“Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
There’s a common misconception that the best job in the world, should also be the easiest. For the most part, it’s not true, unless your idea of the best job in the world is the easiest job in the world. Otherwise, a dream job situation requires a considerable amount of untold hardship and endurance to get where you want to be.
Okay, fair enough, we’re not exactly braving 40-foot waves in the Bering Sea but it doesn’t mean what we do is particularly easy, either. This doesn’t just apply to Speedhunters either, but nearly every automotive media person I know whom puts in serious effort on a regular basis.
Over the course of 72 hours last weekend, I spent 22 hours shooting, 25 hours travelling (with 16 of those hours behind the wheel), and another four hours just waiting to board a ship. To be honest, even at that, it was a pretty chilled weekend considering what I could have been up against at the Nürburgring 24HR…
I think I’ve only missed one Players Classic over the years (the one year which it rained, too) so I’m pretty familiar with it as an event. I also think that between all of us who have covered it over the years, there’s not many aspects left to cover. A quick glance at the backend of the site shows that I’ve published over 20 stories on this show alone. So, there comes a point where you need to accept that maybe it’s time to take a break.
On a purely selfish note, I also realised that I’ve never had the chance to view the event as a regular attendee. So, in all my wisdom on Sunday morning, I grabbed what I would normally bring to a show as a visitor and started making my rounds without any sense of urgency or pressure to create content. After I had given Project GTI a quick detail first, of course.
Regardless if I’m working or not, I always like to arrive at an event early. I’d much rather get up a couple of hours earlier rather than sit in traffic for an hour trying to get into a venue. This does give you a brief window of opportunity to enjoy a show before the hordes arrive, too.
One of the first cars I wanted to look at in some level of detail was Tom Clarke‘s Renault 5 GT Turbo. Probably not a car you might expect to see at an event in 2019, but that’s kind of the point.
This is basically a peak Max Power era build, but completed to a much, much higher standard than it would have been some 20 years ago and before cars started getting loaded down with two tonnes of ICE…
There’s a lot of contemporary touches to it; from the colour, Liquid Yellow, which is from a Clio 200 and other Renault Sport cars, along with the factory Recaro Renault Sport seats. and some of the interior pieces.
The car at very top of the feature is also a looker, and has appeared on Speedhunters before, albeit in Japan…
It’s a former Spirit Rei PS13, which has been imported into the UK in recent times. It’s bloody great to see ex-Japanese demo cars being taken care of and preserved, as I’ve lost count of the amount of them that have been lost since coming to Europe.
Also, it’s still static. There’s more on the current owner’s Instagram page.
With the track closed for action on Sunday, the show was able to expand to over 1000 static cars for the second day of the event. It filled up pretty quickly.
To try and put 1000+ cars into perspective, I believe that the inside paddock holds around 350 cars, which is still a pretty considerable amount. When they’re 350 worthy cars, it makes it all the better. I’m not sure there’s that many other events around which offer both the level of variety and quality of cars. At least not in Europe, anyways.
In previous years, I’ve often tried to create coverage based on breaking down the cars into their respective sub-cultures, but while walking around on Sunday, it’s now clear that this was the wrong approach.
If I had to pick one car of the show, it probably would have been this Ford Escort Harrier. It’s such a fresh approach to the tried and tested classic Ford formula.
I’m loathe to say it, but it struck me as being Singer-esque in its execution, although perhaps not in its concept. An 1,877cc crossflow connected to a four-speed sequential, a shaved and painted engine bay, a simplified interior with modern switch gear and a custom built fuel cell in the rear with a carbon-floored boot area. Amongst many others, of course.
Exploring Goodwood Motor Circuit without a particular destination or purpose, went a long way towards opening my eyes.
When you have a story in mind, you sort of become blind to cars which don’t fit into the narrative you have planned. You just see more.
A car which would have been hard to miss, regardless, was the aptly named ‘VTEC Van’. There are lots of VTEC converted Minis in the world, as it’s a common swap with readily available conversion kits. This was the first time I can recall seeing one with the motor in the rear, however.
In this case, it was a K20 sourced from an EP3 Civic Type R mounted behind the front seats, with the radiator and fuel cell moved to the front of the car. When it rolled in that morning (there’s a photo at the start of this feature), I never for a second thought it contained such brilliance.
Still, no matter what way I approach Players Classic, from either a focused work perspective or a more relaxed walk around, I still don’t feel like I’m even scratching the surface of everything here.
I don’t even know if any type of media can do the event the justice which it deserves, it really is just best appreciated in person. As it continues to grow in both size and quality each year, I would be confident that 2020’s occasion will be even better again…