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London Concours – bringing out the big guns?

Wednesday at this year’s London Concours was E-type day and, despite having some really significant examples like the Geneva roadster, final V12 and ‘Lofty’ England’s personal 2+2, I could have done with fewer. Adding some variety to the Jaguar exhibits were the unique Jaguar C-X75 made road-legal by CALLUM and XJR-9 from 1988, the first time the Silk Cut Jaguars won Lemans.

Looking around, I enjoyed the Zagato retrospective that included the very nineties Alfa Romeo RZ and pretty 1958 Abarth 750 ‘double bubble’. As well as the XJR-9, the Great British Racing class included a period-perfect 1967 Alan Mann Racing Escort Mk1, 1972 Brooke Bond Oxo Rob Walker Surtees TS9B and 1986 Computervision MG Metro 6R4. The Legendary V12 class included a lovely Ferrari BB512 in light-blue metallic rather than red as well as later Ferraris and recent Aston Martins.

The Wild Card class usually has something of interest and didn’t disappoint this year with the 1965 Costin-Nathan Prototype and 2007 TVR Scamander Amphibious. The former a plywood sports car that Roger Nathan told me was more expensive and took longer to produce than if it had been made out of aluminium. The Scamander sounds and looks like something out a James Bond movie but is only two-wheel drive and designed for use on moorland.

As much a Wild Card as a Legendary V12, John Dodd’s The Beast got him sentenced prison after a copyright-infringement battle with Rolls Royce. The Beast is fitted with a Rolls Royce radiator, including Spirit of Ecstasy mascot because it is powered by a Rolls Royce aero-engine. Dodd refused to remove them after losing the legal battle and escaped to Spain with the car. Originally a very 1970s beige, The Beast’s new owner has recently treated the car to a two-tone grey and silver paint scheme. Perhaps another nod to it’s Rolls Royce DNA.

The eventual winner of the concours was a prototype 1994 Lamborghini Diablo SE30 Supercharged from the Purple Reign class. My favourite was the unadorned Lancia Stratos Stradale in the Aero – Front Enlightened class that focused on different ways of streamlining headlights.

Words and photographs Keith Mainland


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