Players Classic: The Evolution Of The Perfect Car Show

The basic concept of any car show is so simple, that it’s very difficult to get it wrong.

Some still manage to make a complete and spectacular **** of it, but for the most part, it’s not that hard. You take an open area of some description, invite some cars to park up and voilà, you have a car show.

Because it’s so simple, it seems like everyone and their dog is running their own car show these days. Even over the last decade, the number of events every year continues to grow. While I don’t have an exact number, I would estimate that there’s been an approximate 6,000,004% increase (give or take) in the number of car shows on this side of the planet in recent times.

I’m sure a lot are doing it for good reasons, but I’m also certain that many are just trying to cash in…

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For sure, there’s plenty of imitators out there, too. Those who ‘borrow’ ideas from others as they wouldn’t dare invest their own energy and ideas into creating something of their own. Why would they? Hasn’t someone else already done the hard work for them?

Then, there’s people like Jamie McToldridge and Carl Taylor, founders of the imitable Players Show. If you’ve read Speedhunters at any stage over the last decade, you should be familiar with the (primarily) UK based series of shows. What originally started as a once year event in Essex, just outside of London, has grown into three annual shows in the UK and the USA.

One of these in particular, is very special.

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Having had the pleasure of visiting and experiencing some of the best shows and exhibitions on the planet over the last 10 years, I would rank Players Classic in its current format as the best of them all. Yes, I’m including the likes of Tokyo Auto Salon and SEMA in that judgement.

Not that the latter pair are bad in any way, I just feel that Players Classic is a little bit better than them.

It originally started as a one day event on the grounds of the glorious Goodwood Motor Circuit in Chichester, England. G.M.C. is just a short stone’s throw away from Lord March’s driveway, which plays host to something called the Goodwood Festival of Speed.  You might have heard of it.

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The Goodwood Motor Circuit itself hosts the annual Members Meeting & Revival events, which are about as prestigious as things can get here. As such, as a location and venue, the circuit is stunning. Every time I walk through the gate, I feel like I’ve been transported to an era where everything is just better.

The whole place is immaculately kept, from the pristine buildings and painted white fences, to the manicured grass and flowers. Exploring the venue during an event is one of the great automotive experiences.

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Of course, a venue alone does not make the perfect car show. The process begins months in advance as the Players team sort through thousands of entries to hand select the best of the best cars to feature on these hallowed grounds.

There’s no bias towards one particular automotive sub-culture, every car is considered on its own merits and for just being a good or interesting car.

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It’s the sort of event that rewards experimentation, too. It encourages people to build cars that they might not feel comfortable presenting elsewhere, because the kind of people who attend Players Classic are generally far more considered than those who attend other events I’ve covered. It’s a friendly place, filled with like minded people.

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Since 2018, the event has expanded to two days, with a track day taking place on the Saturday. There’s always a curious mix of cars out there; from McLaren supercars to old Fords, a Renault Twingo and seemingly everything in-between. Our technical editor, Ryan Stewart, was busy frightening himself on track all day in his E92 M3.

It’s the only place where watching a MK2 Escort chase a 570S feels normal.

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This was my fifth (I think) Players Classic event, and I had a little bit of a realisation on the Saturday evening after shooting all of these. I’ve never really taken the time to experience the event as a normal car person.

It’s always been for work reasons which involves chasing down cars, owners and stories for the duration of the event.

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Don’t get me wrong, I love working the event, but having created over 20 stories from the event over the last few years, I figured it was time to approach it in a different way. So, for the Sunday, that’s exactly what I done.

It just happens that a Speedhunters’ day off, isn’t your normal day off…

Paddy McGrath
Instagram: pmcgphotos
Twitter: pmcgphotos



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look at those gtis at the end there!


The only two cars from the Irish Republic!


And I don't know why more people don't make the trip. It was an epic weekend


the company wasn't bad either


Wow! thank you for sharing.


I grew tired of going to car shows a few years ago, trax, fast show etc all became the same and it just wasn't enjoyable but going to Players for the first time on the Saturday and being on track has restored my faith. Hands down the best car show I've ever been to. I just wish I could have been there on the Sunday so I could have taken it all in. Was also my first trip to Goodwood too. Certainly wont be my last!

Great job on the pictures Paddy, you even made my Puma look good!!


The car looks like great craic to drive, Jay. Hopefully can find you again & actually say hello the next time!


Deffo, we did brush past each other a couple of times but you looked like you were heading somewhere with intent and didn't want to slow you down!


You might have mistaken 'intent' for 'confusion' XD


Your Puma was cool to see on track mate! It was nice to have a little chat with you guys towards the end of the day as well. I'm the driver of the Belgian Twingo that was out on track that day as well :-)


agreed, nice chatting. I would have liked to have stayed and chatted longer but I had to get going back home.


