MOTORING events have been few and far between over the last couple of months due to the coronavirus crisis, which prevented both international travel and large gatherings of people. Although there are concerns about a resurgence of the virus, and local lockdowns in the UK and abroad, some car shows are shifting back into gear for the time being.
One of the first will be the London Concours (August 19 and 20), which is pitched as “an automotive garden party in the heart of the City of London, gathering a collection of rare and exceptional performance cars”. Various precautions are in force to ensure social distancing can be followed, including limited guest numbers and attendance via pre-booking only.
The atmosphere may not be exactly the same as in previous years, therefore, but there are still a number of amazing cars to be seen. We asked the organisers of the event to reveal to us five of the vehicular highlights from the show.
The London Concours is expecting not one, not two, but a trio of Lancia 037s this year. One of them is that which was raced by two-time World Rally Champion Miki Biasion at the 1984 Monte Carlo Rally, and is one of only 20 Evo 2 versions, the ultimate spec of the 037.
The 037 was developed with help from both Abarth and Pininfarina, and is kitted out with a mid-mounted, supercharged 2.0 litre straight-four Lampredi engine. It was the final rear-drive car to win a WRC, in the 1983 season.
Ferrari’s 40th birthday present to itself was also the result of a partnership with legendary design and coachbuilding house Pininfarina. It often comes up in the discussion about Ferrari’s best road car ever.
Despite having a turbocharged V8 rather than the V12 that Ferrari’s customers were accustomed to, the F40 is regarded as one of Ferrari’s most untameable models, and was the poster car of an entire generation — apart from those who favoured the Lamborghini Diablo.
The model appearing at the London Concours is from 1991 and was sourced in Frankfurt, where it sat undriven in the garage of its 84-year old owner for 10 years before it was purchased and brought to the UK. With only 2,700 miles on the clock and retaining all of its original parts — down to the nuts and bolts — it’s as perfect a specimen as you’d be able to find anywhere.
Hispano Suiza J12
Although Hispano Suiza introduced the “hyperlux” Carmen electric grand tourer at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, it’s no longer a household name in car making. But the brand was very familiar to the well-to-do back at the beginning of the 20th century.
The J12 was the most expensive and luxurious model ever built by Hispano Suiza, and made use of a mammoth 9.5-litre V12 engine. It’s approximated that 120 units were built, and the one appearing at the London Concours is one of just eight open tops.
Because the J12 was sold by Hispano Suiza as a chassis, with the customer approaching coachbuilders to finish off the job, there’s a diversity of finished products out there. This one was worked on by Parisian carrosserie (it means “body”) Vanvooren — who also designed bodies for Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Bugatti. It is, safe to say, drop dead gorgeous.
Aston Martin One-77
As the name might suggest, there were only 77 editions of Aston Martin’s monstrous One-77 made. One was written off in 2012, meaning there are a maximum of 76 left dotted across the globe.
First unveiled at the 2008 Paris Motor show, the One-77 introduced a number of new features for Aston Martin, including a full-carbon fibre monocoque chassis and F1-inspired pushrod suspension. A 7.3-litre naturally aspirated V12 allows for 220mph top speed and 0-60mph in just 3.5 seconds, meaning that it’s the fastest road-legal car Aston Martin has ever made. The Valkyrie, the brand’s upcoming hypercar, will likely be quicker off the mark, but that takes nothing away from the exoticism and sheer drama of the One-77.
Often dubbed the “Rambo Lambo”, the LM002 is one of the wildest things to be emblazoned with the raging bull — which is saying something. Built using the lessons learned from the LM-001 and Cheetah prototypes, it was Lamborghini’s first off-road production car, unveiled to the world in 1982 at the Geneva Motor Show. Production began four years later, and lasted for seven years — although only 328 models were produced.
A Lamborghini off-roader may sound like nothing more than a party piece, but it’s important to remember that Lamborghini started off as a tractor manufacturer, and knows its way off the beaten track. The LM002 (the LM stands for “Lamborghini Militaria”) took the V12 from the Countach, and could climb a 120% gradient. It was no doubt a point of reference for the Italian marque during the design process of the Urus SUV.
The London Concours will take place on August 19-20, and tickets are available on its website.