A day at the British Motor Show in a 1969 MGB GT – Ollie Brant (11yrs)

My Dad bought his MGB GT in the summer of 2020 and since then I have been enjoying going on road trips and travelling to car shows and meets. As you may know the maintaining of an MG is more important than anything else, so I am always willing to help fix things on the car. Our most recent problem were the brakes – as we discovered on the way back from a wings and wheels meet in Hampshire. So, we decided to flush the master cylinder of oily gunk and bleed the lines of old fluid, that seemed to work and was good preparation to take the car to the British Motor Show the following weekend.

It was the Saturday of the British Motor Show and it was an early, 5:30, start. I was up and ready early, so we decided to head off ahead of time. We stopped off at Popham Services for a hot chocolate on the way and arrived at Farnborough Airfield a little before 8am. Five minutes later the rest of the MGB owners arrived, as most had stayed in a hotel overnight. Now that they had arrived, they opened up the MGB Register gazebo and inside was the best car at the show, the Marathon MGB, which drove from London to Sydney in 1968. Over 100 cars started and only 56 finished. On top of that, it was the only sports car to complete the race.

Now the MGB Marathon was out it had to be driven away as it was part of the arena display on the day. Now that it was gone, we were parked up in to our display position – eventually, Dad got the car in place, so I started to help clean the car as it had got a bit mucky on the way up from Somerset.

I knew that it would be a busy today, so I decided to go down to the main exhibition hall early to see what was there while it was quiet. Just outside the hall there was an amazing line up of super cars – Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Aston Martins, McLarens and Mercedes. They were all very impressive and extremely fast. Now that I was inside, I started to wonder around looking at the magnificent, old and new cars. I saw the Car SOS stand up ahead so wandered up towards it, but suddenly I spotted the Metro 6R4. It was incredible, and to top it off were more incredible cars, an Austin Healey 3000, Jensen Interceptor, Wizard Beetle and an old Bedford Ice-cream Van!

After lunch and a few more wanderings around the show, it was 4:30, so I looked at the timetable to see what was on next, only to discover that Tim & Fuzz from Car SOS were doing a car quiz. So, I headed on down early to get a seat. When I arrived it was surprisingly full, so I looked around to spot an empty seat. Luckily, I spotted one on the fifth row and took it quickly.

It was the sixth and last question, so decided to take my chances after all the clues had been read out, I answered the Question as an Aston Martin DB5, but sadly Fuzz said it wasn’t the right answer and, in the end, it was a DB9.

Later that day I was invited to take a ride in the Marathon MGB, as it was getting driven back from the arena to the Register stand. As this was a great opportunity, of course I said yes. About an hour on, and I was heading off with Mike Barclay to go and collect the car. As we were a bit early, we went to watch the Caterham experience, the drivers must have had incredible training to do doughnuts around traffic cones with no hands on the steering wheel. It was especially scary when there were three cars on the same part of the track.

By now it 6pm, so we went to collect the MGB Marathon. When the engine started up, it was surprisingly smooth and already I could tell it would be a very enjoyable ride. That small journey made a huge difference in the way that I liked that car. Now the car was back it was time to leave, so we packed up and said goodbye.

The British Motor Show is an amazing event. While I was there, I learnt a lot, so I recommend it to all car lovers and hope to go again next year. Even if you don’t own a classic, vintage or super car, you should still go along to enjoy the fun.

Ollie Brant