The Footman James classic vehicle restoration show
Blame the banks for paying so little on our savings; blame the TV for filling our heads with the dream of undiscovered junk being worth a fortune. Or, maybe, repairing rusty metal is a quirky British hobby that provides much-welcomed escapism for many enthusiasts. Whatever the reason, working on older cars is becoming an ever more popular pastime.
Although one of the largest classic car restoration shows was held at the end of October, it would be reasonable to presume that there would be little remaining interest in another event, held only a week afterwards, approximately 150 miles south.
To find out, I visited the Royal Bath and West Showground last Sunday, which hosted the Vehicle Restoration Show. Sponsored by the specialist insurance company, Footman James, the event has been successful enough to survive fourteen years and that of this year was no exception, with 700 classic cars flocking through the gates over the weekend, to the dedicated car park.
Although the weather remained mainly fine and warm, the organisers ensured that it was an indoor event primarily, which included an autojumble, static car club displays, vehicle restoration demonstrations and also a classic car auction, which included not only sparkling vintage exotica but also complete car restoration projects, tools and parts.
While it might not have been the intention, I admit that the Footman James Vehicle Restoration Show is not a family event – if that is your wish, take the children to the nearby Haynes Motor Museum instead. I also feel that there was insufficient going-on to keep most people fully active for two whole days. Yet, these criticisms can be levelled at similar car shows too and, where those events tend to see their numbers dwindle from around 1.30pm, many visitors remained at the showground, until the show closed – which is no mean feat.
Therefore, if you live in the South West and do not feel like trekking to either Warwickshire or Birmingham next year, to learn about vehicle restoration, stock-up on tools and spare parts, or even buy a classic investment, mark out the Footman James Vehicle Restoration Show in your 2015 diary, for 31st October – 1 November.