LONDON CLASSIC CAR SHOW: IT’LL BE ONE TO REMEMBER
F1 and WRC to the fore, but there’s excitement lined up for every classic enthusiast
LONDON CLASSIC CAR SHOW
EXCEL CENTRE, 18-21 FEBRUARY
This weekend’s London Classic Car Show in Docklands will mark 30 years since the end of Group B rallying with a display of cars presented by 1981 World Rally Champion Ari Vatanen.
Historic machines lined up to wow tens of thousands of visitors include the last rear-wheel drive car to win the world title, the Lancia 037, as well as iconic four-wheel drivers the Ford RS200, Metro 6R4, Peugeot 205 T16 and Audi Quatrro.
The Audi is credited with changing the world game, but it was the Peugeot 205 T16 that took full advantage of the regulations and brought Group B into a new era with its mid-mounted engine.
For five rallies spanning the 1984 and 1985 seasons, Finland’s star driver Ari Vatanen and the Peugeot 205 were
unbeaten – and, many observers would say – utterly unbeatable.
‘I was intrigued by this new car they were making,’ says Vatanen. ‘And I was not disappointed. It was incredible. Remember, at the time, Peugeot was not really so well known in the world of rallying. It had success in some of the long-distance African events, but nothing like a 205. Whenever I sat at the start of a stage in a T16, I could always feel the side of my mouth making a smile.’
By May 1986 Group B was gone. The extraordinary Lancias, Audis, MGs and Fords became museum pieces overnight.
Ari will be playing host of these Group B cars on the star-studded preview evening on 18 February. He says: ‘I have such good memories of Britain. I lived here at the start of my career and I always enjoy coming back – it’s fantastic to meet such enthusiastic fans and it will be a nice opportunity to look back at some of our sport’s greatest cars.’
Another famous face set to appear at the show is 2009 Formula One World Champion Jenson Button. He will also be at the preview evening. Since being announced as a special guest, Jenson has posted a picture of a McLaren M12GT, McLaren’s first attempt at a road car, on his social media pages.
The preview evening will start with the Opening Ceremony for the Classic Six Nations Cup staged on The Grand Avenue, an automotive catwalk allowing visitors to see, hear and smell many of the world’s finest cars in motion.