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Illinois Route 66 Regent Street Motor Show


 

LOndon, 02 November, 2019

Despite heavy early morning rain and strong winds, which fortunately subsided by mid morning, with only the occasional light shower thereafter, the Regent Street Motor Show presented by title partner Illinois Route 66, attracted its normal mass of visitors during the course of the day. The show is part of the Royal Automobile Club’s London Motor Week, and is also the annual prelude to the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, featuring a concours for entrants wishing to participate, which forms the central display section. The show is free for all to attend, along the section of Regent Street, one of London’s most prestigious shopping locations, which is pedestrianised between Oxford Street to Piccadilly Circus for the duration of the show. Fortunately, during the inclement spells of weather, the wide variety of shops, cafés and restaurants, both in Regent Street and its adjoining roads, offered havens of dry and warmth for visitors.

2019 marked the bicentenary of Regent Street, making it an even more auspicious occasion for the show, which was opened with a ribbon cutting ceremony performed by  Jan Kemmerling – Acting Deputy Director, Illinois Office of Tourism and Ben Cussons, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club. The variety of offerings was as diverse as ever, ranging from a steam wagon to an Arrows F1 car resplendent in its gold Warsteiner beer livery, with plenty in between, and beyond into the electric car era of today, with examples from Audi, DS, Jaguar Range Rover, Nissan, Peugeot and Tesla on display, some with a test drive facility. Showing that electric vehicles were nothing new, Harrods had examples of their fleet of electric delivery vehicles on display, ranging from a 1901 Pope Waverley to a current Nissan e-NV2000 van, used for local deliveries.

The title partner’s Illinois Route 66 stand was prominent central to the displays, and was surrounded by some iconic American machinery, including a Ford Mustang, a Harley Davidson and a replica of the Blues Brothers Dodge Monaco Bluesmobile, whilst an impressive Blues Brothers tribute band, The King B Blues Brothers, performed regularly on an adjacent stage. It really made you want to take a trip down the “Mother Road”, and for one lucky person there will be the opportunity, courtesy of a free prize draw being run on the day.

The Silverstone Classic, now celebrating its 30th anniversary is a regular feature of the show, and had its large screen showing footage from this year’s event, and that was where the two previously mentioned F1 cars were to be found. This year there was another big screen promoting the “Le Mans 66” film, the plot of which is based on the Ford v Ferrari battle in the legendary 24 hour race, which was due for release in the weeks after the show. Close to this was an expansive display of the current Triumph motorcycle range, whilst nearby Harley Davidson had examples of both their traditional V-Twin “hogs” and their all electric model.

The veteran car concours featured some 100 examples of pre-1905 machinery, with many of the participating owners regally dressed in period costume, all of which were part of the following day’s Bonhams London –Brighton veteran car run, with the judging panel’s choice going to a 6.8 litre, 4 cylinder, 1904 Mercedes entered by Albert Eberhard from Portugal. There were also celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Mini, and the 50th anniversary of the Ford Capri, plus displays of Austin Healeys and Reliant Scimitar GTEs and a supercar display. It has always been family orientated with song and dance routines from the West End Kids, the electric Go Kart track for children between 4 and 10 years of age, and the Top Gear F1 simulators, to keep the younger generation happy.

 

Keith Bluemel          
11/2019


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