The London Classic Car Show – the self-proclaimed ‘capital city’s premier showcase for the thriving classic car community’ – is now in full swing. Last year, some 33,000 people walked through the doors of Excel London, and a similar number is expected this weekend.
The doors opened on Thursday, but you have until 5pm on Sunday 26 February to feast your eyes on the array of expensive and exotic classic cars. To whet your appetite, we have the highlights from the opening day.
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Derek Bell and Emanuele Pirro
The show was opened by Le Mans legends Derek Bell and Emanuele Pirro. Both drivers won the 24-hour race on five occasions, and were on hand to declare the London Classic Car Show open at 3pm.
Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell
Earlier, six-time winner Jacky Ickx – seen here on the left – had opened the show’s sister event, Historic Motorsport International. A special display included a Porsche 956 that he shared with Derek Bell at Le Mans. “Seeing these cars here brings back so many memories. Good times,” he said.
Providing the proof that you can never have too many show openings, Dario Franchitti cut the ribbon on a Ferrari Tribute featuring 21 iconic Ferrari roads cars worth an estimated £120 million. The display, curated by Ferrari specialist dealer Joe Macari, brought together Ferraris old and new, from the 375 MM of the early fifties to its latest hypercar, LaFerrari.
Arguably one of the finest, but undoubtedly one of the most famous Ferraris of all-time, this is the iconic F40 blazing a trail along the Grand Avenue and under the lights of Excel.
Dino on the Grand Avenue
Event director Bas Bungish said: “With these spectacular machines on display, the centrepiece of the London Classic Car Show will be a veritable ‘red sea’ of Ferraris showing the evolution of the marque over its seven decades.” Not that this Dino contributed to the sea of red.
Given that Ferrari is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2017, it has every right to take centrestage at the London Classic Car Show. Meanwhile, the Lamborghini Miura – which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1960 – is perhaps the most beautiful car on display at Excel London.
The Grand Avenue
Unique to the London Classic Car Show, the Grand Avenue runs through the centre of the exhibition hall. This year’s theme is ‘The Perfect 10’, where the best examples of classic cars in 10 different body styles are paraded on the ‘catwalk’. This MG Metro 6R4 is representing the hatchback.
Ford Capri 3000 GXL
Meanwhile, this Ford Capri 3000 GXL is representing the coupe. The ‘car you always promised yourself’ was launched in 1969 as the European version of the Ford Mustang. According to the DVLA, this 1973 car – complete with a rather apt registration mark – has just 4,897 miles on the clock. If you’re a fan, Corgi produces a model version the same number plate.
Aston Martin Lagonda
Sadly, the show’s organisers have failed to include a ‘wedge’ category, leaving this Aston Martin Lagonda to represent the saloon. Other cars in this category include the rotary-engined NSU Ro80 and Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.9.
Not all saloon cars are created equal, as demonstrated by this ex-works Ford Escort. Seven works Escorts were built for the gruelling 1970 London to Mexico Rally, four of which were prepared at Boreham. ‘FEV 1H’, driven by Hannu Mikkola and Gunnar Palm, emerged victorious in the 16,000-mile test of endurance and reliability.
Land Rover: shooting brake?
What is a shooting brake? As far as we’re concerned, it should be a sporting two-door estate car, built for the country gent. That the London Classic Car Show features an Audi RS2, Morris Mini Traveller and Land Rover suggests that the organisers don’t agree with our definition.
Austin Healey 3000
No debating the Austin Healey 3000’s slot in the sports car category. Also under this banner you’ll find a Lotus Elan and its modern equivalent: the Mazda MX-5. The model on display is the Le Mans special edition, built to celebrate Mazda’s victory at the Le Mans 24-Hour race in 1991.
Crosslé Car Company
Established in 1957, Crosslé claims to be the world’s longest-established race car manufacturer, building cars from its factory in Northern Ireland. The Crosslé Car Company was founded by former champion motorcyclist John Crosslé. The grin suggests he knew a thing or two about sports cars.
Ferrari 250 GTO
Away from the Grand Avenue, this Ferrari 250 GTO is the star attraction on the Ferrari Tribute stand. At £45 million, it’s the most valuable car at the London Classic Car Show. No surprise to find it cordoned off, safe from sticky fingers. Touch with your eyes only, etc.
Jaguar XJR-9 LM
In 1988, this Jaguar XJR-9 LM finished first in the Le Mans 24-Hour race. Powered by a V12 engine and driven by Jan Lammers, Johnny Dumfries and Andy Wallace, the car finished ahead of Porsche, completing 394 laps in the process.
The E-Type is another icon of Jaguar’s past, but this one is in need of attention. That said, even in this condition, the E-Type retains a level of beauty many cars cannot reach.
Lotus 21 Climax
This Lotus 21 was only ever raced by Jim Clark and was involved in a tragic accident at Monza when a Ferrari driven by Wolfgang von Trips clipped its rear wheel and was launched into the air. The German driver was killed, along with 15 spectators, and the Lotus was impounded by Italian authorities.
The London Classic Car Show
The 2017 London Classic Car Show continues throughout the weekend, with doors open from 10am on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets cost £20 for children and £27 for adults when paying on the day. For more information visit www.thelondonclassicarshow.co.uk.