Think big, think NEC Classic Motor Show 2016

Last week-end, we were in Birmingham, for the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, aka NEC Classic Motor Show. It definitely is the biggest indoor motoring event in the UK. Let’s have a tour.


For this 33rd outing, the NEC Classic Motor Show 2016 offered 1,000,000 square feet of cars, professionals and clubs. Despite such a space, it was hard to move. It was completely crowded for 3 days! But it was really worth it, it was pure delight for the classic car enthusiasts.

The biggest classic motoring club event in Europe

252 car clubs were exhibiting along with 21 motorbike clubs. Even Techno Classica Essen can’t compete. Among them, you could find a club for almost any British manufacturer, but there also were clubs dedicated to more “exotic” cars like the small German manufacturer Bitter, for example.

A huge autojumble

With 650 exhibitors and traders, the NEC Classic Motor Show 2016 is UK’s biggest indoor autojumble. It’s impossible for anyone to say they couldn’t find what they want, unless you missed the stall you needed. And with such a vast place, it could easily happen.

An incredible amount of cars for sale at the NEC Classic Motor Show 2016

There was also a huge area dedicated to classic cars for sale by dealers. In the middle of it, the Silverstone Auctions sale was probably the most impressive with no less than 120 cars waiting for bidders!

A celebrity meeting

The NEC Classic Motor Show 2016 was the place to be for a lot of TV hosts. Mike Brewer, Edd China, Fuzz Townshend, Jesse McClure or even Ant Antstead were there, and spent a lot of time on stage, while Tim Shaw was just visiting on Saturday. Sir Stirling Moss was also present for an interview, for our delight.

Dreams rides

The Sporting Bears offered dream rides during those three days. With a donation (its price depending on the car you wanted), you could enjoy a 10-mile ride in the passenger seat of beautiful cars. This club makes people dream come true for a few minutes, raising funds for children’s charities across the UK. From a tiny Nissan Figaro to the astonishing Pagani Huayra, people could enjoy memorable sensations!

Alas, it is now over, we can’t wait to get there next year!

You can find all our picture in our flickr gallery.

Photo Credits: Classic Car News, Poppyseed Media

Posted by Pierre in Non classé, Past events, 0 comments

A French GT, with an Italian Heart, back from the US : a Citroën SM 3L

Once upon a time, a french manufacturer named Citroën used to build… GTs. Even if nowadays it seems inconceivable, it’s true! With a pinch of Italy, they made the Citroën SM. And they also tried to sell it across the Atlantic! The car I tested was one of these US-compliant cars. Let’s ride!

Quick story of the Citroën SM

Since the end of Facel-Vega, there was no more GTs in France in the end of the 60’s. Citroën, used to build high standard cars, the DS was a good example. Comfort was ensured by the “unique” (RR fans won’t approve this statement) hydropneumatic system.
But concerning the engine, there was nothing made by Citroën that could turn a french car into a GT!

However, in 1970, Citroën bought… Maserati! So a 2.7 liter V6 jumped in the new project : the Citroën SM. 170 hp to the front wheels, through a five-speed gearbox. A french kind of GT. But the oil crisis that happened in 1973 would become the main issue about the new car… In fact anyone could say that the V6 was everything but sober…

The new anti-pollution rules forced Citroën to use an electronic injection in 1973. The same year, a 3-speed automatic gearbox appears, for the US market. The engine was deemed not powerful enough, so Citroën used another V6, the 3 liter from the Maserati Merak, with 180 hp.

Until 1975, Citroën manufactured 19,920 Citroën SM.

Above: The “regular” SM with its 6 headlamps behind a glass cover
Below: The US compliant SM, with its 4 headlamps without cover

Driving this special Citroën SM 3L is really something different!

The Relais de l’Auto Ancienne’s Citroën SM 3L

It’s during a french trip to Limoges that I discover this car, in a workshop named “Le Relais de l’Auto Ancienne” on the old Nationale 20.

