I’m not quite sure at what point I fell out of love with the motor show.

It could have been some time in the late ‘70s when my dad stopped building exhibition stands for the event and I no longer got in for free. Then maybe it was the middle ‘80s when I was pressed into service at the London International Show at Earls Court and made to hang around on the BMW stand and bother innocent show goers.

I spent more time chatting up the hired totty, especially one girl who looked like Sheena Easton. Strange that I can remember her in perfect detail but I couldn’t tell you anything about the cars.

The ‘proper’ event in the rather less pokey NEC was a move in the right direction, it really did seem like sheds with cars in them. I can remember writing that show goers were being seriously short changed and that they’d be better off wandering around a car supermarket for a few hours.

Anyway, I’m sure the event at the Excel Centre has far more going for it, not least a chance to combine your show visit with a chance to see some really terrible ‘80s musicians. But in these difficult times, I can’t help thinking it should still be possible to get a similar motor show experience for considerably less outlay. So what’s a car enthusiast to do if he (or she) can’t make it to Docklands?