Published June 21st, 2021
Words and Photography: Michal Fidowicz
When I got home from Players Classic on Sunday it was 17:00. I got home, unpacked my bag, had a shower and went straight to bed. I woke up at 8:00 this morning, having slept for 15 hours. Who does that? I never need that much rest. I mean, I guess that just puts into perspective how long it’s been since we last had a weekend of non stop activity. Getting drunk and doing late nights is a relatively common occurrence for me, but I’ve not chucked a weekend show into that mix for over 16 months now. After such a long time though it’s only right we start at the best of the best. Players Classic at the historic Goodwood race track.
For those not in the loop, some basics: The Players Team organises two European events a year, one towards the end of the year at an airfield and one in the summer. This is the summer event, which has always taken place at Goodwood. This venue is special, it’s one of the more prestigious race tracks in the UK and 99% of the time it hosts posh, older gentlemen who own Bentleys with those spit fire engines. And loads of tweed.
The Players guys bring a slightly different flavour to the area though. With their Players Classic show they invite thousands of people and hundreds of cars to come and enjoy the alternative, yet ever growing aftermarket automotive community across a weekend. A little less expensive super-car, and a little more shed-built. Celebrating the every-man (and woman!) for their ability to build something unique and representing of who they are.
This isn’t some free-for-all car meet though. Where this show comes into a lane of its own is in the quality of the builds on show. Traditionally I’ve said that Players Classic is a show that showcases the best project cars that Britain has to offer, and I’m glad to report that this has still not changed.
From Ferrari to Fiat, from Porsche to Peugeot, there is a car for everyone at Players Classic. And whilst this is not something you think about at a car show, on reflection this can be genuinely seen by the people who attended the weekend. All kinds of people from all kinds of different walks of life were present at Players Classic, which in my opinion is the biggest compliment to both the show organisers and the community we’re all a part of. The true magic of a car show is that it’s a place where people can gather in thousands and be comfortable knowing they’re surrounded by those who share the same interests. I don’t like sounding corny, but car shows really are a forum which enables friendships to be made. If I boil it down for myself, to me, that is exactly what cars and Candy are about. It’s the best thing that has ever happened to me, through which I’ve met the best group of people and made some of the best memories of my life. Coming out of the system pause really puts this into perspective.
Car shows are also a great tool for businesses to flourish. The Players Shows always feature a little village area where people can go and check out trade stands selling… well, everything. Some brands sell clothes, some sell car parts, some sell services like insurance or general spanner work. Usually, these trade stand areas are somewhere in the heart of the event and take up a gross amount of space. The Player’s team however designated this area to their trade village around Goodwood’s go-kart track. I had a good wonder there on Saturday myself. Who would have guessed a mini race track would make such a great pavement to guide people around the pop-up shops? My only observation was that this place seemed a little less busy than the rest of show. I guess the Health and Safety inspectors would be very, very happy about this. However I reckon once the health inspectors do-one for say, next year’s show, the area would look lovely with a couple more shiny show cars present. I did not get the chance to re-visit the area on Sunday unfortunately, so chances are I missed some nice cars that appeared for the second half of the weekend.
One thing that definitely distracted me on the Saturday was the race track. Right, show cars parked up looking all pretty are great, but the track cars… different gravy. Seeing noises in motion really does things to a person let me tell you that much. With age I’m really starting to appreciate the whole track look too, and find myself craving a manual car with a bucket seat and sticky tyres not only to look at but to rag the shit out of. Also, letting drivers push their cars on the track during the show really gives Players Classic that unique vibe I praise the show for whilst also blending the whole stance thing with what Goodwood is really about: motorsport.
Tell you what though, I feel like attending Players Classic this year has actually taught me a few things. First one, is that 4000 people is fucking loads. The tickets sold out quickly, and were limited to 4000 due to those pesky health and safety inspectors I mentioned earlier. The show did not feel any less busy than it has done in previous years and there were more cars at the show on Sunday than I’ve seen at a car show before. Secondly, time is a resource that goes by really, really quickly. It was 2019, I blinked, and now I’m older, writing the 2021 coverage. Weekends like the one just gone have really got me feeling like I’m making the most of this limited resource though. I’ll be keeping this up as long as I can.
To summarise, we kicked off the show calendar with a bang. My favourite hosts, at my favourite location with some of the best metal we have in the country. I got to see a lot of my good friends, get drunk with them over night and then do it all again on the Sunday. Thank you to everyone who came and said hello too, I’ve not thought about the fact that Candy has nearly doubled in size since the last big car show and seeing the amount of shop items out and about on the weekend is a truly unparalleled feeling. Really puts things into perspective and gets me gassed for the future. Life is getting quite exiting, see you at the next show.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the rest of the album. There are 292 photos there for you all.