For the past few year, our club has joined forces with the Wolseley Owners Club and the Landcrab Owners Club International under the banner “BMC Friends Together”
We have a regular stand at the Tatton Park Classic Car Spectacular, the biggest show in the North West, with 90 stands and over a 1,000 cars
Having three clubs pooling resources means that we can compete against the big clubs, with a large stand and substantial marquee. In fact we’ve won a 1st and 2nd best club stand in the last few years.
2021 was challenging, as instead of the usual 35m x 30m plot, we were reduced to 25m x 30m without notice. To make matters worse the marquee was erected in the wrong spot. As I surveyed all the cars crammed into a smaller space I declared “It looks like a 1960’s used car lot” and that was the genesis of my idea - the recreation of a period car dealership! The other clubs were keen to get involved and nobody could recall seeing the idea being used before
The Tatton show was to be held over the 2022 Jubilee Bank Holiday Weekend - this gave us the name of our dealership “Jubilee Motors”.
I studied old photos of petrol stations, car showrooms and dealerships and came up with a list of “must have” features.
Firstly, the marquee was to be our Sales Office. This was easy to achieve with period signage from petrol and oil companies which we reproduced on laminated paper and stuck to the marquee with strong fixing tape. We also included a few “MoT Testing Station” signs for good measure. (Thanks to our Treasurer John Dickson for the printing, laminating and backing of all the signs used on the stand.) Fence posts and Union Jack bunting were strung around the perimeter by Mark Chivers (Landcrab Club). Most of this was done on the Friday before the show. Our Lancashire Area Secretary, Ian Lee, brought his large petrol mower and cut the grass and the Landcrab team followed behind raking up the cuttings so that we had a nice surface to work on.
Now to the cars. We decided to use all the old stereotypes and cliches of car sales. The prices in the window were to be as per late 1960’s - so no car over £600 and a few for £80! (small disclaimers were added in case any wise-guys thought they could actually buy them!)
No dealership would be complete without salesmen. Steve McGonigle, Andrew Martindale and myself played the parts of roving salesmen - engaging the public in banter about the cars whilst dressed in the styles of the day and carrying clipboards with sales information and a 1969 Glass’s Guide for used car prices.
The weather was glorious on Saturday and we had a lot of visitors to the stand.
Period “Heartbeat” music was playing inside the marquee with free tea and coffee on offer. Unfortunately, Sunday was a bit of a wash-out but we still enjoyed ourselves immensely and raised a smile with the public.
The preparation for our stand was coordinated over a few weeks with a couple of conference calls and individuals were given responsibility for each area. The whole thing came together like a military operation and went very smoothly.
It goes to prove that car shows don’t just have to be neat lines of cars parked in a field.
They can be dynamic and engaging events!