Picks From the 2017 City of London Concours

The first car show to be held in Britain’s financial center

Martyn Goddardwriter, photographer

LONDON, England — Nestling in the heart of the City of London's square mile financial district is the five-acre lawn of the Honourable Artillery Company. This training ground has been the home of Britain's oldest army regiment since 1641, and its Captain Generals have included ten sovereigns of the realm.

On June 8th and 9th of 2017, it hosted the inaugural City of London Concours, with eighty entrants in ten concours classes supported by a stellar line up of 21st century super cars and all the luxury brands and fine dining that go with the territory of such a high end event.

The choice of location was more about proximity to the great and the good as the City of London is one of the most car hostile environments in the UK. The medieval street plan of narrow streets and years of terrorist attacks have made it an almost impenetrable fortress for any vehicle with more than two wheels!

I have lived in London 45 years and have never visited this hidden gem. It was a beautiful day after a sharp rain shower, just to remind us that we were in the UK.

On entry, I was greeted by the sight of 160 superb automobiles on the verdant turf with a backdrop of the city skyline — a most impressive view. The cars were displayed in class groups — Joy of the Road, Swinging 60s, and the likes around the cricket square, a patch of ground roped off and definitely off limits to automobiles. This rock hard pitch is where the HAC cricket team plays on weekends in the summer.

Before lunch, there was plenty of time to take a good look at the array of concours entrants on offer. Strangely, despite there being ten classes there were only three awards: one each from Evo and Octane Magazine, and the People's Choice Award, which was voted for online. The first two were won by a Porsche 911 Reimagined by Singer and a 1937 Frazer-Nash BMW 238, respectively, while the people chose a 1952 Ferrari 212 Inter by Vignale.

With respect to the remaining 77 owners who made great efforts to show their pride and joy (I met a detailer friend who had spent 40 hours preparing one Ferrari for the event), I perused subjectively the classes and made my own class winners listed below:

Class 1: 1907 Itala 40HP

Class 2: 1937 Frazer-Nash BMW

Class 3: 1967 Aston Martin DB6 MK1 Vantage Volante

Class 4: 1956 Jaguar D Type (Ecurie Ecosse Long Nose)

Class 5: 1985 Ferrari GTO

Class 6: 2006 Maserati MC12

Class 7: 2016 Aston Martin Vulcan

Class 8: 1992/2012 Porsche 911 Singer

Class 9: 1970 Plymouth Barracuda 440 6 pack.

Class 10: 1928 Brough Superior SS100 Alpine

The champagne flowed over lunch in the hospitality suite on what turned out to be a warm afternoon. This event was a thoroughly British affair with groups of city slickers who had taken time off from the world's financial markets, classic car insiders who are the movers and shakers of collecting, and elegant couples just admiring the wonderful automobiles and enjoying the glamour, dining, and retail opportunities of a new event in the social calendar. You could use the old Brooklands motor circuit slogan — "the right crowd and no crowding."

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