View Full Version : Exeter Kit Car Show, 2011

23-10-2011, 09:47 PM
So... Exeter 2011. How do I sum up the last kit car show of the year? Well, from a personal perspective, I really enjoyed the day, for a number of diverse reasons; the 135 mile drive to the event was a great test of my new, more aggressive suspension geometry, and tyre pressures (20F, 22R); there was a good selection of cars to look at in the specialist car park, and in spite of the chill wind, the weather was better than expected; and lastly I was able to spend some more time chatting to Richard Oakes, gaining a whole new insight into the man and the machines that he designs.

Anyway, on with the show I took my DSLR this time, reasoning that there would be scant opportunities for creative photography in a car park, and no hope of getting anything in the low-light conditions within the exhibition hall. So my trusty Commiecam sat this one out...

I arrived at 10:20 am on Saturday, and the main hard standing was already filling up. The marshals spread the cars out a bit more this year, forcing more of the late arrivals up onto the upper level, but the total number of cars seemed much the same as last year. Anyway, here's what I saw...


Ah, my trusty steed, looking quite presentable for a change. I managed to wash the car last weekend, and finally applied a bit of elbow grease to all the black overspray left over from the chassis re-work...



Now, look at this Mirach, no less. Dating from the mid-80s, this open roadster was a genuine attempt to move away from the usual 7even style, and even featured ground-breaking GFX like the diffuser/wing across the back and deep side skirts. The headlamps (not present on this car) were also rectangular, helping to distinguish this from the rest of the herd.

As you know, I am not a fan of 7evens, but this I like muchly. The much later CC Cyclone draws a lot from this design, unconsiously or otherwise, but the Mirach was there 10 years earlier...

Even more annoyingly, this particular car (owned, I was told by a passerby, by one of the original manufacturers) also features my favourite wheels (Compomotive Turbos) in my preferred 15 diameter. Chances are they are Ford PCD as well, just what I need. I did the guy a favour (he'd left his sidelights on and gone inside the exhibition hall, so I flicked them off before he drained his battery), so I reckon a set of wheels would make us even, wouldn't you say???


Nice Karmann Ghia didn't stay long...


...Nor did this Ford-based Eagle, which although nicely turned out in a number of areas, rather lets the side down with the engine cover...


Oh dear, not my cup of tea at all I'm afraid! GT40 headlights are an interesting touch, probably more readily obtainable from kit suppliers than the original Renault 16...



Tiny Berkley B60 was brilliant! A classic mid-50s microcar design from the prolific Laurie Bond, the B60 had just the right blend of performance and miniature Ferrari looks. What I loved even more was how this tiny car was sandwiched between the row of Cobras, not reknown for being large cars in their own right...



...Shades of the Top Gear Peel P50 feature, if you remember it :D


TVR wedge looked very nice, although I'm not so sure about the exhaust treatment...



Its a very nice Ginetta G27 what I can't figure out is how it got to be registered on a '66 D plate. Perhaps it is actually a G4 which has been re-bodied? Anyway, I've always liked the lok of these mid-80s Ginettas, just a shame the Walklett brothers never did a hardtop version. Oh hang on, they did... that would be the G4... :D

More to come...


23-10-2011, 09:49 PM
OK, here's a few more...


I'm guessing a Deon or JH Classics Dino replica. Slightly oddly proportioned, but well finished and with all the right badges (even the intake manifold was Ferrari-monogrammed), the driver (wearing shades), was giving it all that, saying how rubbish the real Ferrari V6 was and how much of a rot-box the original bodywork was. Of course, he completely missed the point that the 246 Dino was one of the best-handling cars ever to leave the Maranello factory, something that this transverse V6 powered car (probably an Alfa) could not hope the replicate with Macpherson struts.

At least he wasn't pretending it was a real Dino... at this event.



Walking along the top row I caught a glimpse of the back of another Nova its Nena (as was). New owner Ces and his wife drove down for the day from Kingston (I think). The car is looking very good, and Ces has fitted heaters now which made for a much more comfortable journey!


I think this is the best angle to view the Ford-Eagle, but it still looks more dragster than sports car.


Inside the hall, Chesil were showing off their tube frame for the 550 spyder replica, with reversed IRS gearbox and period features such as enormous grooved drum brakes. As a replica of a 1950s racing car chassis, it works, although the whole affair is rather flimsy by modern standards. Fibreglass velocity stacks are a nice touch :D


Finally, this monstrosity caught my eye the nose looks like it might be off a Tiger, but it is essentially a generic 7even so heavily modified that it looks like a Clubmans car. Backing on to the Blackjack stand, the huge rear wing made a handy arm rest while talking to Richard.

