Fitted, in our eyes, is one of the very best shows that the UK has to offer. For those in the know, it's an event that's a genuine big deal, not least for the most dedicated and skilful of our home-grown performance, classic and modified car builders. Simply because, unless your project happens one of the very best in Europe, then it's impossible to get it on display.
You see, the applications (of which there are hundreds and hundreds) are closely vetted by the team. In fact, you can think of this as one big show and shine competition… because essentially, that's exactly what it is.
Every vehicle inside is one of the best in the business, so they're all automatically entered into the trophy battle. Many of the builds are unveiled to the public right there at the show, too. And, what with the 2020 event cancelled due to the pandemic, and everyone busy squirrelling away on their cars over lockdown, anticipation for the new stuff was higher than ever.
All this of course, also means that not only do the builds have to be bona fide next-level stuff, just to get in the door, but so does the standard of detailing. And naturally, that's exactly where we come in. As one of the biggest sponsors, it goes without saying that we'd be right there with our Airstream mobile store, along with two very special and painstakingly prepared AF legends - our 1954 Chevy Stepside and even the OG Caddy putting in an ultra-rare appearance. But, first of course, we'd have to load them on a huge transporter and get ourselves to up Manchester city centre…
Now, we don't have to tell you that planning and logistics is everything when it comes to getting our crew, cars, models, mobile store, vans and mountains of stock to any event, let alone one taking place in a busy city centre. But, it has to be said that, this one took even more than usual because, as a main sponsor, we decided to team up with Fitted and create our biggest collaboration yet.
Putting together a collection of seven limited edition products (based on the AF detailing essentials you all know and love), along with a Primo Plush Microfibre and a hanging air freshener, all wrapped up in a specially-designed detailer's bag, the Fitted & Finesse Collab Kit was limited to 250 pieces and commemorated the occasion nicely. As you can imagine these proved extremely popular, literally flying out from the display, but we still decided to save a few over for any Fitted fans that couldn't make it due to government regulations on limited ticket numbers, social distancing and self-isolation. So, to grab yourself a slice of history and a future collector's item, you can click onto our Fitted & Finesse Kit here.
There's no doubt that Fitted is all set up at one of the most stunning venues in the UK. Manchester Central, has been an architectural landmark in the city centre since way back in 1880. Formerly the main train station, and now a huge exhibition centre, it's famous for three things - the wrought iron arch vaulted ceiling, the old skool, 19th Century station clock… and being the venue for Fitted. Oh yes, Ninja Warrior UK and the X Factor have also been filmed here, along with numerous concerts and shows. So, let's just say that it made for a stunning stand setup with our collection of vintage vehicles. This could even be our favourite AF display of all time!
When we're talking "by invitation' we're talking vehicles that are simply on another level, and that goes for everything you'll find inside the massive venue. Whether it's performance or aesthetics, or a bit of both, Fitted had it covered with some of the finest builds we've seen for a long, long time - it seems that the lockdown was used wisely by plenty of car culture creatives, that's for sure!
This year, there was also a few of those cars that can get air. In the middle of the arena we saw demos with a selection of lowriders bouncing away like they've just rolled off the streets of Compton. These monsters may not be quite as comfortable to drive in the UK of course, but we're guessing that this kind of dedication is well worth the effort when you build a car that can dance, right?
Anyway, prepare to be amazed with a selection of our most favourite cars - and a few other vehicles - from the day…
And as for all those winners? Well, there were plenty of trophies, over 20 in fact, given away on the day, all to well-deserved winners.
The two most important of course were "Best of Show', which went to Limebug's amazing VW Beetle. You wouldn't even call this this WWII era Type 1 a classic, it's a proper vintage build, complete with the old skool oval rear window, wartime blackout headlights and even pop-out trafficators (that's the semaphore, indicator flippers only found on pre-1950s cars to you and me). A jaw-dropping build and no mistake.
And of course, we have another absolute monster adding a trophy to the collection - the winner of the "Auto Finesse Choice Award.' This crazy '32 Ford rod from Sussex Speed Shop is packing around 1000hp of twin turbo LS power, a custom space frame chassis and does a 9-second quarter! What more could anyone possibly desire from a 4-wheel companion? Sometimes they don't have to be all pretty and shiny to float our boat, and this one most certainly does!
We had a great day, and we hope that all 4000 of you that attended did too. Thanks to everyone who dropped by the Airstream to get their hands on some top products and special Fitted & Finesse kits. We'll see you all again at the next one.