The car is back from the US. It’s easy to notice it, behind the plexiglas, added to look more like the french ones, the 4 round projectors are fixed.

The entire design is the same, signed by Robert Opron. It’s aerodynamic, but with some particularities. The front track is bigger than the rear one. Like it or not, still, the car has a real personality.

Technically it definitely is a Citroën: unique

Under the long bonnet, there is the most interesting part of the car, the 3 liter V6 designed by Maserati. Like the V6 2.7, this it is derived from the 4 liter V8. Three Weber carburetors handle the fuel supply and the engine is actually behind the front wheels. Int front of it, the Borg Warner 3-speed gearbox delivers the power to the wheels. Right out of it, you find the “inboard” brake discs, a real nightmare for the mechanics in charge of changing the brake pads!

Still under the bonnet, you can see those green spheres. The place where the LHM fluid works. It’s the same hydronpneumatic system the DS owners enjoy.

For once, you don’t need a French-English dictionary

As explained earlier, this car comes from the USA. So, the annotations on the dashboard are in English instead of French.
The leather seats got a nice patina. Even if they are damaged in some places, they are really beautiful. There’s plenty of space in the front. However, you have not to be too tall to get in the back seats, but you could survive a short trip.

The switches are well-placed and they fall quite easily under your hand for a car of that era. The driver seat is easy to set, such is the steering wheel.

Let’s go for a ride

The engine starts easily and Ludovic, the owner, gets us for a little demonstration, while the car is heating up. Now it’s my turn to drive, I take the gear lever and put it on Drive.

Once the road is open, I rush forward. The car accelerates easily, even if i’m not flooring it, i quickly get into third gear, at 60mph. The car is easy to drive, it’s a speed it is used to. I’m so well-seated that I could cruise like that for hours. Unfortunately, here comes the first roundabout. Time to discover what makes these Citroen so peculiar, due to those green spheres.

First test: the braking system. Citroën’s “mushroom” (due to its shape) is hard to dose out. However, the car slows down, and quite effectively. Second test: the steering. It’s the famous Diravi. It’s a constant power-steering, that has a peculiar return system. If you release the steering wheel, it gets back to the center. It is quite practical, but in a roundabout, you can not do as you would usually do, or you will follow a weird path!

What’s it worth in the corners?

It’s a GT car, it’s powerful and it accelerates quickly. On small roads, the wide front track is really helpful. However, the car has some limits. It is quite heavy and most of the weight is on the front end, hence a huge understeer if you are going too fast.

The car is definitely made for wider roads, and lorries are not an issue, you just have to push it a little harder and the gerabox will go down a gear.

What I think about it

I have to admit I was expecting something more like a sports car. The Citroën SM 3L is not the Porsche 944 we tried earlier, but, huh. I can’t deny it’s powerful or comfortable, but i was expectind something else. It’s a perfect GT, made for long travels.

Own a Citroën SM 3L

A lot of Citroën SM have been preserved. Despite the small production, it’s quite easy to find a good one nowadays. However, be really careful about the car condition. It’s a sophisticated car from the 70s, so it van be a real bother. Fortunately, several specialists know how to service them.

You can find carburetors versions around £20,000. Th fuel injection ones are a little cheaper, so are the automatic ones.

Global rating:

3 etoiles




– Lovely engine Hard to get used to it –
– Unrivaled comfort Not a sports car –
– Unique GT Parts or service sometimes expensive –
Rarity  4 etoiles
Price from £15,000 to £25,000
Posted by Pierre in Cars, Non classé, 0 comments

Lego and the Ferrari F40

Christmas is coming, and some of you might wonder what gift they can buy. Here is an idea, that can make both children and adults happy: the Lego F40.

Lego F40 - Box

Building the Lego F40

Some of you might already have the Beetle, the Combi or the Mini from the Lego Creator series. The Lego F40 set is not really different. Parts are split in 2 packs, in order to find your way easily in the almost 1100 bricks to out together!


