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Practical Classics Restoration Show Report

The second Practical Classics Restoration & Classic Car Show took place on 5 & 6 March. From barn finds discovered after many years of storage and those project cars that have stalled in an owner’s garage, to restorations just getting back on the road and those pristine marques with gleaming brightwork and proud as punch owners. The show had it all. 

The Carole Nash Barn Finds display was a particular draw, with 25 cars on display unearthed from garages, sheds, yards and even the bottom of the garden, all of which had been rescued by passionate enthusiasts.  Some remain in the same condition as the day they went into storage while others would be better to ‘rust in peace’. Mr Dave Whiting was the lucky winner of a £300 Halfords voucher given away at the show!

Silverstone Auctions hosted their second sale at the show, offering the opportunity to purchase an eclectic range of cars from some of the finest classics and modern supercars to some exciting barn finds and restoration projects. Highlights of the sale included: 

- A special 1999 Lamborghini Diablo SV, the last Lamborghini produced before VW took ownership of the company. Sold for £174,375.

- Land Rover Series One, chassis #149. Sold for £47,250 – more than £20,000 over its lower estimate.

- An original UK right-hand drive, matching numbers 1978 Aston Martin V8 Series III offered as a non-running project, the perfect candidate for a full restoration. Sold for £47,250. 

- A very rare ISO Rivolta GT restoration project. Sold for £25,875.

- A superb 1968 Jaguar E-Type Series II Roadster project. Sold for £41,625. 

The ten finalists of the Practical Classics Restorer of the Year were on display at the show, celebrating the supreme endeavours of those who lock themselves away in their workshops in pursuit of old motor perfection. The overall winner was crowned at the show, with James Cribb awarded the Golden Spanner! James’ late wife bought the Metro in 1995, his excellent work stands as a tribute to her.

Gerty, as G766 CKF is known, very nearly went for scrap. The fact that she survived is down to a plea from her late owner, Margaret Cribb. Mrs Cribb bought the Metro City in 1995 as her first car and used it until serious rust problems caused a SORN declaration in 2007. Her husband, James, suggested it was time to face reality and send the badly corroded hatchback to the crusher. 

But Marg had grown attached to the car – indeed, the rest of the family had – so she begged him to hang onto it with a view to eventually tidying it up. Sadly Marg fell ill soon after and passed away in August 2008 aged 53, leaving behind James and their three daughters, Jane, Clare and Laura. While trying to come to terms with their loss, James remembers walking around the side of the house one evening and seeing the Metro laid up in its parking space. 

‘It made me think of Marg so much that I wanted to kick it, but I didn’t. Something changed, and instead I thought “Right, I’ll do this. I’ll fix it.”’ James had never restored a car before and had no experience of welding, panel beating, paint preparation or anything else he was going to need. But he did have the right attitude. 

It took a tragic loss to kick-start the restoration of this apparently unremarkable Metro, but see it in its completed state and it’s now anything but unremarkable. From the millions that were made, there are fewer condition one examples left than there are concours standard Ferraris. But cars like this are arguably more important. They may not be so widely admired but as James Cribb knows, park a time machine like this on a show field and a crowd soon assembles for a dose of ’80s nostalgia. 

If you have a chance to save a little bit of our automotive history then go for it. You won’t be sorry.


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