Buyers Wanted For Rare And One-Off Specials At The Capital's Classic Showcase
• A Mercedes mix of classic looks and modern performance• Spot the difference: Ford GT40 vs Superformance evocation• Peugeot highlights its competition history
A one-off Ferrari estate, a Mercedes SL that blends classic looks with modern performance and a GT40 that costs £100,000 rather than $11m… these are just three of the mouth-watering attractions promised by top specialist dealers at the London Classic Car Show, which opens in little over a week (18-21 February).And with advance ticket sales already well ahead of where they were in the run-up to last year’s show, London’s ExCeL arena is guaranteed to be the centre of the classic car world for its four days of high octane action.There will be plenty of Ferraris at the Show, but none as rare as the metallic green 330GT Vignale Special being offered for sale by London-based dealer Graeme Hunt.Created by Italian coachbuilder Vignale in 1968 for Luigi Chinetti Jr, son of the American Ferrari importer, the car started life as a standard 1965 330GT. But its dramatic glass-backed shooting brake body has no panel in common with the donor car, making it a genuinely unique machine.Graeme Hunt will also be offering a pair of rare British classics – a 1954 Bentley R-type Continental and a one-off 2008 Aston Martin DBS ‘Casino Royale’ Special, built for Barbara Broccoli, daughter of James Bond film maker Cubby Broccoli.The best of both worlds will be offered by The SL Shop. As the name implies, the company specialises in Mercedes-Benz convertibles… but with a twist. Being given its world debut at the show is its 300SL SportLine.Based on a classic R107 SL model, the 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine has been blessed with modern performance thanks to the adoption of a fuel injection system from a later M-B model to give better performance and throttle response.The SL Shop will also be showing a fully restored 500SL to show off the skills of its workshop team.Technically the GT40 is an evocation of the Shelby-developed fast Ford that won Le Mans, but the South African-built Superformance machines are so close to the real thing – some 70 per cent is interchangeable with the original – that they are recognised by the Shelby American World Registry.Hand-built in an ultra modern factory, the Superformance GT40 is offered in MkI or MkII guise with left- or right-hand drive and with a choice of potent V8 engines from 5.6 to 7.0 litres.The only thing that isn’t interchangeable with an original is the price. The Superformance cars, which are imported to the UK by Le Mans Coupes Ltd, start at just £99,800 (plus VAT)… one of the four ex-Works Gulf Le Mans racers sold for $11 million in 2012.“With Ford returning to Le Mans for the first time since 1969, courtesy of its all-new GT, it’s small wonder that UK sales of the Superformance cars are at an all-time high,” said Nigel Hulme, managing director of Le Mans Coupes.It’s not just dealers at the Show. Peugeot, celebrating its 120th anniversary this year, will be showcasing future classics like the new 208 GTi and 308 GTi by Peugeot Sport models alongside competition classics from the past.Stars of the stand will be the 1985 205 T16, the road-going version of its Group B rally winner, and the four-wheel steered 405 T16 which won the Pike’s Peak hillclimb in a record time in 1988. The driver that day, Ari Vatanen, will officially open the show at the VIP Preview evening on Thursday, 18 February.Although only in its second year, the London Classic Car Show has already established itself as the classic car event of the year. Such was the success of the inaugural show that the 2016 edition has doubled in size and promises more of everything… more to see and do, more halls, more fun and, of course, more desirable classics.And at the heart of the show is its unique feature, The Grand Avenue, which runs through its centre and along which many star cars will be driven, including 60 top classics representing their countries – Italy, France, Germany, the UK, USA and Japan – in the Classic Six Nations Cup.Organised by Brand Events, the company behind CarFest and Top Gear Live, show tickets start at £23 (including booking fee) for single adult entry on Friday, Saturday or Sunday and rise to £65 for entry to Thursday’s Premium Preview Evening. Sought-after Premium tickets are available for all four days and include fast track entry, the best views of The Grand Avenue at the Turning Circle Viewing Platform, access to the exclusive Premium Lounge, a Show Handbook and even a glass of Joseph Perrier Champagne.