Building instructions are cristal clear. They even have been slightly improved: the parts listed at each step are now highlighted on the drawings. It is really hard to get lost now. Book 2 to 4 hours of your time to build the car, depending on your skills.

The Lego F40 looks quite nice

Once built, the Lego F40 has the same proportions as the real one. Some parts are really well detailed like the engine, or the two opening bonnets. You can regret the lack of details in the passenger compartment, compared to the Mini or the Combi.

The overall look is the best from the Creator series at the moment. Anyway, the big child I am really enjoyed building it, and the Lego fan really liked some building tricks to get the shapes that are the trademark of the real F40.


Rating: 5 étoiles
Buy: Here
RRP: £69.99
Posted by Pierre in Non classé, Scale models & Toys, 0 comments

Zoute Grand Prix 2016, indian summer on the Belgian coast

Last week, Knokke-le-Zoute was hosting the Zoute Grand Prix 2016. This event is similar to Spa Rétrofolies. However, it is a little more posh, allowing the visitors to enjoy rarer cars scattered between the beach, the seawall and the town centre.

The Zoute Grand Prix 2016 is split in three events:

  • Zoute Rally: It’s a rally dedicated to cars built between 1930 and 1965. For two days, drivers could enjoy regularity races and nice rides.
  • Zoute Concours d’élégance: Evenything is in the name.
  • Zoute Sale by Bonhmans : Auctions in Knokke are on the rise. We will talk about that sale in another article.

Modern cars also have a dedicated rallye, the GT Tour, but it’s not our point, let’s focus on the classic cars.

The Zoute Rally

Last year, the Zoute Rally headed to Bruges, this year, the drivers could discover the area around Courtrai, including the Castle of Nokere. There, the drivers could enjoy a lakefront aperitif after a morning driving. On the Friday, they drove in plains that used to be battlefields during WWII.

The grid gathered astonishing cars once more. However the Porsche 356, Jaguar E-Type and Mercedes SL “Pagoda” made half of it. Fortunately, some manufacturers brought some of their most iconic cars, like BMW with a 328, that ran the Mille Miglia, or Audi, who brought Auto-Unions that ran Liege-Rome-Liege.

There was a lot of Italian cars as well. The more noticeable were a Lancia B24 Spyder America, several Ferrari 275 GTB and a couple of Maserati 3500 GT. Jochen Mass was driving one of the numerous Mercedes 300 SL there.

Zoute Concours d’élégance

The Sunday was dedicated to the Concours d’Elegance that took place in the Royal Zoute Golf. It was one of the main events of the Zoute Grand Prix 2016. From pre-war to 1975, the cars were just astonishing. It was also hosting both the Spider and Coupe versions of the Alfa Romeo Disco Volante designed by Touring in 2013.

The jury was more demanding than it was in previous years. The criteria were similar to Villa d’Este or Pebble Beach ones, ensuring a higher quality. Here are the results:

Winner: 1955 – LANCIA AURELIA B12

Winner: 1967 – PORSCHE 911 R

Winner: 1954 – PEGASO Z102



Winner: 1965 – OSCA 1600 GT COUPÉ






Winner: 1956 – MERCEDES 300 SL GULLWING


Winner: 1953 – FIAT 8V SUPERSONIC


Winner: 1968 – TOYOTA 2000 GT



Winner: 1961 – 1951 – ASTON MARTIN DB2 DHC

The Zoute Grand Prix 2016 is now a must-see in Belgium, like the Spa Six Hours, the Legend Boucles or Spa Classic. If you want to go next year, it will be from the 5th to the 8th of October 2017.

Thanks to Gaultier Vilour for his pictures, you can look at his photos on his Facebook page or on Instagram.

Posted by Pierre in Non classé, Past events, 0 comments

The Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Lungo were the queens of Summer 2016

With only 30 cars produced, this is not an ordinary car. The Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 is a prestigious pre-war car that got itself talked about in Pebble Beach and Chantilly.

