If you had to visit one car show a year, without question, it would have to be Players Classic.
I would say it is probably one of the most coveted on our British calendar. You don’t have to go far online or Instagram to get a good idea as to why. Even still when I visited Goodwood Motor Circuit in June this year, my expectations were met and subsequently surpassed. This was without doubt, my favourite car show.
High praise, yes but I don’t tend to enjoy car shows. I find them, cluttered, frustrating, a little cliquey and often full of people sneering at other’s creations. Here though, I felt surprised and a little ashamed of the broad strokes in which I brush over the reputations of such shows.
Arriving early on Saturday morning, I march through the gates into the precisely manicured grounds of Goodwood, my eyes widened as I scanned this historic place. This was special, before I even noticed any cars, I was here, the place I’d seen TV over the years since I was a kid. Finally.
I made my way hurriedly under the circuit in search of coffee and a place to sign on. People were still setting up, cars slowly creeping their way to their resting places. I wanted to get my bearings before slowly slaloming around all that Players had to offer.
Initial impressions are of bewilderment and mild panic. Everything is finished to such a high standard, I didn’t want to scurry past something without giving it my full attention. Even after going through pictures online I have seen several cars that I missed. Bugger.
Club stands were where you really needed to slow down, a group of cars all the same model could easily be overlooked. You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all right? Well no, not at all. There is a multitude of tiny details separating them.
And it is the details in the displays that governs your pace, it implores you to slow down. Nothing is going to vanish, this isn’t track action, take your time, relax and spend some time looking. So that is exactly what I did. I know I should have taken more photos and given mini features but the truth is, I am not sorry I didn’t at all. I really enjoyed just wandering around with no predetermined path or agenda.
As I mentioned before, flying solo meant I didn’t have to worry about anyone else getting bored. If I wanted to stop and stare for 10 minutes, then I could. I did bump into friends and other photographers many of which had been before and told me that this really is the event to go to. I was slowly learning why. There were families here, couples and groups of friends. There was none of the off key attitude you sometimes get at car meets. Everyone was here to relax and look at some nice metal work.
If you’ve not been before then I will urge you to go. It is hard to imagine how they could improve an event like this, maybe a massive on site barbeque? The juxtaposition here is brilliant too. Where else would you find a lowrider Chevy Impala parked about 20ft away from a McLaren 675LT both of which receiving praise and respect?
They have another event held at an airfield in Essex which I am now keen to check out. Carl and Jay really do put on a great show. The choice of venue is just as important as the choice of vehicles they let through. They might make it look easy but all of this has been carefully considered. This cannot happen by accident.
They also announced that next year they are going to make it a 2 day event. With over 800 cars in attendance this year, I can see why. The numbers are testament to their success but also how respected they are. I’d love to own a car nice enough to be displayed at Players. I don’t want to get sycophantic here but it really has it all, relaxed vibe, high quality builds, diversity, stunning grounds and the right crowd if I may be so bold.
I’ll definitely be heading back next year, if nothing else other than to enjoy the atmosphere.
Words & Pictures: Dave Cox (Shooting Dave)