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London, 20-23 February, 2020

For its 6th edition the London Classic Car show moved from the Excel Centre in East London, across town to the historic Olympia exhibition centre, now known as Olympia London, in West London. Olympia London is a fitting venue for a classic car show, as it played host to the British International Motor Show in its formative years between 1905 and 1936, apart from the First World War years. It was the subject of a sympathetic £40 million refurbishment programme to celebrate its 125th anniversary, which was completed in 2013. The large domed glass roof of the Grand Hall bathes the exhibition space in natural light, whilst the ornate balustrades just below, running around the perimeter balcony provide a nice classic period feeling.

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As in its previous incarnations at the Excel, the show featured a main stage where various motoring personalities were interviewed through the course of the show, who this year included renowned designers Ian Callum CBE and Adrian Newey OBE. The stage also featured “Car Stories”, with the feature cars on display, and those who are, or had been, associated them in different ways, giving their views on them. They included the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato and DB5 “Goldfinger” continuation models, the Porsche 962 and the Maserati 250F. The show also had a tribute to the life of Bruce McLaren, to mark 50 years since his passing in a testing accident at Goodwood, and the eponymous company that he founded. The cars on display ranged from the Austin 7 Ulster that he first competed in back in New Zealand, through F1 cars and the thundering M8D CanAm car, all in the traditional McLaren orange livery, through to the current Senna GTR model finished in chrome, blue and black. There was also a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Audi Quattro, with a sextet of examples on display in the area joining the balconies of the Grand and National halls occupied by the show. The 50th anniversary of the Range Rover was also marked with a display spanning the various models produced through the years, all having the distinctive and unmistakeable Range Rover look that has evolved through the years.

There were numerous and varied car club stands ranging from The London Vintage Taxi Association, through the Transit Van Club, the Fiat 500 Club UK, the Ford AVO Owners’ Club, the Lancia Motor Club, Lamborghini Club UK, and Porsche Club Great Britain, to name but a few. The Ferrari Owners’ Club Of Great Britain, was well represented by the Kent Area Group under the guidance of area group organiser Peter Critchell, featuring an impressive display of nine cars, ranging from a 365 GT 2+2 to a 430 Spider F1. For aficionados of the “Cavallino Rampante” there were plenty of other examples on the trade stands, notably that of Joe Macari, which had modern supercars like a F50 and Enzo amongst their offerings, whilst another Enzo could be found on the stand of GVE London, which also featured a 512 TR and a 550 Barchetta. There were also some older classic models spread around the stands, like the freshly restored 250 GT Lusso on GTO Engineering’s stand, a 275 GTS on that of Hall & Hall, a 365 GTC on the Classic Motor Hub stand, a Dino 246 GT on The Market stand and a 365 GTB4 on Tom Hartley’s stand. If one wanted to be politically correct in today’s environment, there was also a 308 GTS with electric motive power on the Electric Classic Cars stand.

Apart from the wide variety of vendors of classic motoring ephemera, the show also featured a Coys Auction, where there was a varied selection of offerings, including a rather distressed 1968 Mini Cooper, needing a little more than TLC to make it roadworthy again! Here Ferraris were also a strong feature, with nine examples on offer, including a pair of yellow LHD examples from Belgium, a Dino 246 GT and a Testarossa, along with a red US specification 328 GTS. The sale achieved a 65% sell-through rate, with the top sale being a 1974 Maserati Ghibli SS Spider, which achieved £800,000, whilst a 1983 Ferrari 512 BBi with delivery miles only sold for £400,000.

Keith Bluemel