Chelsea AutoLegends – September 2010

The Chelsea AutoLegends is a new event, hosted in the gardens of the Royal Hospital, home to the Chelsea Pensioners. Although the publicity material sounded promising, offering a display of historic Le Mans racers, supercars, and an array of famous racing drivers, I was still not quite sure what to expect. Be in no doubt, this was a superb event, with hundreds of interesting cars parked up around the extensive grounds, and although it did get noticeably busier by lunchtime, it was not so impossibly crowded as to preclude getting a sight of the cars, or of any stand staff from having time to talk to you. Among the famous names that  I spotted were Norman Dewis, Jaguar test driver from the 1950s, and I kept hearing the tannoy refer to Derek Bell and Stirling Moss. I also came across chef James Martin and Jay Kay, and were I better informed on the celebrity stakes there were doubtless others there as well.
As always with events like this, it is not possible to photograph everything that was on show, and there are a few cars which I still recall and are definitely not going to be depicted, but I did have a good go and present the following 250 pictures.


Abarth UK had a stand at the event, and were showing their latest models, with examples of the 500, 500C and Punto Evo joined by one of the Assetto Corse 500 racers. Needless to say, I popped in for a chat. and emerged with another Abarth flag, having resisted the temptation of their other merchandise. Luckily they did not have the polo shirts in stock, or I could have been tempted!

An 8C Competizione Spider featured with some of the latest supercars.

This is a GT 1300 Junior.
There were plenty of DB cars from the DB4 to the present day, including this rather nice DB6 Vantage

Classic V8 Vantage
This Vantage certainly looks rather brutish, but these cars probably represented the nadir of Aston-Martin before the recent return to form and significantly increased sales volume
A DB7 Zagato
There were plenty of other DB7 models, too, including several of the later GT cars.
Octane magazine had the Le Mans car on their stand in its still uncleaned state.
Plenty of Bentleys to see, from the 1920s models right up to the latest product.

Although the sports cars from this era are perhaps best known, Bentley produced plenty of cars with saloon and tourer bodies on them, and these are a couple such examples
This S3 Continental in Mulliner Park Ward body appealed to me, as it is particularly elegant.
The saloon version at the time as called the Flying Spur and here is an example.
The Continental from the 1990s was based on the old Mulsanne chassis, bit clothed in a special two door body, which was later offered in short wheelbase form. Several of these cars were on show.
The latest Continental GTC SuperSports was on show.
A 328 from the late 1930s.

A 3.0 CSi from the early 1970s – very elegant.
The M1 remains the only true supercar that BMW has ever built, the result of a joint-venture with Lamborghini which never quite delivered what was intended. Less than 350 of these wonderful cars were built.
This Z1 claimed to be a pre-production prototype, but the expert eye of Mr Malim could not spot anything different on it from his own car.
This is a very rare 400 Cabrio.

Four cars from Bristol Cars were on show, including a 412 Zagato, a 411, a Blenheim and the very striking Fighter. Apparently, plenty of customers are buying 411s and asking to have them updated with new mechanicals and to latest standards of tyres and brakes. 7 such cars are in “production” right now along with what you might think of as the latest cars.
This Veyron Grand Sport looked pretty good…… until we noticed the garish bright blue interior trim! Although it was attracting a lot of attention, with plenty of competition from other event vehicles, it was far from being the show star

This 1953 Roadmaster is not exactly subtle. Splendid, yes!


A 1976 Eldorado Coupe. A veritable giant of a motorcar
There were a number of Corvettes on show, ranging from the second generation model all the way to the latest C6 cars.

A couple of the latest Camaros were also on show.  
This must be one of the best SMs in the world, especially if it it is to deserve the £70,000 price tag which was affixed to it! Lovely, but maybe not quite that lovely!

The very lovely Mangusta that was a star at the Auto Italia Brooklands and Stanford Hall events made another appearance here. Lovely.

There was also a Pantera on show.
The first cars that visitors coming in from the north entrance (as I did) would were some Ferrari 250 GT. Not one, nor even just two,  but several. When have quite so many of these oh-so-valuable Ferraris ever been gathered together?

There were plenty of other Ferraris from some early cars right up to the latest models.
250 Europa – at the time of launch this was one of the fastest cars available on the market.
250 GT Lusso
An original 1958 Testarossa
There was one particularly lovely 275GTS
330 GTC
365 GT
The very rare 365 GTS, of which only 20 were built
246 GT Dino
365GTB/4, the Berlinetta Boxer
This red 412i is the same car that a certain Mr Malim came close to buying back in Feb 2008. At that time, it was for sale at £26,000. Today’s price was £35,000!
288 GTO
There were a couple of F40s
550 Maranello and Barchetta
360 Modena
The latest 458 Italia appeared to be getting a mixed reaction from the event attendees.
One of the rarest cars of the day had to be this, the 550GTZ, a special Zagato bodied creation of which only a single digit number were ever made. Not perhaps the prettiest Ferrari around, but certainly interesting.
This 599 GTB was not actually at the event, but was to be found in the vicinity, more specifically in the same mews as Jonny’s residence.
This early model 850 Coupe was the same car as took honours at the Auto Italia Stanford Hall event back in June. The owner also has an Abarth 1000TC, which he tends to show more regularly than this low mileage car, but he did say that he intends to drive this one a certain amount, too, even though it had a very low mileage on it when he bought it earlier in the year.

