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London, 05 November 2016

The Regent Street Motor Show was inaugurated in 2005, and since then has become a firmly established annual event on the first Saturday in November, as a prelude to the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, a number of the participants in which form a significant part of the gathering.

The length on Regent Street from Piccadilly Circus to Oxford Street becomes a pedestrian zone for the day, and the many thousands of visitors are able to experience technology both ancient and modern, in what is believed to be the largest free-to-view motor show in the UK.

Fortunately, although it was a rather raw autumnal day, it stayed dry, and it didn’t deter people from immersing themselves in the experience, particularly most of the veteran car owners and their entourages, with an abundance of period costumes in evidence.

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Apart from over 100 veteran cars participating in the international concours, there was plenty more for visitors to see and enjoy. There were motorcycle stunt riding displays by Steve Colley, whose feats never cease to amaze, and at the opposite end of the street there was further entertainment in the form of the Top Gear Road Show. The Silverstone Classic race meeting had a large screen above their display, showing highlights from the meeting in July. They also had a selection of classic race cars on display, and adjacent to this there was another trip down memory lane, with the display of The McLaren M23 F1 car, which took James Hunt to his World Drivers’ Championship win 40 years ago in 1976. His son Freddie was in attendance on the Saturday morning to sign copies of a commemorative programme.

The Jaguar Drivers’ Club celebrated their Diamond Jubilee with a varied display of the marquee, including an XK140 and a lurid yellow XJ220, which glowed brightly despite the overcast sky, and attracted plenty of attention. Opposite the Jaguar display was a trio of Piper GTs, the products of a short lived specialist British manufacturer between 1966 and 1974, with a total road car production of around 90 cars, plus a few pure racing examples which had preceded them. Being in the centre of town, there was also emphasis on low and zero emission cars, with a low emission motoring zone. Here TfL (Transport for London) showed the technology used in a number of their vehicles, whilst there was a varied selection of offerings from a number of manufacturers, including BMW with their i3 and i8 models, Kia with an electric Soul, Mitsubishi, Toyota and Renault, the latter having examples of the Twizy and Zoe, and test drives were available in adjacent side streets. Another popular feature was the expansive display of Triumph motorcycles, with many visitors taking the opportunity to sit on them for photo opportunities.

The overall veteran concours winner was the sole surviving Krastin, from 1904, one of only four cars understood to have been built by a Latvian immigrant to the USA, August Krastin, in Cleveland, Ohio, before fire destroyed the factory and the company was bankrupted. This sole survivor was found in Nebraska, and secured by a Latvian enthusiast, Austra Priede, who, with the help of the Riga Motor Museum, has just completed a full restoration, enabling the car to make its debut in this year’s Veteran Car Run.

Keith Bluemel