Show is world’s largest gathering of more than 3,000 iconic classic and vintage cars and motorbikes

Torbay Weekly

Paul Jolly, classic car specialist and valuer:

While attempting some form of further education in the City of London in the late 1960s, I decided to take a holiday job selling cars.

I put my best suit on, jumped in my Jowett Jupiter sports car and headed off to Guy Salmon, the Jaguar dealer in Thames Ditton.

“Hello,” I said, full of confidence, “I am looking for a holiday job as a car salesman.”

"Well," came the reply, “Thanks but we are only looking for full-time staff at present.”

Unperturbed, I went down the road to Cooper BMW and asked the same question.

“Love to take you on but we are only looking for full-time sales people at present.”

So I drove to Hurst Park Automobiles, the famous classic car firm at Hampton Court who sell Jaguar, Rover and Alvis cars and said: “Hello, I am looking for a full-time job as a car salesman.”

“Great,” they replied, “You start tomorrow at the Earls Court Motor show selling our cars on the Crayford stand.”

Lesson learnt that to succeed in sales, you must be adaptable.

I ended up staying for six years and became sales manager. Never did go back to the City.

The Earls Court show was an annual pilgrimage for many, and was the ritual place for ordering many a new car by the masses.

Press day would feature semi-naked models sprawled over the bonnets for the cameras.

That was how to sell cars in those hedonistic days! Probably not very PC today.

Earls Court's iconic Art Deco building has long since been demolished but fear not, the motor show continues at the NEC in Birmingham, right next to the airport with excellent travel connections.

The show brings together the world’s largest gathering of 300 car and motorcycle clubs with more than 3,000 iconic classic and vintage cars and motorbikes on display across seven halls at Birmingham’s NEC.

The next classic car event is held on November 12-14 and is a wonderful display reminiscent of the original shows at Earls Court.

I cannot promise any showgirls however!