London Classic Car Show 2020

This year the London Classic Car Show would be held in a new venue; The Olympia Exhibition Centre.

Olympia is a magnificent Victorian era building, perfectly suited to hosting the show, which featured a wide array of interesting cars from before the first world war to the present day.

There were a number of clubs, traders and dealerships showing off cars. London based Joe Macari had brought out a number of Ferraris to display:

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A Mercedes W113 Pagoda:

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Along with two Dallara Stradales. Dallara are best known as a race car chassis manufacturer, most notably Formula 3 and Indy Car. The Stradale is their first road legal car and it’s an interesting thing. Access to the car is through the windows, which open upwards like a gull wing. The actual monocoque of the vehicle doesn’t feature doors, presumably for rigidity.

It weighs 855kg and is powered by the same Ecoboost 4 cylinder as found in the Focus RS. From factory it makes just shy of 400hp, which at that weight should make the car incredibly quick, but aftermarket support for the Focus is massive, so tuning potential is there if you wanted to go really crazy.

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Hemmels, who specialise in classic Mercedes SL also had a stand at the show. I’d heard a lot of positive things about them on Mercedes forums and have seen them advertised in the Owner’s Club magazine. It was nice to see their cars in person. The cars were beautifully presented.

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A large portion of the show was taken up by the Coys Auction. There were far too many cars to list, but the one that really struck out to me was the Mercedes W125. I’ve been privileged  enough to see a lot of rare and unusual cars in my time, but I’ve never had the opportunity to see a Silver Arrow.

As a Mercedes owner myself, seeing this was quite a big deal! It very nearly took my pick as car of the show.

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Coys also had this 1960s Mini Cooper in need of restoration. I think Minis are cracking little cars and obviously have a fantastic history. I was surprised to see the auctioneer’s estimate was £8000-£10,000 though. Are people really paying that sort of money for these?

There were also a number of clubs with displays at the show. One of which was the London Vintage Taxi Association.

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Of particular note to me was this 1912 Unic, which gets used in a lot of TV shows such a Downton Abbey.

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Karmann Ghias are cars that I don’t often get to see. The owners club had brought a few along. I really liked the white car with white wall tyres.

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If I were to go through all the clubs and dealers highlighting the cars, this blog would be really, really long. So I’ve picked a few manufacturers that were heavily represented by the clubs and dealers to show off, and a few cars that I just think were really interesting.

First up, we have Ferrari, who had a lot of presence within the show:

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The car pictured below is a Ferrari 365. They also had a couple of different iterations of this chassis called the 400i and 412. It’s one of the few Ferraris that I would actually like to own. As much as I love them, I think I’d feel very self-conscious driving one. Whereas this body style is very understated, but you get the V12 performance and sound, with all the history and interest of owning a Ferrari.

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The Testarossa is a fantastic symbol of the 1980s. It’s up there with the Countach.

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BMWs feature quite heavily on this blog as drift cars, most notably the E36 and E46. It’s nice to show off some classics though. The Alpina M5 was an absolutely stunning car, as were the two race cars.

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I’ll be honest; I don’t really know a lot about Aston Martin. The Zagato coach-built cars were very impressive to see.

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James Bond’s DB5.

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This DB6 Volante on the Tom Hartley stand really caught my attention. The Amethyst Pink really suits the car! It’s a touch out of my price range at £649,950 though haha!

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There were a few American cars of note. Firstly this Buick Riviera. I love the styling on these.

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The Oldsmobile 442. I always consider Oldsmobile to be a bit of an old people’s brand (maybe it’s the name) but they have made some cool cars in the past. The 442 and the Rocket 88 are my two favourites.

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This Studebaker was really unusual. American cars in the 1950s had really unique styling, reflective of the age with the fins and other jet like features.

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We don’t have that many Vipers in the UK. It was nice to see a couple.

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Ford Galaxie race car. If you get the opportunity to go to a Masters event, I really suggest it. Watching the American land yachts go toe to toe with the tiny Austin Minis is brilliant.

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I love early Bentleys, I’m sure if you’ve been following this blog for long enough you’ll know this far too well haha!

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Pendle Slot Racing now do a kit of the Bond Bug. I will be picking one up later this year.

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The McLaren F1

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As well as the club and dealer stands, the show organisers had also put together a couple of stands.

The first of which was a tribute to the Audi Quattro system, which revolutionised rallying. It’s celebrating it’s 40th anniversary this year.

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The other big stand was a tribute to Bruce McLaren. It had a number of cars built by McLaren over the years.

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The best car there, and in the whole show, in my opinion, was Bruce McLaren’s original Austin 7 Special that he raced in New Zealand.

It’s not everyday that you get to see such a significant piece of history.

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Thanks for reading! To conclude, it was a really good show with lots of interesting cars and the new venue is a perfect location!

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By Richard Francis

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