The great reopening: the 2021 London Concours
“If you build it” and all that... Over three days this week a capacity crowd, limited to 2,500 per day, came to the first big UK classic car event to be held after lockdown restrictions were partially lifted last month.
The London Concours’ venue was the familiar Honourable Artillery Company grounds in the City. Unlike last year, though, the weather gods were benevolent, and the entire event was bathed in early summer sunshine. The great and the good of the London car scene and beyond were out in force, either exhibiting or just shooting the breeze, relieved that things, finally, seem to be getting back to normal.
Whether it was the weather or the sheer relief of meeting up once again, the mood was buoyant. Car sales, most agreed, were good, with much discussion on the many online auctions and their effect on traditional showroom and auction tent business. The figures from Amelia Island – strong – were clearly a result of pent-up demand after 15 months of lockdown. Monterey Week, here we come – or not, as the authorities have still to make their minds up on the possibility of transatlantic travel.
The London Concours is designed to appeal to a broad base of car enthusiasts, with an emphasis on introducing the less-knowledgeable to the wonders of car collecting. Title sponsor Montres Breguet had a big stand on the lawn as guests came in. Next to them was an eye-popping display of modern Bentleys. But just opposite lay a serious selection of cars vying for honours in ‘The Italian Berlinettas’ class headed by what turned out to be a winner, Clive Beecham’s glorious ex-Rob Walker/Stirling Moss Ferrari 250 GT SWB ‘Hot Rod’. The blue 1966 275 GTB 6C (above) was another stunner – surely the finest pair of cars in the concours and worthy of any of the best events worldwide.
Elsewhere, visitors could goggle at entries placed in the ‘200MPH Club, ‘Young Timers, ‘Great Marques – Porsche’ and ‘Great Marques – Lotus’ categories. Eight E-types made up a section dedicated to the iconic British car celebrating its 60th birthday this year, while The Kustom Class (come on folks, how about ‘Klass’?) attracted the Lindy Hop and Brylcreem brigade showing off their chopped low-riders.
Popular journalist, collector and latterly YouTube presenter Harry Metcalfe was this year’s ‘Collector’. The Cotswolds-based farmer brought along his well-known red Countach (pictured, top) and a few other cars from the famous Harry’s Garage, as well as some interesting motorbikes, of which the twin-tank Paris-Dakar Honda complete with roller-route-map was a highlight.
Best in Show went to Philip Walker's highly original ex-Herbert Mackay-Fraser 1957 Lotus Eleven (above).
As usual, ace lensman and the event’s official photographer Tim Scott was there to record all the action.
Photos by Tim Scott of Fluid Images