This 500D was one of the smallest cars on display.
This 900E Van is an original Scuderia Ferrari van, used to transport Formula 1 personnel around. It was rescued from the back of the works and restored to the splendid condition in which you now see it.
A 124 Sport Spider
There were a couple of the first generation Lotus Cortina

Several GT40, as you might expect.
There were a few Mustangs, too, ranging from an early GT350 to the very latest GT500 model
There was also a Gran Torino, in Starsky and Hutch livery.
This 1955 Minx was from the last year of production of this model before a new car replaced. Believe it or not, the two tone colour finishes, as shown by this car were sold as the “Gay Look”. How times change!!

Lone Honda at the event was this NS-X

There were plenty of Jaguars on show, of course, ranging from the SS100 of the 1930s to more recent products.


There were a good number of the well-loved XK cars, with XK120, 140 and 150 all well represented
A mix of genuine and replica C and D types were scattered around the event.
It was planned to offer the XKSS as a road car, but the devastating factory fire in 1957 put paid to these plans, and so just a very small number of these cars were built.
A Mark 1 XJ6.
Plenty of E Types featured, as you would expect
A Lister version of the familiar XJS. Draw your own conclusions on whether you like it or not!
Two Miuras, one of which was the later SV car.

Gallardo Spider
This Gallardo Superleggera had been on duty at Gaydon the previous weekend.
Oldest Lancia was this rather splendid Lambda.

An early example of the Fulvia Zagato
A late Flaminia Touring. A very lovely car indeed.
A couple of the MonteCarlo sports cars from the very early 1980s.
This Overfinch Range Rover is one that someone has had their eye on for a while, but at £37,500 is rather on the costly side.

This is an example of the Rocket, a single seater racer for the road, designed by Gordon Murray and offered in the early 1990s. Expensive when new, these are a rare sighting these days.

The very stately Continental from about 1964. A huge machine indeed.

Among other cars, there were a few Esprits on show

There were a few of the more recent, and more zany cars on show including these.

Also on display was one of the very rare Mantis cars from 1971. Only 22 of these were ever made.
A splendid A6GS from 1954, which featured recently in Classic and Sports Car

A 3500 GT Cabrio. Also very lovely.
One of just 7 right hand drive 4.7 litre Mexicos.
The latest GranCabrio
Early in the event, I came across this SLS AMG, looking all abandoned, and with no-one paying much attention to it. Later in the day., there was a huge crowd around it. When it emerged that James Martin was in the driver’s seat and Jay Kay was in the passenger seat, it became apparent why interest levels had picked up!

This car caught the eye. It’s not an original – only about 7 such cars were ever built, and they rarely come for up sale. It is in fact a replica made by Proteus, a firm better known for producing replica Jaguar C Types. We were told that this car is indeed indistinguishable from the original, as Proteus bought (at considerable expense) everything associated with the original body tooling, and so are able to produce replicas that are just perfect. A small number were made about 15 years ago, all of which are in private German collections and this is the first car to be made since then. It takes about a year to build one of these, and were you to order one, expect to pay about £250,000.  Expensive, yes, but when you compare it to the value of the original and you look at what you get for the money, it is actually not so unrealistically priced. They did say that if one were to ask for an Uhlenhaut Coupe. they could produce one of those, if you had the money. Sadly, neither Jonny nor I have!  
Another stunning Mercedes was this, an SSKL with a  touring body.
This is one of the ERA Turbo cars.

One of the earliest cars at the event, was this Edwardian supercar, a Napier.

This Manta GT/E was a surprise inclusion, though it should be pointed out that in its day it was an excellent and well rated car.

One lone Pagani looked almost lost among so much exotica, even though this is a very striking car.

There were two long lines of Porsche cars, including a number of the current range on show. Some of the highlights for me were these:


There were vast numbers of 911, ranging from the initial model through 964. 993. 996 to 997 generation cars.
924 Carrera
The Boxster Spider was shown with a genuine 550 Spider alongside it.
A very lovely original, and genuine Porsche 908
Dauphine Gordini

Alpine A110
A very original looking Clio Williams
Corniche Convertible

The latest Ghost was on show. A certain JK was having a good look at it, and indeed, the lady who I very politely asked if she would mind moving so I could take the picture turned out to be with him!
This car turned out to be a real rarity. One of three prototypes built, this P6 variant had a Buick V8 engine, and was intended for the US market, as a rival to the Mustang. It was shown at Detroit, but bombed completely, and the idea was quietly dropped. The other two cars are still in the US. This one has recently been restored. I had never even heard of this venture let alone seen the car before.

A 1000 Rallye.

A couple of Tesla Roadsters were on show, but did not seem to be generating (oops, no pun intended!) much attention!

A late mode Dolomite Sprint

A small number of these cars were on show, including this Dutch plated Chimaera

One of the main display lines was of past Le Mans cars and the most amazing and comprehensive array of cars featured.

Porsche 917

Porsche 911
Porsche 962
Porsche RS Spyder
Ferrari P3
Jaguar XJR-9
McLaren F1 GTR
Jaguar C Type
Audi R8 from 2004
Ferrari 365 GTB Daytona
Jaguar D Type
Aston-Martin DBR9
Ferrari 250 LM
Ford GT40
Ferrari 275 GTB
There was a most impressive assembly of Talbot 105 cars from the late 1920s
Jaguar E Type
Bentley le Mans
There were a number of iconic rally cars on show, mostly from the 1980s:

Metro 6R4

Audi Quattro S1
VW-Porsche 914
Ford RS200
Lancia 037
There were two of these 405 based Peugeots that were used to compete in the Paris Dakar and up Pike Peak, among other challenges
Overall, an excellent event. There’s already a date for next year. Sunday 4th September. Mark your diaries up now!
2010-09-06 06:53:19

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