Fitting that a classic car show is staged at a classic venue and with its move from London’s Millennium Excel centre to the Victorian splendor of Olympia, the London Classic Car Show has achieved just that. Situated in Kensington, home to London’s “Smart Set”, Olympia with its arched spans of filigree ironwork provides an unhindered exhibition space and hosted the British International Motor Show during the 1920s & ’30s.
With the change of venue came a change in the show experience, gone is the Grand Avenue that unique feature of the Show at Excel where vehicles provided a moving motorcade. With the emphasis for 2020 being centered on classic road machinery and its specialist dealers and restorers.
Anniversaries marked this year with the birth of the Range Rover, the British SUV that initiated the luxury off-road trend half a century ago. On display were eight examples representing key moments in the marque’s history. 40 years of the Audi Quattro, revered both on the road and rally stage, was celebrated with Audi providing a display of five cars from its collection.
Its been 50 years since the death of Kiwi race driver and constructor Bruce McLaren and the show marked this anniversary and the impact he had on motorsport by displaying four of Bruce’s cars and personal memorabilia from the McLaren Technology Centre collection including his initial Austin 7 Ulster through to the mighty 1970 M8D Can-Am McLaren. In honor of the impact Bruce McLaren had on the industry, Jonathan Neale, Chief Operating Officer of the McLaren Technology Group, accepted The London Classic Car Show’s Icon Award on his behalf during the event’s Preview Evening.
New for the 2020 edition of The London Classic Car Show was a ‘Car Stories’ feature, which told the personal and fascinating tales of notable owners and their incredible machines. Hosted by Max Girardo, the cars and personalities that were featured included Adrian Newey OBE and his Lotus 49B, Mark Hales and the Maserati 250F once owned by Sir Stirling Moss, and Ian Callum CBE and the new Aston Martin Vanquish 25 by CALLUM. A special guest appearance was also made by David Gandy and his 1954 Jaguar XK120.
Car Stories Host, Max Girardo: “It was a fantastic experience hosting a show of this calibre. I have to say, it was an absolute delight to meet some of these amazing drivers and designers over the course of the weekend and a privilege to hear these incredibly personal stories about the cars. I feel like I have learned so much about the cars and the men behind them, and hope that our visitors have too.”
Auction house Coys occupied a large area of the Grand Hall with their 60 vehicles to come under the hammer on Saturday afternoon with over 65% of its collection being sold, including a 1974 Maserati Ghibli 4.9 litre SS Spyder, one of only four produced selling for £800,000 and a 1983 Ferrari 512 Boxer with only deliver miles on the clock fetching £400,000, with bidding coming from Europe, Japan, Indonesia, USA and Australia.
As in previous years marque car clubs were featured with displays from the BMW club, Bristol Owners, Classic Corvette owners, Ferrari, Fiat 500, Ford AVO, Jaguar, Lancia, Lamborghini, and Triumph TR owners. Perhaps slightly less sporty, but nonetheless interesting, there were displays from the Ford Transit Van Club and the London Vintage Taxi Association as well.
With a definite emphasis on road machinery in 2020, the London Classic Car Show attracted close to 30,000 visitors to Olympia and with 2021 dates already in the calendar, February 18-21, it looks set to go head to head again over the same weekend with the Race Retro show next year. With this in mind, the London Show has to offer an alternative visitor experience to its competitor with classic road machinery in a classic venue being their chosen route for this year, we wait to see what’s on offer for 2021.