It’s been a long Covid gap but on the 19th of August 2020 the London Concours became the first major automotive event to be held in the UK since February.
The five-acre lawns of the Honourable Artillery Company once again provided the venue, a secluded green oasis in the heart of the City surrounded by tower blocks and skyscrapers.
The organizer’s creative list of nine classes provided a diverse display of over 100 vehicles many of a type not normally seen in such exalted circles.
`The Speed of Sand` class brought a display of Hot-Rods to the lawn all sporting the expected oversized engines. Class honors went to a 1932 Ford Lakes Modified/Streamliner that used a WWII aircraft canopy to enclose the driver.
`Lost Marques` provided some unusual cars, a 1953 Jowett Javelin that was a concours virgin, a 1966 Unipower GT and a 1982 Talbot Sunbeam Lotus both cars in their day produced with very limited production runs. Class victory went to a 1961 Facel Vega HK500.
`Lancia Legends` could be divided into two Rs, Rally or Road. With the Rally selection tracing the marque’s competition history through the 1970-80s, on the road section one particular entry stood out a 1934 Augusta March Special. This design had been penned by Lord Freddie March, of Goodwood fame, the car on display being shown for the first time after a three-year restoration.
`Convertibles` celebrating the golden era of the ragtop consisted of a mouth-watering selection of Porsche, Alfas, Mercedes and Jaguars. Although perhaps predictable the class did produce the Best-in-Show vehicle a magnificent 1967 Ferrari 330GTS Spider.
`Pursuit of Speed` saw an expected entry of high performance sports cars with top marks going to a 1952 Jaguar XK120 FHC with a unique provenance. This XK was Sir Stirling Moss’s road car given to him to use while he was a Jaguar works driver, painted in his chosen two-tone scheme.
Both Aston Martin and Lamborghini had classes dedicated to them along with a display of 10 Dino Ferraris. With the Dinos billed for the concours as Ferrari’s mid-engined affordable sports car, that title was stretching the point 50 years ago, even more so today.
Auto designer Ian Callum CBE was invited to display cars from his personal collection, “I’ve brought these cars because they all hold emotional value for me,” Ian said. “Original condition doesn’t much interest me; I make alterations to get the car looking right as I see it.” Most of the vehicles Ian displayed had been lowered with modified suspension.
Thanks must go to the Concours organizers, Thorough Events, who moved the event two months further into the year to ensure Covid guidelines could be met. Their determination and organization was rewarded by a successful show that ended the six month concours fast. For 2021 the London Concours is scheduled to return to its traditional June dates.