London Classic Car Show – February 2008

News of yet another Forum meet. The first one, I am almost ashamed to report, in London! As Piers and I were crawling round the North Circular, stuck in a jam of people hoping to pay homage to one of the 2 London teams fighting it out at Wembley, we started to get calls from the other attendees, to say that they were either arrived (Nick), or queued up to get into a car park (Kraftwerk). As custodians of the master list of phone numbers, we gave out a number for Racing (Jonny), which proved be wrong (apologies! one of us clearly mis-recorded the info!), and then wondered how long a wait would be in store for us once we got to Alexandra Palace. No such trouble, as we pulled into the car park and spotted a space almost immediately, and only as I was about to reverse into it, did I notice that I was parking next to a rather familiar looking dark green Z1. Pretty good evidence that Racing was already on site, then!

Once in the show, it was time to see what delights were there for our inspection. Like the Bristol show, this is not a huge gathering, with 2 halls containing a mixture of display cars and those for sale. It was this latter category that greeted us first, with a rather elegant looking silver Ferrari 400 being the very first car to attract our notice, and my camera:
Jonny got rather excited at this point, his enthusiasm only tempered by the discovery that this car was an automatic. However, only a few yards behind us was another 400, this one in Ferrari Red, and with a manual gearbox. That one came in for much more detailed scrutiny later in the proceedings!
Next to attract our gaze were a series of Mercedes. First up was a W140 S600. Showing a surprisingly small mileage for a 15 year old car, we were intrigued to note this one had cloth seats. At least it did not sport the plastic wheel trims that some of the S Class Taxis have!
Alongside this was a rather more desirable Coupe. Numerous recent articles on these cars in the Classic Car rags have doubtless helped the prices rise, and this one had the rare, and highly desirable 3.5 litre engine.
There was also a W202 “C” Class Merc on sale. The letters on the registration plate read “NFG”, which we thought mildly appropriate, since was a C180, but its first owner had clearly splashed out on the auto gearbox (so he would have been able to hill starts!(, leather seats and a few other, doubtless pricey, options. The car was attracting too much interest for me to take a picture, it would seem! There was also a Fintail…. or the “Heckflosse” as it is known in German!
Rather more interest to us was this glorious Lamborghini Miura. Once the property of Twiggy, it had won an award for “best paintwork”. Presumably it dazzled the judges!
Nestled alongside this was something rather more contemporary, a Gumbert Apollo:
Two British “classics” were also attracting a lot of attention. The BRG coloured “K” reg Metro 1.4 Si that had done a mere 9,000 miles eluded my camera, but I did rather like this Vanden Plas Princess, even if we were unable to reach agreement on whether the final “s” is silent or not!

We also liked this Daimler 2.5 litre:
This late model Alvis, a TD21, was not attracting that much interest.
Not quite such a bargain price, doubtless, was this DB6 Volante:
Perhaps nearer an affordable budget was this Bond Bug. Tom Karen’s novelty, introduced at the 1970 Earls Court Motor Show:
There were some display cars in this hall, too. Rarest, without doubt was this Tucker Torpedo. Apparently, this is the only one in Europe. Someone who shall remain nameless called this “like an American Tatra”. I guess he has a point!
Probably this American Fire Engine is not a lot less rare, either:
Also in this area was the Jensen 541R. Perhaps not the most elegant offering from the West Bromwich firm!
This Wolseley 15/50, a close relative of the more sporting MG Magnette appeared already to have found a buyer.
Only 2 cars in the entire show were ones we had seen at Bristol, and it may surprise you to find out what they were! Yes, the Nissan/Datsun Cedric and Gloria staged another appearance, but this time joined by some more examples. Period Japanese luxury kitsch at its absolute best!
Before we left this hall, there was time to admire a 60s Mustang:
And this TR7:
And this Daimler Series 3. We came back to this one later on,
The second hall was largely filled with Car Clubs, and a few stalls selling models, and the only to be expected snake-oil salesman with his smarmy patter. First up was the Fiat Car Club. this Strada 105TC was familiar from Gaydon and the NEC:
But there was also a Fiat 124. No, not the Lada version, but the real original deal.
Equally rare was this 127 Palio:
We were less impressed by Panther. I think we decided that the De Ville was as tasteful in its day as a Maybach today!
Another real rarity was this pair of Crayford Corsair Convertibles……… I was even more surprised to see a third one elsewhere in the show, too!
Plenty of the cars on show were common in their day, or in the case of this one, Commer……
Volvo Amazon:
Rover 2000:
Triumph Herald:
Couple of Ford Anglias……….. imagine having this as your company car?
Several Ford Capris were on show:
This was the first show I can recall with several Japanese car stands. As well as the Nissans, there was a Toyota stand, with a late 1960s Crown in front of a first generation Celica:
Another stand had a couple of MR2s and this rather nice Datsun Fairlady. These are still quite common in the southern states of the US, but very rare in the UK, as they were never officially imported here.
Among the less prosaic stuff were these: Jaguar Mark IX:
Lotus Esprit:
Triumph Spitfire:
Back in the “once common, but mostly rusted away” category, we found some ADO16s
And some FD Victors. One of the first “ordinary” cars with an overhead cam engine.
At this point, Chris’ eyes lit up, as he spotted some French delights. First, Renault. A very late R16:
Keeping it company was a Caravelle:
Even better, there were Citroens.
And a GS……. not just any old GS, but a C-Matic. The semi-automatic version, rare even when new!
Sadly, during the tour, Chris’ cold got the better of him and he had to retreat home, and a subsequent text msg said he had retired to bed. So, Chris, hope you enjoy the pictorial record here. It was great meeting you! Once outside, we had to explore the sound effects of the combined 14 cylinders at our disposal, check out the marks left by some miserable French Agila driver on the front of the Z1, which she described as “only a car”, watch Jonny put the roof down, just for it to start raining…………………. and off we went. An excellent day out. Some wonderful cars, and great company, and nice to meet yet more Forummers………. with a ride home in the RS4, and then another meet in the evening at Chateau Dan and Miriam! Doesn’t get much better than that!
2009-12-21 09:09:59

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