Chelsea Autolegends – September 2011

The inaugural Chelsea AutoLegends event took place in 2010, and it was such a success, that even before the gates had closed, it was announced that it would be repeated in 2011. Taking place in the grounds of the famous Chelsea Hospital, the idea is that as well as inviting private individuals to display their “interesting” car, a collection of super cars and a special display of cars with a motor sport pedigree and a few dealer stands will make for a compelling day out, and as in 2010, this proved to be a popular concept. Indeed, the crowds got so big that by lunchtime, the security guards had to evict everyone from around the super cars, and confine viewing to be from the other side of some ropes. This was not ideal, as the supercars were packed in tightly in 4 rows, making it all but impossible to see anything other than the outermost row. A rather unwelcome downpour which drenched the site for an hour between 1 and 2pm saw many attendees make an early departure, and security then relented and access to the super cars was granted again later in the day. I hope they rethink this aspect for the promised 2012 event.A number of commentaries and interviews were broadcast over the PA system during the day. Early on, Matt Saunders of Autocar was asked to talk about the 5000 Road Tests landmark achieved by the magazine earlier in the year, a theme reflected on the Autocar stand where they had assembled many of the cars that were in their “top 10” most significant cars. When the supercars arrived en masse, they paraded around the west end of the lawns, and each driver was given their 20 seconds of fame by Matt Rigby, who did pause a little when his boss, Paul Garlick, in a Mercedes SLS got to the microphone. Apart from the fact that he had no protection from the elements, and hence got rather wet, Simon Taylor had the pleasure of interviewing an array of former celebrity drivers, which included Paddy Hopkirk, David Piper, and his wife who was once PA to the late Rob Walker, Sir Stirling Moss and the still very sprightly Norman Dewis, who seemed to be revelling in the event, as always. Norman confessed that he had received 4 speeding tickets last year, so Jaguar had tried to slow him down by swapping his XFR for an X Type Diesel Estate. He did admit to being 91, but he really does not look it, or, from what he said, act it. What a star!

So, on to the cars


There were a few Cobras on show, of course.

A local dealer had a display stand, which comprised an 8C Spider, and examples of the two models in the current range, MiTo and Giulietta.

There was a good variety of classic Alfas included in a block display of mainly Italian cars at one end of the lawns, including these:
From the 105 series were a number of GTVs, a Giulia Berlina and a Giulia SS, as well as a number of the much loved and long running Spider

A 2000 Coupe
Nicely presented early model Alfetta GT
“Il mostro”, the SZ.
There were a couple of these gentleman’s conveyances, the TD21 and TE21, both in drophead format.

A dealer display had examples of the current range on show, with a couple of the baby Cygnets joined by the DBS, Rapide, Virage and V12 Vantage.

One of the stars, clearly., was this One-77, though there seemed to be two distinct groups of people: those who knew exactly what it was; and those who seemed puzzled as although they could recognise it as an Aston, it did not seem familiar to them. Whilst the car is not particularly long, there is no doubting that it is wide, especially around the haunches.
There were a number of the David Brown cars, from the DB4 to DB6 generation.
There were also several of the long running Williams Towns designed DBS/V8 cars, of course.
DB7 Zagato
From relatively recent times were this V8 Vantage in Gulf livery and a number of Vanquishes
An early Quattro, one of Autocar’s “Top Ten”.


An S Type Series 3.

Until the mid 1980s, the Bentley sold in far smaller numbers than its alter ego Rolls Royce model, making this Continental Drophead and the T Series Coupe very rare cars indeed.
One of the last of the Continental models made in 1995.
The latest Mulsanne still does not really appeal to me. The styling is too bulky from some angles, and the front headlights do not help matters.
The 5300 GT.

There were few BMWs, and it would seem that for some unforgivable reason, the lovely Z8 eluded my camera. I did picture this rather nice E30 model M3 though, as some form of atonement.

This 2002 was for sale. Nice, but not cheap.
Attracting more interest was this 2000 CS. An unrestored car, this was the precursor to the better known E9 model 3.0 CS and CSi
The striking 404 in Coupe and Drophead guises

The earlier 402 Drophead

Two Veyrons at the event. One was provided courtesy of HR Owen and was the centre-piece of their stand. The other was roped off in the middle of the supercar display, and turned out also to be a dealer car

Corvettes from the generations were present.

The lovely DS.

Two cars, the small Facel 3, a late model fix to the disastrously unreliable Facellia, and an example of the large HK500 model

A couple of early models, which I am still not quite sure I have correctly identified. I think one is a 750 Monza and the other a 195, but am ready to be enlightened and corrected!

There were a number of the immensely valuable 250 GT cars, all cordoned off, but readily visible
250 Lusso Berlinetta
250 Boano
275 GTB
330 GT
330 GTC
246 GT Dino
365 GTB/4, the Daytona. A favourite of mine, though perhaps not in purple!
There were several representatives of the 308/328 GTB/S range of cars
This stunning 288 GTO was parked up right inside the main entrance and was the first car I saw.
348/F355 cars a plenty.
A number of the rather nice 550 and 575 Maranello cars, including the rare Barchetta. I was sheltering under a tree right opposite this car when the rains came, and the owner was rather desperately sweeping away the pools that formed on either side of the make-shift roof every few minutes. This really is a fair weather car, as the roof is about as useful as it looks (ie, not at all!).
There were a couple of Enzos.
From more recent times, there were several 360s and 430s, of course
458 Italia
This 126 was parked up near the main entrance, and proved quite a contrast to the cars around it. It was quite a talking point.

