Why Players Classic Is The World’s Best Car Show
Morning Glory

I would hope I’m not alone in absolutely loving the feeling of excitement which comes on the morning of a good automotive event.

The early alarm call is irrelevant as you’re already awake. You skip breakfast so as to get on the road that little bit earlier. Your car is already packed so all you have to do is shower, dress and head outside. You can revel in the glory of a cold start breaking the early morning silence. It’s absolute bliss.

All these feelings and moments are only heightened when you know that a good show is going to become a great one. Last weekend, that’s exactly what happened at Players Classic.

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On the morning of the show, I had already been in the UK for five days evolving Project GTI with the help of Regal Autosport, who are based around an hour from Goodwood, which would host Players Classic once again. With each passing day, the weather improved and so did the anticipation for the event.

Just the day before, we started to gather at Regal before making our way to the venue for a sneak peak at the setup on Friday evening, along with taking advantage of the setting sun for a couple of impromptu photoshoots. This event preview only ramped up the excitement levels, but we didn’t have long to wait for the real thing the next morning.

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I had been asked in advance if I wanted to show my car on the Wavetrac Differentials stand (of course the answer was yes) which happened to be beside the CSF Radiators stand. We decided to meet in advance at a Shell station around 20 minutes from the venue so the cars could roll in together and make arranging things that little bit easier.

To the residents who live near the ring-road in Chichester, I in no way apologise for your early morning wake-up call as the sound of several thousand horsepower made its way to Goodwood. In fact, you’re welcome.

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Arriving at the venue around 7:30am, cars were positioned, cleaned and readied for the day. While some of our entourage would remain static for the day (myself included), other members had a more suitable location with easy access to the pit lane.

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If there’s one word to describe Players Classic, it’s variety. There is absolutely something here for everyone. If you can’t find something you like or enjoy, then you simply cannot consider yourself a car enthusiast.

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For a start, it’s not your average show.

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What started just a few years ago as something that could’ve been considered the secondary event on the Players calendar, has quickly escalated to becoming the event of not just their year, but for any car enthusiast who attends.

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It’s an event where every scene and automotive sub-culture are not just represented but seamlessly integrated together. There’s no dividing line which splits everyone into their respective categories, save for one group, which I’ll get to in a bit.

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Because there’s no division, one must explore every square foot of the venue. I say ‘must’ but really, you will find yourself wanting to look everywhere, as you never know what’s hiding in one particular corner. A vintage Alfa Romeo sharing the same hallowed ground as ‘bagged show cars, themselves not a stone throw away from supercar exotics or low-riding vintage American classics.

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A pair of exquisite Porsche 356s beside an Austin A35, a 500hp Audi S1, a slammed BMW 7 Series and an exquisite Volkswagen Scirocco. Where else does this happen?

One Day Isn’t Enough
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There’s also the venue itself. Goodwood Motor Circuit, which hosts the annual Goodwood Revival, but not the Festival of Speed, is maybe the best venue for a show on earth, especially when the weather is as good as it was last weekend.

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It’s an authentic venue that’s impeccably presented. The manicured lawns and foliage, to the perfectly painted white buildings and the packed stone which paves its way around the venue – it’s all immediately identifiable as being Goodwood.

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The same can be said of the simple wood-framed pit garages in the paddock area, perhaps even more so. While in September they’re home to some of the world’s most expensive and rarest of race cars, in June, they host the countless pride and joys of enthusiasts from all over the United Kingdom, Europe and beyond.

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If there was ever a case of ‘you never know what you’re going to get’, then this was a pretty good example. It’s not often you see a supercharged V8 Mercedes-Benz with a blower poking high above the bonnet line. It’s both ridiculous and brilliant in equal measure.

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Any UK-based event with ‘classic’ in the title is always going to have a Ford or seven in attendance. But while there was a great turnout from the blue oval enthusiasts, I would have preferred if they hadn’t segregated themselves (I’m unsure if it was by choice or not) from the rest of the show.

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I also would have preferred if so many of them hadn’t left around lunchtime, as I never got the chance to properly document them. Maybe next time?

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Dare I say it, but I think the UK scene is evolving at the moment. There were a considerable amount of track-prepared cars getting laps in all day, which definitely felt like more than previous years.

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I think few will argue if I suggest that there are no better looks on a car than that of pure function.

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See what I mean?

