For 2023 The London Classic Car Show returned to the beautiful Olympia in West Kensington, London.
This year’s Classic Car Show would celebrate the anniversaries of three icons of the motoring world – the 70th anniversary of Corvette and the 60th anniversaries of both the Mini Cooper S and the Porsche 911.
We’ll start with the Cooper S – the hot version of Alec Issigonis’ revolutionary little car that dominated in both rallying and circuit racing. Truly a car that you could race on Sunday and then buy from a showroom Monday.
The show also brought together three of the Beetles Minis which had been customised by coachbuilder Harold Radford.
George Harrison’s Mini in the psychedelic paint job really stood out for me. It would be amazing to bring the car together with John Lennon’s famous psychedelic Rolls Royce.
The 911 is also celebrating it’s 60th year. The 911 is, at the moment, my favourite some what attainable car. The 996 generation, though beginning to appreciate now, still offers tremendous value for money.
Chevrolet’s Corvette is celebrating its’ 70th year.
Although it’s been a fairly controversial car, the C8 is actually my favourite generation Corvette. I think switching to the mid engined configuration was the right move. Whilst it’s not a cheap car by any stretch of the imagination, it does give you that European Ferrari/Lamborghini/McLaren type driving experience for a fraction of the price of the afformentioned marques.
It’s really great that Chevrolet have built them right hand drive and are selling them in the U.K too!
Every generation of Corvette was represented.
The Grand Avenue was the largest exhibition at the show. It wrapped around the stage area where ‘Fighting Torque’, alive panel show was being held.
There was a wide range of cars on the Grand Avenue ranging from a Porsche 917 recreation to a Ford Model A Speedster to a custom GMC truck.
Market Makers was a look at cars at the higher end of the collector car market that have really rocketed in the past few years.
The collection included three of Ferrari’s five halo cars – the 288 GTO, the F40 and the F50.
Alongside Porsche’s mighty Carrera GT.
It was nice to see the Dino here. I haven’t really been following these cars, but I know for a while they weren’t considered a ‘proper Ferrari’ having only a six cylinder engine and being the marque’s first ‘mass produced car’.
I personally think they are beautiful little things though – a really good looking car! I bet they are great fun to drive as well.
There was a small collection of ‘barn finds’. I didn’t look that closely, so it may be completely rotten underneath, but the little Opel looked like it will be quite an easy restoration. The others needed a bit more work.
Two very special Metros. The bronze coloured one is a Vanden Plas as the race car is a 6R4 which has had a Rover v8 swapped into it for the Paris-Dakar Rally.
There were a number of owners clubs present. The Ferrari Owners’ Club had a very prominent stand!
F40 BG. I’ve seen this car a couple of times on my travels. I thought I’d seen it fairly recently but the last time was apparently the 2021 London Concours, which you can read about here: https://motorsportformentalhealth.com/2021/06/09/london-concours-delegance-2021/
Fiat 500s. Classic Fiats are cool! I know they have a girly image but I really like the new 500s too. Especially the Abarth version!
Honda NSX Owners’ Club. I always personally preferred the earlier NSX with the pop up lights, but the fixed headlight cars have actually aged really well! To the best of my knowledge I’ve still yet to see the new NSX in person!
www.modelarevival.co.uk had a large stand. They had an absolutely stunning twin engined Model A Ballard Special.
Alongside a second Ballard Special.
This Studebaker chassis needs some love. It has a lot of potential though!
They also brought along this stunning recreation of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. This was a crowd favourite all day!
There were lots of dealerships selling various classic cars at the show. I’m not really going to cover many of them here as quite frankly this article is long enough. However there were a few that caught my eye such as this stunning pair of Alfa Romeos and a Bentley brought in by Phoenix Green Garage.
Graeme Hunt brought along a number of cars including this stunning Bentley Blower recreation. It’s already sporting the number 9 as one of my favourite cars UU 5872. My build of the 1/12 Airfix kit of that car is actually one of my most successful articles. You can read that here: https://motorsportformentalhealth.com/2021/12/17/airfix-112-bentley-blower/
Finally we have Alpine. Alpine actually attend a lot of these types of car shows. I believe I saw them at the London Concours and Salon Prive last year too. It’s nice to see a manufacturer showing their cars to the public in this way.
They also brought along an example of the original A110 from the 1960s-70s.
Thanks for reading. The London Classic Car Show is always a good day out. It was nice to get out after the three month break I had between this show and SEMA. Hopefully now with the pandemic behind us the show can stay at Olympia. It’s such a nice venue for it!
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By Richard Francis