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London, 30 October - 01 November, 2015

The inaugural “Classic & Sports Car - The London Show” was held at the Alexandra Palace in North London, over the weekend of 30 October – 01 November. The venue is situated at one of the highest points of North London, and offers visitors panoramic views over the capital from its terraces, whilst its Victorian architecture and decor provide a splendid backdrop to any gathering. It was designed as an exhibition centre, to be North London’s rival to the Crystal Palace in South London. Construction of the original palace was completed in 1873, but within 16 days of opening it was destroyed by fire, with only the outer shell remaining. It was quickly rebuilt, and the structure, essentially as it is today (despite another serious fire in 1980), was completed in 1875. It was originally to have been called the “Palace of the People” or the “People’s Palace”, but was given the name Alexandra Palace after Prince Edward’s popular wife Alexandra of Denmark, who became the Princess of Wales.

One of the main features of the show was the finale to the “Best of British” project, which was started by Classic & Sports Car magazine early in 2015, to find the car which can lay claim to that title. They engaged a “jury” comprising of 100 classic car experts, collectors, celebrities with petrol in their veins, enthusiasts and motoring journalists, who over a period of time whittled down the possibilities to just 10 examples. This was always going to be a quest where you can satisfy some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time, as it is a very subjective and emotive topic, with very broad parameters. The “Top Ten” only included three pre-war cars, two of which were diametrically opposed, the Austin Seven, which may be described as the original people’s car, and the Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, which staked its claim as the best car in the world, with new levels of refinement and reliability, when it went into production. In the post war stakes were the Jaguar XK SS, the Lotus 7, the Ford GT40, the Mini Cooper S, the Range Rover, the McLaren F1 and the Jaguar E-Type, with the latter claiming the victor’s laurels.

There was also a feature celebrating Aston Martin with a range of models, starting with oldest know example still in existence, the 1921 A3 prototype, running through to the latest DB9 GT, and of course including an example of the model which made the company a household name through the James Bond film “Goldfinger” in 1964, the DB5. The achievements of Sir Stirling Moss were also recognised with a fine display featuring a selection of the monoposto cars that he drove during his career, including the Ferguson P99 4 wheel drive F1 car, in which he won the 1961 International Gold Cup F1 race at Oulton Park, which remains as the only F1 race ever won by a 4 wheel drive car, as the technology was banned from F1 in 1983. The two wheel brigade weren’t forgotten, with a broad range of motorcycles and scooters lining the walls of the Panorama Room, with an exhibition of LAT Library photography in the gallery between that and the West Hall.

The bulk of the other car displays were provided by classic car dealers and specialist restorers, including some from Belgium, France, Germany and The Netherlands, with a varied selection of machinery available for sale. The Gallery from Brummen in The Netherlands had a very varied array of cars on offer, with a picture of their expansive premises forming an attractive backdrop to their stand, whilst Samuel Laurence’s stand was decorated like a film set, and JD Classics had a very impressive set-up, with a pale metallic blue Fiat Bartoletti Car Transporter as a backdrop to part of their display, carrying an AC Cobra and an AC Cobra Supersonic Coupe. Each day there were guests on the Live Stage, being interviewed, including David Brabham, Ross Brawn, Norman Dewis, Sir John Egan and Mike Wilds. There was also a silent auction for the original artwork for the event poster by Tim Layzell, the proceeds going to the charity “WeSeeHope”, plus a stand displaying other examples of his artwork. There were also many other artists displaying their work, along with all the usual peripheral memorabilia, book and model stands, which are an integral part of any classic car show.

... Ferrari Models on Display  >>>

Keith Bluemel