So that was Exeter 2011. It was great to meet up with Mick and Sue, and catch up with James and Sarah and baby Martha, and meet Ces and his wife as well. As always, our Novas continue to get plenty of attention from young and old alike. Lets see how many we can get together for the models 40th anniversary next year!


25-10-2011, 01:07 PM
:clapping: Great shots as always, Lauren! Your shows there seem to bring out the most unusual vehicles. Kit shows here, at least on the east coast... of which there is exactly one... seem to bring out the same cars every year. I don't know what the owner of the FauxDino was bantering on about, though... real ones were alloy bodied and not particularly prone to rot :whistling: . There's a poser who doesn't know his history born every minute....

26-10-2011, 11:17 PM
That Berkely is sweet, though for comfort I'd need just one big seat, in the middle...

Amazing how many wedge Tasmins are coming out of the woodwork these days now wedges are back in fashion. I think that serpentine exhaust outlet (reminiscent of the Rover SD1) was as-factory on the first cars.

27-10-2011, 11:30 AM
Amazing how many wedge Tasmins are coming out of the woodwork these days now wedges are back in fashion.

Couldn't have come soon enough in my view! But are they really back in vogue, or has the 80s styling now been accepted as classic retro, rather than boy-racer?

The same metamorphosis happened with the Capri a few moons back.

I've been checking the show reports on Pistonheads and most thought it was doing quite well considering the current financial climate.

Hey Mark - I'm glad you liked the Berkley, but what did you think of the Mirach???


27-10-2011, 11:33 PM
Never a fan of the Mirach unfortunately though I could see what it was trying to do. Simon Saunders design wasn't it? Presume after Tickford/KAT. Funny speaking of changing fashions I think that things like KAT bodykits on 1980s Capris/Rovers etc are now being accepted as "period modifications" by the classic car brigade instead of being ripped off and the rivet holes filled.

PS I hope you don't find any Wolfrace Turbos, to my eyes the current Wellers are a perfect compliment to the classic design

PS Googlig to see if it was SS who styled the Mirach I now see the Mirach is back in production??

28-10-2011, 08:05 PM
Its a Chris Field design I heard; AROnline says that this is the same guy that designed the Aquila concept in 1974, but the Mirach website also says Chris Field is an ex-GM stylist, and of course there was a Chris Field in the styling team that did the Vauxhall SRV under Wayne Cherry. Same guy?

Don't worry, I'm not changing my steelies just yet, but if a set of Comp Turbos with a Ford PCD came along I would be sorely tempted! My second choice is a set of Gotti 75BAs, basically the 4-stud version of option wheel for the Alpine A310. Having split rims would really help me optimise my wheel offsets, particularly at the front...


30-10-2011, 07:30 PM
Aha yes, you are right as always, it's the same guy who lead the SRV team under Wayne Cherry

Believe it or not I was actually going to suggest a Gotti type design actually but am clueless about PCDs. Of course a lady of your financial calibre could always plum for a set of billet split rims, preferably with a centre lock conversion :cool1: ; Image wheels do a Gotti style

30-10-2011, 09:22 PM
I have looked at Image Wheels but they aren't quite what I am looking for - and their billet wheels are very 2-dimensional, when what I am really after is the "deep dish" look of yesteryear...

Compomotive still do the Turbo style wheel, essentially the same as the classic race wheel but without the Goodies style writing, but the 15" version looks quite different from the original, which the current 13" wheel retains. The Schmidt TH-line series does the same thing with its 15" wheel. I phoned Comp up and asked them why their 15" TH is different from the 13", and the salesman told me they weren't! He was also surprised that I was even interested in what the wheel looks like, I guess they don't get many non-motorsport customers...

So for new rims the Gotti is probably still my best bet, although they are not well known in the UK - I think a VW importer sells them over here (with the wrong PCD of course), otherwise its MJL Gotti or GBS Alpine in France.

I'm using wheels with a Ford PCD, 4 x 4.25", or 4 x 108 mm in metric notation, which coincidentally is the same PCD as the Alfa Romeo 105 series, and the maximum PCD that Gotti will accept.

Apparently the Mirach at the show belongs to the previous manufacturer of the car, RJH Panels & Sportscars, who were based near Torquay. Clearly the owner still has a soft spot for these machines!


31-10-2011, 12:24 PM
Speaking as one who has a classic BMW E30 with body kit (from new) and a '87 Mercedes Cosworth that comes with a body kit a standard I am pleased to hear its now 'Retro classic', hate being a "boy racer" :drive: :cool1: