When I last visited Autosport International in 2011, I couldn’t have imagined an entire section dedicated to aftermarket street cars ever being added to the show. But that’s what has happened in recent years as the motorsport show looks to acknowledge the importance of this part of the industry.
While it’s definitely an area of the show that’s in its infancy, I think they’ve gotten off to a pretty good start with decent representation and variety. As you go through this post, do bear in mind that I only attended on the Thursday of the event – the first of four days – and more cars were expected over the weekend.
The keen-eyed amongst you will recognise some of the cars from the Car Audio Security stand as featuring regularly in our UK event coverage from last year. In my opinion, this was the best representation of current British car culture trends and tastes.
The contrast between CAS’s lineup of subtle BMWs at the front and our friends at JVC Kenwood’s more adventurous creations (concepts courtesy of Khyzyl Saleem) at the rear was pleasing.
Behind this was a small selection of individual owners’ cars. I would have expected this area to feature more cars over the weekend as people normally work Thursdays and Fridays, but there was still enough here to keep me interested.
The lack of light was a bit of a downer, but we made do, and that MkI Golf was a highlight of the day for me.
At the other side was a selection of UK owners clubs, with the GT-R OC catching the most of my attention. I still have a big soft spot for the relatively unloved R33 GT-R, and there were a couple of nice examples here.
In addition to Liberty Walk Europe’s main stand, there was also a second Liberty Walk Europe Car Sales stand featuring this R35 GT-R and V10 R8 combination. The price? £69,995 (US$91,500) for the Nissan and £99,995 (US$130,500) for the Audi.
There were quite a few supercar customisers present, but try as I might, I cannot even pretend to feign interest. In saying that, I appreciate we all have different tastes and they proved popular with a lot of the younger showgoers.
I could almost come around to the matching Veyron and Mercedes 6×6, but I just can’t comprehend why someone would wrap their Lamborghini Huracán rose gold with a dark glitter rear. That’s probably old age, however.
I do have to apologise for overlooking Regal Autosport’s perfect antidote to all of the superficial supercars, with their supercharged Huracán, which I missed beside the illuminous green Lamborghini Urus.
The subtleties of a relatively stock Clio V6, an Astra GTE, a carefully modified R34 GT-R and a tastefully bagged Escort Cosworth were a treat for the eyes. Not to mention the sublime Land Rover 110 on the Tarox stand.
At shows, it’s all too easy to focus on the bits you don’t like, but there was a lot of good in here. It might always be overshadowed by Tokyo Auto Salon happening on the same weekend, but the only way Autosport International’s ‘Performance & Tuning Car Show’ (to give it its proper title) can improve is by people getting out and supporting it. More opportunities to see great cars should always be welcomed.
Besides, if they’re looking for help further expanding it in 2021, we know a few people…