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TV’s the Classic Car Show – entertainment, education or both?

By Edward Legge | News | 0 Comments

Channel 5 aired the first episode of the Classic Car Show on Thursday 5th February, the first show dedicated to classic cars on UK primetime terrestrial TV for quite a while. But did it offer any real insight into the world of classic cars?

We’re not going to offer any opinions on the production values or presenters – let’s just say that we thought it was nice to see the subject matter being treated in a professional and grown-up way. Think Top Gear pre Andy Wilman. The recent trend for “reality” TV shows that find and restore classics to see how much profit can be made are so far moved from reality (we’ve seen them filmed and also seen the restorations they can turn out) that the Classic Car Show was a breath of fresh air.

The show tackled a wide variety of subjects and cars.

  • The history of the Ford Mustang
  • Amusing car ads from the TV of yesteryear
  • Which are more desirable – modern supercars or classic supercars
  • Triumph TR7
  • Barn finds
  • Ferrari 250 SWB California
  • Cars to buy – appreciating classics

It was refreshing to see the subject matter tackled with honesty – a perk of not having to avoid treading on the toes of advertisers – and the valuations of cars were reasonably accurate. We thought Chris Routledge of auction house Coys did a great job of presenting the barn find section – he’s a natural – but with his involvement it will be interesting to see how the producers tackle the subject of classic car auctions which they must surely do at some point during the 13 episode run.

Appreciating classics was an inevitable feature and if you are in any doubt about the power of TV, the day after the program aired we had a number of enquires for the Ferrari 456 which Quentin Willson identified as having potential for appreciation. Did Quentin get his picks right? We’ll reserve judgement until the end of the series but his first picks were the Bentley Turbo R, Ferrari 456 GT and the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. He may be right about some of the prices going up, but the logic behind any investment potential was flawed. That said, so far the team seem to be treating the subject with a consideration,care and respect that has been lacking in other classic car programs – let’s hope it continues as it is in the interest of all classic car owners and enthusiasts to show the subject in a balanced rather than dramatic light. We did notice that the lead time between production and broadcast highlighted how far and fast the market can move in six months – magazines are already struggling to keep their content in real time (as we all now expect i to be)  and some of Quentin’s predictions will be already be proven right or wrong by the time the show is broadcast.

The highlight? When was the last time you saw a Ferrari 250 SWB California actually being driven….

 

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