The Alfa Romeo 8C 2900, Biscione’s must ?

The Alfa 8C before the 2900

At the beginning of the project, there is Vittorio Jano, a great Italian engineer who deserves a complete post. Maybe soon…
In 1931 he creates a straight 8 which gives its name to the car : the 8C.

In fact, he just put together two 4 cylinder engines. To turn together, there is only one crankshaft, and only one cylinder head. In 1931 it’s the best technology available, with hemispheric chambers, alloy cylinder head and overhead camshaft.

First the 8C existed in 2300 cm³. In competition the car is the one to beat. Between 1931 and 1934, they win four times the 24h of Le Mans. The also add two Mille Miglia wins in 1932 and 1933.
The Germans also want their part of glory, they try to beat the Alfa so the Italians make the Alfa Romeo 8C 2600. Its first victory comes at the 1934 Mille Miglia.

In 1935 appears the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900

The third evolution, the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 is launched in 1935. The engine is modified to reach 2900 cm³, and a Roots compressor helps it deliver 220 hp!
The chassis is also improved, the fours wheels are independent, the front wheels are suspended with a wishbone system, the rear wheels with a solid axle.

For its first race, under the colours of the Scuderia Ferrari, Carlo Maria Pintacuda and Allessandro Della Stuffa win the 1935 Mille Miglia.

For 1936 Alfa builds the 2900 A. It’s a new success with the three first places at the Mille Miglia 1936. The career of the car will be filled with victories. None in Le Mans, but the Mille Miglia in 1937, 1938 ans 1947!

The road versions of the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 B

To make profit of these successes, Alfa Romeo launches a road version of the racing cars. The Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Corto with a 2.8m wheelbase and the Lungo with a 3m wheelbase. 20 cars will be produced in Corto, 10 in Lungo.

Different bodies will be made by the finest Italian coach builders. Touring will make a lot of cars. The car comes in different shapes, Spider, Coupé Le Mans, Berlinetta. We can say that these cars are the finest pre-war Alfa Romeo.

The 2016 summer queens

The 1939 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Spider by Touring

  • Chassis n° 412041
  • Engine n° 422042
  • Superleggera body n° 2027

This is the first Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo to get in the spotlights in the summer. This superb car was one of the stars of the RM Sotheby’s sale in Monterey.

The car was the second most expensive on sale, after the Jaguar D Type XKD501 we talked about in this post. The valuation of the Alfa was between 20 and 25 millions of dollars.

Its history involves a few continents and transformations. This car was one of the first Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo sent to the Carrozzeria Touring to receive the famous Superleggera body. As a reminder, this kind of body is made of thin aluminium panels fixed on a steel tubular structure. The name comes from the weight of this technique, very light.

After WWII, the car is bought by a Brazilian man for racing. The owner decides the car is not performant enough. The engine is replaced by a Chevrolet V8 and the body is replaced by a sleeker one.
After 30 years, the chassis is restored, and by chance, a real Touring body was found in Argentina. Maybe the original before it was changed… An original engine is also found and the car becomes a Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo for the second time.

In 1997 the restoration is complete, and in 1999 the car is second of the cabriolet class at Pebble Beach. In the hand of Sam and Emily Mann the car reaches 13,000 miles!

This Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo is the first to be auctioned in the 21st century. The fact that the car is a masterpiece of the automotive production, and a survivor make its price : $18,900,000 under the hammer.
The most expensive Alfa Romeo of all time, and the most expensive Italian car, Ferraris aside!

The 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Berlinetta by Touring

  • Chassis n° 412035

It’s the other star of this summer. This Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Berlinetta was in the Chantilly Art et Elegance show near Paris.

This car is slightly older than the previous one. The Berlinetta had been revealed at Paris cars show in 1937 by Touring. Five Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Berlinetta had been built.