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That’s not to talk down those who prefer style, of course, because some are very, very good at that. If you can combine the two, though, that’s where the sweet spot is. The F8x M3 on the Air Lift Performance stand nailed this particular aspect, sitting low on Rotiform LAS-R.

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I would have loved to get some track time in, but having changed so much on the car, I was quite happy to air Project GTI down on its 3H setup and hard park for the day.

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More so than other years, there was a much better representation from the JDM community, too.

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With both vintage and contemporary models on display, it’s a trend that I’d love to see continue into 2018 and beyond.

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Yes, that is a Renault 5 in the background.

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While the title of this particular post is a bit clickbaitey (don’t hate the player), I don’t think it’s too far off the mark. It’s certainly the first show I would recommend to someone from overseas if they wanted to see what the UK car scene is really like.

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This venue might host far more prestigious events over the course of the year, including the Revival, Members Meetings and the nearby Festival of Speed, but it still doesn’t diminish the significance of Players Classic.

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This is a car show, for car people, at maybe the greatest venue for automotive enthusiasts on earth.

It’s huge, and one that’s a serious struggle to cover in a single day. It’s good then, that for 2018, the rumours are that it’s going to get an extra day. For now, this is just the beginning of our coverage from this year’s event as I’ve quite a few spotlights to go through which range from brilliant to bizarre and everything in between.

You’ll just have to decide which is which.

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos
paddy@speedhunters.com

Cutting Room Floor
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54 comments

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1

What a cracking show, with photos, write-up and weather to match! I gotta get myself along to that next year. Would love to see more of that liveried FB RX-7 too, any further info on it Paddy?

Author2

I would love to have known more about it, but I couldn't spare the time to hang around and catch the owner. Hopefully he or she might make an appearance here and fill us in!

3

Hey Paddy and Trikki, that would be my RX7. I have had it 3 years, and in that time it has seen some cosmetic changes and an engine rebuild. Under the hood is an old school 13B, bridgeported, and fed by a Weber 51 IDA carb.

4

Hey Paddy and Trikki. This is my 3rd RX7 and i've had it about 3 years, it has changed a bit in that time. The engine is an old school 13B, bridgeported, with Weber 51 IDA carb, giving it the go to match the show. It is an ongoing project (aren't they all) and i like to do as much of the wrenching as possible.
Forum link here - http://www.rx7fb.com/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1419

5

Absolute great show not what I expected was so much better. Well done to everyone involved
And a great write up.

Author6

Thanks, Darren. Glad you enjoyed the show and hopefully other readers will appreciate that it really was that good.

7

What car does the black fender with perfect fitment in the foreground of the yellow Alfa Romeo belong to??

Author8

Definitely an E92.

decom_372f30a3a881a5f0058c9f0a3005a9b4_594ac49f1d261.jpgdecom_372f30a3a881a5f0058c9f0a3005a9b4_594ac49f1d261.jpg
9

I had been pretty sure it was a 350Z. Now I'm thinking it isn't, but I'm at a loss as to what it would be. It ALMOST fits perfectly

Author10

An E92 BMW, I think.

11

That green mk2 astra estate..wow need to see more.

13

An Opel kadett from the Netherlands,

14

Agree. I spotted that. it's not every day you see a Mk2 Astra these days, let alone an estate.

15

I gotta check this show out. Great coverage. No idea how I've missed this.

16

Thank you, Paddy. This article really fixed my state of mind.

17

Was a really good show this year, the quality and variety was unreal! I was very honoured that my old Dolomite Sprint was chosen to sit among some really cool cars.

18
ReallyForeverAlone

I was skeptical, but this really is one of the best car shows I've seen featured on SH. Nice!

19

Definitely gonna have to get my arse down there next year

20

The best car show? That's like the best woman, or the best song. As the English would say, what a load of bollocks. Looks sort of mundane to me, mostly stock road cars with wheels and a few bolt ons here and there.

""While the title of this particular post is a bit clickbaitey""

well at least you admit it.

21

Don't criticize or give any negative feedback mate! its forbidden on here.
I agree with you, looks like stock Euro cars with wheels and bags. Yawn.
But, I do say, each to there own and whatever floats your boat, but the
title was very misleading.

Author22

You're definitely the sort that people avoid at parties, aren't you?

