Category Archives: The Focal Point


The Members Assemble

The recent 75th Goodwood Members’ Meeting was a timely reminder of the good things about our sport. Great cars driven with verve and élan in front of a knowledgeable and enthusiastic audience, even the Spring weather held up, a great way to kick off another season.

Simon Hildrew was on hand armed with cameras, here is his brilliant catch.

John Brooks, March 2017

Excellence at the Excel

The London Classic Car Show has grown in stature and importance in its brief, three year career. This year it had doubled its original footprint, taking up 40,000 square feet and incorporating the Historic Motorsport International show. The quality of the cars on display was impressive, in particular Joe Macari’s salute to Maranello’s finest, to the celebration of Le Mans in the form of the legendary Jacky Ickx and his fellow victors at La Sarthe, Jackie Oliver, Derek Bell, Jürgen Barth and Emanuele Pirro.

Simon Hildrew is on top form as ever with cameras in hand, so enjoy his stunning work in the following gallery.

More from me on the show later.

John Brooks March 2017

Docklands Delights

February arrives and brings with it the promise of a new auto season, both on and off the race tracks and concours halls. The Rétromobile in Paris is an annual high point but now here in London we have a show worthy of comparison, if one accepts that it is still in a developmental stage. I am, of course, referring to the London Classic Car Show, now in its third year and double the size of the original.

Right from the start the show had some good ideas, taking advantage of the space available they created the Grand Avenue so that the attendees could see the exotic collection of cars actually in motion and experience the physicality and noise of racing engines, we’re all kids at heart, especially when encountering a V12 Matra……….

Another feature that is very popular with attendees is Car Club Square. I am firmly of the opinion that any classic show should encourage the car clubs who are the foundation of our thriving classic scene.

Where there are classic cars to be found, there will be dealers and they too provide an important element of the show, bringing their stock for out appreciation and hopefully, for them, our custom.


There are some enhancements for 2017, notably the addition of the Historic Motorsport International, backed by the Historic Sports Car Club. This gives a new dimension to the show and will greatly broaden the range and variety of cars on hand.

Celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2017 is the Beaulieu Autojumble and there will be a pop-up version at the LCCS on the Saturday and Sunday to give those of us less well heeled folk something to afford.


2017 will see a number of features specially aimed at enthusiasts. 70 years of Ferrari will be celebrated with a display reflecting the glory of the brand specially put together by Joe Macari, former Le Mans racer and one of London’s leading specialists on high performance cars.

Half a century has passed since the introduction of the Cosworth DFV, the engine that changed Formula One out of all recognition. At Zandvoort in June 1967 Jim Clark took a dominant victory in his Lotus 49, the first of 155 Grand Prix in the following 17 seasons. So a tribute to Keith Duckworth and Mike Costin’s stroke of genius is most appropriate and to illustrate the scope of the engine’s career there will be a display of cars at HMI, it is bound to be a highlight.

The opening day, Thursday 23rd February will feature a salute to one of the greatest racing drivers of them all, Jacky Ickx, who will be present as the show’s Guest of Honour.

Not only that but two of his co-drivers from his six wins at the Le Mans 24 Hours, Jürgen Barth and Derek Bell will also be present. Completing the circle of Le Mans’ giants will be five-time winner Emanuele Pirro, so if La Sarthe is your thing head on down to Docklands.

The London Classic Car Show and HMI will be held at ExCeL London, on 23-26 February, with access to both shows included in the entry price. Historic Motorsport International will open its doors at 12.00pm on Thursday 23 February, while the London Classic Car Show will burst into life at 3pm that afternoon.

Tickets to the 2017 London Classic Car Show/HMI are now available from the show website – – and start at £24 for single adult entry (£27 on the door on the day). Gala evening standard entry costs £42 or for access to the Grand Avenue Club, where the interviews take place, tickets cost £70.


To get a flavour of the event have a scan through Simon Hildrew’s stylish photopgraphy from 2016; go along, you will not regret it.

John Brooks, February 2017



ASI 2017 and all that

The endurance season has kicked off, Dubai 24 a few weeks back and yesterday the Rolex 24, both preceded by the Autosport International at the charmless Birmingham NEC. ASI is under new owners and that can only be a good thing, the format is tired and dull, and frankly it is difficult to get any enthusiasm for the event. That being said, the display of Lotus 49s and the history line provided by Williams Grand Prix were worthy of attention, so I will be generous and hope that the show can get back to its former glories.

