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The Regent Street Motor Show ... attracts somewhere in the order of 400,000 visitors during the course of the day


Aston Martin Vantage GT8

Aston Martin Vantage GT8

 

London, 04 November, 2017

The Regent Street Motor Show, first held in 2005, this year presented by Enjoy Illinois Route 66, was once again the prelude to the annual Bonhams London to Brighton veteran car run, supported by Hiscox Insurance. Each year it provides a diverse and eclectic array of automobiles displayed along the length of the street, which is closed to traffic for the day. The show is the largest free-to-view show in the UK, and regularly attracts somewhere in the order of 400,000 visitors during the course of the day. Despite some rain showers through the morning, there were plenty of visitors braving the damp conditions to enjoy the cars on display, which ranged from the concours for participants in the veteran car run, all built before 1905, to the latest electric cars from the likes of BMW, Hyundai, Kia, Renault, Toyota and Volkswagen. A number of the manufacturers also had test drives available on the day. In keeping with the zero emissions theme, the Harrods department store had a display of electric delivery vehicles that they have used over the years, and continue to use in the form of the Nissan e-NV200 van.

As mentioned, the show this year was presented by Enjoy Illinois Route 66, promoting the first part of the famed “mother road” that ran from Chicago in Illinois to Santa Monica in California, with the first 300 miles of the historic road running through Illinois. Visitors had the opportunity to enter a free draw on their stand to win a 4 night trip, including flights and accommodation, to the state. Their display featured car associated with American road trips, from the pre-war era there was a leviathan of a Hudson limousine, with more modern trips covered by a ‘60s Chevrolet Corvette and a Ford Mustang. There was a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Fiat 500, with a colourful array of models on display, including a rare Steyr Puch variant, the Austrian built performance model to rival the likes of the Abarth and Giannini performance models. There was also a celebration of “London’s Car”, the Talbot, whose cars were built in one of the first purpose built British car factories in Kensington, and some 30,000 cars were produced between 1905 and 1938, when the company ceased to exist as an independent brand after having been acquired by the Rootes Group in 1935. 

The Silverstone Classic always features an impressive presence to promote the following year’s event, and they had a large screen showing action from this year’s event, together with a car display. This was made up of a Lotus 72 in the iconic black and gold JPS livery, American muscle in the form of a Mercury Comet, a Jaguar XK 140 and a Peugeot 908 hdi fap sports racing car. There was a further competition element further up the street, as Aston Martin sponsor Hacket had a Vantage GT8 GT racing car on display outside their flagship showroom. As with the Silverstone Classic, the international removals company Abels always have an impressive display of their historic vehicles through the years, which this year included a horse drawn wagon, complete with a pair of very patient and mild mannered horses. 

There was also entertainment in the form of a pair of Top Gear driving experience simulators, and musical/dance interludes were provided by the West End Kids who gave regular performances through the course of the day. Whilst all this was going on the veteran cars in the concours were being judged, and at the end of the day the award went to a 1903 dark green 4-cylinder Darracq owned by Malcolm Ginns

 

Keith Bluemel         
11/2017