This year’s London Classic Car Show signed off in style on Sunday with racing legend Nigel Mansell CBE bringing four days of retro heaven to a fittingly spectacular close.
The 1992 F1 World Champion wowed Sunday crowds on the show’s central Grand Avenue, announcing his arrival at the capital’s premier classic car event with a wheel-spinning entrance behind the wheel of a Jaguar E-type inspired Eagle Speedster.
Later in the day, he returned to drive a scarlet Ferrari 246 Dino F1 front-engined F1 car from the late fifties plus a 1993 Benetton-Ford B193 as raced by arch-rival Michael Schumacher in period. Mansell was also reunited with some of the cars which he raced during his roller-coaster career. A special Icon display featured a 1977 Crosslé 32F, the junior single-seater in which he first cut his teeth competing in Formula Ford, and his title winning Williams-Renault FW14.
“I’ve got to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised at just how great this London show is,” enthused Mansell. “It’s always wonderful to see some of my old racing cars and to meet the fans – and they’ve have been absolutely brilliant.”
On Saturday, it was Phillip Glenister’s turn in the spotlight. Renowned for ‘firing up the quattro’ as DCI Gene Hunt in the hugely-popular television series Ashes to Ashes, Glenister had curated a rogue’s gallery of famous Getaway Cars.
In total, more than 38,500 visitors ExCeL London over the 3 day event, where 700 cars were displayed with a combined estimated value of more than £300m, these ranged from barn-finds and in-progress restorations to unique concepts, concours winners and pure-bred, championship-winning race cars.
Thursday’s opening evening witnessed a pair of major global car launches with two of Britain’s most iconic marques unveiling spotlight-stealing new models.
First Morgan took the wraps on its latest +4 Club Sport and then Lister revealed its never-seen-before Thunder. The former is a road-legal racer aimed at those either keen on track days or competing at motor sport’s grassroots level, the latter a mighty 666bhp supercar with a top speed of 208mph.
As well as providing a staggering selection of magnificent classic cars for visitors to relish, dealers confirmed considerable interest from buyers with many significant sales. Saturday’s Coys auction also witnessed notable lots coming under the hammer, topped by the sale of a 1984 Ferrari 512BB ‘Boxer’ for more than £260,000.
This year’s theme was ‘Specials’, putting the spotlight on an eye-catching gathering of road and race cars steeped in history and mystique owing to their unique designs and often outlandish performance. Once again, the Grand Avenue enthralled visitors, allowing them to see – and hear – some of their favourite classics in action.
Another popular attraction was Car Club Square – a hall dedicated to enthusiasts of popular and affordable classics giving visitors the opportunity to talk to experts and fellow devotees.
All those attending The London Classic Car Show were also admitted into the Historic Motorsport International – a complementary show celebrating the UK’s leading role in all areas of historic motor sport and home to the Supagard Theatre, where broadcaster Henry Hope-Frost hosted public forums with a number a well-known personalities including both Mansell and Glenister.
Organisers have already confirmed that next year’s London Classic Car Show will be staged at ExCeL London from 14-17 February in 2019.