A very lovely Dino Spider. Cue for much drooling from me!
124 Abarth Spider. Also nice. Elsewhere was a late model version of this car, by which time it had been federalised and was sold as the Pininfarina Spider Europa.
This Nuova 500 with matching trailer appears at shows all over the country.
The GT40 and more recent GT were represented by both original cars and some well conceived replica models.

Torino GT
Less than 100 of these cars were made though almost all of them do survive.

A splendid display of 8 S Type Invictas made for an impressive sight on one of the lawns.

There was also an example of the far more recent S1 car
The Fidia and the Grifo were both represented here

Unsurprisingly, there were a large number of E Types at the event, once again marking this 50th anniversary year of this much loved car. Many of the individual cars with particularly historic significance were included in the displays.

There were plenty of the predecessor model to the E, too, with Xk120, 140 and 150 cars all on show.
This is a very rare XKSS.
A Mark 2, in Police spec – specially designed for those new motorways that were opening up in the late 1960s, along with an earlier car.
This earlier still car is one of the original Coombs prepared 3.8 models.
There were a number of the Interceptor on show, including a convertible car

There were also a duo of the 541 models. Not perhaps the prettiest car ever designed.

Highlight for many people was this showing of a right hand drive Aventador. Far less bulky than the Murcielago, it is an aggressive looking machine – a real Lamborghini for sure.

Three Miuras is good by any standards. These cars still attract a lot of attention, and it is easy to see why.
A couple of Silhouettes
This is the smaller of two pre-war cars shaped like this, the Ardea. The larger one, the Aprillia is better known and more often encountered.

The Aurelia GT
The very pretty Fulvia Coupe and the striking, if not quite so elegant, Zagato version of the same car.
A rare Type 037 road-going car
Delta Integrale
This is one of the prototype Range Rovers, hence the Velar badging.


3 litre

There were not that many Maserati present, and most of them were recent models, including these:

A nicely preserved BiTurbo Spider.
The rare Kyalami, a model based on the de Tomaso Longchamps, but fitted with a Maserati engine. Fewer than 400 were made.
Two of the latest MP4-12C cars on show. One was left opened up most of the morning, so everyone could have a really good look. The orange one was at the edge of the display so even when cordoned off was pretty visible.

Three McLaren SLRs in the supercar display were joined later by a convertible version.

Visually rather more appealing to me, though not in this colour is the latest SLS car.
This 300 SL “Gullwing” was very nice.
Marginally more affordable, though now in the “far from cheap” category was this lovely 280 SE 3.5 Coupe.
From the post war period were this TD and the later TF model.

Dating from the 1960s were this pairing of MGB and MGC
The Mini Coper is 50 this year, and a special display commemorated this fact.

There were Minis elsewhere in the event as well, with one starring on the Autocar stand.
A 1950s Plus Four

The Aero was something of a shock when first presented, but we have all got used to it and most people rather like it now, it would seem,
Just one Noble, an M12-3GTO


The blue Zonda was an early arrival and was attracting at least as much attention as the McLaren which was the other side of the central memorial by which it was parked. Later in the morning a second car made a rather noisy entrance.

404 Safari

Carrera GT

Bringing things right up to date was this 911 GT3 RS, a car Autocar tested earlier this year and just loved.
There were a number of other 911 cars representing the different generations of this car. These are early models
From later in the 911’s life are these
There were a number of 356 cars as well.
Alpine A310

Sport Spider
From the current range, there were examples of the very imposing Phantom and Coupe as well as the Ghost.

This is a rare Silver Cloud Series 3 Drophead
From the Silver Shadow era was this car and a Corniche
From an earlier era was this rather impressive model.
The elegant P5.

Believed to be the only one in the UK.

An early model Alpine, still sporting the tail fins that were trimmed down later in the model’s life.


A 1939 Dolomite Roadster

From more recent times were these sports cars: TR7 Convertible, a Spitfire Series 3 and a Stag in the very period hue of Magenta
One of the ill fated Torpedos.

There were not many TVRs, and this T350 was tucked away in one corner of the grounds. The Chimaera and 350i were nearly as well hidden

A Mini-based GT

The Lotus Carlton still looks quite menacing even now, more than 20 years after its first appearance.

A particularly pristine Mark 1 Golf GTi, part of the Autocar display.

This splendid display comprised a series of significant cars from Le Mans, dating from the 1929 Bentley all the way to the modern Audis and Peugeots


1931 Talbot 105
1935 MG J2, one of few supercharged cars built
1938 Lagonda
1953 Frazer Nash
1957 Porsche 718
1958 Cooper, driven by Sir Stirling Moss
1961 OSCA Maserati
1962 Tojeiro, driven by Jackie Stewart
Ferrari 250 Le Mans
1965 Ferrari 206 GT Dino
Porsche 906 and 908
Porsche RSR and 911 GT1
1995 McLaren F1 GTR
2004 Audi R8
Aston Martin
Peugeot 908
A small collection of iconic rally cars, mainly from the 1980s

An open marquee housed these two well known vehicles

This Pontiac was famous in its day, too.
Despite the rain and the issues with security control around the supercars, this really was an excellent event, and one you should mark in your 2012 diary now.
2011-09-10 07:50:56

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