Back in the late 70s/early 80s, in the hey-day of indoor custom shows, Donny was among the best. Some of the biggest names in the game debuted their latest creations there each year. So this year’s re-launch of Doncaster under the banner “The National Custom & Sports car & Bike Show” promised to be interesting. Did it live up to the slick advertising hype?
Yeah, I think so. There are very few indoor custom shows these days but seeing the Nation’s finest road going creations presented in all their highly polished glory in well lit, air conditioned halls made a pleasant change. We haven’t had the best of Summers this year & Taz & I have experienced more than our fair share of cold, muddy fields!
The Doncaster RaceCourse Exhibition Centre proved to be an ideal venue, with plenty of free car-parking, indoor display space, outdoor tarmac areas, over 40 trade stalls, food vendors, stunt teams, club displays –what more do you want?
We strolled straight in the gate, with no queue at all. Some thought 15 quid each to get in was a little steep, but it’s no more than we’d pay to attend other similar sized shows. I felt there was a slightly ...corporate feel to it all. Just a little too stage managed & slick to be truly cool, but I guess that’s just the nature of large exhibition venues. The cars & bikes on show were dazzling –some literally so under the glare of numerous spotlights, which made one or two a bugger to photograph. The majority have been doing the rounds of the major shows for at least one season, but there were still plenty we hadn’t seen before. Calum’s beautiful black ’34 for example was out in public for the very first time, with just 3 miles on the clock. Custom Car & Back Street Heroes / Streetfighter magazines were both in attendance with a selection of their year’s cover vehicles.
Outside, under the high rise grandstands, the day visitors displayed their cars, with an organised ride-in by Harley & Yamaha owners & a gathering of Subaru & hot hatch boys. Three huge American 18 wheelers dominated one end of the tarmac with a selection of Monster trucks lined up in their shadow. Maybe that wasn’t your thing, but there was at least a little to please everyone. This was never billed as an all-out custom show. It was a custom & sports car & bike show, & as such, I think the organisers managed to present a pretty good cross section of the current British scene. Provided they tempted enough visitors through the doors to make it financially viable, Doncaster could well reclaim it’s place as the country’s top indoor custom show.