• Eye-catching displays celebrate milestones in Mini Cooper S, Porsche 911 and Corvette histories
• Film stars preview new CLASSIC movie on Fighting Torque central stage
• Exciting live sale sees 100 lots under the Historics auctioneers’ hammer
• Even bigger and better show already planned for February 2024
The London Classic Car Show’s timely return to historic Olympia has been widely welcomed by collectors, exhibitors and visitors.
Although the ever-popular event (24-26 February) found an innovative outdoor home in Syon Park in the immediate aftermath of the COVID pandemic, three years have passed since car-lovers last headed to the show’s spiritual home under Olympia’s magnificent, Victorian, barrel-vaulted roof in West Kensington.
Such was the burning enthusiasm for the capital’s premier celebration of automotive culture, that thousands of eager attendees were already queuing outside the venue when doors re-opened on Friday morning.
Over the following three-days, more than 20,000 visitors were treated to hundreds and hundreds of the world’s finest cars all harking back to motoring's golden eras. These glittering gems ranged from iconic Bentleys and Alfa Romeos from the 1920s and 1930s right up to dazzling Ferraris and Lamborghinis from more recent times.
Once inside Olympia, visitors were greeted by an amazing timeline display of prized Porsches. To mark the evergreen 911’s 60th birthday later this year, all eight generations of the world’s top-selling sportscar were featured in a very special showcase.
Two further exquisite ‘generations’ displays were also among the show’s many, many highlights – one celebrated the Chevrolet Corvette’s 70th anniversary while the second paid tribute to 60 years of the charismatic Mini Cooper S with a headline-grabbing collection topped by a trio of unique Cooper S models which were originally tailor-made for members of The Beatles. It was the first time these three bespoke Radford Minis – once owned by music legends George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr – had all been seen together in London for 55 years.
Moreover, visitors were not just treated to these and several other outstanding showcases dedicated to topical talking points such as barn-finds and future classics but they were also provided with a wonderful opportunity to buy a classic car.
A number of notable specialist dealers reported significant sales while Saturday’s entertainment included all the buzzing excitement of a live auction. No fewer than 100 great cars from yesteryear all came under the Historics auctioneer’s hammer – former BBC Top Gear presenter Vicki Butler-Henderson helping to kick off proceedings.
Stirring up yet more magical memories and engaging evocative conversations, car clubs championing captivating automotive brands such as Bristol, Corvette, Ferrari, Fiat, Gordon Keeble, Lancia and Triumph were also making up for lost time with some impressive exhibits.
Adding yet another interactive dimension, the show’s central Main Stage hosted a series of ‘Fighting Torque’ discussions with notable experts sharing their experiences, thoughts and predictions with show-goers. These far-reaching debates were hosted by TV and racing personalities Alex Brundle and Alexandra Legouix on Friday and Saturday before Butler-Henderson joined Brundle for Sunday’s topical deliberations.
The Main Stage also witnessed the launch of a new feature film… appropriately called CLASSIC. Described as a darkly comic tale and set against the backdrop of a classic car show on the hard-washed North Yorkshire coast, the movie will star some of Britain's brightest acting stars – Sally Phillips (Bridget Jones trilogy, ‘Veep’), Tony Pitts (‘Peaky Blinders’, Star Wars: Rogue One), Ronni Ancona and Katherine Kelly.
Announcing the project, members of the cast and crew were present at Olympia, together with a 1974 MG Midget 1300 which will also feature in the silverscreen production.
“There’s no denying that it has been a challenging few years, so it was an even greater pleasure to be back indoors at Olympia as the curtain-raiser to what’s going to be another amazing year for all classic car enthusiasts,” accepted Martin Clarke, Content Director of the event. “It was incredibly rewarding to see the huge queues outside as the doors opened and the enthusiastic feedback that followed from all involved has been extremely positive. That now gives us the confidence to build on this success with even bigger and better shows in the future.”
To that end, the organisers have confirmed that The London Classic Car Show will return to the capital in February 2024.