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It’s a good idea to run a classic car show in the New Year. Christmas is over, the weather is rubbish, everybody is looking forward to their credit card bill at the end of the month – not. So what we need is a car show to lift the spirits and for those of us who love their classics we have been looking forward to the first ever classic car event at Excel in London ever since it was proposed over a year ago.

First impressions? Well a tad underwhelming to be frank at least as far as the marketing of the event is concerned. Great location, potentially a great format but the promotional effort just seemed a little half-hearted.

Get off the train at Customs House and you see a multitude of signage suggesting that you were actually visiting the London Boat Show which has been held coincidentally at Excel this time of the year for most of the last decade.

Nothing wrong with a boat show being on at the same time and in fact there is probably a lot in common between boat buyers and classic car buyers. Both are obsessed with their toys and think nothing of pouring money into bottomless pits of expenditure. Wives are noted by their absence.

However having found the entrance to the classic car extravaganza it was obvious this was not a half-baked event as far as the exhibitors were concerned. Many of the well-established names in the classic car world were very much in attendance – Joe Macari, Hexagon, JD Classics, Frank Dale and Nicholas Mee – along with a healthy contingent of restorers and other assorted specialist service providers.

A ‘Hall of Fame’ section of the show featured a number of historic Formula One racing cars including Mansell’s ‘Red Five’ plus a huge nod to Adrian Newey’s contribution to motor sport. Some truly great cars were on show in this section.

Certainly the industry seemed to be taking the new event very seriously indeed.

Since the people behind the event have a history of putting together well-organised events such as the Top Gear road-shows it was no surprise to find a ‘live’ feature to entertain the crowds.

A ‘runway’ or ‘catwalk’ ran the length of the hall and at certain times of the day a gaggle of selected classics would make their way individually up and down the track while a commentary about each car was belted out over the PA system.

For those attracted by the aural sensations of a Lamborghini Diablo being fired up this was a lovely place to be. Add to that the explosive arrival of an historic F1 car such as Ayrton Senna’s Lotus 97T which provided a piece of gratuitous wheelspin at each turn at the end of the track and it was schoolboy nirvana. Nice.

It would be impractical to discuss every exhibitor and car in detail but if you are a classic car lover you would not be disappointed and there is plenty to ogle at. Most stands were welcoming and inviting for visitors and in fact most of the cars were left unlocked so peering inside a concours classic was not an issue for the exhibitors it seems.

Amongst the highlights for us were the Eagle E-types which although accepted are ‘re-creations’ rather than original classics the standard of finish and detail of their cars was deeply impressive. A lime-green Stratos also captured our hearts along with a short wheel-base Quattro and every single Ferrari 275 on display.  Hang on what about the Jensen Interceptor Convertible, Lotus Elan, McLaren F1 GTR, Miura, DB6 Vantage and Porsche 912? The list could go on and on but take a look at our show images and decide which are your own favourites.

Will we be going in 2016? Try and stop us, might even try and see a few boats next time too!

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