For me, the run-up to a major motorshow is time of excitement and speculation. Rumours are rife: will the BMW buffet be as good as last year? Will Skoda have brought enough Czech lager? Will the Ford evening dinner clash with the Honda fondue party and barn dance? All these questions and more were answered as I made my way to the impressive 2001 Frankfurt Motorshow.
Many outsiders think a motorshow is a just one big freebie for the average provincial motoring hack. Nothing could be further from the truth. Press day is actually remarkably stressful as one dashes from stand to stand, gathering information. And food. For example, as I arrived at the show halls I was ready for the major new rival offerings from Ford, Volkswagen and Citroen. Imagine my horror when a colleague informed me that Ford were making their most important announcement within five minutes of Citroen! I arrived at the vast Ford stand just in time to hear them say “The breakfast buffet is open” but there was little time to lose. I quickly stuffed my pockets with croissants and bacon rolls before hot footing over the Citroen just in time to hear them reading out the menu for the sit-down petit déjeuner. A close call and no mistake. My editor wouldn’t be happy if I’d missed the soft cheese selection so early in the day.
Another hidden stress of press day is the amount of things one has to carry. Many manufacturers hand out complimentary items such as cufflinks, baseball caps, carpet slippers and Hostess trolleys as well as press packs. By the end of the day one can be weighed down like a mule! The trick, I’ve found, is to carefully gather all those weighty press packs into one suitably capacious bag and then chuck it behind the nearest large pot plant. Bingo! More scope to carry those vital trinkets and toys
At this year’s Frankfurt Show there was so much to see and eat that it’s hard to know where to begin. For me, the personal highlights were the delightful SEAT tortillas, the spectacular Lamborghini vol-au-vents and the very British MG sandwiches. Special mention must also go to the lovely Toyota PR lady who let me catch a quick nap in the back of a Previa after a very busy lunchtime in the Daimler-Chrysler bar.
Of course, with any motorshow there are always going to be disappointments and mine came when, along with several hundred fellow writers, I arrived for Opel’s massive evening buffet only to discover that it had been eaten by Steve Cropley.