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The London Classic Car Show and Historic Motorsport International show are two separate shows that have combined to create a huge three day convention in the heart of London that allows individual collectors and clubs to show off their finest cars, fabricators and restorers to show off their trade and dealers and retailers to sell their goods.
One interesting and unique feature of this show is the promenade that runs the length of the exhibition hall. It gives the public the opportunity to see the cars running and driving which is really nice to see!
London Classic Car Show
Of course, I was on Mercedes spotting duty and there were plenty at the show including a plethora of W100 600 Grossers; massive luxury limousines that were the dictator’s choice of vehicle from the 1960s to early 1980s.
Inside one of them was a workshop manual and owners handbook! My inner nerd was freaking out I’d love to own these!
There was also a 300SEL 6.3 present. This car was sort of the pre-cursor to AMG’s shenanigans of putting huge engines in Mercedes saloon cars. In this instance they put a 6.3 Grosser engine into the smaller S-Class shell. Not many were built but they were hugely popular.
The Mercedes Benz Owners Club had also brought out a couple more ‘stacked headlight’ cars.
This coupe is going to look absolutely stunning when finished!
SL Mercedes are a popular class of car. It’s nice to see the R129 is becoming a more appreciated car. These were pretty much ignored a few years ago but they are a great machine and deserve to be celebrated!
My favourite class of SL is the Pagoda. It’s in my opinion one of the best looking cars Mercedes have produced. I snapped a couple around the show but was hoping to get some nice photos of Jon Hemmels’ stand but sadly didn’t get to see it! Hemmels restores Pagodas for a living and has created some astonishing cars over the years. Check out his website www.hemmels.com if you have a Pagoda you need restoring!
There were also a few 190SLs. I’ll be honest with you I’ve never really paid much heed to the 190SL, just dismissing it as the smaller brother of the 300SL. They also look a little odd in photographs. However, in person they are absolutely stunning! I’m now a converted fan!
Another brand I’ve fallen in love with over the course of the past year or so is MG. The owners club had a stand there with some unusual cars including an X-Power SV, a car I hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing in person before this!
I’d also never seen (or heard of if I’m being honest) an MG Tigress: MG’s first production race car!
There were of course a handful of Bs and Midgets floating about the show too with a couple of the pre-war sports cars such as the TD too.
This MGA was rather unusual. I barely recognised it with the GT style bodywork and without the famous MGA front grill!
The other big British presence at the show was Jaguar. There were quite a few E-Types:
The Jaguar XJS is another more modern classic car. I’d love one of these!
The XJ220 is an absolute animal! It was nice to see this running on the promenade.
There were also some of the larger saloons. There were a few S-Types, XJs and other modern saloons too. I think they deserve their place in the show. Like Mercedes they make for instant classics!
The last of the Jaguars I want to highlight is this early XK. I really like this colour combination of grey and red.
There were a few Rovers scattered about including a range of SD1s going from the top of the range Vanden Plas to lower models. All were nice. I know they had their reliability issues from factory but they’ve become a great, usable classic car.
You certainly don’t see many Bristols out and about any more. This 412 is affectionately known as The Fridge.
If you are a Porsche fan then you really should have attended the show. There were many on display from the earliest cars up to present day:
Of course a prestigious car show wouldn’t be without Ferraris! There were a few modern ones but I really prefer the classics of the marque.
The 250LM in the bottom picture was a treat to see in person. Another machine I would like to make as slot car some day.
There were quite a few Lamborghinis too. The owners club brought some of the more modern cars such as the Huracan and Aventador but it’s the older ones again that do it for me. The Miura is a beautiful machine and the Countach is a symbol of 1980s excess!
There were also some Fiats there from the Italian stable. I like the little 500s!
I absolutely fell in love with this little Fiat 500 Jolly! Everything about this is cool from the wicker seats to the gazebo top. Perfect for cruising back and forth to the beach!
There were fewer American cars in the show than I would have imagined. There were a few really nice ones that I got to snap though:
This Model T Ford was cool! These must have looked amazing plodding around the cities of the 1920s.
The last thing from the classic car show I’d like to pic up on is the Getaway Car Exhibition. There were a few staple cars of UK getaways including the Mk1 Transit van, Mini Cooper and Mk 2 Jaguar:
Coming forward in years we have the Subaru Impreza. A quick car that was stolen a lot and used as a getaway car in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Although not strictly a getaway car it was cool to see the Range Rover that was involved in the Rettendon murders which are the feature point of the film Essex Boys. I live about 15 minutes away from where those murders happened!
Simon Templar’s Volvo P1800 was also there, signed by the cast of The Saint.
Overall the best car of the show for me was this pre-war Austin hearse.
I love the detail on the glass!
Now we’ll move onto the Historic Motorsport International where there was also a lot to see!
Historic Motorsport International
The Historic Motorsport International show was separated from the rest of the show in it’s own little wing. There was plenty of race cars to see in there as well as some road cars. Quite a few were able to run up and down the promenade which was great.
For all the unique cars in there my favourite had to be this Hakosuka era Skyline. This generation platform is so rare to see outside of Japan. I think it’s only my second time seeing one in person.
A few more shots of it on the promenade:
There were quite a few historic rally cars including the Metro 6R4:
Renault 5 Turbo:
Mazda RX7 FC3S (A car I’d still really like as a road car):
There were a couple of the road car variations of Group B cars that manufacturers produced for homologation. The Peugeot 205 T16 and Ford RS200 to be precise:
There were a few pre-war cars in the show. This Alvis is of particular note as it’s front wheel drive!
Everyone’s favourite; the Austin 7. If anyone knows of any cheap ones of these in need of restoration please let me know as they fit in my garage haha!
This Packard was also really nice.
Pre-war Alfa Romeos will forever hold a special place in my heart. It must have been so spectacular watching these run alongside the Bentleys at LeMans.
A car I certainly wasn’t expecting to see was this 1907 Stanley Steamer. If you want to learn more about these check out Jay Leno’s YouTube channel. He is a big fan of these!
For our off road fans we have the Lamborghini LM002:
Along with a 6 wheeled Range Rover fire engine:
Of course there were plenty of Grand Prix cars starting with the Aston Martin DBR4:
Along with these later Camel Lotus and Bennetton. These sounded absolutely incredible running up and down the promenade.
All in all it was a fantastic day out and I highly recommend it to anyone in London or the surrounding areas who wants a day out to see some unusual cars!
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