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Players Classic – 2021 – Part I – by Ross Delaney

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When it comes to modified car events, I’m pretty confident that, to any self-respecting enthusiast, Players will need no introduction. Jay, Carl and the wider Players team, veterans of the modified ‘scene’ in the UK, have been curating some of the best car shows for well over a decade. As a result, the Players team demand a certain level of respect and quality that has allowed them to disrupt the perfectly manicured lawns of the prestigious Goodwood Motor Circuit with their flagship show, Players Classic.

Goodwood is a special place. I’m willing to bet there is nowhere else on earth quite like it, and as a result Players have been able to host a car event that is unique in almost every way. The eclectic mix of machinery on display is unparalleled with any other show, at least from what I’ve seen. It features a smooth blend of all shapes and sizes, vintage to hot rod, drift car to modified modern classic. Almost every automotive sub-culture has a place at Players Classic between the tranquil Beech trees and white wooden picket fences.

On Saturday, the event hosts a track-day, adding a different aspect as the peaceful countryside is broken by the scream of open ITBs and the flutter of turbo charged straight sixes. Jamie Gough’s wide arched Ford Escort MK2 stood out as one of the only purpose-built racing cars on track. A car I absolutely love and now looks immense on its new billet Image wheels.

Inside the main paddock, the latest in modified car builds was on display. For the first time ever, Phil Morrison of Driftworks displayed his Murcielago LP640 with gated manual shifter conversion and insane genuine GT1 R-GT bodykit. It deservedly picked up Players car of the year award.

Shipped over from Germany especially for the show, the JP Performance, Prior Design and Khyzyl Saleem collaboration VW MK2 Golf sat just outside the Goodwood hospitality building. The width of the rear tyres on this thing was just outrageous, as was the mid-engined 2.8 VR6 and exposed coolant lines in the cabin.

Elsewhere under the leafy trees of Goodwood lay an endless selection of modified vehicles. As a firm lover of anything pre-2000 and retro, most of the older stuff stood out. Richard Woolmers slammed Austin Healy Sprite a perfect example. An English cult classic, this little roadster is alien anywhere else in the world and Richard has fettled the engine and routed an exhaust header clean through the bonnet allowing it to spit flames and act in a very rowdy fashion.

Adam Luff’s beige Ford Escort MK2 stood out as a personal favourite. Original paint, super low and running a 450bhp alloy block Cosworth YB. I doubt there is any road this car isn’t a handful on.

Other notable mentions include Max’s red VW Type 3 on BBS E50, Tim’s patina’d Porsche 912 on SSR’s and James’ BMW 535i E34 which picked up a top 10 award on Saturday.