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Autosport International 2010 - Roundup

This is a quick round-up of some of the more unusual displays and stands that caught our eye at this month’s Autosport International at the NEC.

Vulcan XH558

We have an especially soft spot for the Vulcan to the Sky project. Mike and Ann Newton have been long-term and very generous supporters of the project to keep Britain’s last surviving airworthy Vulcan bomber in the summer skies, and AD Group continues to be involved in the endeavour.

This year marks a landmark event for the Vulcan, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2010. Sadly, it also looks like being one of the aircraft’s most difficult years. The restoration of XH558 was completed just in time to hit the worst of the recession, and the hoped-for sponsorship has simply never materialised. It costs more than £2 million every year to keep the Vulcan flying, and so far most of that has come from private donations and public generosity. If you want to know more, or would like to support the project, or maybe just catch a glimpse of this wonderful aircraft before she disappears for ever, check out the appeal website or watch this video.


The Trust had a modest cubicle not far from the MIA stand, and was doing well selling calendars, scarves, books, models, branded clothing and other regalia. There was also an excellent cookbook packed with great recipes and equally tasty photographs! The one below is one of our own, taken at Waddington in 2008.

Autosport International 2010. Photo: Marcus Potts / CMC Graphics

All merchandise is available from the Trust’s own website, including some spectacular videos:


We hope to be able to make another announcement regarding XH558 shortly. We ran a feature on the Vulcan on our companion website,, in 2008, which includes additional background and history on the aircraft. It can be viewed here.

Click here t visit the Vulcan to the Sky Trust website

Chevron GR8

One assumes the designation of the new Chevron model was intended as a pun, but if the initial design visuals are anything to go by, this will indeed be a great little car. The historic company had a bare chassis on display at Autosport International, but confidently expects to have sufficient race-ready cars available in time for the start of the new-for-2010 Chevron GR8 Challenge Series, scheduled for May.

Autosport International 2010. Photo: Chevron Cars

Organised by the British Automobile Racing Club (BARC), there seems little doubt that Chevron sees this as an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Ginetta, which has seen an impressive revival in fortunes over recent years. Powered by a Cosworth YD 2.0 litre unit, the GR8 is also expected to achieve British GT eligibility, perhaps later this year. Further details from Chevron Racing.


Autosport International 2010. Photo: Motor MouseIt seems hard to credit that the now-famous MotorMouse made its television debut as recently as September 2009, when David Bailey presented his high-quality car-shaped wireless mouse to the Dragon’s Den. After a nail-biting discussion, it was entrepreneur James Caan who stepped forward with the best offer on the deal, and sales – and reputation – of the sleek sportscar-shaped mouse rapidly took off. Recognition soon followed, including a Garmin T3 Award and the Top Gear Gadget Award

Autosport International 2010. Photo: Motor MouseMotorMouse had a small stand at Autosport International, but were doing brisk business. On offer were four versions of the original design, in silver, black, metallic red and vibrant blancmange pink. Although tactfully described as being “based on an iconic sports car”, the similarity between the MotorMouse bodyshape and Porsche’s 911 has now been acknowledged with a licencing agreement, but an all-new model is due for launch in February.

Autosport International 2010. Photo: Motor MouseThis is expected to be a more accurate scale model of the new-shape Mini Cooper, and will be followed by a series of new designs, rumoured to include Audi TT, VW Beetle, a Lamborghini and Aston Martin.

Although there have been copies, including PC mice in the shape of TVRs, BMWs, Mercedes, the iconic Ford GT40, the McLaren F1 and others, none has yet managed to match the MotorMouse for build quality, dpi resolution and the discrete size of the wireless receiver, which remains the world’s smallest. Further info from Motor-Mouse.


Although its arrival was delayed, and thereby missed the trade days, another new car certainly caught the public’s attention over the weekend. Despite a very unassuming corner stand, and no trimmings, the presence of an Aspira F630 was confirmation, at last, that this much-mooted project is now a reality.

Autosport International 2010. Photo: Marcus Potts / CMC Graphics

The car is a fresh design, but there are styling clues that hint at inspiration from a number of other low-volume cars, ranging from SLC or Stealth, to Arash AF10, Noble M600, Koenigsegg and Ferrari Enzo. The overall effect, however, is one of svelte power, with few of the slatting, ducts and other adulterations that so often mar the lines of supercars in this league. Perhaps the only flaw, and one put down to necessity, is the antenna-like door-mirrors that droop ant-like over the side windows. Any lower, however, and there’d be nothing visible behind at all.

Autosport International 2010. Photo: Aspira Cars

The Autosport appearance represented the world debut of the Aspira, with the car on display being the first production example to leave the factory. Fitted with a race-derived GM Corvette LS376 6.2 litre V8 generating over 580 bhp, supercharged units will also be available, and the top speed for even the most basic variant is expected to exceed 200 miles an hour. On-the-road prices are, for a car of this type, not completely eye-watering, but will still start at around £130,000. Henry Nickless, Aspira’s Managing Director , was on hand to introduce the car. He is perhaps better known as the man behind Worcester-based Chiron WSC, the LMP3 chassis that has taken several Supersports titles and is also seen in VdeV and current Speed Racing competition.

The whole project is still so new that the website remains unfinished and “under construction”, so please don’t take the Latin text too seriously. However, there are some images on that give some idea of how this car looks in the flesh, and it’s certainly impressive.

