Classic Cars Live!
Alexandra Palace, London, 20-21 March 2004
Whilst the howling gales ripped round the outside of Alexandra Palace’s lofty
hilltop position the winds of change were busy blowing through the inside too, for
London’s traditional March classic car show has gone through something of a
Renewed vigour from the organisers backed with enthusiasm by Classic Cars
magazine saw the usual mix of owners club and traders stands bolstered by
some imaginative central displays. Not all static either, for on both days there was
a cavalcade of classics from the famous (infamous?) Ace Café on the North
Circular Road – and leading the way was the Ford Torino from the recently
released Starsky & Hutch movie.
Stars of the screen played a major part in the Show, one of the central displays
being dedicated to James Bond in celebration of the 40th anniversary of
Goldfinger. Attracting most attention inevitably was an Aston Martin DB5, although
it is actually, the original cars having been returned to standard form by Aston
Martin – they clearly didn’t anticipate the fame they would attract! You can be pretty
sure a similar fate will not befall the Vanquish from Die Another Day. Also present
was the Lotus Esprit Turbo from For Your Eyes Only. Another Lotus with
glamorous on sale elsewhere in the exhibition was an ex-Peter Sellars Elan.
Several of the country’s leading motor museums came together to provide another
central theme. From the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Trust we had the oldest
surviving Jaguar E-Type – chassis 003, the actual car that appeared at the 1961
Geneva Motor Show. The Haynes International Motor Museum added a
transatlantic theme with a stunning burgundy 1936 Auburn Speedster and a ’39
Packhard Drophead. Our own National Motor Museum’s exhibit was a little
different – this was Henry Segrave’s 1927 Sunbeam Record Breaker. Kitted out
with a pair of V12, 435bhp Matebele aero engines it became the first car to exceed
200mph at Daytona Beach!
By contrast, the small display of vehicles provided by various manufacturers
seemed a little prosaic, but was none the less welcome. They ranged from a 1930
Blower Bentley, BMW 507 and Maserati Bora to a Ford GT70. It’s perhaps a
measure of how the Show has progressed that Nissan GB took stand space
(albeit rather prominently in the front entrance), displaying a new 350Z alongside
an earlier 240Z.
As always, the Show was well supported by the clubs and their stands yielded an
interesting variety of sports cars. Aside from the usual array of Austin-Healeys and
MG’s there was a comparatively rare Alfa Romeo TZ2 on the owners club stand.
Particularly eye-catching elsewhere was a delightful silver Daimler SP250 whilst
the DeLorean club mustered a pair of the aluminium-bodied machines. The
Meguiar’s Concours too featured one or two sportsters, most notably a rather
gaudy VW Karmann Ghia.
Yes, things are certainly looking up for London’s major classic car show. After a
year or two in the doldrums it came as a breath of fresh air – even without those