London Concours proves there’s a place for cars in the city after all
Cocooned within the serene confines of the Honourable Artillery Company’s thoroughly-kempt gardens which, 300 years ago, were used for archery practice, it’s hard to believe you’re slap bang in the middle of the City of London. In fact, if it wasn’t for the myriad glass and brutalist high-rise buildings towering over the venue, you could be anywhere in the UK. Regardless, the selection of exquisite collector cars carefully assembled around the central cricket crease, fortuitously bathed in warm summer sunshine, is exceptional.
The 70 concours entrants themselves have been divided into seven classes including ‘The Icons’, ‘The Outlaws’, ‘The Innovators’, and two ‘Great Marques’ categories for Ferrari and Jaguar. And the cars curated for each felt very well judged indeed.
No one could deny that Mario Andretti’s 1978 Lotus 79, the very first ground-effect car to win the Formula 1 World Championship, is not one of automotive history’s most innovative cars. Or that an Aston Martin Cygnet with a V8 shoehorned beneath the bonnet doesn’t embody the outlaw counter-culture that’s become so prevalent in the car world of late.
Other highlights that spring to mind are the row of multicoloured Lamborghini Miuras assembled to mark 50 years of the Italian Job, the wild Blue Elettrico Ferrari LaFerrari with its bespoke Hermes Orange upholstery, Nicholas Mee & Company’s ex-Peter Sellers Aston Martin DB4GT, and the silver Bugatti EB110 Super Sport, a supercar that was years ahead of its time and, if rumours are to be believed, will garner a wave of renewed interest in the coming months – watch this space.
Unusually, our star of the show is a car we admit to having never heard of, the 1971 Trident Clipper, which probably explains why it features in the class for forgotten marques. Originally intended to top TVR’s range of idiosyncratic sports cars, the brutish coupé, with its echoes of Aston Martin V8 and Triumph TR6, has a full-fat Shelby 289 V8 under the bonnet and we can imagine is an absolute riot to drive.
If you happen to be in town today or tomorrow and have a spare hour or two, we absolutely recommend popping into the Honourable Artillery Company for a quick mid-week automotive fix at the London Concours. It’s rare to see such a diverse and desirable collection of cars first-hand anywhere on this planet, let alone in the capital, so make the most of it while the sun miraculously continues to shine!
Photos: Robert Cooper for Classic Driver © 2019