PromMech Racing

Autosport International 2010. Photo: Marcus Potts / CMC GraphicsOne stand at the Show was certainly distinctive, and very eye-catching. ProMech tools are quite well known, but the company has now branched out – radically – into office equipment, race-inspired art, gifts and gadgets. We’ve all grown rather accustomed to fancy cufflinks in the shape of wheels, radiators, dashboard consoles, car badges and the like, and ProMech’s are no exception (although the quality does look better than most), but their range of office chairs is somewhat unique. Leather-trimmed racing seats fitted to cast aluminium and chromed bases, in distinctive shades of red, black, grey and tan, come with miniature racing wheels and a hefty price tag.

Autosport International 2010. Photo: ProMech racingMore manageable is their Paddock Seat, at roughly £35. Like those cheap but occasionally rather unstable canvas and plastic examples, these fold neatly into a carry bag, but there the similarity ends. ProMech’s foldaway chair is substantially constructed around an aluminium frame and has padded seat support.

Prominent on the display, however, was ProMech’s rage of sculptured art and tables. All examples are made by crafting everyday workshop items into stunning visual shapes – hundreds of individually welded nuts shaped into human torsos (priced at between £100 and £300, depending upon size), or nuts, bolts, springs, chains, bearings and individually fabricated components to create a model of the famous Predator film character. Some of the Predator designs include a glass top to create a table, and are priced at roughly £180. Further details from ProMech, but turn the sound down!

Autosport International 2010. Photo: Marcus Potts / CMC GraphicsAquila

Anyone casually walking past the Britcar stand would have been surprised to see what looked, at first glance, to be a Le Mans style coupé prototype gracing the main entrance.

The Aquila CR1 does indeed bear a passing, and rather pleasing resemblance to an LMP2-styled prototype, perhaps with a hint of Dome or Toyota GT-One thrown in. However, the car is a very affordable track-day and circuit racer, with eligibility for events such as Britcar and a number of other continental race series.

The CR1 has already appeared in the UK, competing in the final round of Britcar at Brands Hatch towards the tail end of 2009, and it is hoped that one of these cars will take part in this year’s revived Silverstone 24 Hours at the end of September. The thinking behind the Aquila is one of robust simplicity and ease of maintenance, yet stylish racing.

Autosport International 2010. Photo: Aquila Racing Cars

Built in Denmark, the chassis is based around a bonded and riveted aluminium monocoque, powered by a 4 litre BMW V8 (or optional GM Chevrolet V8) combined with a Hewland 6-speed sequential gearbox, and weighing in at around 900 kilos. For cost reasons, the bodywork is largely fibreglass, although a carbon fibre option is under consideration. The detail specification appears to be high, as does the quality of the workmanship, yet prices start at just 99,000 Euros. Further information from Aquila Racing Cars.

Autosport International 2010. Photo: Marcus Potts / CMC GraphicsIan Cook

Last year Birmingham-based artist Ian Cook created a stunning painting of the RML WTCC Chevrolet Lacetti racecar during his time at the Autosport Show. This year he was being sponsored by Dunlop, and produced a series of paintings over the course of the four days to promote the British tyre manufacturer.

Ian's method is unique, and so is his style. Working largely freehand, with only an A4 image for reference, he applies blobs of acrylic paint generously to the "canvas", before using radio-controlled cars to spread the paint around. This technique lends in a very distinctive appearance to all his works, which tend to be on a grand scale. His paintings are typically about six foot by four, but many have been reproduced as prints at smaller sizes.

His first work at the show was of last year's Dunlop-sponsored JMW Motorsport Ferrari 430. He then followed that with another Dunlop-inspired painting, illustrated below, depicting the new JMW Aston Martin GT3 as if racing under one of the iconic Dunlop bridges. He then fished off with a third painting of one of the competitors in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship; the RAC-sponsored West Surrey Racing BMWs, last year's independent champions with Colin Turkington.

Autosport International 2010. Photo: Marcus Potts / CMC Graphics, Painting Ian Cook

And finally . . .

There were a few other cars at Autosport International, of course, including this one:

Autosport International 2010. Photo: Marcus Potts / CMC Graphics

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All show photos by Marcus Potts / CMC Graphics. Others as credited within Alt tags.

More information on RML is available at

Industry News
Autosport International 2010
Issued January 20th 2010

Main Stories

Vulcan XH558

Chevron GR8

Motor Mouse

Aspira F630

ProMech Art

Aquila CR1

Ian Cook


Autosport International 2010. Photo: Marcus Potts / CMC Graphics





Autosport International 2010. Photo: Marcus Potts / CMC Graphics





Autosport International 2010. Photo: Marcus Potts / CMC Graphics





Autosport International 2010. Photo: Marcus Potts / CMC Graphics





Autosport International 2010. Photo: Marcus Potts / CMC Graphics





Autosport International 2010. Photo: Marcus Potts / CMC Graphics





Autosport International 2010. Photo: Marcus Potts / CMC Graphics





Autosport International 2010. Photo: Marcus Potts / CMC Graphics


















Autosport International 2010. Photo: Marcus Potts / CMC Graphics






Autosport International 2010. Photo: Aquila Cars




Autosport International 2010. Photo: Marcus Potts / CMC Graphics





Autosport International 2010. Photo: Marcus Potts / CMC Graphics

Autosport International 2010. Photo: Marcus Potts / CMC Graphics