This year’s record-breaking London Classic Car Show signed off in dramatic fashion 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 with some dazzling driving displays on the show’s central Grand Avenue, a unique quarter-mile long highway running through the centre of the exhibition hall. Mansell announced his arrival at the capital’s premier classic car event with a thrilling 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.
On Saturday, twenty-four hours before Mansell’s theatrical presence, it had been 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 – another of the glittering show’s stand-out exhibits.
With so much to savour, it was no surprise that this year’s London Classic Car Show drew record crowds and further established the mouth-watering retro celebration as the capital city’s premier feast of automotive culture and nostalgia.
This year’s enlarged showcase built significantly on the notable successes of the three previous shows, attracting unprecedented attendances on all four memorable days.
In total, more than 38,500 visitors savoured close to 700 of the world’s finest classic cars on display at ExCeL London. 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.
Sparkling displays provided by independent vendors ensured all the great marques were well represented in glittering style. AC, Alfa Romeo, Alvis, Aston Martin, Bentley, Bugatti, Corvette, Jaguar, Lotus, Mercedes, MG, Lamborghini Porsche, Rolls Royce and TVR were all included as well as many lesser known brands adding further to visitor interest and intrigue. Some notable modern classics were also eye-catchers topped by a McLaren P1 hypercar and the amazing new 200+mph Lister Storm which enjoyed its global launch at the show on the opening day.