This weekend, the UK has witnessed one of the most historical moments in the history of the country: the London Motor Show. I think there’s a wedding too, but they weren’t invited anyway… This year, the London Motor Show has really geared things up – the event is now hosted at Excel London in a venue over four times the size of last year. More space can only mean more action, more celebrities and more cars.
DRIVETRIBE (Not that we’re biased)
I couldn’t visit the London Motor Show without checking out the main celebrity: Oliver. I have massive respect for Richard - good on him for showcasing his plucky friend in spite of the bullying he will doubtlessly receive from his cohorts. Looking at the Hot or Not board, I’m pleased to see you all agree.
Oliver is actually a 1963 Opel Kadett. Hammond shipped the car home after the Top Gear Botswana special before being lovingly restored and presented in front of an adoring DriveTribe audience. In fact, Oliver is getting such a positive reaction I’m worried Oliver tattoos are going to start appearing... Probably on Hammond…
Paul Swift Skidz
It’s all very well walking about looking at shiny metal and admiring stationary cars, but after a while it can become a little, well, stationary? Luckily, Paul Swift and the team are on hand to inject some adrenaline into the scene with an impressive precision driving display.
After first driving a car on two wheels at the age of seven years old, Paul has developed an obvious talent – he actually appears more comfortable driving a car on two wheels than four. I’m reasonably sure I was still eating sand and avoiding cooties at seven years old, but I digress. Paul and his team put on an excellent show which genuinely kept my toes curled with nervousness until the very end.
It’s a Wrap !
Safe in the knowledge that the Paul Swift team are proficient in parking Ford Focus', I returned to the main show for a flavour of something different. Wandering over to the Dub Customs stand, I notice some familiar metal: Dub customs has some Youtube royalty on display in the form of Archie Hamilton's Lamborghini Huracan, his old Corvette Grand Sport (which everyone this side of Mars knows was a better YouTube car, Archie…) and Paul Wallace's Mercedes-AMG C 63.
What was definitely interesting was hearing rumours of the SOL car being wrapped live! I couldn't see anything today, so we're holding out for tomorrow. Next year will surely feature a YouTube car having an aftermarket exhaust fitted…
Mercedes-Benz World’s Silver Arrows
Seeking another adrenaline rush, I went to scope-out the Silver Arrows. These guys are a display team for Mercedes who have only one job – to keep Pirelli in business. Mercedes has thrown these guys the keys for their dirtiest-sounding AMG line-up and let them loose at The London Motorshow to burn copious amounts of expensive rubber.
If Paul Swift’s team are the James May of precision driving (think precision, accuracy and delicacy), the Merc team are definitely the Clarkson of the sport. They demonstrated an unrivalled ability to generate tyre smoke whilst simultaneously displaying impressive car control.
Built in Britain
My personal favourite part of the show was the recognition for British design and engineering. Britain is a hub for quality innovation and knowledge and it shows at the London Motor Show. More than that, it was the variety of talent on display: It’s not just 20 different economical hatchbacks designed by 20 different companies who share an office in London.
JCB, for example, were puffing their chests out with a Martini-Liveried mud mover. I would certainly feel much less frustrated if I was stuck behind one of these at 20mph because at least it’s ace to look at. Unfortunately, they won’t be making it standard across their range – I did ask…
Mclaren were standing proud as punch with the new 720S on display: I’ve seen a lot of photos of this car online and I’ve had exactly two fleeting glances of them in city centre traffic, but until now I’ve never had the fortune to study one in person. It’s stupidly pretty. If you do nothing else, spend some time studying the details of the 720S. McLaren were also pretty sound about letting you in and around the beast.
The Vantage was unbelievably popular - It took me 4 attempts and about 30 minutes total to get this shot
Among the British representation, London Morgan were on hand to display some of the achingly beautiful cars that the Morgan team are capable of creating. Lister – a bespoke tuning powerhouse – certainly didn’t disappoint with their display of the 666bhp Lister Thunder. TVR were back with a bang, displaying the fierce-looking Griffith, all within earshot of the gang at Noble who had their M600 Carbon Sport flaunting its feathers.
Overall, it’s a show well-worth the visit. It’s an inexpensive way of getting up-close and personal with some Automotive 10/10s and it’s a show which is only set to grow. It was unquestionably a better use of my time than watching two people walk slowly down an aisle - if I wanted to watch that I’d go to the ready-meal section at Asda.