Taking place over 19-20 August, the Honourable Artillery Company Gardens is transformed into a motoring utopia as London Concours rolls into town, displaying the world’s finest cars in a luxurious automotive garden party hosted right in the heart of the City of London.
This automobile extravaganza will see 80 of the world’s most precious cars and one standout exhibition on display is The Pursuit of Speed display; gathering the cars designed not just to be fast on the road, but to be the fastest. You can expect to see everything from the all-conquering Jaguar XK120 to the beautifully iconic Mercedes 300SL ‘Gullwing’ and on to the latest Bugatti Veyron and Chiron. The Pursuit of Speed is a visual journey through humanity’s quest for ever higher speeds, and the evolving technology that accompanies it.
The display showcases how quickly these cars have shifted gears from 100mph to 300mph in less than 100 years, stretching the boundaries of what is possible. Below is a taster of some of the cars that will be on display:
1940s Jaguar XK120
Few cars have made such a striking impression on the world of motorsport, the public consciousness and the future success of their manufacturer as the Jaguar XK120. Capable of a top speed of around 120mph, the XK120 secured its place as the fastest production car in the 1940s after it clocked 126mph at a race in Belgium in 1948. This particular XK120 was personally driven by Sir Stirling Moss during his time leading the Jaguar Racing team, using it to travel between races.
1950s Mercedes 300SL Gullwing
Arguably one of the most beautiful cars ever created, the Mercedes 300SL kickstarted a model line – the SL – that continues in the Mercedes range to this day. At the time, it wasn’t just a stunning and innovative piece of design (including those iconic gullwing doors), it was actually the fastest car in the world, capable of hitting over 160mph with the right gearing.
1960s Lamborghini Miura
The outrageous Italian supercar is celebrated as the one that set the template for almost every great automotive performance icon since. First revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in 1966, its revolutionary rear mid-engined layout quickly became de rigueur for the many supercar pretenders that followed. Securing its place in pop culture history during the iconic opening scene in the Italian Job, the Miura’s V12 was capable of reaching 160mph, going from 0 to 60mph in 5.2 seconds.
1970s Lamborghini Countach LP400 (Periscopio)
The unmistakable, aggressive wedge-shaped Lamborghini Countach was built on a tubular space-frame chassis with dramatic alloy bodywork draped over it. But never one to skimp on drama, Lamborghini also equipped the Countach with a pair of magnificent scissor doors. Fitted with a longitudinal 4.0-litre V12, the early LP400 ‘Periscopio’ was capable of reaching around 180mph, but the pièce de résistance of these 150 early models is the periscope rear-view mirror which was replaced shortly afterwards.
1980s Ferrari F40
The final car that got Enzo Ferrari’s personal sign off was to be an absolute powerhouse. Celebrating 40 years of Ferrari, the powerful twin-turbo V8 was fitted to a lightweight Kevlar, carbon fibre and aluminium body meaning it was the fastest, most powerful and most expensive car for sale at the time. The amount of weight saving was made apparent in the spartan interior – no door handles, no glove box, carpets or trim. Even today, the Ferrari F40 will keep modern supercars honest with a top speed over 200mph.
1990s McLaren F1
Heralded by many as the ultimate road car, McLaren F1 is perhaps the finest driving machine built for a public road. With its streamlined structure and unique driving position, the F1’s 6.1L V12 engine was capable of producing 618bhp recording a top speed of 231mph when driven at the Nardò Ring in Italy, making it one of the fastest naturally aspirated production cars in the world.
2000s Bugatti Veyron
As the first car to officially break the 250mph barrier, the Bugatti Veyron was a seminal moment in automotive history. It’s 8.0-litre quad-turbocharged W16 engine generated 1001PS, with Super Sport versions boasting 1,200PS. In 2005, it set an average top speed record of 253.81mph, before the later ‘World Record Edition’ model hit a blistering 268mph.
2010s Bugatti Chiron
The natural successor to the Veyron did not fail to disappoint, further stretching the boundaries of automotive engineering to achieve 1,479bhp from its 8.0L quad-turbocharged W16 allowing it to become the first production car to break the 300mph barrier when it recorded it at Volkswagen’s test facility in Germany.
It’s not only about cars!
There is a lot going on at London Concours, with a whole host of beautiful luxury brands and artisan goods to browse and enjoy. To drink, Veuve Clicquot are the official champagne partner. Routes Coffee will be providing morning pick-me-ups, while BEYroots bring a bit of Lebanese flair to proceedings. Dough & Deer will also be creating freshly baked pizzas from a converted Land Rover Defender, naturally.
Tickets are still available from londonconcours.co.uk/tickets
Wording kindly provided by Tom Duggan. All imagery courtesy of London Concours. Featured image by Tim Scott.
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