This one, S/N 412035, was delivered on July 18th 1938. The car had been sold in Switzerland then went to the USA. As soon as the car was shipped, Frank Grisworld won the Watkins Glen Grand Prix. The car had several owners in the USA before ending in the hands of David Cohen in 1980. He restored it before participating to several rallyes, events and concours.

In 2006, Cohen sold the Alfa to John Shirley, an American enthusiast who started a new restoration just after racing the Mille Miglia Historic. It’s Butch Dennison who made the restoration. It’s a success, as soon as the car is finished, it wins the Best of show Award at Pebble Beach!
In 2009 the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Lungo Berlinetta comes back in Italy for the Villa d’Este Concours, for another Best of show.
In 2012, it gets another Best of show, at Windsor Concours of Elegance.

It’s one of the most awarded car of all times, and all that with a single owner!

In the beginning of September the car was once again at the Chantilly Arts et Elegance Concours. The car won its class, and also the Best of show award!

If you see one of these car once, enjoy it, it’s quite uncommon!

Photos : Bertrand from News d’Anciennes, RM Auctions Sotheby’s, Peter Auto, Alfa Romeo, Revs Standford


Posted by Pierre in Cars in the spotlight, Non classé, 0 comments

Goodwood Revival 2016, still amazing

We already brought you to Le Mans Classic and Silverstone Classic this year. This time, let’s head to what is probably the reference of classic car races: Goodwood Revival 2016.

Al the picture we can provide you were made by Charles. He was one of the exhibitors, with the Galerie Stradale.

Goodwood and its unique atmosphere

That’s probably the trademark of Goodwood Revival 2016. To enter the event, you have to comply with the dress code, and unlike Le Mans Classic, the visitors do it.

From the audience to the organizers every one is dressed like people were in the 50s and 60s. The atmosphere is just wonderful. The location makes it even better, it feels like nothing has changed for all these years…

And if ever you get fed up with cars, you can enjoy even bigger, just as legendary, vehicles. The Goodwood Revival 2016 takes place on the Goodwood Circuit, which is a former airfield. So, you can find Crusaders, DC3s, Hurricanes or even Spitfires. Even if there is no Rolls-Royce on the track, you can see a lot of them in the air!

The car park is almost as astonishing as the paddocks. Some cars are there just because they don’t join in the races. You can even find modern supercars.

The accessible paddocks of Goodwood Revival 2016

Here, an Alfa Romeo 6C wearing Enzo Ferrari’s Cavalino, there an Aston Martin DP112. The mechanics work on the ground on a single-seater, and you can look over their shoulder! You can get access to almost everywhere at Goodwood Revival.

You are struck by the cars you can find here, Ferrari 250 GTOs and 250 LMs share the space with a horde of E-Types and Cobras.

On track, Goodwood Revival 2016 offered a real show

You could find these cars on the track. In the driver seats, there are a lot of famous names. Goodwood Revival is the only event where you can see David Coulthard driving an Austin A35! Win a race inj such an event raises the value of a car. The driver, sometimes hired by the owners, throw themselves in the race wholeheartedly. Sometimes, it’s even a little too much: seeing an E-Type having a brush with the rear wing of a 250 GTO is definitely impressive!

To sum it up, Goodwood Revival 2016 kept its promises. Some of the most beautiful cars in the world, in an appropriate setting. It’s a unique recipe, and it’s definitely enjoyable.

Posted by Pierre in Non classé, Past events, 0 comments

Back in time at the Northleach Steam & Vintage Show 2016

Last Friday, we were traveling back to the future with the come back of the DeLorean. On Sunday, we took our ticket to the past, the real one. We went to the Northleach Steam & Vintage Show 2016.

Northleach has been related to steam rallies since the 1950s. A few years ago the event became the Northleach Steam & Vintage Show. It gathers a lot of full size and scale steam engines along with stationary engines. But they are not alone, you can also see vintage tractors, military and commercial vehicles, and obviously classic cars.

