The MetroCentre is known for lots of things; being the biggest shopping centre in the UK, having a huge 3D IMAX screen in its Odeon cinema and for not actually being connected to the Tyne & Wear Metro. But as a meeting place for some of the North East’s finest American and classic cars? This was news to my ears.
Hot Rods, as it is known, has been running for a number of years despite various attempts to stop it happening. The second Wednesday of every month during the summer sees a range of American muscle, classic British and anything and everything in between descend on the retail park. Following a tip-off from a petrolhead colleague, I decided to head down and take a look what all the commotion was about.
Naturally, I left the Polo a fair distance away and walked over. Wandering through the car park leading towards Toys-R-Us and McDonald’s (those two American icons) it was obvious something car-related was going down. The revving of engine, the smell of exhaust fumes and the random performance and modified cars dotted around signalled we had hit the right place. With such an array of motoring delights on offer, it’s perhaps easiest to let the pictures do the talking.
No, not American, but the read deal. Genuine Lamborghini Countach.
Big Cadillac struggled to fit into regular UK parking bay
Crazy supercharged Ford Sierra P100
1970 Dodge Charger R/T. Certainly one of my top five muscle cars, along with one of my other half’s judging by her reaction!
Everything about the Charger looks wonderfully detailed, right down to the fuel cap.
This one left me reaching for the internets when I got home. Mercury Montego, in case you didn’t already know.
First generation Mustang mixes it with bōsōzoku Nissan Cube.
Jetta! US-styled Mk5 VW Jetta running on big 19″ Mercedes-Benz wheels. Makes me wish I’d kept hold of mine!
1970’s Pontiac dwarfed next to huge pick-up alongside.
Gorgeous Chevrolet Advance Design pick-up from the mid ’50s.
Real Hot Rods on display
Another Mustang; this time a later ’69 model year car.
Keeping it low, keeping it angled for the photos. Naturally.
Matte black Chevrolet pick-up sounded as good as it looks.
Another Mustang shows off its motor.
Can you get much more American than a 1950’s Chevrolet BelAir?
That’s a real bonnet (sorry, hood) ornament.
Opel Manta GTE shows off its stunningly clean engine bay
Perhaps not for winter use.
Classic Cortina was one of a number of Fords on display
Beautifully clean Mk1 Ford Escort RS2000. Interior equally as tidy.
My colleague’s Ford Focus ST, chilling with a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V.
Not Alabama, but Gateshead. Check out the massively lowered VW Passat on bronze Mercedes-Benz SLR wheels alongside.
What I liked most about the meet was that various types, genres and ages of car mixed in together without prejudice or discrimination. As a casual observer, it was inspiring to see muscle car, Mini Cooper, Mazda MX-5 and others lined up together. It seemed more a celebration of enthusiasts, rather than a clique built around one marque or model. If you happen to be in the area next time it’s on, I would wholeheartedly recommend stopping by.