Currently reading: MPH 09 show report and pics
Full show report and hi-res pics from the Prestige and Performance motor show at Earls Court

With no frontline motor show in the mould of Frankfurt, Tokyo or Paris for the foreseeable future in Britain, it has been left to the likes of MPH, Salon Prive and Motorexpo to fill the void.

The annual Goodwood Festival of Speed at Lord March's West Sussex estate is currently the premiere motor show in this country, with its mix of road and race cars old and new.

But if you still like wandering through show halls looking at highly polished, static cars in traditional venues such as Earls Court and the NEC, then the annual MPH show (also known as The Prestige and Performance Motor Show) will probably be to your tastes. Last weekend, it rolled into Earls Court - ahead of its trip to the NEC this weekend - and was on the show floor to bring you the action.

Wandering around the one hall of Earls Court the show squeezed into, you'd be forgiven for wondering if there was a recession on at all. Far from the downsizing and green themes seen at recent motor shows such as Frankfurt and Tokyo, MPH is all about horsepower and excess.

Tuning companies dominate - there was a wealth of questionably-styled Porsche Cayennes, BMW X6s and seemingly most common of all, Rolls-Royce Phantoms. Autodelta showed off its stylised versions of the Brera and 159, while Mansory displayed its 'Rose', a pink Bentley Continental GT. It also gave the carbonfibre treatment to an Aston Martin DB9 and Porsche Cayenne, a theme (alongside matte black), which ran throughout the show.

Of more interest, however, was the wealth of rare and exotic supercars on offer. One of the main show stars was one of five Pagani Cinque Rodsters in the world, which could be yours for a cool £1.3m. Other Zonda variants on show included the F and R models.

Few mainstream manufacturers had stands at the show, but Peugeot used MPH to give the British public its first look at the RCZ. Also on display was Kris Meeke's IRC-winning 207, while the 3008 was one of few more real-world cars on display.

Citroen showed off its new DS3 and the firm's most powerful production car ever, the C5 saloon equipped with the 3.0-litre V6 diesel, which also features in the Jaguar XF. Citroen's show star - and arguably the star of the whole show - was the GTbyCitroen supercar.

The show also provided a good chance to relive classic cars which have long since had their day on the stands of major motor shows. Ferrari models on show included a GTO, Enzo and a gorgeous 250 GTE, but the Italian marque's real star was a concourse-quality F40. Not to be outdone, classic Lamborghinis on show included a Countach, Urraco and Diablo, while there were plenty of Gallardo and Murcielago models on show for modern supercar fans.

Fans of German performance cars were also catered for with countless classic Porsche 911 Carrera and Turbos on show, alongside BMW 850s, classic M3s and a range of Mercedes convertibles. Back in 2009, Mercedes SLRs (including a striking chrome plated one) and a SL65 AMG Black Series featured, as did a Porsche 911 GT3 RS.

Back to top

Events like MPH are a light hearted affair to allow car fans to indulge in their fantasy garages for the day, and this year's was no exception. Although the venue was crowded, the quality of metal on offer was beyond reproach - for every dodgy tarted up Mini Cooper, there were at least five Porsche Speedsters, Nissan GT-Rs or Lotus Evoras to make up for it.

Motor shows like MPH aren't motor shows in the traditional sense and shouldn't treated as such. They're never going to replace the event now lost at Excel (no volume of major manufacturers or new car launches), but they should be embraced for their individuality and fun factor.

Goodwood already has emerged as a must-see event on the motor show calender, but judging on the amount of people in attendance and wealth of things to see (not least an excellent live action arena), MPH has clearly struck a chord with the British public and is likely to be a mainstay on the calender for some while yet.

Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

Join the debate

Add a comment…
130tc 9 November 2009

Re: MPH 09 show report and pics

Disappointed with MPH, it was all that it was cracked up to. I do miss the London/Nec motorshows, the memories were great as were the opportunities to jump into pretty much any and every car! I know it wasn't financially viable, but damn i wish they would bring it back :-) Roll on Autosport Int!

Old Toad 9 November 2009

Re: MPH 09 show report and pics

Phwoarrr look at all that tasteless tat. Wrong. Look at all that Expensive tasteless tat !!!

Good for entertainment but who buys this stuff ?

tannedbaldhead 8 November 2009

Re: MPH 09 show report and pics

Ah motor shows. They were such a big deal my dad used to take us over in the ferry to see the Scottish Motor Show at the Kelvin Hall, Glasgow. I have a particularly vivid memory of jumping into the back of a Ford Granada to find, to my horror, someone had flicked the kiddy proof switch and it had electric windows. Whilst I struggled to get out my dad and brother wandered off. ........................."would the father off a cetrain, doomed to be prematurely bald, child report to the information desk please". Other memory was carting around a HUGE bag of brochures.