One constant is the excellent work of Simon Hildrew…………long may he continue.

John Brooks, January 2017

Shots at The Palace

I may not have been very impressed with the recent Classic & Sports Car Show at Alexandra Palace, thinking it a bit light on content and a bit heavy on dealers. However some 15,000 enthusiasts climbed up from Wood Green to Ally Pally on the hill during the three days of  the event, so someone is doing something right. Amongst those making the trek was master photographer Simon Hildrew and he offers us his customary silk purse.

John Brooks November 2016

Travel the Breadth of Extremities


2016 SH General

The shift from mid to late summer is marked by the latest edition of the Silverstone Classic which bills itself as “The world’s biggest classic motor racing festival”. With over 10,000 classics on track and on display who could argue with that claim, certainly not the 100,000 who made their way through the turnstiles over the three days.

2016 SH General

While there is something to savour at almost any angle around the huge Silverstone arena there were a few favourites worthy of highlighting. 40 years have passed since that golden summer of 1976, those of us around at the time will not forget the epic battle between James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Whether the same will hold true for those recalling Hamilton and Rosberg in 2056 is, to my mind, doubtful.

2016 SH General

The Group C race is always eagerly anticipated and did not disappoint as the sun set.

2016 SH General

There were some modern classics on hand, such as this Dallara SP1 decked out in the 2002 livery.

2016 SH General

The clubs were properly represented as usual, with Lancia Stratos still looking dramatic, 70’s design at its finest.

2016 SH General

Lamborghinis were also prominent on the Muira’s anniversary.

2016 SH General

And there was the inevitable Stag Do

2016 SH General

The Silverstone Classic has something that will appeal to any petrol head, be it F1, Saloons, GTs, even drag racing and there’s always the static stuff as well. Roll on 2017.

DDC is fortunate to enjoy the work of Simon Hildrew and, now, so are you.

John Brooks, October 2016

Past Pleasures

2016 SH General

Summer starts to take its leave for another year and September arrives bringing in its wake a flurry of motoring extravaganzas to keep our spirits warm during the long dark times ahead. One of the highlights of these autumnal automotive celebrations is the Goodwood Revival. A report will be forthcoming in due course but our old friend Simon Hildrew was prowling the premises and has come up with this fantastic set of images for our enjoyment.

John Brooks, September 2015

The Greatest Show on Earth?

The Goodwood Festival of Speed defies gravity, sticking to the heights of automotive excellence year after year. The 2016 event was no exception to this rule. Our ace man behind the camera, Simon Hildrew, had his Nikons primed and set to stun…………..

Kentish Times

Brands Hatch, nestling on the outskirts of London, is one of the great venues in the world for motorsport. I have a particular affection for the place, some 46 years ago I witnessed my first motor race, the 1970 British Grand Prix, at this track. A visit to this spot in Kent is never a disappointment.

Recently Brands Hatch played host to the Historic Masters Festival. Formula One and James Hunt were celebrated as we recall that is 40 years since the summer of ’76 and the utter madness of that year’s Grand Prix. Who knows where the time goes?

Our dashing photographer, Simon Hildrew, is from that neck of the woods and he brings us a taste of this colourful event – enjoy!

John Brooks, June 2006

A Recollection of Times Past

2016 JB General

The Targa Florio was the last of the open road races, a breed that died out in the early ’70s, changing attitudes to safety ending this toughest of challenges to man and machine.

2016 JB General

The Sicilians are rightly proud of the heritage of this great race, so celebrated the 100th edition recently with a collection of fantastic cars that had starred down the years. Porsches, Ferraris, Alfa Romeos and many others brought the memories flooding back of the Circuito Piccolo delle Madonie

2016 JB General

There were also a number of the gladiators present who risked life and limb back in the day. Former champions such as Arturo Merzario, Vic Elford and Gijs van Lennep were joined by other luminaries such as Jacky Ickx and Andrea de Adamich.

2016 JB General

DDC’s Simon Hildrew made the trip to the tip of Italy to bring us this wonderful gallery………………Bella Vista!

John Brooks, May 2016