There was a time, not long ago now, when the winter months represented long dreary classic car show-less weeks that you endured until the start of the new season. Well, not so anymore with the number of indoor shows for enthusiasts exploding over the past decade. One of the events to come out of this show fever has been the London Classic Car Show.
Now in its fourth year, the Excel based event began on Thursday 15th February at the rather peculiar time of 4pm. This though, was preview evening, an ideal opportunity for the VIPs and most prominent members of the press to come and inspect the over 700 cars on display and to watch the dress rehearsal of events on the Grand Avenue.
The Grand Avenue is a strip of track way carving up the middle of the show hall upon which the most exciting cars present at the show can be seen, heard and smelled running.
Friday through to Sunday were the public open days and the show certainly seemed busier than previous years. Organisers Brand Events have since proudly announced that ticket sales broke all records during the weekend reaching well over 40,000.
The most notable change to proceedings this year, apart from the fact that all exhibits were in one hall, including the Historic Motorsport International show, was the vastly increased involvement of car clubs.
All the major marques were represented, Mercedes, BMW, Jaguar, MG, Rover, Porsche, Aston Martin and of course Triumph through the TR Register, who displayed a TR2 land speed record breaker and an incredibly rare Triumph Italia amongst other examples of the TR sports car marque.
The Bristol Owners club displayed a selection of special drop heads, the XJS club showed off a very special ex-Lady Diana Princess of Wales cabriolet, complete with seats for the young princes, William and Harry and the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club had record sales of raffle tickets for their charity F-Type giveaway.
The MG Owners Club, who showed the ex Barry Siddery-Smith MGB race car, a motorsport stalwart who passed away last August, provided a touching vehicle display. As a tribute to Barry, the car will be running at Le Mans Classic once again in July.
The TVR Car Club celebrated 40 years since the company’s first soft-top the 3000s in 1978 whilst just a flame spit away the Ferrari club displayed a gorgeous 280GTO.
The show was not short on celebrity appearances either, with Nigel Mansell CBE wowing crowds on the Grand Avenue indoor parade strip, where he drove some iconic F1 cars from throughout the eras for the fans.
A showcase of the greatest ‘getaway cars’ was curated by actor and star of Life on Mars, Philip Glenister – a highlight of which was when he ‘fired up his Quattro’ after being reunited with his car from the hit TV series Ashes to Ashes where he starred as DCI Gene Hunt.
To round up events at this year’s London Classic Car Show was two global vehicle launches. The first from Malvern based small-scale car builder Morgan with their new +4 Club Sport and a second, which saw the return of a legendary tuning name, Lister. The Lister Thunder is a mighty 666BHP supercar with a top speed of 208mph and made quite an impact with the assembled crowds.
The London Classic Car Show was officially opened by TV presenters Quentin Wilson, Jonny Smith and Alex Riley to commence what marked the end of this show’s infancy and the beginning of its maturation into one of the pivotal annual moments in the classic car community’s calendar.