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Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Transatlantic 175 set the template for Liverpool car shows

AT LAST. After what feels like an eternity, Liverpool’s had a proper car show we could all enjoy!

I know that Transatlantic 175 – as a celebration of Merseyside’s maritime, rather than motoring, heritage – encompassed a weekend of events focusing on lots of things other than old cars. If you’d wandered down to the waterfront over the weekend, you’d have been greeted with music, vintage fashion and – rather more impressively – the imposing sight of the Queen Mary 2 looming over Liverpool’s waterfront.

But for me (and it seems, a couple of thousand others) the real highlight was seeing 200-odd cars, ranging from Austin Sevens to Aston Martin DB5s, dotted around in front of the Three Graces. Not only was it a wonderful sight to behold, but something long overdue.

For years, it’s been accepted wisdom that car shows are seas of Sunbeam Rapiers and folding chairs held in the grounds of stately homes and on village greens. Events like the ones at Tatton Park, Cholmondeley and – on a smaller scale, last weekend’s Lydiate show – are great are pulling in some very diverse old cars and the band of merry enthusiasts who support them (I should know – I’m one of them).

But big car events held in town and city centres have a different pull altogether – the power to draw huge throngs of car nuts onto the high streets. It’s the sort of thing that’d make Mary Portas don a set of driving goggles and hop into a vintage Bentley – thousands of people who love cars going to look at Astons and Ferraris, and then spending their hard-earned cash in the nearby shops afterwards.

The Manchester Classic Car Show, now in its third year, brings more than 9000 car nuts within a stone’s throw of the Trafford Centre. Bradford’s annual event – held in front of its Grade I-listed city hall – is a bustling event now in its tenth year. That’s before I get to the Regent Street Motor Show and how it conveniently gets thousands of shoppers onto the London thoroughfare just before Christmas. There was only one question I heard all the classic car owners asking at the Pier Head over the weekend. When’s it all happening again?

Transatlantic 175 set a template for something the powers-that-be should have done ages ago. Liverpool is a wonderful venue with a lot of car-making heritage – let’s have more of this sort of thing!

For more pictures from Transatlantic 175 see the 8 July 2015 issue of Classic Car Weekly

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