We avoided the rain on Saturday and came on Sunday, when the sun was shining, for the pleasure of the audience. The demonstrations of old machinery were just astonishing. It was the perfect event for children to discover what their grand parents and even their parents life was like.

Here is a little sample of all the beautiful pieces we could see at the Northleach Steam & Vintage Show 2016, you can see all our pictures on our flickr gallery.

Posted by Pierre in Non classé, Past events, 0 comments

Porsche pARTs, between painting and sculpture

John Clark works with Kraftwerk, a company known for its Porsche replicas, for the project Porsche pARTs, that has nothing to do with spare parts!

This project is focused on the Porsche 917. Body panels are made according to the original shapes and materials. Once delivered, Joel Clark covers the panel with a vinyl wrap. The finish is surrealistic. It takes into account the beautiful liveries of the original 917s, adding some made-up reflections.

For now, Porsche pARTs only proposes pane-less doors. Bit by bit, new parts should be available, like bonnets. And if you feel like it (and most of all can afford it) a whole body might be possible!

You can find below a sample of their work, and visit their website.

Posted by Pierre in Arty Saturdays, Non classé, 0 comments

Great Scott! The DeLorean is coming back!

Marty McFly could have dreamed of it, DeLorean Motor Company will make it. Even if it’s planned to get on the road in 2017, the iconic car of Back to the Future is coming back on the roads. Between rumors and hoaxes, it is time to review the situation.

Thanks to a new federal law in the United States due in a few weeks, DeLorean Motor Company will make brand new DMC-12s. It will however be a heavily modified car, to comply with pollutionj limitations, but the style should be the same. Some of you might have seen the design below. It has nothing to do with a DeLorean. It actually is a rendering of Maxime de Keiser, made in 2011, about a modernj De Tomaso Mangusta ! You can find the De Tomaso Mangusta Heritage on Les Forges MDK website. This info has even been shared on DMC  website.

The rendering of Maxime de Keiser, called DeTomaso Mangusta Heritage, has beeen lately shared everywhere on the internet with a DMC badge.

The rendering of Maxime de Keiser, called DeTomaso Mangusta Heritage, has been lately shared everywhere on the internet with a DMC badge.

Since that rumor is now debunked, let’s talk about the real thing. The new law is the US allows manufacturers making low-volume cars to avoid security tests, but that law states that “the only cars allowed to be built under this legislation are those that resemble production vehicles manufactured at least 25 years ago“. DMC plans on making brand new DMC-12s according to that law. However, to comply with environmental legislation the car will feature a brand new engine (DMC announced 260 hp on their blog, we are far from the 130 hp of the PRV V6). However, the original chassis and bodywork should be kept, even if they have to be modified to receive the new mechanical parts.

The new car should share its look with its famous predecessor.

The new car should share its look with its famous predecessor.

DMC has not shared any pictures of the new car yet, since it’s still under development. However, considering they 3D Scanned every part of the body… We can suppose there will be no major difference with the original car.

While awaiting the real thing, don’t get over 88 mph !

Posted by Pierre in News, Non classé, 0 comments

A lovely Sunday at Tetbury Classic Car Show 2016

Last Sunday, we headed to Tetbury for the Tetbury Classic Car Show 2016. Despite the cloudy weather, there were hundreds of cars to see and a lot of people came.

You might think I spend my time in the Cotswolds. It’s true, I won’t deny it. But with such lovely events, it would be a shame to avoid them. This week, the Tetbury Classic Car Show 2016 was raising funds for Allsorts and several local causes. Once again, a lot of people came to show their car for such an event, and the audience was there as well.

From the popular Vauxhall Nova to the quite rare (2 cars registered in the UK) Lamborghini Islero, you could enjoy almost any kind of car ever made. You can find a little sample below, and all our pictures in our flickr gallery.

Posted by Pierre in Non classé, Past events, 0 comments