New contributor and classic cars enthusiast Theodora Ong covets roadsters with wings, curves and chrome at the London Classic Car Show 2020
If you dashed over to this year’s London Classic Car Show (LCCS) at Olympia, you may soon be planning to sell-up your everyday new car, to snap up a new-old motor for weekend cruising instead. Those who do so, succumb to full-on sensory satisfaction. Throw caution to the wind about the hazards of our congested London-town, secure garaging, and knowing when your car attains hallowed historic status. Your newly acquired chrome-y classic soon becomes an all-consuming passion.
From the £70 million worth of kaleidoscopic-coloured classic, vintage, prototype and magnificent marques at the LCCS, here’s The Steeple Times’ hotlist of top five pin-ups. They promise retro allure rather than just tarmac-burning brawn, as you glide up alongside your fellow road sharers at the lights. This is just your starters for inspiration.
No. 1 – 1959 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster
This Benz oozes a rogue-ish riviera chic. It is a somewhat understated evolution of the futuristic 300 SL gullwing. When launched in 1957 it was one of the most audacious and thrilling sports rides to be seen on the open road. This 1959 model from Hemmels is claimed to be the first ever sold to the UK and has clocked up only 36,000 miles. Expect these examples to be a desirable £1million+ buy.
No. 2 – 1933 MG J2
Here is a flawless red pre-World War II MG that assures you are owning a slice of genuine history. Its story is detailed by previous owners, and it is listed in a host of publications and owner’s club articles. Sit inside and you immediately connect with the streamlined design. It was clearly built to wrap round a gentleman driver (most MG drivers were back then). Dealer Graeme Hunt uses all its cars for sale to keep them running smoothly and offers this MG for £57,500.
No. 3 – 1954 Jaguar XK120
This immaculately restored cat belongs to man of style David Gandy. It’s been subject to 2,700 man-hours of rebuild to deliver a superlative road racer – and its story was a feature of the LCCS. Its 3.4-litre inline six-cylinder XK engine cuts it at 225bhp. Marvel at new interior design finishes commissioned by the owner. The modish patina of warm tobacco leather contrasts with the tough impenetrable black shell.
Recently, a Ferrari 250 GTO gained the status of the highest priced vehicle ever sold at auction for £37.5m. But if we’re setting our Steeple Times budget at a more modest £100K, then we’d choose to drive away the pair of sleek ’60 two-seaters that follow below in the forthcoming Coys auction sale at the LCCS.
No. 4 – 1965 Lancia Flaminia 3C GTL, estimate £70K – £90K
Dramatically sleek yet solid, this Lancia has a 2.8-litre V6 engine fed by triple twin-choke Weber carburettors to deliver over 150bhp. Drool over its distinctive Superleggera body [a build system which helps enable this innovative aluminium body shape]. Being fashioned slightly longer and 7cm taller than the GT model, means a more commanding ride. Only 300 were built. Consider these Lancias a snip alongside similar Astons and Maseratis.
No. 5 – 1963 Hillman Superminx Convertible, estimate £10K –£12K
This friendly-faced retro-mobile claims just one owner from 1963 until 2017, as a company car for the HR manager at Harrods – there’s a clue in the Harrodian Car Club badge it bears. Today it’s all style and restraint. Back then, this more pumped out Superminx convertible was ritzy one-upmanship over the standard Minx on the neighbour’s drive.
And what would we do with our change from £100K?
Splash out on luxe accessories. We’re eyeing up some British ’20s silver hip flasks across town at the Pullman Gallery. One is crafted in the shape of a car radiator; another like a mini petrol can. That’s for your destination drinking of course.
The London Classic Car Show at Olympia 20th to 23rd February 2020.
Missed it? Then diary these, coming up:
Historics Auctioneers sale – 7th March 2020 at Ascot Racecourse.
Coys auction sale – 25th April 2020 at Chiswick House.
Duke of London – Once a month on Sundays, its Classics & Cakes meetings are an ever-dynamic line of surprise classics rolling in.
Theodora Ong is an alcohol and bars consultant. At weekends, she’s often dry so she can retro-cruise around West London.
Photo credits: London Classic Car Show, Coys, Pullman Gallery.