A sure sign that things are edging towards normality, there are now events that we motoring enthusiasts can actually attend. This weekend sees the Goodwood Festival of Speed happening and a few weeks back there was the London Classic Car Show.
Syon Park was the venue for this small, but perfectly formed show. There was something for everyone and those who did attend came away with a smile on their face.
There was a celebration of the E-type’s 60th birthday, bringing out ECD 400. Graham Hill scored the car’s first race victory in this vehicle, at Oulton Park.
The E-type was a mere whippersnapper compared with the Salvesen Wagonette, dating back to 1893, and the first car to built in Scotland.
The weather looked menacing at times but held off to add to the occasion. The show must have been a nightmare to organise, so all credit is due to those responsible. I look forward to returning to its very agreeable new home for the 2022 edition. Simon Hildrew was pacing the lawns and provides an excellent record of the event.
The London Classic Car Show sneaked in just under the lock-down deadline on its sixth running. The previous couple of events at the ExCel, down in London’s Docklands, felt as if the affair had lost focus or run out of steam after a very promising beginning. A reboot was necessary and the organisers headed west, destinationKensington Olympia.By all reports this seems to have done the trick and there was a new spark to the show. Our resident man with a camera in hand took the opportunity to record proceedings, judge for yourself.
Here at DDC Towers we are firmly of the chips on both shoulders persuasion. So in the interests of balance we are running this excellent gallery from Simon Hildrew as a counterbalance to the previous polemic from Kensington Gore.
As Simon’s keen eye demonstrates there were motoring goodies to be found at the Excel last month. We should be grateful that such entertainment is still permitted in these enlightened times.
For some there was an opportunity to buy or sell……….one man’s treasure and all that stuff….
There were anniversaries to be celebrated with Citroën reaching a Ton this year………just look at that French artistry………..
And that quintessential ’60s epic, The Italian Job, was paid homage by Octane.
Not sure that the script would get past the arbiters of good taste these days……….no one would like to upset Italian drivers would they?
There were appearances from heroes of the past, like Gordon Spice.
Enough from me I suggest that you take a while to enjoy the stories that pop into life from Simon’s cameras……….more on the way soon.
Another new kid on the DDC block gives his tart views on the recent exhibition at the Excel. The tone will come as no surprise to those of us who have enjoyed Shaun’s company at any time. I first encountered him at Le Mans in 1995 while he was working on ‘Persuit of Perfection’ – the film he produced back then is still one of the greatest ever on our bit of the sport. For those who have missed it try this and especially marvel at the action on the opening lap – GoPros, who needs ’em? Find the video HERE
A trip down memory lane was what I was anticipating on my visit to London City Classic last week at the Excel.
I spent a fair amount of time in the ’80s working with some enthusiastic – and in a number of cases under-financed, over enthusiastic – World Endurance Championship race teams in various capacities. Then in the mid ’90s I had the dream commission to make a number of films about it, including ‘Pursuit Of Perfection’ The McLaren Le Mans Film. So I have always maintained a fondness for things Classic and Retro.
My initial spark of interest in this came as a teenager from listening to the 24 Hours of Le Mans on radio at night under the blankets at school in late 50s.
I was hooked.150mph down something called The Mulsanne Straight! To me it was simply unbelievable.
Our Family Car at the time was a Morris Minor 1000 Traveller, which probably could only hit a maximum of 80mph on a downhill straight with a following wind. Around that time, funnily enough, a friend of the family called Piers Courage won his first race in his Mother’s Traveller at Boreham in Essex, then the Ford test track. She didn’t know about it till afterwards!
God, I could have been a Grand Prix Driver – if only my Dad had happened to own a Brewery.
Anyway my first trip to a track was Snetterton, in Norfolk.
As we arrived I saw some chap called Jimmy Clark driving a Lotus Cortina totally out on his own without another car anywhere in sight.
It was his first of three drives that day. I think he won in the Lotus by a quarter of a lap. All I remember thinking was that everyone else appeared to be extremely bad at this lark. I was hooked. Hard not to be.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that 15-20 years in the future I would be going to Le Mans regularly. Or that 35 years or so later I would be making a film there following the winning – British – car.
So I have I suppose become something of an aficionado of things Classic: or in the words of the late great Charlie H a bit of a connoisseur.
It is probably a traditional lament from anyone over 30 years of age that “Fings Ain’t What They Used to Be”!.
I went to the Excel out of curiosity to see if I could conjure up some memories of the past. I was sadly rather disappointed at the frankly lacklustre range of ‘Classics’ on display there this time. I hate to say it, but it really wasn’t a a patch on the Show put on by our ancient enemy the Fr**** in Paris last week.
As my old Pal John Brooks rightly said ‘ not exactly Premier League. My own comment was that it was really only one up from Vanarama Southern – and a mate owns that Team.
At the twenty five sovs a pop which the punters paid I thought it was well steep.
The French, in spite of their youthful president’s political problems (or maybe because of them?), put on a stonking display at Rétromobile. One which I would gladly pay good very good Euros (if such things really exist) to attend next year in spite of the little local difficulty we appear to be having with the bureaucrats based in the country next door, whose only saving grace is as far as I can figure is a little place called Spa Francorchamps, that and the beer.
However I digress.
Wondering around on Friday I found that there really were just a smattering of vaguely interesting racing cars in what I can only describe as a fairly boring sterile shed.
On the non competition side there was plenty of ‘pretty little things’ to see. But even then, there was nothing that had that magic ‘WOW’ factor. Just row upon row of predictability
Joe Macari and Quentin Wilson added a bit of class banter, but that for me was about the only really interesting part of the day.
Ces’t la vie. Paris for me next year. Maybe the Entente can be a bit more Cordiale this time around?
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.
There was a new classic car show launched this year in London’s Docklands. The London Classic Car Show is further evidence of the strength and popularity of the premium automotive heritage movement and was considered by observers to be a success right from the word go.
There were the usual suspects for an event of this nature in the UK, top end classic car dealers, TV celebrities, motor sport legends, plenty for the crowd of over 25,000 to ooh and aah over.
Next year the Show will be back at the Excel London, and the date has shifted to 18-21 February to avoid any potential clashes, it is certainly one for the diary.
In automotive terms, if not in other aspects, 2015 is off to a great start, especially here in London with the first London Classic Car Show. Who better than ace snapper, Simon Hildrew, to bring us a peek at the riches on display? Put a date in your diaries for 2016, 18-21st February, you know it makes sense.