The roar of the engines, screech of the tyres and cheers of the crowds filled Farnborough International at the weekend.
Crowds flocked to this year’s British Motor Show in their thousands and they were not disappointed with a wealth of activities to enjoy, along with celebrities, stunt shows and lots of new and old cars to check out.
An estimated 60,000 people attended the four-day event at Farnborough International and there were fun and games as Guinness World Records tumbled.
Stunt man Paul Swift broke a record two consecutive days for the most donut spins around a motorcycle that was performing a wheelie at the same time and he also broke the record for the world’s tightest parallel parking … at speed … in an electric car.
Everywhere you looked there was something for families to enjoy from Army parachute displays, drifting, car clubs, a supercar paddock with Ferraris, McLarens and Lamborghinis galore, an electric arena bursting with all the latest tech, driving lessons for children and some new model reveals too.
The SsangYong Motors stand was busy throughout the event with the latest Rexton Ultimate Plus variant and rugged Musso gaining plenty of attention. The new-look Rexton model goes on sale on September 1 with its perfect blend of luxury, on-board tech, practicality, styling and competitive pricing retailing at £44,995.
Commenting on new Rexton variant, Kevin Griffin, managing director of SsangYong Motors UK said: “In the UK, the SsangYong Rexton has set new standards and challenged its SUV competitors over the past few years with its value for money proposition. This new Ultimate Plus adds another trim level with even more luxury and spec, and yet still retains the excellent value for money position.”
Another model debut that was a real crowd pleaser was the all-new Subaru Solterra – a fully electric SUV that starts from just under £50k and oozes class and charm. Mazda showed its new CX-60 – the Japanese company’s first plug-in hybrid model, while Vauxhall had the all-new Astra on display.
There were informative Q&A sessions where visitors could quiz experts on all aspects of motoring and the Tech Theatre offered advice about the motoring industry moving forward with easy-to-understand details about future fuels.
The Live Action Arena and Live Stage drew massive crowds. Motoring celebrities such as Mike Brewer, Fuzz Townshend, Tim Shaw, Olympic star Iwan Thomas, TV presenter Abi Stevens, former BBC Top Gear host Tiff Needell and – of course – The Stig, were all in attendance.
Featuring everything from the latest high-tech electric cars to a glorious display of classics celebrating our unique motoring heritage, the British Motor Show developed its unique concept of being the most interactive car show in the world, with a 30 per cent bigger site and more than twice as many exhibitors as the show enjoyed in 2021.
British Motor Show CEO, Andy Entwistle, said: “We were absolutely delighted to see almost 60,000 people pass through the doors over the weekend - a significant increase on the 47,000 who came in 2021. To see so many families enjoying an affordable day out was a fabulous feeling, and our exhibitors, celebrities and our show partner, all had a brilliant time, with an event that was even better than last year.
"We got loads of positive feedback from show visitors and are looking forward to breaking even more records next year. One thing that really came out from both visitors and exhibitors this year was that many of them were overwhelmed by the diversity of the event, and moreover of the people that attended. Families, in particular, were extremely visible, taking advantage of a truly exciting and terrific value day out.
“From the very outset, one of our core aims was to re-engage the younger generation in a love of cars and the automotive industry. Seeing so many beaming young faces as we put on so much more than just a car show was my personal highlight of an incredible few days, and we can’t wait to do it all again next year.”
Regit caught up with a couple of families at the show and they were delighted with the range of activities on offer.
The Grays travelled from Birmingham with their sons Mark, nine, and Paul seven, and loved every minute. Dad, Simon Gray said: “It’s been a brilliant day. There was so much for the kids to watch and such a variety of events going on all the time. We will definitely buy tickets for next year.”
And their views were echoed by the Cardy family from Brighton. They travelled with their daughter, Emily, 13, and said they enjoyed the event immensely. Mum, Sarah, said: “It was a perfect family day out. I’ve been to the more traditional car shows in the past, but this has so much more to offer. We loved the supercars – they are a little bit out of our budget, but we can all dream.”
But one special young star really stole the limelight when it emerged he had travelled all the way from the US to attend the show.
Brandon Westerfield, 12, flew from Leonardo, New Jersey, specifically to attend the event – a birthday gift from his mum.
And the organisers certainly gave him the VIP treatment. As well as a Caterham drift taxi ride (Brandon’s advice: “Don’t open your mouth unless you like eating rubber”), he was treated to two Sporting Bears rides in an MG Midget and a TVR Chimeara.
His favourite car of the show? Despite all the supercars and fresh new metal on offer, Brandon chose a Citroen BX estate on display in the classic car arena.
“I’ve never seen one before,” he said. “This show is way better than the New York Auto Show.”
The British Motor Show 2023 takes place at Farnborough International from August 17-20. Tickets are available at www.thebritishmotorshow.live