A brief perusal
Compared to earlier years Motorfair has become far less dealer-orientated when the sale of secondhand cars was part of the so-called attraction, until it has now taken on the mantle as Britain's other Motor Show. It is now very reminiscent of the traditional Motor Show with full manufacturer support and new models delayed until an announcement can be made at Earls Court.
A whistlestop tour around this year's show produced a number of models well worth seeing. Ford had the new XR2i, Rover the completely new 200, Vauxhall the mauch vaunted new Calibra, Mercedes-Benz the impressive 500SL and Honda the new Concerto. On the Jaguar stand the 4-litre was proudly displayed while the Nissan stand had the British premier of the sleek 300SX. Of greatest interest on the Fiat stand was the Fiat Turbine car, but before anyone becomes too excited, it is 35 years old. Nevertheless it was capable of 250 km/h. The Mazda stand featured the forthcoming MX5, a gorgeous creation, and the new 323 range, while the Discovery could be found in cutaway section on the Land Rover stand. Mitsubishi were proudly showing off its Group N winning VR-4.
It was level 2, though, which provided the most interesting cars. Ugliest car of the show was undoubtedly the SZ to be found on the Alfa Romeo stand. Well worth a look nevertheless while a glance away showed what can be done with graceful curves -Panther's new Solo. The difference this year as far as that car is concerned is that the it is actually on sale now, the first one reputedly going to a happy customer even while the show is still on.
TVR unveiled the new Speed 8, the sensual 350i replacement. Featuring a new body, new chassis and new 3.9 engine, TVR was taking the show very seriously. Looking rather lonely on its own stand, however, was the Railton Cabriolet, but at £88,775 plus that was hardly surprising.
The Portman Brabus stand was interesting. Four Mercedes-Benz were displayed including a splendid 5005L which Motor Sport has previously commented on. More eye-catching perhaps was the bright red 190 with a 3.6 24-valve engine. Hopefully we will be bringing a test report on the car at a later date.
On the other side of the stand was Portman Lamborghini with a couple of 5.2 litre V12 48-valve Countach 'Anniversary' QVs on show, the anniversary denoting 25 years of Automobili Lamborghini SpA and professed to be the last ever model of the Countach.
Naturally an F40 was to be found on the Ferrari stand but more significant was the new 348tb. Unfortunately that model has already sold out for the next five years.
Tom Walkinshaw on the JaguarSport stand was in a pretty upbeat mood. Plans are going ahead for an expansion into Europe in March while America is also being eyed-up for the future. The cars bound for Europe will have catalytic convertors which will subesequently be found on British market cars. Alongside the fabulous XJR-S 6.0 litre sportscar was the brand new 4.0-litre XJR Sports Saloon. Delivering 251 bhp at 5250 rpm it can reach 60 mph from standstill in 6.7 seconds in manual form and has a top speed on 147 mph. It is probably the most important car the company has ever produced.
Lotus had their pretty new Elan and Middlebridge Scimitar the revived GTE. Reliant had brought along a completely re-styled Scimitar powered by Nissan's CA18ET turbo injected engine. It certainly looked far better than its ugly predecessor. Further along the aisle Turbo Technics had one of the turbocharged Peugeot 205GTIs, but clothed in an all-new body by Dimma Autostyling. Expensive at £21,000 it looked smashing, and with the performance of the free-revving turbocharged engine looked a better bet than BAC's M-30 Mini we recently tested. That, incidentally, could also be seen at the show.
Nestled alongside the Peugeot was the oddly named Minker, Turbo Technics version of a hot Cosworth. That on show is the second one, but if things go according to plan, 50 to 100 Minkers will be made a year, but at a tad under £42,000 you are talking a lot of money.
Marcos, Caterham, an Aston Martin display stand and the cars going through the Brooks auction as well as several accessory manufacturers and suppliers could also be found on level 2 making that floor as interesting as the main area despite the lack of square feet. A good show and one well worth making the trek to if there is still time. WPK