23
Rob Anthony Stark

Is it possible to get details of who puts the event on please, myself and some friends have some unique cars the event owners may be interested in showing

25

Seems UK car scene have been and still is huge, would love to come and just spend at week doing car stuff. Also love your relaxed feel about your own GTI, really how it should be.. drive anywhere, have fun, drive some track, check out events. Moving away from the hardcore track pursuit now, getting an E30 that can do it all with "project beige" and your car as inspiration.

Author26

Cheers, Johan. It's something I'm very happy with at the moment.

27

Great coverage as always Paddy. Did I count five trumpets on that Beemer? And I love that there are so many cars in the background that intrigue me just as much as the car of focus. Love it.

Author28

There's a sixth one there :)

29

Cutting room pic 11, E30 Bmw I think but what's with the bonnet, has it been sectioned? Nice trumpets!

Author30

I noticed that on two E30s, like a half front bonnet. Strange, but looked good.

31

Many thanks for the shot of my old Celica Paddy! Top work. Brilliant show as always, the quality of cars there is amazing but damn it was toasty! Need to get my Aircon working! Hope you had a good day. Catch you next year!

Here's a front shot of the anyone was interested :)

Author33

Lovely car, mate.

34

Thanks fella! Yet another year I've managed not to bump into you to say hello haha. Any chance you got any other snaps of her?

35
Miles Hayler-MacMillan

Wow. A lot of inspiration for my W202 C220 in there...

Author36

You mean a big supercharged V8?

37
Miles Hayler-MacMillan

Oh, I wish! Priority no.1 is to stop everything from rattling!

38
Miles Hayler-MacMillan

Maybe a few years down the line though...

39
Matthew Dockery

Despite the clickbait title, you convinced me that this show is pretty far beyond most of what anyone else hosts -- even out here in California.

I think that the UK sits in this nice middle ground with a lot of enthusiasm and fewer cars than California. If you tried the same show out here it would be totally unmanageable just because of the number of people that would show up with cars.

Very cool show.

Author40

There's a LOT of cars in the UK, but the scenes are pretty divided. This is one of the rare ones that brings them all together.

41

It was my first taste of the UK car scene, and I made my way down from Belgium to see the event. Couldn't agree more that it's the perfect show to introduce people to all aspects of the car culture there. Circumstances permitting, I'll be back next year for sure, and hopefully I can get some track time in myself then. Also, a pleasure to meet you and have a little chat Paddy. Always nice to meer one of the faces behind Speedhunters!

Author42

It was nice to meet you, too. Thanks for saying hello!

43

Interesting article Paddy. I did Players at Goodwood back in 2013, but I was rather underwhelmed and I dropped it in favour of other shows over subsequent years. Certainly looks to be a good variety of cars in your pictures though, so perhaps I need to give it another try next year!

Author44

I did enjoy the first few outings, but it's definitely grown into its own thing and into the venue at the same time.

45

I think I'll have to make some free time for this event next summer when were back over . Looks too good to miss Paddy

Author46

It's absolutely worth the trip over, Joe.

47

Best show? Is that because you were there? Just visit Worthersee first. Oh yeah, a bit too far for you I guess...

Author48

What's Worthersee?

49

Yo I kinda want to see that slammed Tiguan.

50

I wanted to say that I think Retrorides Gathering gives a better idea of what the UK car scene is about but considering 95% of the UK car scene is nearly new cars on finance with wheels on finance and air on finance.....yup sums it up perfectly to me. Retrorides Gathering is a way better show in my opinion.

Author51

I must try and make it along to Retrorides some year, have heard great things. I do think the days of the 'financed' builds are drawing to a close, FWIW. Although they have helped introduce lots of new people into the scene, something which is badly needed.

52

"To the residents who live near the ring-road in Chichester, I in no way apologise for your early morning wake-up call as the sound of several thousand horsepower made its way to Goodwood. In fact, you’re welcome."

Man that was rude.... But True :D

53
Stuart Pilkington-Way

Good show, but the track time was absolute shambles. Totally overbooked. With the drifting killing the hourly noise limit.

54

It is a great show but the organisation for the track time is an utter disgrace, ask all the track guys what they think, it was sold as 7-8 cars on track and no more than 30 cars when in fact it was 5-6 cars on track with over 50+ cars booked in meaning you paid £120 for 2 15 min sessions it's an absolute con and rip off, when people complain Players just ignore everyone, very unprofessional

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