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6) The show must go on...


TheRealNips

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I just got back from the Classic Car show at the NEC and WOW, what a weekend, but more on that in a minute!

If you remember from the previous blog that damage was going to be fixed by a company that my employer had arranged, so I went over to drop the car off on the Wednesday (1 week before the show). Here is a transcribe of the conversation:

  • Me: "Hi, I'm here to drop off my car"
  • Matey: *pokes damage* "I can do that, but it will be a different colour" (no self introduction)
  • Me: "Sorry, what? Why?"
  • Matey: "Its an old car, its faded"
  • Me: "Its been in storage most of its life and on Friday it had the bonnet, both wings and both bumpers resprayed and they matched fine"
  • Matey: *Walks around car twice* "Oh yeah, well its irrelevant because I'm booked up until January"
  • Me: "It's booked in today at 10am, there is a hire car due here any minute for me."
  • Matey: "I'm not taking it today"

Short argument about car needed at car show in 6 days time and my employer told me it was booked in for 10am

  • Matey: "Come back Monday, I might have it ready Wednesday evening."
  • Me: "Hmmmm"

As you can imagine this conversation didn't instil a lot of confidence in the car being ready in time or the quality of the dodge, I mean fix! On the drive home, I happened to be passing my guy who did the panels 4 days previous and on the 1% chance of him saying he could do it and more just wanting to show him I popped in:

  • Me: "You know your hard work....well look at this" *points*
  • Glynn: "?!?!?!"
  • Me: "Its bad I know"
  • Glynn: "?!?!?!?!"
  • Me: "Is there anything you can do?"
  • Glynn: "?!?!?!!"
  • Me: "Its due at the car show a week tomorrow..."
  • Glynn: "?!?!?!?!?!?!?!"
  • Me: "?????"
  • Glynn: "I had a phone call today, some guy was supposed to drop his car in 20 minutes ago, he has cancelled. I could do it for you"
  • Me: "I could kiss you"
  • Glynn: "Please dont..."

So 2 days later, I got a phone call:

Before:

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After:

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I could not believe it, I couldn't see or feel any damage! Glynn even polished and waxed the car as well as taking out a few scratches and swirl marks he found too. Thanks Glynn (Again!)

So the car was set, I was set and after an age, Thursday came round. I got up at 03:00, left at 04:00. got to the meeting point at 08:45, jet washed the road crap off the car, topped up the tank, waiting for @Aff68 and @AndrewG and then drove convoy to the NEC where @ianl was setting up the stand already.

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Thursday was a blur of setting up the stand, washing, cleaning, polishing, cleaning again, polishing again, pointing out a missed bit, cleaning again until my entire body hurt. @RichardS dropped in to say hi, to help out and keep us fed and watered which was really nice! At about 18:00 we felt the stand and the cars were ready and I had decided I needed professional help as I found myself cleaning the inside of my wheel arches:

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"Hello, My name is Tom and I have a problem....!"

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We had a walk around the show, some clubs were still setting up and others were ready. Having a quick look around really showed the logistical nightmare. When you visit for a day, you don't realise just how much work goes into putting on a show like this. Take our stand for example: A van and trailer stuffed to the gills with professional lights and equipment that had been begged, borrowed and "stolen" was driven up the day before we arrived by some Ian and volunteers, The lighting rig was put up and all the lights setup before we got there, the next day, by Ian and his volunteers. The van was needed else where, so returned to its home, the trailer was left in a carpark the other side of the county and the volunteers had to make their own way home. We had never met these people and yet they were prepared to give up their time to help setup our stand. A massive thank you to them!

During our walk around that evening, I turned into a gooey mess when offered a chance to sit in my dream car, which I did not turn down!

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Then it was off to the AirBnB that had been rented for us for the weekend. The next day we were up early ready for the first day. We cleaned the cars again, tidied the stand and got ready to meet and greet the public! We took it in turn to man the stand, so we could also have a look around the show. Ian and myself managed at two halls a day. Here are a few photos from the day:

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We met up with Howard and Richard for dinner before heading back to the house to have a beer and sleep.

The next day was a long day, the show was opened at 09:00 (so we had to be there at 08:00) and closed at 18:30. Being a Saturday it was a lot busier and where the Friday had lull periods, Saturday was a continuous, constant stream of visitors. Being on your feet for 10 hours is hard work! I had a visit from a special person on Saturday which made my day too!

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Sunday was the last day of the show. We got there at 08:00-ish again and made sure the cars and stand was perfect. Craig popped in with some club leaflets and t-shirts to make us look a bit more professional which was great! The day was busier still, but went really quickly and at 17:00 it was announced that the show had finished and was closed, to which every car beeped and held their horn on for a good two minutes in celebration. After 4 days, 39 hours on stand, 23-ish hours sleep, 47 microfibre cloths and one stig visit we had done it!

However we couldn't leave just yet: Teardown was just starting. Once again, massive thank you to Ian's volunteers, they turned up with a van, a dodge pickup and the trailer from the car park miles away to breakdown the rig, pack everything away and load it up into the vehicles. We stayed on to help as much as we could, but these guys were like a well oiled machine and I think we hindered more than helped in some cases. By 20:15 everything had be packed up, we said our thank yous and good byes and we all drove out. I found it quite emotional, we had been a small part of one of the most prestigious car shows in the country, our humble cars had been lined up with Astons, GT 40s, even a £1.5m Bugatti Veyron and had held their own. So many people had come over to talk to us, to tell us that they had owned one, that they had one or that they wanted one. People young and old were taking photos and asking questions and taking an interest in our cars in such large numbers that it made you realise that young people don't just live on their playstations, older people don't only care about MGs and flat caps and that, most importantly, no matter how much electric gets pushed through in the coming years, people still want to see a massive, complicated JDM V6! Here are some photos from the last day:

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The drive home for me was the longest at 186 miles. Andrew, Ian and I convoyed until Andrew stopped to get some fuel. Ian and I carried on until he turned off on the M25 and then I carried on by myself until I got home just after 23:00.

I am truly thankful for being given the opportunity to take part in the show and to help the club in promoting itself to new comers, un-registered owners and people interested in owning our beloved Zeds. I am also incredibly thankful to @ianl and his team who gave up their time, petrol and money to help us put on the amazing stand that we had. Without them, we would have had a square of carpet and 4 cars. I do hope I get offered the chance to help out and show my car next year, but if others wish to have the experience, I will willingly give up my place for them as it is an amazing experience. Yes its hard work, yes its tiring, yes your feet hurt, yes you spend too much on autoglynn products, but the four of us helped each other along, spurred each other on, supported each other and became really good friends in the process!

Until next year....

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