No, by and large, the static motor show, with its scantily clad girls embarrassingly still adorning new models and men in suits sweating under hot lights in huge expo centres on the industrial outskirts of cities, should have died a death in the decade it’s currently stuck in – the Eighties.
You might argue that static displays of cars have their place, and I’d be tempted to agree, if only one manufacturer were given the chance at a motor show to use their imagination, to innovate with the space allowed, to stick a tree and a remote-controlled off-road course in the middle of it, as Land Rover did at last year’s Festival of Speed, or turn the whole space into a giant toy box, as Honda did at the same event. But everyone’s constrained by yet more men in suits and must put their cars on a shiny floor, under hundreds of lights, and wait for the public to gawp from beyond the roped-off VIP area. It’s a wonder customers didn’t boycott these events years ago.
Talk to any manufacturer, and any member of the public (some journalists still like the networking element of a traditional motor show, so you won’t find them debating its existence), and the only motor show worth going to is one where the cars move, and the public is invited to smell them, touch them, hear them and sit inside for the journey. You can see where this is all leading – to a big thumbs up for the Moving Motor Show at Festival of Speed every summer. “You would say that – you’re writing a column for Goodwood”, I hear you point out. Only I’ve been a motoring journalist for nearly 15 years for The Telegraph, and only written for Goodwood Road and Racing for one, and yet it’s been apparent since day one of my career, that the world desperately needs more dynamic, lively, entertaining, welcoming motoring events like the Moving Motor Show, and that the traditional motor show is a dreadful idea. It’s a misogynistic, dull, staid, unfriendly event, off-putting for customers, families, women, the young and the old.
Time to knock it on the head.