I've been seeing Players Classics photos all weekend on IG and have been hanging out for a Speedhunters article to follow shortly afterwards. You haven't disappointed! Great article and photos




Nice coverage of a couple of days well spent being a petrolhead. The willingness of the attendees to stop and have a chat with you still blows me away! Everyone I met was genuinely kind and respectful, which is very refreshing to say the least! It was nice to be able to talk to you again this year as well Paddy.


Likewise, thanks for the chat :)

Chrissy Taylor

Bit biased but being on the gate as Carl’s mum! Have to say what a pleasure all the public are that supported this amazing event .


I should've added a note that the event also has the best gate staff!


Great article [as always] about a really great show. This was the second year showing my caddy and it’s the friendliest one in the UK by far with enthusiasts from all car makes coming together to enjoy each other’s creations and company at a lovely venue. Did look out for you Paddy so I could say hello and have a catch up but you were obviously busy!


I seen the van on both days, but didn't see you. Next year? :)


Was making more of an effort to wander around the show and not stand next to the caddy all day! Definitely see you next year or at another show.


Said it before and I'll say it again, its the best show of the year for me hands down, and I'm already looking forward to the next one.

That's also my little labrador getting fussed in the background of the GTR pic


Best doggo.


Cheers Paddy!

She certainly enjoyed roaming round trying to get a cuddle off everyone there!


Wow, so many awesome cars!
My favorites are the Stagea and the 2CV.


Too kind, Stagea is never going to be at the stage i want ha but im glad people appreciate it


Thanks for the shot of my Stagea/(Volvo). Great coverage :-)


Your Vovo is epic.......Kombi's as they say in Deutschland are the next big thing followed y MK 2 Golfs it seems !


Stagea was lovely, mate. Kudos.


Love the article and love the cars, but what I don't love is that Dino has been missing for a few weeks, care to shed some light on his absence Paddy?


He's been busy LS-swapping his GT-R.

Or, he's working on something we can't show you just yet. Probably the LS swap, though.


Hahaha! alrighty then, glad I have something to look forward to. I appreciate your reply Paddy.


Hopefully a 5th book though probably something to do with the speedhunters store.

Kevin Reynolds

So many great cars and a great balance of different styles, makes and models. So what is that black wagon? I couldn't stop looking at that photo! Is that the Stagea mentioned in the comments? Great coverage and would love to attend this event someday. Agreed that there are a gizzilion car events popping' up now, some trying new twists on an established genre (cars and coffee) but I have to say, working for an automotive event organization myself, that there is a huge amount of work that goes into putting something on at any scale and I commend those who put on quality events for the car enthusiast.


Yep is indeed my stagea and not R34 front ended like most popular ones :-)


Yes, it is indeed a Nissan Stagea.


Great coverage and pictures. Love seeing all those different styles and brands together at one show. Seeing your coverages of players classics I really want to make a trip to the show. But seeing all these cars I feel a bit overwelmed. They look all so clean and nice that I’m afraid mine is not good enough.


One thing I would say to that is don't worry about the standard of your car, we're all enthusiasts at the end of the day and as long as your doing what you love that's all that matters. My car certainly isn't anything special, its tatty and rough round the edges but its a car that gets used but I never felt like there was any elitism at Players. A car is a car and it can be respected in whatever form or condition it takes.


The first year I attended (which was also the first year of the event) was with my E90 320D, which wasn't at its best if I'm being completely honest. Every year since, I've tried to make the effort to develop what I have to be that little bit better each time. It's taken four years to get the GTI to a standard I'm finally happy with!

Essentially, take your time as there's no rush and enjoy the process :)


That Pantera looks awesome! (Requesting feature of it, please?)


Exactly, +1, and please! The only pics of it are teasers, and it has "game-changer" written all over it! Dialing in a look never seen before, with a classic sportscar, takes vision and guts. Now go gawk, everyone, while I swipe the e21-and-cafe racer combo :D

Antonio Alvendia

Damn, Paddy. The cars at this event look RIDICULOUS. Wish I could have gone.


Lovely bit of prose that sums up everything that great about my first visit to Players. It was a pleasure to spend some time with you the only problem is I shall have to build something for myself to take next year.... Don't tell Ronan or Conor.


Being from Cork, I don't think Ronan can read. Lovely to meet you!

Michael Rinaldi

Players is on the future bucket list of visiting the UK... so tasty.

In that sea of awesome cars, I'd honestly love to the daily the red VR6 Corrado on Schmidt's. One of my all time fav combos in the VAG world.


Belongs to a Speedhunters reader, too. He's @georgegeowilson on IG.


Just came across these photos


I like the diversity of this car show !

I haven't seen a wide-body Renault "Supercinq" like this since about 10 years, it brings back memories :P