So Stoneleigh has come and gone and we have finally managed to get our first proper show under our belts.
We did get cars on display at a couple of events last Summer but this was the first time we have attended an official kit car event.
I have attended shows with the kids for over twenty years and have sadly seen the decline in the support these events get. I can remember Stoneleigh being the biggest of numerous events across the country but unfortunately it appears to be the only surviving event for the industry. It never ceases to amaze me at what people can achieve, often on a tight budget. There are some amazing cars out there.
Over recent years I have noticed that some of the more interesting and unusual kits and suppliers seem to have faded away so we weren’t sure where to pitch ourselves. We supply three kits but with a limited budget didn’t know what car to display. I was mindful that our Kobra demonstrator is now in need of a tidy up and it couldn’t compete with some of the big guns who were undoubtably going to show some fantastic cars. Our Koupe demonstrator is currently under construction so that wasn’t an option so we found ourselves falling back on the Kalifornia which although a year old was our first build and the car that started our little venture.
Again the stand design was something that we couldn’t spend loads on so we needed to come up with something a little different. Belinda always has vintage items hanging around so we went with a 60’s theme to match the car. We purchased some old apple crates and filled them with 60’s memorabilia along with some pop-up stands purchased on Ebay and supplied by Chris at Tribute.
On Saturday we slowly headed up the A34 bound for Kenilworth. Somehow I managed to end up plodding along in the old motor home with the girls whilst Belinda cruised up in comfort in the Kalifornia, stopping off at Warwick Services for a coffee which seems to be the law for all kit and classic car drivers.
After a coupe of trouble free hours we arrived at Stoneleigh and although the signage was quite clear there was a little confusion at the gate. The poor chaps booking us all in didn’t seem to have a clue and some of those in the building traffic jam became very frustrated.
Once inside again directions and instructions were very vague with the guys employed to sort things out not having and clear instructions. We had paid for an electrical hook up but nobody new how that worked. Eventually some very organised campers set things up and thank you to those guys who moved their caravans so that we could plug in. There was further confusion as organisers didn’t have any real plan of how to get to our stand in Hall 2 and as we hadn’t exhibited before we had to make it up.
Early Sunday morning we were up bright and breezy and ready to go. After the mandatory bacon sandwich I got dressed up in my Goodwood style classic overalls and flat cap and headed off to the hall, leaving the women folk applying make up etc etc etc….
We were positioned right in front of the doors in Hall 2 so we were really happy as visitors to the show were faced with our bright red car as soon as they entered. By 10:00 we were all set and hoping for a good reaction. I was stood there like something from Open All Hours, Belinda and her friend Sue were dressed to impress and Ben was sporting his Classic Coachworks polo shirt and baseball cap.
Almost immediately we were talking to potential customers making a conscious effort to allow them to touch and go over the car, lifting bonnet, the boot and getting in. This is not always an easy thing to do but we felt this was really important as we want to be open and honest. The red car was our first and isn’t the best example in the world, perhaps a little rough and ready in places but it got a lot of attention.
People loved the car, what we are trying to achieve at the budget end of the industry and how we had presented ourselves with the period 60’s feel. Outside there was great support from the Tribute owners club and we thank them for travelling to the venue and offering their support. Without you guys we would have had no Kobras to show off and we really do value your comments and ideas.
Monday was a similar day with plenty of visitors but not quite as busy as Sunday.
By the end of the two days we were all pretty worn out and my sore throat has definitely suffered but we are over the moon. We have spoken to old customers, potential new customers and got some great contacts.
Hopefully we will now receive some orders for kits or builds and look forward to the future.
Numbers are falling and prices are rising but we need to keep Stoneleigh alive so we will definitely be there next year.
Once again, thank you all for the kind comments and the overwhelming support we have received. We love what we do and the positivity drives us onwards and upwards.
Particular thanks to :-
Chris at Tribute, TKC Magazine, Complete Kit Car, Grassbanks, (Richard, Dave P, Steve D)
(please see images on Stoneleigh page from main menu)