The London Classic Car Show is back, well been and gone now, however, the Show was held back again at Olympia London on 24-26th February 2023. We attended on Friday 24th Feb. Although the ever-popular event found an innovative outdoor home in Syon Park in the immediate aftermath of the COVID pandemic, three years have passed since car-lovers last headed to the show’s spiritual home under Olympia’s magnificent, Victorian, barrel-vaulted roof in West Kensington.
Such was the burning enthusiasm for the event that thousands and thousands of eager attendees were already queuing outside the venue when doors re-opened on Friday morning. I reckon the queue must have been a good 200-300 metres long when I arrived. Bonkers. But I suppose it highlights the popular interest in classic cars is still very strong.
Here’s my walk around the show, highlighting what was on view/ display, if you didn’t manage to get there, if you did manage to get there on the Friday can you see yourself on my video.
Here’s my short video (below), which highlights the display which promoted and paid tribute to the Porsche 911. Once inside Olympia, visitors were greeted by an amazing timeline display of prized Porsches. To mark the evergreen 911’s 60th birthday later this year, all eight generations of the world’s top-selling sportscar were featured in a very special showcase. Very cool.
What is your favourite Porsche 911 features here, I remind you that the cars featured were: Porsche 911 Type 901, Porsche 911 G-Series, Porsche 911 Type 964, Porsche 911 Type 993, Porsche 911 Type 996, Porsche 911 Type 997, Porsche 911 Type 991, and Porsche 911 Type 992.
Two further exquisite ‘generations’ displays were also among the show’s many, many highlights – one celebrated the Chevrolet Corvette’s 70th anniversary while the second paid tribute to 60 years of the charismatic Mini Cooper S with a headline-grabbing collection topped by a trio of unique Cooper S models which were originally tailor-made for members of The Beatles. It was the first time these three bespoke Radford Minis – once owned by music legends George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr – had all been seen together in London for 55 years (see below).
Moreover, visitors were not just treated to these and several other outstanding showcases dedicated to topical talking points such as barn-finds and future classics, but they were also provided with a wonderful opportunity to buy a classic car.
A number of notable specialist dealers reported significant sales while Saturday’s entertainment included all the buzzing excitement of a live auction. No fewer than 100 great cars from yesteryear all came under the Historics auctioneer’s hammer – former BBC Top Gear presenter Vicki Butler-Henderson helping to kick off proceedings.
Stirring up yet more magical memories and engaging evocative conversations, car clubs championing captivating automotive brands such as Bristol, Corvette, Ferrari, Fiat, Gordon Keeble, Lancia and Triumph were also making up for lost time with some impressive exhibits.
Adding yet another interactive dimension, the show’s central Main Stage hosted a series of ‘Fighting Torque’ discussions with notable experts sharing their experiences, thoughts and predictions with show-goers. These far-reaching debates were hosted by TV and racing personalities Alex Brundle and Alexandra Legouix on Friday and Saturday before Butler-Henderson joined Brundle for Sunday’s topical deliberations.
Sprinkling some Hollywood stardust on proceedings, the Main Stage also witnessed the launch of a new feature film… appropriately called CLASSIC. Described as a darkly comic tale and set against the backdrop of a classic car show on the hard-washed North Yorkshire coast, the movie will star some of Britain’s brightest acting stars – Sally Phillips (Bridget Jones trilogy, ‘Veep’), Tony Pitts (‘Peaky Blinders’, Star Wars: Rogue One), Ronni Ancona and Katherine Kelly.
Announcing the project, members of the cast and crew were present at Olympia, together with a 1974 MG Midget 1300 which will also feature in the silver screen production.
Upstairs were two nice features, here’s my short video (below) of the “Art of Cars” display, which was cool. This display featured two Ferraris and a Lamborghini, the premise being the supercars we may have had as posters on our bedroom walls as kids.
Then also upstairs were some of my favourite cars of all time all in one place, Dino 246, Ferraro 288 GTO, Ferrari F40, Ferrari F50 and Porsche Carrera GT. What a beautiful collection of iconic cars.
All in all it was a good show. Well run, nice venue. It’s a small show, so you could get round the floor space in 1-2 hours no problem and at £25 for an Adult ticket well worth the money. According to the event organisers over the three-days, more than 20,000 visitors attended the show. The show gets a thumbs up from me.
The event organisers were quoted saying “there’s no denying that it has been a challenging few years, so it was an even greater pleasure to be back indoors at Olympia as the curtain-raiser to what’s going to be another amazing year for all classic car enthusiasts,” accepted Martin Clarke, Content Director of the event. “It was incredibly rewarding to see the huge queues outside as the doors opened and the enthusiastic feedback that followed from all involved has been extremely positive. That now gives us the confidence to build on this success with even bigger and better shows in the future.”
To that end, the organisers have confirmed that The London Classic Car Show will return to the capital in February 2024 and we for one are very happy about that.
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