Motorsport may not be part of the Commonwealth Games, but a parade of cars made in Birmingham still found its way into the event as part of the opening ceremony.
The crowd at the Alexander Stadium and those watching on TV were treated to a procession of vintage models that had rolled off the production line at the city’s Longbridge plant down the years. The cars, each with a red, white or blue roof, then moved into formation in the centre of the arena to form a Union Flag.
Prince Charles, representing the Queen at the opening, got in on the act by arriving by Aston Martin. These may now be made in Wales, but the brand name made famous by James Bond still has a deep historical connection with Birmingham, even if the use of one was not as spectacular a Bond-style entrance for the prince as his mother’s 2012 Olympics arrival by parachute with Daniel Craig.
However, these vintage vehicles will be far from the only cars involved in the Games, not least as rail strikes will affect the action on some days, prompting motorists to drive to the city instead.
Drivers heading to Birmingham will be wise to check their windscreens and other parts of their car before setting off, in case their journey is disrupted not by rail unions but by mechanical or window issues.
Those with a windscreen crack, for example, should use car glass replacement services to ensure it doesn’t become larger and give them a problem to face while they are sitting stranded by a roadside, instead of in the stands watching the sporting action.
On a more positive note, the sport in the Games most notorious for breaking windscreens – cricket – is extremely unlikely to do so. The women’s T20 tournament will see plenty of big hits, but Edgbaston’s big stands and the fact the car parks are some way beyond them should ensure that nobody suffers such a fate.