It has to be said that, when it comes to jaw-dropping events, Players Classic is one of the all-time greats. There's plenty of features that make this an indisputable fact. Many will talk about how it respectfully breaks the peace and tranquillity of the enormous Goodwood country estate in Chichester, or how there's diversity here that you won't find anywhere else. But, the most important point is far simpler, it's just an impeccably well-organised show with a whole load of the coolest cars you're ever likely to see.
It's one of the UKs most popular gatherings too, with plenty turning up on the day to buy tickets. So, as it had to be an advance-ticket-only, limited-numbers affair this year, how would it change the usual laid-back atmosphere? Fair play for even attempting to organise a massive show in the middle of a global health crisis in the first place!
But, the truth is that it didn't significantly change the event at all, Players Classic was amazing - and here's the whole weekend from the Team AF point of view…
Like any big show, for us Players Classic starts a good few days before, prepping all the display vehicles, cramming our fleet of swamper Sprinters with as much stock as we can get out of the factory door, and gearing our Airstream trailer up for a full-on weekender.
But, there's also the big question of logistics here. With so many vehicles rolling out of the Detailing Academy for the trip south this year, we thought it best to add one more to the list - namely a gigantic transporter from AC Bins. This way we could bring along even more of the jewels of our fleet, including our M2 Competition Track Weapon and - the one that everyone wants to see at such a prestigious event - our 1954 Chevy Stepside.
With these and the Airstream ready to go on the lorry it's just the oh-so-simple case of loading up and strapping down the best part of half a million quid, which always a little nerve wrecking to say the least. But, then again, this one is always worth the extra effort… and, sometimes it's all about the journey, isn't it?
More preparation is in order when we arrive on the Friday afternoon, not least unloading and making sure the stand is set up to perfection. Put simply, if we don't do the bulk of the work on the day before, getting this lot ready in time would require starting in the middle of the night. Only when everything is perfect can we grab a few hours sleep before the main event. Trust us when we say that, behind the scenes, a crazy amount of work goes into appearing this cool, calm, collect and effortless.
The morning of any show is always one of our favourite times, it's where we get to see plenty of the cars rolling in, and of course, where a lot of the real detailing takes place. It goes without saying that we like to be on hand to help with advice on getting cars perfectly prepped for the day ahead. It also gives us the chance to make sure our own vehicles are up to scratch, sorting out all those final dressings and details that help transform a nicely detailed car into a real showstopper.
Away from our stand, the sheer variety of cars on display over the rest of the event was mind-blowing. It's quite the feat really, we always expect Players events to be top-notch, but every time the organizers seem to push it up a level.
What's most important here is that they've always had a policy of integrating - rather than merely representing - all the different niches of the car scene. This is why it works, and why you get a huge melting pot of marques, styles and ideas. It more than lives up to its billing as a "festival of automotive perfection'. Basically then, if it's cool, it's at Players Classic, and while we can't possibly post them all, here's small selection of our favourites…
With all this automotive awesomeness going on, it's pretty hard to single out specific cars because, by the very nature of this show, they're all absolutely stunning. We'll have to leave that to the organisers and their trophies.
That said, it just wouldn't be Players Classic without a few notorious guests, and the first that caught our eye - apart from the awesome Players Escort RST, sat on its gazillionth set of Rotiform wheels - was the very first Live To Offend E30 BMW in the UK, complete with its BAS-F inspired livery. A properly dribble-worthy build for the old skool Beemer fans on the team.
Another extremely special guest was this particularly monstrous Mk2 from JP Performance. If you're thinking that it looks just like some sort of mad computer-generated image, it's because that's exactly how it started out. This crazy creation from the mind, mouse and motherboard of artist Khyzyl Saleem was taken from render to reality by the guys at JP and shipped from Germany specially for the event. They even fitted a mid-mounted VR engine to get the whole lot down the road. Bonkers!
Apart from the manicured lawns and plenty of room to wander and ponder on this huge estate, there is one other advantage to being at Goodwood of course, and that's the world-famous racing circuit on the grounds. If nothing else, being on this hallowed ground gave us the chance to get or M2 Competition Track Toy out on the tarmac… not that James, our MD, even needs much of an excuse to smoke the tyres in this 580-odd-bhp monster.
Our Beemer was in good company out there too, plenty of examples from all over the car scene lined up to lay down some rubber, from full-on motorsport weapons to retro street cars, there was enough entertainment here to fill a weekend on its own.