is good to see interest in the preservation of older vehicles, whether they be 100 or 10 years old, and if the classic car movement is to survive and flourish in the future, of course it’s essential that youngsters are encouraged to become interested…
I always enjoy looking around the autojumble areas at this show, including the chilly but sunlit stalls outside, and those within the halls. Personally this year I invested mainly in polishes and cleaning materials for my own cars, but also found a lovely example of a grille badge for one of my classics, and a few other small ‘gems’ that came home with me.
I ventured into the auction hall, in which a wide variety of vehicles were lined up in readiness for the auction sale held on the Sunday of the Show.
Among the many vehicles here that attracted me were a rare 1959 Morris Marshal – a rare Australian version of the contemporary Austin Westminster (this sold for what seems to me a very reasonable £4,200), a unique 1946 Daimler ‘woody’ estate car (that attracted a hammer price of £10,000), a Chevette-based signwritten Bedford Chevanne, that looked to be in excellent condition (this one didn’t sell), and a lovely, original condition 1938 Morris Fourteen/Six Series III (sold for £7,500). Fortunately (as I already have enough classics with which to cope) I didn’t bid on any of the cars but it was great to see them anyway.