Autosport International Show 2017

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The home of motorsport

Autosport International has become the de facto motor show in the UK. In the absence of any other similar motor shows, Autosport is already well ahead of the competition. But the fact that it attracts a truly international audience is testament to the appeal of the four-day event.

Words Simon Hastelow. Photos Simon Hastelow and Ben Steventon

We shouldn’t really think of the Autosport Show as just another motoring event or just about motorsport. While the emphasis is clearly slanted towards performance, it offers something for every type of motorist.

Whether you follow Formula 1, the WRC, BTCC, some other racing series, or whether you like classic cars or just those that are a bit different from the everyday norm, you’ll find something for you at the Birmingham NEC in January.

Similarly, every budget is catered for. You might have the cash to spend £89k on a Ford GT or over a quarter of a million on a genuine rally car, but you might also only have the budget to tune or modify the car you already have. Again, there is something for every scenario.

Complete cars, individual components, widgets, memorabilia, tuning packages, race series, live action, famous name interviews, Q&A sessions with drivers and team owners. Everything and everything spread throughout numerous halls in the Midlands.

It is worth noting that Thursday and Friday are considered ‘Trade Days’ and, in fact, the Engineering hall is only open on these days. The general public are not usually permitted to attend until the weekend, when some clubs and other displays are there too. However, it is worth trying to get a ticket to the weekday openings if you can. Not only is it generally a bit quieter but there is also a fair amount of stuff that you cannot see at the weekend.

Or, if you can afford it, then do both!

 

Cannot afford a new Le Mans inspired GT? How about this one? Really it’s a replica built by Cape Advanced Vehicles in 2006, but still costs £89,995. It has a fully stainless steel monocoque chassis and a 347ci Ford V8 pushing over 420bhp. Everything about it shouts ‘drive me!’. But if you cannot afford this one they had another in red for just £69k!

M-Sport is obviously more well known for its race cars but they do a rather nifty line in Ford Ranger pick-ups and Transit Vans, too. These two cars were tucked away at the back of their stand, safely separated from the new Fiesta launch, but they were attracting just as many admirers. www.m-sport.co.uk
M-Sport launched their latest R5 EVO 2 at the Show (see news story on page 7) And it attracted camera crews almost the whole weekend. We cannot wait to see this driven in anger for real later this year. www.m-sport.co.uk
Rally Design always turn up with an impressive selection of kit, parts, tools and accessories. They offer a huge range of parts for retro Fords, both OEM replacement and upgrade versions. Their catalogue is always very popular and should be a staple publication present in every workshop. www.rallydesign.co.uk
Superpro – the world leader in polyeurethane bushes – launched their brand new suspension bushes and handling upgrades for the Mustang GT – we’ll bring you more details of this very soon. Rechard Fearn, MD, said “We’re very excited about the new Mustang range, it’s so new this is the first time I’ve seen it all together! We still do the complete range for older ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s Fords but the newer cars are offering us some very exciting opportunities.” www.superpro.eu.com
SBD Motorsport are celebrating 25 years of business this year and had one of the nicest Escorts on their stand, as well as a selection of Ford engines from ‘70s cars right through to more modern lumps. www.sbdev.co.uk
Swift motorhomes have always had an interest in motorsport as the company’s founding family have been hurtling all manner of race cars around tracks for many years. This year they’ve launched their own team to enter the MSA British Rally Championship. Consisting of seven rounds at venues around the UK, drivers Matt Edwards and Will Rogers will do the honours in the cockpit. www.swiftgroup.co.uk www.msabrc.com
Roll cage manufacturer Custom Cages had this rather nice race-prepped FIA approved Mk1 Escort on their stand to demonstrate their roll cages. It was also for sale. We had to stop looking at it, the temptation was too much! www.customcages.co.uk
PEC Automotive offer all manner of aftermarket, upgraded engine parts. If you want to modify your Ford to give the maximum amount of power you’re going to have to start replacing some of the engine internals. This is what PEC offer. It’s just a shame that such works of engineering art won’t be seen once you’ve fitted them! www.steelconrods.co.uk
Wavetrac are possibly a name you might not have come across yet. They had made the trip to Birmingham from California, USA, to demonstrate their range of differentials. It was obvious that they’d have units for the Mustang, but they also offer diffs for the Focus ST, RS and Fiesta, too, amongst others. The handy ‘exploded’ view demo unit made it a lot easier to understand how the diff magic works. www.wavetrac.net
Jenvey do throttle bodies, and they are probably the nicest throttle bodies you’ll ever encounter. Not only do they perform well, but they look the business, too. Just as much thought goes into how they look when you lift your bonnet at a show as to how they boost your performance. From early engines like the pinto to the latest Duratec, they offer a huge range. www.jenvey.co.uk
DEN Motorsport were just one of several specialist vehicle builders offering classic custom built Ford Escorts. Just tell them what you want, what engine and whether you intend to race or just pose and they’ll build one for you. The workmanship looked superb. www.denmotorsport.co.uk

 

Dunne Motorsport Engineering are based in Kildorrey, County Cork, Ireland. They build uprated and modernised Retro Escorts and had quite a selection on display, including a bare-body shell showing how they fully restore or build a modern Mk1 Escort for rallying.www.facebook.com/pg/DunneMsport

 

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