There’s a lot to be said for a classic car show with the focus on restorations and on-going projects. Rather than filling Birmingham’s NEC with heavily-polished garage queens, the Classic Car and Restoration Show is a celebration of works in progress. Whether you want to see old cars with a story to tell or are completing a restoration of your own, there’s plenty to see at the NEC this weekend. The show opened today – we’ve been along and discovered a selection of barn finds on display.
Land Rover 90 and 110
Before the legendary Defender name badge was introduced, the utilitarian off-roader was known simply as the 90 or 110, based on the length of its wheelbase. Here are two very early examples – indeed, the 110 County Station Wagon appears to be a pre-production model, while the 90 on the right was a press vehicle used in early publicity material. In true Classic Car and Restoration Show fashion, neither are in mint condition. How refreshing.
When was the last time you saw a Talbot Sunbeam, never mind two of them? We found these two, predictably, on the Avenger Sunbeam Owners Club stand. While the one on the left looks to be less in need of work than the one on the right, an MOT history search reveals it’s been off the road since at least 2014.
Is this a Lotus Eclat… truck? It does appear so – its fibreglass bodywork has been hacked at to create a real one-off. Going by the dust and grime on it, it looks like someone lost interest halfway through the project. It’s been SORNed (declared off the road) for a long time.
MG Metro Turbo
Many won’t mourn the demise in the number of Metros on our roads, but the MG Metro Turbo is starting to attract quite a following. A neglected example sold for £6,000 at auction this week, while good ones (yes, they exist) command much higher premiums. This particular example is all the more special, as it’s been converted into a rare convertible.
It seems that this soft-top Metro hasn’t been loved for a while. Inside there’s some serious mold growing on the seats, dash and, well, everywhere really.
MG Maestro Turbo
Not excited by the Metro? Perhaps this MG Maestro Turbo will float your boat. Introduced towards the end of the Maestro’s lifespan, the Turbo ran a 2.0-litre engine combining carbs with a turbo to give it a top speed of 128mph and a 6.7 second 0-60mph time. Even today, that’s pretty good. Admittedly, this particular example requires a bit of work.
Ever since a recent Top Gear feature, we’ve found ourselves lusting for a Citroen 2CV. The Deux Chevaux Club of Great Britain has a large presence at the NEC this weekend, with this faded red example of the tin snail looking to be in better condition than a lot of cars at the show.
‘OMG barn find’ says practically every eBay description for an old Ford in need of work. We’re not sure it’d work for this – there can’t be much of a following for a sixth-generation Escorts. They were hated when they were new, and this example looks, well, fit for scrap. Are we being too harsh?
Now here’s something that’s caught our eye. We recently drove a Reliant Rialto and loved it – and this plastic pig looks to be in reasonable condition. Emphasis on the ‘plastic’… its body won’t rust, but we wonder what its owner’s found underneath. He’s been there all day.
This is a Riley Pathfinder. We know that because it’s written on the wing. Indeed, it’s not exactly an entire Riley Pathfinder – there are missing parts, and it’s certainly not been on the road for a while.
There’s part of us which hopes that this Nissan 240Z is never given a full restoration. There’s an element of charm to its patina, and we’re sure it’d turn some heads if brought up to scratch mechanically without being touched otherwise.
It needs some work, admittedly, but all the essentials are there. Wheels, an exhaust, even a full array of panels…
Morris Minor Traveller
From Nissan Z-Cars to Morris Minors, there are classics for everyone at the show. This Moggy Minor looks to have been given a new wooden frame. They were originally made of ash, and while they look quaint, they need regular maintenance to keep in good form.
Thanks to VW Group scene tax, this B1 Audi 80 is probably worth a decent whack of money, even in the colander condition it’s clearly in. There’s not a panel in it that doesn’t need work… but chasing down rare panels is part of the fun of a restoration, right?
The Porsche 914 was a joint project developed with Volkswagen, and it’s never attracted the same following as any 911-badged Porsche. They’re getting rarer, though, making them more desirable – and this yellow example looks to be well on its way to a full restoration. Coming to an expensive auction near you soon.
This Ford Capri passed an MOT in 2006… so it can’t be that bad, can it? The facelifted Mk1 Capri has evidently spent some time in a barn, but we’re such Ford fans will be keen to see it restored.
T-registered cars are still modern, in our eyes, but this Mini has clearly seen better times. Rot has well and truly set in – but that was a Mini’s prerogative. Yes, that its gaffer tape that looks to be holding the front bumper, wing and wheel arch together…
With its futuristic styling and hydropneumatic suspension, the Citroen CX was genuinely revolutionary in its time. So much so, that it’s sad to see an example looking unloved today. It’s definitely worth saving, but just the fact that it’s at the Classic Car and Restoration Show suggest someone plans to spend some time and money on it.
NEC Classic Car and Restoration Show: in pictures