Motoring Literary and Art Festival: a new Midlands motoring highlight

New event brought authors, drivers, designers and star cars together at Silverstone

Andrew Noakes

MGMW chairman

Motoring Literary and Art Festival Discussing Porsche's all-conquering 956 and 962 (from left): drivers John Fitzpatrick and John Watson, commentator Mark Cole, ex-Rothmans PR Sean Roberts and author Serge Vanbockryck

Motoring events come in all shapes and sizes but never before has there been a motoring literary festival like the one at Silverstone last weekend.

An extraordinary line-up of motoring and motorsport stars came to the Midlands to appear at the event, including Lord Hesketh, John Watson, Andy Palmer, Karun Chandhok, Peter Stevens, Ian Callum, Julian Thomson, Pat Symonds, Lee McKenzie, John Fitzpatrick, Jackie Oliver, Tony Southgate, Howden Ganley and many, many more.

Andy Palmer and Leon Emirali Andy Palmer, ex-Aston Martin CEO and ex-Nissan COO, was forthright in his views on the future of the British motor industry

All of them gave fascinating insights into their automotive experiences. Fans had a rare chance to meet heroes, ask the questions they had always wanted to ask, and go away with a signed book or two as a memento.

The event organisers, Porter Press International, had their impressive range of motoring and motorsport titles on display in the exhibition hall and were joined by many other specialist publishers, plus motoring artists and automobilia vendors.

Exhibition hall Exhibition halls featured specialist motoring book publishers, automobilia and motoring art

Downstairs in the pit garages there was a fascinating array of 'Star Cars', including a Camel Trophy-winning Land Rover Defender, a display of Alpines new and old, the 1962 Ferrari 250GT 'Breadvan' and double-Le Mans-winning Ferrari 275P, magnificent Jaguar XKs from Twyford Moor and two significant E-types – 848CRY from The Italian Job and the oldest surviving E-type, 9600HP.

The festival also provided a rare opportunity for students from Coventry University's Masters degree course in Automotive Journalism, which is supported by MGMW, to get involved in the organisation of a major event. They helped speakers get to their talks on time, helped with book signings, shot stills and video, and will be writing reports on some of the talks.

Hopes of a return in 2024 rest on the festival securing a title sponsor. Let's hope that happens and we are back at Silverstone next December with another stunning line-up of special guests and wonderful machinery.

Michael Quinn and Keith Helfet Ex-Jaguar designer Keith Helfet (seated) chats with Sir William Lyons' grandson Michael Quinn, as Coventry University MA Automotive Journalism graduate Bhavik Sreenath gets ready to unwrap more books to sign

Alpines New and old Alpines lined up beside Jaguars, Ferraris, Cobras and historic racing cars

Defender Camel Trophy Defender won the event outright in 1989 in the hands of Bob and Joe Ives, who gave a talk about their experience

Breadvan Unique 'Breadvan' 1962 Ferrari 250GT was one of the highlights

9600HP E-type 9600HP, the E-type that was presented to the press in Geneva in March 1961 to launch the model

848CRY E-type E-type from The Italian Job with Twyford Moors XKs and double-Le Mans-winning Ferrari in the background