2016 London Classic Car Show
After a promising first year in 2015 the London Classic Car Show was back at ExCel London last month, writes John Brooks.
The show doubled its size for this year, taking on an additional hall which largely featured displays from car clubs. A lot of the additional space in the main arena was taken by the ever expanding legions of classic car dealers, to the extent that it sometimes felt like a car showroom for the well-heeled rather than a car show but that could be just a personal impression.
In support of this sales activity was ‘Speakers’ Corner’ where legends such as Sir Stirling Moss debated the classic car market with representatives from Hagerty Insurance, Coys and other industry experts.
The unique feature for a show of this nature of having cars driving along The Grand Avenue (pictured) was popular once more; cars are meant to be driven after all. Someone came up with the marketing hook of the Classic Six Nations Cup, a rugby fan no doubt, where ten classic cars from six nations represented their respective motor industries in some sort of contest, judged by classic car experts such as Bruno Senna. A bit contrived was the consensus, trying a bit too hard, the cars can speak for themselves.
In common with many motoring events in the UK, there was a fair amount of celebrity activity in evidence, some were motoring World Champions, such as Ari Vatanen and Jenson Button, some were not, such as Jodi Kidd. Vatanen opened the show at the 'Pinnacle of Rallying’ display paying homage to the Group B era. Button arrived at the wheel of the Harrods McLaren F1 GTR in support of a stand paying tribute to Gordon Murray’s finest creation, the McLaren F1.
There was a well populated exhibition dedicated to the 'Evolution of the SuperCar’ which featured a selection from the Lamborghini Miura to the Bugatti Veyron and much in between. Corgi celebrates its 60th birthday in 2016 and had a Routemaster in the hall to showcase a wide selection from their history.
The show’s location at the heart of London’s Dockland with good public transport links and proximity to the City makes it an ideal shop window for the classic car business; big boys’ toys indeed. It also ensured a good turn out of enthusiasts who enjoy such automotive treats and the show should go on to bigger and better things in the future. The highlight for me was meeting the gentlemen of the Gordon Keeble Owner's Club who brought a handsome set of cars to admire, they were very patient with my enquiries and this owners’ club aspect of the show should be encouraged in future events.
The attendance figures were up, some 33,000 enjoyed the show. The dates for 2017 were announced as 23-26 February, if you are in the area pop along, you won’t regret it.