Wednesday November 16, 2016
Written by Andy Roberts
It was the 1963 Class Winner of the Tourist Trophy at Goodwood. It was possibly one of the most exquisite designs ever created by Colin Chapman. And, best of all (for me at any rate) the 1958 Lotus Elite auctioned by Silverstone Auctions at the Classic Motor Show was originally the property of Chris Barber, that legend of British jazz and blues.
Of course, my chances of being able to raise the necessary £121, 500 – a world record sum - were on a par with my being allowed to take the wheel of the Bulldog but a chap could always dream as he watched the Lotus on For the Love of Cars.
An ex BMC Press Fleet Morris Mini Moke that once transported Kenny Ball, another musical great, sold for a slightly more attainable £19,688, but at my time of life I prefer a car equipped with such luxuries as an elaborate heating system. And doors.
The chance to vicariously live out many and various automotive aspirations is a vital aspect of the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show. A 1987 Ford Sierra RS Cosworth finished in Moonstone Blue reached the sum of £45,000 – a reminder of the sheer desirability of these fine cars and the possibility of my finding the required sum to own a Bentley T-Series that was once the property Michael Winner was equally remote. However, as with many an enthusiast before or since, this was not an impediment to my fantasies – in this case, arriving at Pinewood to commence shooting Death Wish XXIII.
Likewise, my chances of being able to afford £69,750 for a Series III Jaguar E-Type roadster with manual transmission that had been garaged for the past 36 years, ranked alongside my prospects of becoming the new Doctor Who.
As for sourcing a mere £171,00 for a 1962 E-Type – one that changed hands for £375 back in 1973 - or even the £202, 500 necessary to obtain a ‘flat nose’ 1985 Porsche 930 Turbo SE, my prospects were even more in the realms of fantasy. I did briefly consider putting myself on eBay but even then, I would only probably raise £1.48.
In fact, a stroll through any one of the Halls at the Classic Motor Show was the perfect opportunity for vicarious motoring, from the Skoda Estelle stretched limousine to the splendidly dashing Brabham Viva, with a selection of Italian cars representing some of my highpoints of the show. The Gamma Consortium made its debut at the NEC with a 40th birthday celebration of one of the most underrated Lancias in the company’s history and, in my view at least, the perfect transport for a Return of the Saint villain.
The display of the Maserati Club UK, which was deserved awarded Classic & Sports Car’s “Best Large Club Stand” prize, featured some machines of sublime beauty (more of which anon), including a Mk.1 Quattroporte. This was the company’s first-ever four-door offering and the epitome of transport for members of the 1960s-international jet-set. As with many visitors, I had first encountered the Quattroporte on the silver screen and if being the next Laurence Harvey in a remake of Life at the Top were, shall we say, remote, a chap could always wander the NEC in a state of reverie.
Then there was the Fiat 500 Gamine, the beach car that was created to transport Brigette Bardot look-alikes along the Cote D’Azure in the blazing sunshine - as opposed to Robert Morley look-alikes to the Reading branch of Sainsbury's in the rain. But what do such mundane details matter when confronted with such wondrous day dreams?