The N.E.C Classic Car Show 2005

N.E.C (Just one of those days) Friday 14th November. Got up early, full of anticipation for the coming day Had breakfast, listened on the radio to the mayhem and carnage taking place on the roads so had another cup of tea. Left home at 08.45, had an uneventful drive up the M11, A14 and on to the M6 towards Birmingham. (Question; Do lorry drivers have special lessons to obscure road signs that you need?). Cruising at a steady lick down the middle lane I spy the M42 to the NEC disappearing off to my left: **** (roughly translated “O dear I’ve missed my turning”) so I decide to take the 10 mile pretty route up to the next junction and back.
Arriving (frustrated) at the NEC I am ushered into a car park with the rest of the heard where I ring Roger Burn to ask him to meet me on the gate with my exhibitors pass. Getting out of my car I’m carried off on the wave of several coach loads of people towards the exhibition centre and despite all efforts can’t see the car park number that I am in (“O well I’ll be able to find my way back easy enough!”). Eventually I find the entrance where Roger is waiting. Our stand is right next to the entrance which catches everyone’s attention on their way in with Ray Bridges immaculate convertible DeVille, having been reupholstered and sporting a gleaming new paint job, this was flanked by Jim Dempster's Lima fresh from having won Best Lima & Best Engine Bay at our recent Grand Gathering at Banbury and the 2.8 Kallista in similar colours owned by James Willis from Wiltshire. Well done to everyone involved in setting up the stand, it was up to its normal high standard. A new addition to the show this year was an indoor arena complete with a spectacle of a Subaru doing doughnuts, that is driving around in continuous circles with the back of the car breaking away and the wheels spinning, filling the hall with smoke and smell of burning rubber and the noise was deafening. All very entertaining for the spectators but a bit wearing for the exhibitors nearby, us included (I think I must be getting old!). In the afternoon armed with a pocket full of money and a shopping list in my grubby little hand I left Roger holding the fort to go and buy some goodie’s! What did I get? nothing, zilch, zero. On my way back feeling a bit dejected I bumped into Ben Hogan who had a tale of woe that made my problems pale to insignificance. Before leaving home he decided to move his Bentley Mulsane to give his wife some parking space and in the process caught the car on the electronic gate sensor! Now he has a gouged out Bentley, a buggered up sensor and a gate that don’t shut, (not a good start to the day!).
While it was quiet I decided to take some photo’s. After taking one picture the battery went flat in the camera, the replacement batteries turned out to be equally flat, so endeth the photographic session. The rest of the afternoon was spent back on the stand answering all of the usual questions; How much are they? What’s under the bonnet? Are they kit cars? but on the plus side we did get one new member sign up. Come 5.30 we covered up the cars and made our way back to the car park, Roger gave me a parking pass but said that he would need it back after I got out for those manning the stand over the weekend. Problem!!! I couldn’t find my car! Rather sheepishly I went back to Roger explaining the situation and the fact that I didn’t even know the car park number! so it was decided that the solution was to drive around the car parks to look for it (there are loads of them!). After exhausting all of the carparks on our side of the NEC it was decided to look on the other side (we subsequently found that was where the coaches parked). Zooming in and out of the carparks I was getting totally disorientated and my feelings if being a total Pratt for losing my car was changing to “has it been stolen?”. Pointing out a carpark that I didn’t think that we had been in, Roger said that it was the inner sanctum but running out of options it was worth a try. On explaining our situation to the man on the gate he seemed doubtful but said that we were welcome to go in and have a look. Driving into the deserted carpark there in the middle was my car all on its own, the relief was overwhelming. The drive home was dare I say uneventful. My eternal thanks to Roger Burn for all his help (and patients) as I would probably still be walking round the NEC carparks to this very day.
Our thanks to the stars of the show 'the cars'
DeVille Convertible - Burgundy/Cream - Ray Bridges,
Kallista 2.8 - Burgundy/Cream - James Willis,
Lima Mk2 - Burgundy/Silver - James Dempster.

All in all it was just one of those days

Mick Laplain