Motoring Past, Present and Future: Regent Street Motor Show
Hundreds of thousands of visitors attended the annual Regent Street Motor Show on Saturday 5 November, a free-to-attend, family-friendly event celebrating three centuries of motoring.
This year’s attractions included displays of veteran cars, classic cars, modern day vehicles and plug-in hybrids, as well as musical fun from the West End Kids, driving simulator experiences and stunt shows.
The veteran cars, all built before 1905, were taking part in the annual International Concours d’Elegance, prior to setting off at dawn on Sunday morning for the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox.
The overall winner was a sole-surviving Krastin, one of just four cars believed to have been built by the innovative Latvian immigrant August Krastin in Cleveland, Ohio before fire destroyed his factory and the company was forced into bankruptcy. Latvian enthusiast Austra Priede tracked it down to an address in Nebraska and with the help of the Riga Motor Museum, has just completed a full restoration in time for this surviving and significant Krastin to make its debut in this year’s Veteran Car Run.
Peter Read, Chairman of the Motoring Committee, presented the Concours D’Equipe award on behalf of the Club to Dr David Martyr and his 1900 Bardon Tonneau, for the vehicle, drivers and passengers wearing period dress that is symbolic of the veteran era.
This year’s Regent Street Motor Show marked the 40th anniversary of James Hunt’s extraordinary World Championship-winning campaign in 1976, as told in the award-winning movie Rush. Hunt’s McLaren M23 was on display, accompanied by his son Freddie.
Visitors also enjoyed a 1961 Ferrari Dino 246 F1 racer on display, the last front-engined car to win a Grand Prix, as well as a Red Bull Racing car courtesy of Total and the popular Top Gear Experience which gave show-goers simulated rides in Lewis Hamilton’s F1 Mercedes. Motoring’s classic years were represented by displays from the Jaguar Drivers’ Club, with sports cars including the XK140, E-type, XJ220 and current F-type.
Fans of more obscure classics enjoyed a display of ultra-rare British-built Piper sports cars, while the BBC Children in Need charity showed off the vintage buses ready to follow the veterans to Brighton the next morning with DJs Chris Evans, Alex Jones and Ken Bruce at the wheel. Modern-day motoring was also represented, with displays of modern cars and bikes from Mini, Renault and Triumph, while The Mobility Roadshow was on hand to demonstrate how it can help disabled and older people with mobility needs.
Go Ultra Low and Transport for London joined forces to look to the future by offering drives in a wide range of contemporary battery-powered electric vehicles and plug-in petrol-electric hybrids from manufacturers including Renault, Audi, BMW, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen. Experts were also on hand to offer advice to anyone considering a zero or low emission car as their next purchase.
Entertainment was also provided by Steve Colley’s stunt motorcycle team while musical interludes came from the West End Kids who performed throughout the day.