The first edition of the British International Motor Show was organized by the Society of Motor Manufacturers. And Traders and took place in 1903 at the Crystal Palace (building) in London. The British Motor Show, of course, a vintage event has traditionally meant an unmissable parade of new UK metal. In lean times, the British end cheerfully held up by TVR (okay, they plastic, not metal, but you get the drift). Sadly the Blackpool fun factory is no more. And this time we’re relying on the Vauxhall Insignia, Lotus Evora, Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed and a smattering of interesting electric cars to fly the Union flag for innovation and style. The 2008 show needs to be a cracker for another reason, though.
Curiously, for more than half a century, any British Motor Show held in a year ending in eight has fallen into the vintage category. The shows of 1948, 1958, 1968, 1978, 1988 and 1998 boasted British stars that drew big crowds and great attention. So, lest we forget, here are the highlights. 1948 After the grimmest years inmotoring history, the British Motor Show returned to Earl’s Court in west London for the first time since the end of the Second World War. It was to be an automotive spectacle the like of which would never be witnessed again.
The headline acts were the incredibly fast and beautiful Jaguar XK120. With its gorgeous DOHC straight-six engine, and the all-important Morris Minor from the Nuffield Organisation destined to be one of the best-loved economy cars Britain ever produced. But that was just the start. On almost every stand there were brand new cars, a positive orgy of never-seen-before family models from British manufacturers. These included the Morris Oxford/Wolseley 4/50 and Morris Six/Wolseley 6/80 ranges. A new Hillman Minx, Austin’s A70 Hampshire, Vauxhall’s Velox and Wyvern. The Singer SM1500 and the Sunbeam-Talbot 80 and 90.