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

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Event Preview -

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.

www.th­elon­don­clas­s­ic­carshow.co.uk

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