Five Things: The Cars You Must See at the London Classic Car Show

The London Classic Car Show arrives next week and is firmly established as the must‐attend event for discerning classic car owners, collectors, experts and enthusiasts.

Not only will visitors have the opportunity to view and purchase a wide range of desirable cars, but they will also be treated to a selection of carefully curated features and celebrations of some of the most exotic and exquisite marques from throughout the decades.

Highlights include Jochen Mass’ 1987 Rothmans Porsche 962C and the Maserati 250F owned by Sir Stirling Moss, in which he won the Monaco GP in 1956, but we’ve picked out five cars that we think should be the first five on your personal hit list at the London Classic Car Show…

Aston Martin Vanquish 25 by CALLUM (2019)

The original Aston Martin Vanquish was a brutally effective design, at least to my eyes. Forget the DB5, this is the Aston I always wanted. However, designer Ian Callum always felt there were bits that needed fixing and, through Callum design and R-Reforged engineering, he’s doing just that. Stripped back to their bare metal, 2001’s Vanquish gets a boost to its V12 engine to take power up to as much as 600hp, while brakes, suspension and wheels are upgraded too. The interior takes on an ‘abstract tartan’ theme, with completely new architecture, while the exterior is tidied up (smaller mirrors, bigger brake ducts, side skirts, some carbon fibre, LED lights, etc.) Fully endorsed by Aston Martin, each finished car is expected to cost north of £500,000, although that includes sourcing an original Vanquish and a demountable Bremont watch fitted into the centre of the fascia.

The Vanquish 25 by CALLUM is one of the highlights of the London Classic Car Show.
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (1959)

Finding a more elegant car might be difficult, but to make something as beautiful as the 300 SL Roadster by modifying an existing model takes skills that are rare today. The classic 300 SL ‘gullwing’ was the starting point, with the striking doors being removed and the roof chopped to create a sleek, stylish roadster. Introduced in 1957, the 300 SL Roadster brought the thrill of open-top driving to a high-performance sports car. Mercedes took the opportunity to redesign some of the suspension, improving the handling and creating a state of the art sportscar. This car will be offered up for sale at the show, the first of its kind to ever be sold and delivered to the UK. Having covered just over 36,000 miles, it’s expected to fetch in the region of £1.3 million.

Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2 (1985)

The Audi Quattro was introduced in 1980, and competition variants appeared almost immediately. It was another five years before the ultimate development of the Quattro appeared, in the form of the S1 E2. Under the bonnet was a 2.1-litre five-cylinder motor that allegedly produced 480hp. Some clever turbo technology kept power readily available at all times, an aero kit kept it grounded, and the weight was reduced to just over a tonne. Performance would shame most modern supercars, despite 35 years of progress, which is why the Audi Quattro, one of the last Group B rally cars, still holds a place in so many hearts. This particular car was driven by Swedish rally legend Stig Blomqvist to second place in the 1985 Rally of the 1000 Lakes in Finland, and then to victory by Walter Röhrl in the Semperit Rallye later that season.

The Audi Quattro will be on display at the London Classic Car Show.
Ferrari 512 BBi (1983)

Putting a flat-12 engine in the middle of a car sounds counter-intuitive, but Ferrari did just that with the 1973 BB. Production ran for 11 years, with the 512 BBi representing the first Ferrari series-production models to use such a layout. This final model was introduced in 1981, with then-modern technology to reduce emissions while also offering increased performance and drivability. Of the 2,323 BBs produced, almost half were the 512 BBi, with this one being a rare right-hand drive model. With 211 miles on the clock, it has been rebuilt by Ferrari and is offered for sale at an estimate of between £400,000 and £500,000.

Maserati Ghibli 4.9 SS Spyder (1970)

Visitors to the Turin Motor Show were greeted with, arguably, one of the finest looking vehicles to grace the road. An open-top version of the Giorgetto Giugiaro-designed Ghibli, absent of a fastback roofline, was a thing to behold. Given the moniker Spyder, Giugiaro’s design was simple, elegant and effective. It wasn’t all beauty though, as the 4.9-litre engine under the sleek bonnet added a performance element to the luxurious Ghibli. Only 45 Ghibli SS 4.9 Spyders were ever built, and only four were right-hand drive like this one. Supervised by Carrozzeria Cremonini, no expense was spared in the well-documented restoration of this car back to show condition. Expect to pay between £800,000 and £900,000 if you want to take it home


The London Classic Car Show runs from Thursday 20 February through to Sunday 23 February, and will take place at Olympia London. Advance tickets start from £25 per adult, £20 per child (6-16) and £75 per family (two adults, two children). Entry for children under the age of six years is free. Premium Tickets for Thursday’s Preview Evening, where an industry personality will be honoured with the show’s coveted Icon Award, start at £75, with Premium options also available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For info and tickets visit thelondonclassiccarshow.co.uk.

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Phil Huff

Phil Huff has been writing for national newspapers, magazines, regional titles and countless websites since 2003. Specialising in travel and the automotive world, Phil is happiest when exploring foreign lands in foreign cars.